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Our history

We are immensely proud of the long and rich history of Bablake School. Our story stretches back for centuries.

Key dates

  • 1344

    In 1344 Queen Isabella, a widow of Edward II, gave land at ‘Babbelak’ for the building of the original St John’s (or Bablake) Church. It is probable that a ‘college’ was added to the Church at any early date.

  • 1364

    The great historian A.F. Leach traced Bablake’s roots back to 1364.

    It likely began as a choir school attached to St John’s Church, founded by Queen Isabella, widow of Edward II.

  • 1500s

    The School was mostly dependent on charitable gifts until 1563, when Thomas Wheatley, who had been Mayor of Coventry in 1556, endowed it with much of his estate. The story of what prompted him to do so is an extraordinary one. Wheatley had ordered some steel wedges from Spain but received in error a chest of silver ingots. Being an honourable man and unable to discover to whom this cargo rightly belonged, Wheatley decided not to profit from the mistake himself but to give to the needy. The School committed itself to giving free board, clothing and education to poor boys who were to become apprentices.

  • 1800s

    Under the leadership of Henry Mander, the school flourished with growing numbers and a strong reputation.

    Bablake amalgamated with the Black Gift, Green Gift and Blue Gift Schools and aspired to be recognised as an Organised Science School.

    1890 saw the move into our palatial premises on the present site.

  • 1900s

    Bablake continued to expand by amalgamating with three local schools: Baker, Billing and Crow’s School (Black Gift), Katherine Bayley’s Charity School (Blue Gift) and Fairfax Charity School (Green Gift).

    Between 1911-1936 the School grew rapidly in numbers until it reached about 550.

    This period also marked Bablake’s transformation into a prestigious Grammar School.

  • 1937

    Mr. E.A. Seaborne’s leadership from 1937 to 1962 saw Bablake experience incredible growth

    The School faced challenges like the 1940 bombing that unfortunately claimed its new library.

    Bablake was requisitioned as a hostel for building labourers and the decision was taken to evacuate Bablake to Lincoln. Here it stayed until the Summer of 1943.

  • 1945

    In 1945 Bablake opted to go independent.

    The late fifties saw the student population flourish once again solidifying Bablake’s position as a leading educational institution.

  • 1962

    Mr. E. H. Burrough’s leadership from 1962 to 1977 was a time of transformation and progress.

    He oversaw significant building projects and strived to cultivate a more liberal and relaxed environment at Bablake.

  • 1975

    A true milestone was reached in 1975 when girls were admitted, adding a new dimension to the school community.

    The Governors decided to amalgamate with King Henry VIII School to form Coventry School with Mr R Cooke as Director of the two schools.

  • 1977 - today

    Bablake’s legacy of excellence continues to thrive under the leadership of visionary heads.

    Mr M W Barker, 1977-1991, Dr S Nuttall, 1991-2006, Mr J W Watson, 2006-2019, and Mr A M Wright, 2019-present.

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