St Albans School, Hertfordshire

St Albans School
St Albans School logo.jpg
Abbey Gateway

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Coordinates51°45′04″N 0°20′40″W / 51°45′04″N 0°20′40″W / 51.7510; -0.3445
TypeIndependent day school
Religious affiliation(s)Church of England
FounderWulsin (Abbot Ulsinus)
Local authorityHertfordshire
HeadmasterJonathan Gillespie MA (Cantab), FRSA
GenderBoys (

St Albans School is an independent school in the city of St Albans in Hertfordshire, in the South East of England. Entry before sixth form is for boys only, but the sixth form has been co-educational since 1991. Founded in 948 by Wulsin, St Albans School is not only the oldest school in Hertfordshire but also one of the oldest in the world. The school has been called "Britain's oldest public school" by the Daily Mail.[1] Nicholas Carlisle, in 1818, described the school as "of very ancient origin, and of great celebrity"[2] and the Good Schools Guide describes St Albans as a "traditional public school, with a rich history".[3]

The current headmaster is Jonathan Gillespie, appointed in 2014.

School arms

The school coat of arms is composed of the cross of Saint Alban together with the School motto.

The cross of Saint Alban is a gold saltire (a cross, signifying that Alban was martyred, but diagonal, as he was beheaded, not crucified) on a blue field (or, in heraldic terms, Azure, a saltire Or).

The current school motto is Non nobis nati ("Born not for ourselves"). This dates back to the family of the 12th century Geoffrey de Gorham (Master and subsequently Abbot of St Albans), deriving from Cicero's ("Non nobis solum nati sumus"; "We are not born for ourselves alone"), and was used until the Reformation. It was re-introduced in 1994, thereby stressing the link between the School before and after the dissolution of the monastery in 1539.

Non nobis nati replaced the previous motto Mediocria firma ("The middle road is best"), used between the 16th and 20th centuries. This was the motto of the Bacon family at Gorhambury (including Sir Nicholas and Sir Francis Bacon). This formed part of the Bacon coat of arms, which for instance can still be seen outside the Verulam Arms public house in nearby Welclose Street and inside St Mary's Church, Redbourn.