The Crypt School

The Crypt School
The Crypt School
CryptSchool Logo.PNG
Established 1539
Type foundation grammar
Religion None (Founded at St Mary de Crypt Church)
Headteacher Mr J Standen
Founders John and Joan Cooke
Specialism Science, Language
Location The Crypt School
Podsmead, Gloucester
Local authority Gloucestershire County Council
DfE URN 115755
Ofsted Reports
Students 714
Gender Male (Mixed in Sixth Form)
Ages 11–18
Colours Maroon, Primrose

Coordinates: 51°50′22″N 2°15′07″W / 51.8394°N 2.252°W / 51.8394; -2.252

John and Joan Cooke by an unknown artist. In the collection of Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery.

The Crypt School is a grammar school for boys with a mixed Sixth Form, located in the city of Gloucester, England, founded in 1539 by Joan Cooke with money inherited from her husband John.[1]

The original school was part of St Mary de Crypt Church in Southgate Street and the schoolroom can still be seen there. Later, in 1889, the school moved to Greyfriars, known better as Friar's Orchard, and in 1943, to its present site at Podsmead. The site on which the modern school is situated is land given to the school by Joan Cooke in 1539. Despite attempts to change the school, notably in the 1960s with the move to comprehensive schools, the Crypt remains a selective boys grammar school.




John Cooke (d. 1528) was a wealthy brewer and mercer of Gloucester, one of the City's earliest aldermen, serving as sheriff in 1494 and 1498. He held the office of mayor four times, in 1501, 1507, 1512 and 1518. He was a great benefactor of the City. His will started the process in motion for the establishment of a grammar school in Gloucester, and the scheme was finally given effect by his wife Joan who survived him by 17 years, dying in 1545. It was Joan therefore who created the tripartite deed of 1539, deemed to be the founding charter. The school remains today the most ancient in Gloucester.[1] A full account of the couple and their good works is contained within the book by Roland Austin published in 1939 "Crypt School". A contemporaneous portrait of the pair, John in his mayoral robe, shaking hands in union, is held within the collection of Gloucester City Council.[1]

Foundation deeds

The following documents, founding the School, are held by the Gloucestershire Records Office (Gloucester Archives):

D3270/1 Conveyance(1528): John Cooke of Gloucester, mercer and alderman, to Thomas Messynger the elder, Thomas Bell the elder, John Hawkyns, Thomas Payne, Richard Halyday, Richard Perkyns (clerico), Thomas Bell the younger, William Pyrry, Thomas Pirry and Lewis Leysant. Conveyance of lands in Ebley, Stonehouse, Oxlynche, Ranwyke, Chaxhill, Rodley, Westbury, Badgeworth and Gloucester 12 May 20 Henry VIII (1528). In trust for the purposes of his will and foundation of a grammar school at Gloucester. Robert Stynchcombe is also appointed as his attorney. Signed by John Cooke.

D3270/2 Grant(1529) 6 October 21 Henry VIII (1529) of Richard prior of Llanthony to Thomas Messenger and others of part of the burial ground of the church of St Mary Crypt for the erection of a school house thereon, rendering yearly to the rector a red rose if demanded. Seals:- (1) Llanthony Priory (2) R.S. (3) Vicar General of the diocese of Worcester

D3270/18 Conveyance(1535) Joan Cooke of Gloucester to Thomas Bell, Thomas Payne (aldermen of Gloucester), Thomas Bell the younger, John Hawkyns, brewer, Richard Halyday, Thomas Pury, Thomas Messyng, Richard Perkyns, clerk, Lewis Lysent and John Partridge of Poddesmede. Conveyance of lands (as described in conveyance dated 22 Nov. 1529) in Badgeworth etc. 8 March 26 Henry VIII 1554/5. With part seal of Corporation of Gloucester

D3270/3 Grant of Letters Patent(1538)12 May 30 Henry VIII, 1538, to the Corporation of Gloucester to hold lands in mortmain not exceeding £50 annual value for the performance of trusts of the will (dated 18 May and proved 19 October 1528) of John Cooke. With great seal (the second seal, used 1532–1541) of Henry VIII. With copy, and translation.

D3270/4 Tripartite Deed(1539/40)11 January 31 Henry VIII, 1539–40, between Dame Joan Cooke, the Mayor and Burgesses of Gloucester, and the Bailiffs and Citizens of Worcester, as to the endowments made for the benefit of the Crypt Grammar School, Gloucester, and for the proper administration of the school lands. Seal: Common Seal of the City of Worcester.

D3270/5 Copy of Grant of Annuity(1540) Lady Joan Cooke of Gloucester, widow of John Cooke, to the Bailiffs and citizens of Worcester. Copy grant of annuity of 6s 8d out of lands for overseeing the provision of her trust for the grammar school is carried out.

Academic record

The Crypt School has been awarded an 'Artsmark' Award by the Arts Council of England for the quality of provision in creative and performing arts (i.e. music, drama and art itself).[citation needed]

In 2003, the school was granted Specialist Status in Science.[citation needed] It remains the only school in Gloucester with this distinction.[citation needed] This award was, in part, awarded in recognition of the quality of science provision at the school – it remains one of a very select group of schools which teaches all of the sciences in depth as separate subjects.[citation needed]

In 2009, The Crypt School was further designated as a Specialist Language College, this status has become active as of the 2009/2010 academic year.[citation needed]

At the end of every academic year, usually on the second Thursday of July, pupils, staff and former Cryptians gather at Gloucester Cathedral for Founders Day, a day when the school remembers its past and how the school was founded. The Headmaster of the school, the School Captain and the president of the Old Cryptian's Club pay the Rector of St Mary De Crypt Church a quit rent of one red rose.[citation needed]

There are four school houses; Whitfield, Moore, Brown and Henley, named after notable former students.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Crypt gained a reputation for the quality of its Shakespearean productions.[citation needed] The plays were directed by Charles Lepper, English teacher at the Crypt, and former RSC actor. Lepper's last production at the Crypt was "Much Ado About Nothing" in 1966.

School song – Carmen Cryptiense

Pio cantu celebremus
Scholam, pie memoremus
Conditores, quis debemus
Tot Musarum munera.
Laus Ioanni tribuenda,
Laus Ioannae concinenda.
Vivat schola Cryptiensis,
Vivat in perpetuum!

Stat per annos domus crescens
Fortiorque fit senescens,
Laeta prole revirescens
Dum labuntur saecula.
Viget prisca fide plena,
Viget nova spe serena.
Vivat schola Cryptiensis,
Vivat in perpetuum!

Notable former pupils

Alumni of the school are known as Old Cryptians.[2]


  1. ^ a b c John and Joan Cooke. Living Gloucester, 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  2. ^ The Old Cryptians' Club – Home

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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