TOWN SURVEY UPDATE 2010

UPPER HIGH STREET EAST Building: Sevenoaks School

Listing:

Grade II*, LBS number 172173 (School House) 172174 (Arched gateway) 172176 (Side screen walls connecting to Almshouses)

History:

Sevenoaks School was founded in the will of Sir William Sevenoak, Lord Mayor of London, proved in 1432. Subsequently re-endowed by Queen Elizabeth I and known from the late sixteenth century as Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School.

The school buildings and the almshouses on the High Street were designed as a group loosely based on a drawing by Lord Burlington in the early C18. By 1726, the previous school buildings were in a state of disrepair and had been pulled down. The original almshouses were demolished before 1729. Plans for a new school building and almshouses had been in preparation since 1718 and the work was to be undertaken by local builders Thomas Wigzell and Thomas Kipps. The carpentry was to be undertaken by another local man, John Cross. Various architects were involved in the development, including John James, who drew the plans in the mid 1720s, and Roger Morris, who was the architect of Combe Bank in around 1725, and who seems in the end to have been the principal designer and may have been recommended by Burlington. It would have been characteristic of him to have chosen materials such as the ragstone for a charitable building in a rustic style. Until the late twentieth century, this building was used as the Headmaster’s House and the boys’ boarding house and was called School House.

Current Use:

Sev_022

Independent School

Description:

The central school block with courtyard in front lies between the two almshouse blocks described separately. The building is in coursed local stone blocks with flint infilling to mortar joints. Left hand wing of three storeys, Centre feature and right hand wing of four storeys. The fourth storey on the right is a late C19 addition and spoils the symmetry of the design. Centre with pyramidal slate roof with sprocketed hips with lead flashing and surmounted by octagon leaded lantern. Ground floor, first and second floor with oblong mullioned and transomed windows. Plain square-paned casements on fourth floor. Centre recessed round-headed alcove on second floor with rusticated dressing, enclosing twentieth century statue of Sir William Sevenoke. To left and right, pair of C18 panelled doors with fanlight over conatined in rusticated round-headed surround. To right of building, ornamental stone archway leading to main school campus. 4-centred arch with centre carved voussoir, broken dentilled entablature, dentilled racking cornice, and ornamental carved tympanum with date 1890. Rusticated stone pilasters.
Side screen walls of coursed stone, with plinth and ashlar band.