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About us

About us

Pilgrims' is an absolutely fantastic school with the most incredible and dedicated teachers. My son is encouraged, nurtured and pushed all in the right amounts. I feel that the staff really understand my son and genuinely really care. 

A Year 8 parent

The Pilgrims’ School is an independent, day and boarding, boys only Prep school, with Pre-Prep department, for boys aged 4-13. It is a Cathedral choir school and incorporates the choristers for two professional choirs, the Cathedral and Winchester College.

Our location in the heart of Winchester

Blessed with a truly beautiful location, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close, the school benefits from a wonderful sense of privacy.  Visitors are often surprised by the size of the school site and the grass play areas and open vistas behind our front door. The school is nestled between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, and you can step through our back gate to enjoy the stunning countryside of the South Downs Way.

Our aims

As part of the ministry of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral, and in our unique relationship with Winchester College, Pilgrims’ is a unique and leading boys’ prep school with a Christian ethos. The School itself was founded in 1931, however we build on an ancient foundation of centuries of education on this site. We aim to recruit boys who will best make use of what we offer, and who will contribute most towards it. Open to boys of any race and religious background, and with a happy blend of boarders and day boys, our aim is to develop the special character of each Pilgrim.  

Our aim is to develop the full potential of each Pilgrim, whether that be academic, musical, sporting, artistic, dramatic, environmental, charitable and/or in some other field.

We aim to encourage each boy to use his mind well, to make wise judgments, to appreciate beauty, to be creative, to value and develop his faith, to be able to appreciate and support the needs of others, to be able to discriminate between good and better, between right and wrong, to understand that with privilege (economic, intellectual, physical) comes the responsibility to be kind, and, collaborating with others, to contribute to the world he will inherit. On the day he puts on his leaver’s tie, courtesy, decency, honesty, curiosity, independence of mind, aptitude for hard work, eloquence and articulacy, a genuine and real love of learning, and propensity to happiness will characterise the successful Pilgrim.  

Our aim is to develop the full potential of each Pilgrim, whether that be academic, musical, sporting, artistic, dramatic, environmental, charitable and/or in some other field. We help boys to find their passions through wide and varied experiences at the School and to help them nurture them. Using the full opportunities provided by our skilled and dedicated staff and excellent facilities, enriched by our ethos, history and setting, we seek to maximise the progress of all Pilgrims in all areas of the curriculum, co-curriculum and extra-curriculum, to produce the highest achievement, and to encourage the quest for, and enjoyment of, a life-long pursuit of excellence.  

Our environment

The ancient city wall runs around the boundary of our extensive games pitches, which are right next to the school. Adjacent to the Bishop's Palace and the ruins of Wolvesey Castle, they offer a glorious view of the Cathedral. Few school pitches can boast of such a stunning setting.

A tributary of the River Itchen flows through the school grounds. The boys can fish further downstream and nature reserves in the water meadows have an abundance of wild flowers and birds. An Iron Age fort with a maze at the top of St Catherine's Hill is within easy walking distance of the school. These are wonderful resources for supervised explorations and activities with the boys – and the hill is perfect for toboggans when it snows!

The beautiful and venerable buildings that surround us are a constant source of inspiration, and an ever-present reminder of history and tradition.  

Our history

The Pilgrims' School and its predecessor establishments have played an important part in the educational history of Winchester Cathedral since Saxon times.

The Pilgrims' School lineage can be traced back through the schools associated with the Cathedral Choir at least to the Alta Schola, established around 676AD. It carries on this tradition today. 

The school moved to its present site in 1931 and became a preparatory school for choristers and non-choristers alike, with the purpose of allowing each to benefit from the talents of the other. The main building was redesigned in the 17th century and sits on the site of former Roman and medieval buildings. The Pilgrims' Hall, attached to the school is visited by tourists who come from far and wide to see its magnificent hammer-beam roof, most likely constructed in the first half of the14th century.

In 1966, the Quiristers of Winchester College Chapel Choir became an integral part of The Pilgrims' School and are still educated here today.

Our Pre-Preparatory opened in 2007. 

 

Our Location

We are blessed with a truly idyllic location. Just an hour south of London by direct train, with easy access to all the major travel hubs, and yet we are surrounded by the stunning countryside of the South Downs National Park. The school is tucked away between Winchester Cathedral and Winchester College, within the secure and secluded Cathedral Close. Moments from our front door is the heart of the historic city of Winchester, or step through our back gate to find water meadows, countryside, and the South Downs Way.