Historical philanthropy

St Swithun’s School was founded in 1884 by Miss Anna Bramston, daughter of the then Dean of Winchester, with the purpose of providing a “sound and thorough” education for girls in Winchester and its neighbourhood. Central to the ethos of its foundation was providing an education for girls to match that already on offer for boys as well as enabling pupils of differing backgrounds to study side by side. 

There was a public meeting in January 1884 which agreed to finance Winchester’s new “public school for girls” by both subscriptions and donations. Anna Bramston wrote to The Hampshire Chronicle asking the community for financial support to start the school. Her request was successful, and on the 5th May 1884 17 girls “stood nervously before the Headmistress” as none of them had ever been to school before. The first school ledger has survived allowing us to see the names of these girls and their fathers’ occupations. The first girls were from families of landowners, lawyers, clergymen and shop keepers – an inclusive “social mix” at the school’s founding.

Today, we continue this tradition of inclusivity, by funding means-tested bursaries, and providing an excellent all-round educational opportunities for girls. We remain proud that the School operates within its fee income and that we have rarely gone out to appeal for any significant building projects. This is, in spite of the fact that, unlike many other leading independent schools, St Swithun’s School has never been blessed with endowments. We are now seeking financial support from the wider St Swithun’s community to ensure we remain at the forefront of girls’ education, just as Anna Bramston did in 1884.

Message from the headmistress

Message from the Dean of Winchester

Message from the Development Office