Christ Church Cathedral School
Christ Church Cathedral School is a Prep and Pre-Prep, fee-paying boarding and day school for approximately 140 pupils based in Oxford, England. Steeped in music and history, the School was founded by Henry VIII in 1546 to provide choristers for Christ Church Cathedral and College. Now a Church of England School, it was originally housed within the College itself. Today its premises are located across from Christ Church at 3 Brewer Street, Oxford and Cardinal Wolsey's house is still used for teaching.
In the 19th century, the Dean of Christ Church, Henry Liddell (father of Alice, who was immortalised in the books of Lewis Carroll) arranged for the building of a new choir school on its present site. More recent developments include the opening of a Pre-Prep department and nursery, and the William Walton Centre which comprises several new classrooms and teaching facilities.
All pupils are boys except a few girls who attend the nursery. The 22 boarders are choristers or probationary choristers for the Cathedral. The dormitories in which they sleep are named after distinguished former organists including Ley, Taverner and Armstrong and formerly Watson. All other pupils are day boys, among them twelve non-boarding choristers who sing in Worcester College Chapel. The school also used to provide choristers for Exeter College but this was stopped when Exeter no longer wanted a boys choir.
The current headmaster is Martin Bruce.
The Choir, which is unique as both a Cathedral and College Choir, comprises twelve men and sixteen boys together with two organists. Six of the men are professionals (the lay clerks), and six are undergraduates (the academical clerks). The boys' ages range from eight to thirteen. Nearly all Cathedral choristers gain musical scholarships to public schools.
Throughout its history, the 500-year-old choir has attracted many distinguished composers and organists — from its first director, John Taverner, appointed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1526, to William Walton.
- Joscelyn Godwin — musicologist
- Allan Mottram — headmaster
- Simon Nicholls — comedy producer
- Ivor Spencer-Thomas — inventor and farmer
- Owen Spencer-Thomas, MBE — radio and TV journalist, charity fundraiser and Anglican priest
- Sir William Walton, OM — composer
- Eric Whelpton — writer and lecturer