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Southover Manor School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Southover Manor School
Southover High Street

Lewes, East Sussex

TypeIndependent boarding school
FounderWinifred Ponsonby
Age11 to 18

Southover Manor School was an independent boarding school for girls at Lewes, East Sussex, with a preparatory department.


The school was founded in 1924 at Lewes by Winifred Ponsonby. Initially a convent school, it was based at Southover Manor,[1] which later became a Grade II listed building.

In 1937, a Southover girl won a major scholarship to Newnham College, Cambridge.[2] During the Second World War, the school was evacuated from Lewes to Firle Place,[3] and in January 1940 the school announced that "Southover French Finishing School, specializing in French language and literature, and French cooking and dressmaking, will be opened after Easter in a country house near Lewes, under the direction of M. le Baron and Madame la Baronne de Saint-Péreuse".[4] The school’s buildings in Lewes were taken over by the 6th Field Regiment of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery.[5]

In about 1960, the mother of one girl was said to have chosen the school "on account of the pleasing decoration in the headmistress's study".[6]

By 1963, the school was "recognized as efficient" by the Ministry of Education.[7]

On 30 May 1974, the school marked its Golden Jubilee with an event at Goldsmiths' Hall, in the City of London.[8] In 1979, the number of girls in the school was reported as 125.[9]

In 1983, the school had 120 girls, of whom 110 were boarders. The core curriculum then consisted of English, History, Geography, Maths, French, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Music and Physical Education.[10] In that year, plans for the future closure of the school were set in motion and Lewes District Council produced a development brief for its land.[11]

In July 1984, the school closed and its premises were sold in June 1985, the proceeds being used to establish Southover Manor General Educational Trust Limited, the object of which is "to advance for the public benefit the education of boys and girls under the age of 25 years in any manner being exclusively charitable as the Governing Body of the Trust may from time to time determine".[12] Houses were built on the school's former playing fields, street names including Cluny Street.[13]

Records of the school and its educational trust between the years 1939 and 1988 are held at the East Sussex Record Office, accession number ACC 9256.[14] Draft conveyances and leases for the school between 1929 and 1939 (part of the papers of Adams and Remers of Lewes, Solicitors) are also in the Record Office.[15]


  • 1929–1959: Miss J. I. E. Aspden, d. 1963[16][17]
  • 1959–1970: Priscilla Stucley, Countess Zamoyska[17]
  • 1970–1980: Mrs M. B. Proctor (later Lady Downward), d. aged 83 in 2008.[9][18]
  • Mrs Edward Forrest LGSM LTCL, appointed 1980[10][19]

Notable old girls


  1. ^ a b Hermione Ranfurly, The Ugly One: the childhood memoirs of Hermione, Countess of Ranfurly, 1913–1939 (1998), p. 118
  2. ^ 'University News Oxford And Cambridge Scholarships' in The Times, Issue 47873, 21 December 1937, p. 11, col. B: "NEWNHAM COLLEGE – MAJOR SCHOLARSHIPS... M. R. Bray, Southover Manor School, for Modern Languages"
  3. ^ Lyn Smith, Young voices: British children remember the Second World War (2007), p. 123
  4. ^ The Times, Issue 48512, 13 January 1940, p. 1, col. B
  5. ^ Melynda Jarratt, War Brides: The Stories of the Women Who Left Everything Behind to Follow (Dundurn, 2009), p. 209
  6. ^ a b Nicky Ferguson (obituary) in The Daily Telegraph, 6 October 2007
  7. ^ Ministry of Education, List of independent schools in England and Wales Recognised as Efficient (1963), p. 89
  8. ^ The Times, Issue 59084, 9 May 1974, p. 22, col. E
  9. ^ a b The Education Authorities Directory and Annual (1979), p. 582
  10. ^ a b David Freeman, Choosing the right school: a parents guide (1983), p. 194 at
  11. ^ Lewes District Council, Southover Manor School development brief (1983)
  12. ^ Southover Manor General Educational Trust Limited, 2007–2008[permanent dead link] at
  13. ^ Lewes Conservation Area Appraisal pages 55 to 71 at
  14. ^ East Sussex Record Office: 2005 Accessions at
  15. ^ Archive of Adams and Remers of Lewes, solicitors, at, ACC5786/15
  16. ^ Hon. Lady Stucley, 'MISS J. ASPDEN' (Obituary) in The Times, Issue 55639, 2 March 1963, p. 10, col. D: "Known affectionately as 'Asp' to all her girls, she was for 30 years headmistress of Southover Manor School..."
  17. ^ a b 'SOUTHOVER MANOR SCHOOL' in The Times, Issue 54422, 31 March 1959, p. 10, col. F: "Southover Manor School governors have appointed Countess Zamoyska (Priscilla Stucley), who is at present housemistress at St James's, West Malvern, to be headmistress at Southover in September, when J. I. E. Aspden retires."
  18. ^ Obituaries at
  19. ^ Susan Higgins, ed., Education Year Book (1984), p. 417: "Southover Manor School (AD) (Girls) (120) Lewes BN7 1JD; Tel Lewes 2228; Mrs MR Forrest"
  20. ^ 'Sharples, Baroness', in Who's Who 2009
  21. ^ Annabel Goldsmith, No Invitation Required (2008), Chapter 1: Pelham Cottage
  22. ^ 'Fagan, (Florence) Mary' in Who's Who 2009
  23. ^ 'DODWELL, Christina', in Who's Who 2009, (London: A. & C. Black, 2008)
  24. ^ ”DIGBY, Lady”, in Who's Who 2009; ”DIGBY Dione Marian, Lady” in World Who's Who of Women 1992-93, Vol. 11, p. 260
  25. ^ Katherine Hamilton at
  26. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 2 December 2020, at 04:18
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