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Knighton House School

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Established in 1950, Knighton House School is an independent girls' day and boarding Preparatory school for ages 7-13 years, located in Durweston, Blandford Forum, Dorset, England, . The school also has an adjoining Pre-prep for boys and girls aged 3-7years.

Knighton House School
Picture taken summer 2018 showing the front lawn and main building Knighton House School
Knighton House School
HeadteacherRobin Gainher
LocationDurweston, Blandford Forum
DT11 0PY
Local authorityDorset
Studentsc. 101


Knighton House's Ethos is to raise aspirational, confident and ambitious girls.[1]

Robin Gainher has described Knighton House as a " ‘home away from home’ where girls can flourish in an atmosphere of security, encouragement, space and freedom."[2]

He goes on to say "At Knighton, a girl occupies every role: not only taking the leads in a play but also being Directors, Producers, lighting and sound designers. At Knighton, girls lead — whether it is the student council or the hockey team. Pupils are surrounded by positive role models, on the staff, in the parent body and alumni.”[2]


Built in the 18th Century, Knighton House was a village farm house until Durweston was bought by Henry William Portman in 1774. The farmer moved to the house by the church, Knighton Manor in the early 19th Century.

Enlarged for the first time in 1830 and Knighton became the Dower House for the Portman family of Bryanston. William Henry Berkeley Portman, the 1stViscount’s eldest son, further enlarged the house in 1857. Here he brought up his large family of eight children, six sons and two daughters.[3] His children played in the garden and rode their ponies around Knighton, 100 years before it became a school. In 1888 he inherited the title and moved to Bryanston House, now Bryanston School.

From 1893 the second daughter Susan Alice Portman lived and brought up her family at Knighton.[4] In about 1920 Frances, Lady Portman, widow of the 2ndViscount moved to live in Knighton until her death in 1939.[4] In 1940 the fifth son of the second Viscount, Seymour Berkeley Portman, moved into Knighton. He inherited the title in 1942 becoming the 6thViscount[4]. He died in 1946. For over a year the house was empty before in 1948 Gerald William, Lord Portman’s eldest son, moved in with his wife at Knighton but they had no children, and in June 1950 they vacated the house after the estate was acquired by the Crown Estate.[5]

It was about this time that John and Peggy Booker were approached with the request to start a Girls’ Preparatory School at Knighton. They had been running another school near Ilminster and so Knighton became their home with their ‘enormous’ family and the place became alive again. The school began with a nucleus of boys and girls who had come from their previous school. The boys stayed on for about two years until Knighton became ‘all girls’.

Between 1950 and 2015 the school leased its premises from the Crown Estate. At the start of 2016 Knighton bought its site outright.[5][5]

Current Governors[edit]

Paul Slight - Joint Chair of Governors and Chair of the Finance & General Purposes Committee[6]

Iain Weatherby - Joint Chair of Governors and with specific responsibility for Marketing[6]

Sophie Boyle - Governor with specific responsibility for Health & Safety and Compliance[6]

Olivia Davies - Governor with specific responsibility for Boarding[6]

Julian Grazebrook[6]

Peter Hardy[6]

Claire Renton-Bourne[6]

Richard Storey-Walker[6]


  1. "Knighton House School". Wiltshire. 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "WELCOME & ABOUT US - Knighton House School". Knighton House School. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  3. "Henry Portman, 2nd Viscount Portman", Wikipedia, 2018-03-09, retrieved 2018-11-08
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Frances, Lady Portman". Bryanston Village.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "History of KH - Knighton House School". Knighton House School. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 "Governance - Knighton House School". Knighton House School. Retrieved 2018-11-08.

External links[edit]

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