Our History

Our History

Ewell Castle Mansion

Ewell Castle School is located in the attractive village of Ewell. The Senior School site of some fifteen acres was once part of the grounds of Nonsuch Palace built by Henry VIII. The Senior School is housed in a castellated mansion in Church Street, The Castle, was built in 1814 for Thomas Calverley and although sale particulars in 1917 attribute the design of the The Castle to the architect Sir Jeffrey Wyatt, a Georgian architect who pioneered the Gothic revival, there is now general agreement that the architect was indeed one Henry Kitchen who lived in Church Street. On Calverley's death in 1842 the house passed to his nephew whose family chose not to live there but leased it to James Gadesden. In 1846, while staying in Ewell, John Everett Millais was invited to a dance held by the Gadesdens at Ewell Castle. Gadesden, who came from Scotland, had invited a fellow Scot called Gray and his family. This was where Millais met Euphemia (Effie) Gray, the girl whom he was eventually to marry - after an interlude in which she met and married John Ruskin, then left him and in May 1847 returned, older and wiser to Ewell Castle.  A year after the annulment of her marriage in 1854 she was able to marry Millais. Millais maintained his association with Ewell and at the end of June 1851, Holman Hunt and Millais visited Ewell to find backgrounds for two new paintings which they had in mind - Ophelia for Millais, and The Hireling Shepherd for Hunt. The Gadesdens were able to buy Ewell Castle in 1852 for £43,000. In 1909 the Gadesden family sold Ewell Castle and after several owners, who each left their mark, it became an independent school in 1926.

Ewell Castle School

In 1926 Ewell Castle Independent School was established at The Castle, from which the school takes its name, although the origins of the School go back to two earlier schools, Leicester House and Barrow Hedges, both then located in Carshalton.

In 1949 Chessington Lodge was acquired, initially as sleeping quarters for staff at Bourne Hall School and as an annexe to the school for kindergarten classrooms. However, in 1953, after the closure of Bourne Hall School, Ewell Castle took over the Lodge, and Forms 1 and 2 moved down from The Castle. In 1964 Form 3 also moved to the Lodge, henceforth known as the Junior School. New facilities were completed at Chessington Lodge in 1985 and the Nursery was opened.

The Preparatory School has two sites. Early Years, incorporating Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 (3-7 years), are accommodated at Chessington Lodge in Spring Street, a Georgian house just minutes walk from the Senior School. Pupils at Key Stage 2 (7-11 years) are located at Glyn House opposite The Castle, in Church Street. Glyn House is the former Rectory to St Mary's Church, which is used regularly by the school for special assemblies. A Rectory was first established on the site in 1408. However, in 1838, George Glyn - Vicar of Ewell, replaced Parsonage House (1710) with the current building designed by Henry Duesbury 'in the Elizabethan manner'. Landscaped gardens and grounds over some five acres enhance the facility.

The following information is from 'Epsom & Ewell History Explorer' website and provides interesting history on the castle building, prior to it becoming a school.

Ewell Castle of today was built by its then owner, Thomas Calverley, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, on the site of an older house. The present mansion is castellated, with octagonal turrets at the angles and embattled parapets, and contains many fine apartments, all of which are lighted by electricity generated on the premises.  High mullioned windows and a finely groined heraldic ceiling adorn the spacious Entrance Hall, thirty-eight feet long and forty-eight high, (which is reached through a covered way with a vaulted roof), giving access to the Drawing Room in Louis XV style, with panelled walls and the Elizabethan Morning Room, as well as the Dining Room, a fine apartment, exquisitely decorated in Adam’s style, and Smoking Room with its two large steel vaults. Connected with the two first apartments is a large Conservatory, one of the three at Ewell Castle, which extends the whole length of the South Wing, and, steam heated, its flower filled precincts for an irresistible attraction to the occupants of either of these rooms.

A magnificent Stone Staircase leads to the Elizabethan Library and Museum, fitted with Spanish Mahogany Bookshelves on the first floor as well as a fine Billiard Room in the Jacobean style, terminating in an Indoor Conservatory with fountain and skylight studio.  The floors of all the Reception Rooms are parquetted, as well as those of two of the Bedrooms; which latter have bath and dressing rooms arranged en suite.

Born in Philadelphia in 1880, Captain Clarence Wiener is the son of Lewis Wiener and his wife Eugeine K. Ketterlinus. Harvard University afforded him his education, and in early manhood he served with The United States Army in the Spanish-American War on the staff of General Frederick Dent Grant, as aide-de-camp and afterwards with the British Army during the late South African War as Second-in-Command of Driscoll’s Scouts; he subsequently was given an independent command of three hundred and forty Colonials. He was eight times wounded in this Campaign. He is at the present time connected with press life in London as the head of the Wiener Agency, Ltd., 64, Strand; the “X-L” Co., Waldorf House, etc. etc.

In addition to landscape gardening, Captain Wiener is interested in most forms of sport, particularly polo and golf, and devotes considerable time and attention to dog breeding, with what success, the many and valuable Pekineses, to be seen about Ewell Castle, abundantly testify.
Politically he is strongly in sympathy with the Conservative Party.  The village of Ewell, which lies eleven miles south of Westminster, and two miles to the north-east of Epsom, derives its name from its situation at the head of the Hogsmill River, which joins the Thames at Kingston. It was formerly called “Etwell”, i.e. at the well, and on 17th century trade tokens appears under the guise of Yewill, or Yewell. Its importance as a market town is denoted by the following quaint entry in the parish registers:-

Matthew Mountegew, of Cobham and Agatha Turner of Leatherhead, their agreement of marriage was three market-dayes published in the market of Ewell, and they were married by Justis Marsh of Darkin, the 3rd of July, 1654.  Richard Corbet, D.D. Bishop of Oxford and of Norwich, was a native of Ewell, where he was born in 1582, “a high wit”, according to the testimony of old Fuller, and “of a courteous carriage.”

The manorial rights, as well as those of Cheam and Cuddington are now held by the Rev. Edward Northey, of Woodcote House, with whose family they have been for a considerable period. In Domesday times, Ewell was the property of the King, and continued with the Crown until Henry II. bestowed all his lands in Ewell on the Prior and Canons of Merton, who were in possession until the Dissolution, when Henry VIII. annexed Ewell to the Honour of Hampton Court. From Queen Elizabeth, Henry Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, the father of Joan, Lady Lumley, whose monument is in the Lumley Chapel at Cheam, acquired the property, which subsequently passed to his nephew, Henry Lloyd, son of the learned Antiquary, Humphrey Lloyd. From his descendant, Dr. Richard Lumley Lloyd, who died without issue in 1730, Ewell passed to Lord John Russell, subsequently Duke of Bedford, who, in his turn, disposed of the estate to Mr. Edward Northey of Epsom.

(In 1926, Ewell Castle was acquired by Herbert Rosslyn Budgell who founded Ewell Castle School, of which he was Proprietor and Principal until his death, aged 61, in 1946.)