The School gathered in November for a sung Eucharist to mark the centenary of the consecration of the Oundle Memorial Chapel. Dr Nicholas Sagovsky (B 1966), former Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, delivered the sermon.

Plans for a memorial to commemorate the fallen of the First World War were first discussed by parents and Old Oundelians in 1917. The Headmaster F W Sanderson proposed a permanent chapel to replace the “Tin Tabernacle” that had been hastily built in 1901 to accommodate School services. Arthur Blomfield, who had been responsible for the design of the Great Hall and the Adamson Centre, was assigned to design the building. At Sanderson’s insistence, an ambulatory behind the altar was added to house the memorials of the fallen Old Boys.

Sanderson died in 1922 before the foundation stone was laid, and his ashes were placed in the niche behind the altar when the Chapel was consecrated by the Bishop of Peterborough on 22 November 1923. The Chapel was dedicated to St Anthony of Egypt, patron saint of the Grocers’ Company.

Over the years, many members of the wider Oundle community have contributed to the furnishing and equipping of the chapel interior with both large and small gifts, often in memory of family members. The Sanderson Memorial Fund installed the first stained glass in the east window (later removed to the south side). Starting in 1924, the oak chairs were given by pupils when they left school and inscribed with their names. Small gifts of embroidered bible markers, lace chalice covers and cushions marked the devotion to the School by members of the community.

The brass font, a facsimile of the one at Little Gidding, was presented by the family of the chaplain, Rev Malcolm Brown. The pulpit was donated by Mrs Sanderson; Lady Needham presented an oak altar; and steps to the lectern were given by Mr Ernest Yarrow.

Lady Llewellyn presented a cross and candlesticks, later replaced by a new set given by Sir Bruce and Lady Fraser. To commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Armistice in 2018, Harry Williamson (StA 1955) commissioned a new cross, designed by Anthony Elson, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

In 1926, the five memorial tablets bearing the names of 221 fallen Old Oundelians were blessed. They were designed by the architect B. Clough Williams Ellis (Sc 1902). A further set of memorial tablets were installed after the Second World War to commemorate the 252 fallen Old Boys.

Alongside the tablets in the ambulatory, stained glass by Hugh Easton depicting the Seven Ages of Men was installed in 1948. The Grocers’ Company commissioned John Piper to design the modernist windows in the apse, which were dedicated in 1956 by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. To celebrate the Millennium, stained glass windows by Mark Angus illustrating Old and New Testament themes were installed in the aisles, funded by Alex Patrick (Ldr 1962) in memory of his brother, and blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Carey.

The first organ installed in 1926, was replaced in 1984 by one from Frobenius of Denmark after a successful appeal to fund the commission. The Chapel’s organ is a centrepiece in the internationally recognised summer school, Oundle for Organists.

Over the last one hundred years the Chapel has evolved with the changing times, but has remained at the centre of the School both physically and spiritually, providing the space to gather as a community on sacred and secular occasions throughout the year.

A History of the Oundle Schools by W G Walker
The 80th Anniversary of the Consecration of the School Memorial Chapel by Stephen Forge