Mapperty House (now St Antony’s School House), Westbury.

Mapperty House was used as a boarding house for Sherborne School from 1885 to 1890.

Mapperty House in Westbury was built as a school boarding house by William Beauchamp Wildman (1852-1922).  Wildman had opened in 1883 a small boarding house in Newland but in 1884 obtained permission from the School Governors to build a new boarding house, at his own expense, in Westbury on land held by Thomas Sherrin (1846-1896) [in 1889, Thomas Sherrin moved to Abbey Grange, now the Headmaster’s residence].  The house was completed by Easter 1885 and Wildman transferred his boarders from Newland to Westbury.

Wildman named the house Mapperty House, though the field it was built on was known as ‘Naperty’.  In December 1886, Wildman married Winifred Mabel Spens Black (1865-1948).  They had two sons, both of whom were born while the Wildman’s were living at Mapperty, Thomas Beauchamp Wildman (1888-1965) and Arthur Henry Wildman (1890-1915).  From 1886 to 1891, two of the Powys brothers were boarders at Mapperty House: John Cowper Powys (1872-1963), who became a famous author, and Littleton Charles Powys (1874-1955), later headmaster of Sherborne Preparatory School.  John Cowper Powys described Wildman and life at Mapperty in his Autobiography (1934).

A libel action brought against Headmaster E.M. Young in November 1889 by a former master led to a rapid decline in School numbers.  In February 1890, the Headmaster wrote to the School Governors that there were currently 16 boys boarding at Mapperty with two absent.

On 1 May 1891, a community of Roman Catholic nuns, the Dames de l’Instruction Chretienne from Ghent in Belgium, took possession from W.B. Wildman of the boarding house.  They had a large college in Ghent with many English students whose parents had encouraged them to open a school in England.  In June 1891, the Sherborne community were joined by some of their female pupils from Ghent.   They renamed the house St Anthony’s and offered to young ladies the opportunity of a high class education ‘with Continental advantages’.  In 1894 the Church of the Sacred Heart and St Aldhelm adjoining the School and Convent was completed. In 1948, Leweston Manor was purchased from Mrs Rose and the senior pupils were moved there.  In 1991, the Sisters gave both the church and the priest’s house to the Diocese.  St. Antony’s Preparatory School in Westbury was closed in 1993 and a new Preparatory School was opened at Leweston.  Subsequently, the convent and the school buildings were sold to the Diocese.

Former pupils of Sherborne School who boarded at Mapperty House (Wildman’s house) include John Cowper Powys and Littleton Charles Powys.

House colours: white and black (later used by Westcott House)

House letter: g (later used by Lyon House)

1885-1890     William Beauchamp Wildman (1852-1922)

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