8 February 2017: A select group of Year 7 students spent some time at Sexey’s Hospital, Bruton this week, learning about the origins of the School and its founder, Hugh Sexey.
Residents at Sexey’s Hospital joined the students as retiring Master, Canon Jenkins, explained how the overseers of the Hospital originally created a school for twelve boys who were maintained, clothed and educated for three years in reading, writing and arithmetic on the Hospital site. At the age of fourteen they were apprenticed for seven years to become carpenters, weavers and blacksmiths. Out of this evolved the Sexey’s School that exists today.
Students were also presented with a school flag by the residents, while they in turn presented Canon Jenkins with a small gift in honour of his retirement, thanking him for his continued support of the School. They were then given a tour of the Chapel and the original school room – now a resident’s kitchen – where they were verbally tested as they would have been centuries ago on their spelling and mathematics by the Master.
Commenting, student Samuel Piper, said, “It was really exciting to see the original school room and to hear about how the apprentices had to stuff their own mattresses with straw twice a year. Conditions for students have really changed now! I get asked about the origins of our school name a lot so it’s good to be able to talk about the history a bit more.”
Loki Johnston, a Year 7 boarder added, “I was interested to learn more about the school crest, which includes a double-headed spreadeagle. It is taken from the seal used by Hugh Sexey and is a simplified form of his coat of arms, a symbol of courage and strength, as well as a protector of others. It also symbolised the Sexey’s family’s Germanic heritage. Thank you very much to Canon Jenkins and the residents for such a fascinating tour and history lesson.”