A Short History

In 1919 the College set up six day houses for boys. They are as follows:



Sir Francis Drake, 1540-1595, was a sailor who turned to piracy, mainly against the Spanish. His piratical voyage of 1578 turned in to his circumnavigation of the globe from which he returned triumphant in 1580.


Sir Richard Grenville, 1542-1591, sent the 200 ton Castle of Comfort on a piratical voyage to the Caribbean in 1574 under the pretext of seeking “terra australis incognita”. His business interests extended to colonising the new world and discovering a North West passage between 1578 and 1583.


Christopher Marlowe, 1564-1593, was a scholar at King’s School, Canterbury and Edward Alleyn got his idea for the foundation of the College of God’s Gift at Dulwich for “twelve poor scholars” from Marlowe’s experience at Canterbury. In 1580 he went up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. As a writer his first theatrical success was in 1587 with his thunderous drama of conquest and ambition Tamburlaine the Great. He went on to write Dr Faustus and Edward II.


Sir Walter Raleigh, 1552-1618, was a writer, who used his poetry to make a name for himself at court and win the favour of the Queen. He was also a sailor and explorer, and as a parliamentarian he was unique in Elizabeth’s reign in sitting for three counties.


Sir Philip Sidney, 1554-1586, was the perfect Renaissance courtier, simultaneously a poet, a lover and a heroic soldier. He was among the most influential authors of the Elizabethan age. He largely initiated the revival of the sonnet, and his Arcadia popularised and domesticated chivalric romance.


Edmund Spenser, 1552-1599, was educated at Merchant Taylor’s School in London before going up to Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was a poet and wrote advice literature while working as a civil servant in Ireland. His most famous poem The Faerie Queene marks a change in the development of English poetry by combining traditions from Italian romance, classical epic and native English styles derived from Chaucer.

In 1982 the College roll had grown and two more houses were added:


Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, 1536-1624, was an exemplar of the Elizabethan courtier. During his lifetime his name commanded respect rather than genuine admiration. His close kinship to Elizabeth I brought him favour at court; the offices he acquired reflected the need for a trusted, rather than an innately talented holder. He was in command of the fleet as Lord Admiral during the Armada campaign.


Ben Jonson, 1572-1637, was a poet and a playwright. He was employed by the Admiral’s Men, the group of players for whom Edward Alleyn also worked as an actor. His plays include: Every Man in his Humour, Eastward Ho!, The Alchemist and Volpone. He worked with Inigo Jones on elaborate court masques, which were especially well received by James I.

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