Perrott Hill History
North Perrott Manor
The main school building, North Perrott Manor, was completed in 1876 replacing an earlier manor house that had stood to the north-east of the church and had been damaged by fire. The Manor was home to the Hoskyns family until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Feltonfleet School (1940-1945)
During the Second World War a number of schools from London and the Home Counties were evacuated to rural locations, well away from any targets likely to be visited by the Luftwaffe. One such school was Feltonfleet, based in Surrey, which was evacuated to North Perrott Manor in 1940. Feltonfleet stayed at North Perrott for the duration of the war and returned to Surrey in early 1945. Rather than returning to his family seat, Major Hoskyns decided to lease the manor house.
The Grundys (1946-1970)
One of the members of the Feltonfleet staff was Bill Grundy; he and his wife Nora had spent the war years at North Perrott. They decided to stay at the Manor and Perrott Hill School was formed. From a mere eighteen pupils in their first term, the autumn of 1946, the Grundys rapidly built the school up. Despite some inevitable alterations, the house largely retained its manor house appearance and character. The greatest change came with the addition of a new block on the west end of the main building to house changing facilities and dormitories.
The Hoares (1970-1992)
Derek and Lydia took over the school in 1970, and kept the numbers at around one hundred, seventy-five of whom were boarders. In 1971, an extra floor was added to the new block, which enabled the creation of the Grundy Hall. Before that, only half the hall had been available for assemblies and school plays, leading to some extremely cramped performances.
Later, a new classroom block, ‘The Coates Building’, named after Norman Coates, the Senior Master from 1956–1972, was erected on the edge of the ‘Tree Stump Area’. The science block was doubled in size, the art room and craft centre were created, the pavilion was built and the school also acquired its first computers. Finally, two other buildings went up on the other side of the garden wall from the ‘Tree Stump Area’ to provide a recreations room, additional classrooms, a shooting range and a pet house. The construction of the recreations room meant the sad removal of much of the vegetable garden; for the first time since its founding, Perrott Hill was unable to survive on home-grown vegetables!
The Barnes (1992-1998)
Upon Derek and Lydia Hoare’s retirement in July 1992, James and Liz Barnes were appointed as their successors. James had been teaching at Akeley Wood School, near Buckingham, and had West Country connections, having taught previously at Dumpton School, where Liz was matron.
James and Liz introduced boarding for girls in an attempt to increase the number of girls in the school. Initially Churchill, at the top of the New Block, was the girls’ dormitory. The other fundamental change was the setting up of a pre-prep department for children aged from 3 to 7.
As the school expanded, the need for indoor space increased. It soon became impossible to accommodate the whole school plus parents within the Grundy Hall in the main building; prize giving had to be held outside on the terrace and for several years the weather held, but it seemed unreasonable to expect such good fortune ad infinitum! School plays were another event that demonstrated the need for more space. In 1996 an appeal was launched to raise funds to pay for a new multi-purpose hall to be constructed on what was left of the vegetable garden.
The Davies (1998-2008)
James and Liz Barnes left Perrott Hill after six years and moved to Chafyn Grove, in Salisbury. Mike and Isabelle Davies, with baby Pierre, arrived from Ashdown House in Sussex where Mike had been Deputy Head.
Mike and Isabelle made their mark on the school in many ways. The popular, and successful, Montessori nursery was created and the annual Year 7 French trip was introduced in 2000. The school also saw the addition of a new ICT department, tennis and netball hard courts and the refurbishment of the Orangery. In 2008 the new, much larger, sports hall was built and work began on the theatre (the former sports hall), complete with tiered seating for 250.
The Davies, with Pierre, Jacques and Anna-Louise, left Perrott Hill for Edge Grove in December 2008.
The Morses (2009 – 2015)
Rob and Lottie Morse, with their children, Daisy and Harry, and black labrador, Nel, moved to Perrott Hill in December 2008. Robert had been Deputy Head at S. Anselm’s in Derbyshire and had previously been a Housemaster at Mount House in Tavistock. Lottie had been Head of Art and housemistress and, with her passion for drama, often produced the Year 8 leavers’ play at Perrott Hill.
The school continued to thrive under Rob’s enthusiastic and dedicated leadership. Much of the accommodation was decorated and refurbished, including the boys’ and girls’ dorm landings. The Morses initiated a renewed interest in boarding with the boarding community being near capacity. The school continued to invest in new facilities and 2011 saw the opening of the Hoskyns Library, upgrading of the 250-seat theatre and the completion of a major project, the installation of the North Lawns all-weather surface.
The Butchers (2015 – 2017)
Tim and Bethan Butcher moved to Perrott Hill with their children Sam, Amelie and Aria, in September 2015 following the departure of the Morses to Aysgarth School in Bedales.
Tim made a huge mark on the school, not least by overseeing a number of major projects including the completion of a new eco-build Music School on the edge of the woods, the redevelopment of the new boarding areas now known as The Loft and the design and completion of the new Science suite and Tinker Labs.
The Butchers moved to Shropshire in summer 2017 to be closer to family, due to the long-term implications of family illness.