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History

Witham Hall was a residential home until Mr J W E Banks bought the Queen Anne style manor to save it from being demolished. With no plan for what he would do with the building itself, a friend suggested it would make an excellent preparatory school.

The School was founded in 1959 with just one teacher and six pupils. In 1961, Mr Peter Lyons was appointed as Headmaster and he and his wife, Bridget, ran the school successfully for 28 years. Under the Lyons’ leadership, Witham became co-educational in the late 1970s with girls boarding from 1982.

Mr David Burston and his wife, Patricia, took up the reins from the Lyons and started the Pre-Prep in 1994 with just 19 pupils. Mr David Telfer and his wife, Sarah, took over from the Burstons in 1997, Mr Telfer running the Prep School and Mrs Telfer as Head of the Pre-Prep. In 2008, Mr Charles Welch became Headmaster alongside his wife, Jo. During their 11-year tenure, the Welchs developed the school site and its facilities to outstanding standards that our community benefits greatly from today.

Mr William Austen was appointed Headmaster in 2020 and the Witham Hall tradition as a family-run school continues with the support of his wife, Jossie.

The Coat of Arms

The school coat of arms or crest once belonged to the Johnson family. The Reverend Woolsey Johnson had Witham Hall built in 1752 and is the descendant of Archdeacon Johnson who founded both Oakham and Uppingham Schools. The motto, Qui vit content tient assez, is Norman French meaning ‘He who lives happily has enough’.