Oakham School was founded in 1584 by Archdeacon Robert Johnson and is in the heart of Oakham, the county town of Rutland. The Schoolmaster of the time taught local boys Greek, Latin and Hebrew. The buildings today provide a beautiful and historic backdrop to the town’s Market Square. The Old School was restored in the eighteenth century and remained the sole classroom for 300 years; it is still in use today. Inside the Old School, there are some beautiful frescos, painted by the sister of W.L ‘Tom’ Sargant, Headmaster 1902-1929, which depict the story of Gareth and Lynette, probably taken from Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’. They remain in situ and are protected by shutters.
The School Chapel is without doubt, an important and central part of school life today, with the weekly ‘congo’ raising the roof and filling the rafters with song. The Chapel was built as a memorial for the 68 Old Oakhamians that died in World War I. The foundation stone was laid in July 1924 and the chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Peterborough on 29 October 1925. The names of the 68 are listed in the chapel entrance and a memorial to the 83 OOs who lost their lives in World War II is in the vestibule.
In 1971, Oakham was the first boys’ independent secondary school to accept girls, and this was at all ages, not just Sixth Form. The School was quick to become fully co-educational and is today one of the few schools with a true 50:50 split at all ages.
The school colours are red and black and the school uniform is embroidered with the original school crest and ‘quasi cursores’ – an abbreviation of the full motto ‘Et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt’ (And, like runners, they pass on the torch of life). Whilst the School, in many ways, wears its heritage lightly and prides itself on being a modern and forward-thinking environment, it is fiercely proud of its heritage and its historic role within the town of Oakham.