Lyon House has been in continuous use as a school boarding house since 1912.
In 1910, the School Governors purchased from the Digby Estate a plot of land in Richmond Road known as ‘Sherrin’s Field’ for the purpose of building a new boarding house. In January 1911, R.T. Milford was appointed Housemaster of the new boarding house which was then still being built. While Milford awaited the completion of the new house he set up a temporary boarding house with four boarders in Gainsborough House in South Street, Sherborne.
The new boarding house, named after former Headmaster Ralph Lyon (1795-1856), was opened on 25 January 1912 with sixteen boarders. The building cost £6836.9.7, including £620 for the land. Lyon House shares the distinction with School House of having been constructed solely for educational purposes. Later additions to the premises include the ‘sweat house’ (1936), the Ross Room and first floor Reading Room (1969/1970), additional studies above the sweat house (1974), and the Boissier wing (2006). In 1940, the boys dug a 150 feet trench topped with 1,000 sand bags in the garden. The Garden of Remembrance was built in 1946 and designed by the architect Oswald Brakspear, a former Lyon House boy.
The Lyon House Loving Cup was presented to the house by A.H. Trelawny-Ross in memory of Old Boys killed in the First World War. It was made by Harman & Lambert and is a replica of one which Sir Nicholas Bacon as Lord Chancellor had made in 1574.
Former Lyon boys have included J.C. Critchell Bullock (explorer and adventurer), Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch (actor known by his stage name Timothy Carlton, father of Benedict Cumberbatch), Phil Harvey (creative director and fifth member of the band Coldplay), Tim Heald (journalist and author), Adrian & Stuart Jardine (one or both have represented GB in sailing at the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games), Stanley Johnson (broadcaster, journalist, author, and conservationist), Robert Kitson (sports journalist), John le Mesurier (actor best known for Sergeant Wilson in Dad’s Army), Christopher Morcom (promising scientist and mathematician, school friend of Alan Turing), Alan Lennox-Boyd (politician and a member of Winston Churchill’s peacetime government), Jonathan Marsden (art historian and curator), Peter Roderick Oliver (mountaineer), Alastair Pilkington FRS (glass technologist), David Sheppard (England Test cricketer and Bishop of Liverpool), Hyla Stallard (ophthalmologist, won a bronze medal in the men’s 1500 metres at the 1924 Olympic Games), Hugh Swynnerton Thomas (Baron Thomas of Swynnerton, historian), John Wilsey (British army officer and author).
House letter: g (formerly house letter of Mapperty House).
House colours: blue and black (formerly house colours of Ramsam House).
1911 Robert Theodore Milford (1862-1935)
1914 Alexander Hamelin Trelawny-Ross (OS) (1884-1967)
1946 Hugh Francis Winnington Holmes (1910-1993)
1961 Peter Clement Boissier (1921-2004)
1969 Roger A.C. Ketley
1983 Michael J. Hatch
1995 Patrick S. Francis
2006 Guy Briere-Edney
2011 Ben P. Sunderland
2021 to be announced
- Lyon House Photographs
- Lyon House boys’ acccounts of the bombing of Sherborne on 30 September 1940
- History of Sherborne School’s Boarding Houses
For further information about the Sherborne School Archives please contact the School Archivist
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