St Gabriel's School

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St Gabriel's School
Established 1947
Type Independent day school
Religion Church of England
Principal Alun Jones
Chair of Governors Nigel Garland
Location Sandleford Priory
RG20 9BD
Coordinates: 51°22′39″N 1°19′00″W / 51.3776°N 1.3166°W / 51.3776; -1.3166
Local authority West Berkshire
DfE number 869/6004
DfE URN 110128 Tables
Students 500+
Gender Boys (to Year 6) & Girls
Ages 3–18
Colours Yellow and blue
GCSE results 482.5 points/student1

St Gabriel's School is an independent girls' day school located in Sandleford Priory at Sandleford, two miles (3 km) south of Newbury, in the English county of Berkshire.



The Priory of St John the Baptist at Sandleford was founded for the Augustinian Canons Regular by Geoffrey, Earl of Perch and his wife Maud some time between 1193 and 1202. In 1274, Maud de Clare, Countess of Gloucester and Hertford made arrangements to refound it as a double house for Fontevrault Benedictine nuns and brothers, but this did not come about. It was dissolved in 1478 and abandoned by the remaining monks after years of mismanagement by a prior. The ownership fell into the hands of the Bishop of Salisbury. The remains were converted to a country house which was leased out to a number of wealthy citizens during the 17th and 18th centuries.2 The old priory chapel is the present library.

Country house

Edward Haytley's portrait, The Montagu Family at Sandleford Priory, circa 1744.
Sandleford Priory (west front), 2014.

The present Sandleford Priory is a Grade I listed building in 54 acres (22 ha) of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown. It was erected around the old priory buildings between 1780 and 1786 by James Wyatt, for Elizabeth Montagu, the social reformer, patron of the arts, salonist, literary critic and writer who helped organise and lead the Blue Stockings Society. It was later inherited by her nephew, Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby.

Sandleford Priory (south front), 2014.


The house became a school in 1947. There is now a school community of over 500 girls, 60 teaching staff and 20 support staff. It is associated with traditional Church of England values.


  1. ^ GCSE results
  2. ^ Ditchfield, P.H.; Page, William, eds. (1924). A History of the County of Berkshire: Vol. 4. Courtest of British History Online. pp. 84–87. 
View west from Sandleford Priory. Showing some of the Capability Brown landscape, and the Downs beyond.

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