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THE CHAPEL COURT APPEAL Realising a great vision


THE CHAPEL Our link to the School’s past

More than any other part of the School, the Chapel is the link to our history. WB Harris (Harry to the boys) championed the project to move the Chapel from the old site at Worthing to Tongswood, because he knew that it represented the heart of Saint Ronan’s. Harry also saw the re-building of the Chapel as a way of commemorating the lives of friends and family. In particular, he mourned his talented brother Stanley, the second Headmaster of Saint Ronan’s, who died of cancer in 1926, leaving the School and the responsibility of leading it to Harry.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS Harry intended to create a proper link between the new Chapel and Tongswood House, but he was blocked by post-war planners. He died in 1957, just a few months after the Chapel was opened.

Please help us fulfil his vision.

W B HARRIS Headmaster 1926-57

The Chapel at Worthing - extreme right

W B Harris laying the foundation stone for the new Chapel in 1956.

W B Harris in the final term at Bicton, 1945 (The team played 9: won 6, lost 1, drew 2.)


We plan to build an attractive cloister to link the main School and the Chapel. At the same time we will create a courtyard-style memorial garden in the space between the buildings. (The children have already raised over £1,000 towards the centrepiece sculpture for the garden.) We will also convert the two school rooms which overlook this garden into a library and display area. As a whole, this area will become the Chapel Court – a quiet centre to the School and somewhere to commemorate the lives of Old Ronians and friends of the School.


‘More than a link, this will be a new heart of the School, where we can be inspired by our past.’ WILLIAM TRELAWNY-VERNON Headmaster, 2003 to date Main school building (indicative)

A S E N S E O F A R R I VA L Each day there should be time to step back, to reflect. Chapel provides us with this opportunity. But our Chapel lacks a sense of arrival. We want pupils to be in the right frame of mind when they sit down in a pew. The linking cloister will solve this.


It is the long history of Saint Ronan’s, combined with its great characters, which have given the School its distinctive values and ethos. This is why we think it is right to include a celebration of our history within the Chapel Court project. Our plan is simple. We intend to convert into a library the two rooms which look out over what will be our memorial garden – ‘Chapel Court’. THE RIGHT TIME One hundred years ago, Saint Ronan’s Old Boys were being mobilised for WW1. A total of one hundred and thirty old boys saw active service in the First World War, of which thirty were killed (a proportion of just under 1 in 4). Twenty five were awarded military distinctions - a list which included seven DSOs and ten MCs. Two hundred and fifty old boys fought in the Second World War, by the end of which forty had been killed. A total of eighty one distinctions were won, of which fifteen were DSOs, thirteen MCs, and seven DFCs.

STANLEY HARRIS Headmaster 1909-26

Airey Neave DSO, OBE, MC, TD

Percy ‘Laddie’ Lucas CBE, DSO and Bar, DFC

The line-out, 1911 (from Stanley Harris’s photo album)

TWO STORIES FROM SO MANY WORLD WAR ONE Johnny Delap Johnny Delap was the eldest son of the Reverend Louis Bredin Delap and Jennie Charlotte Delap of Saxmunden, Suffolk. He was a boy at Saint Ronan’s. He went on to Repton and then to the Army, and was commissioned in December 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion (2nd Yorkshire Regiment) in 1916 after the attack on Montauban. The Battalion stayed on the Somme in and out of the line, and on October 17th moved up for an attack near the Le Transloy Ridges in the Gueudecourt area. On October 18th Johnny was posted as wounded and missing after an attack on Bayonet Trench. He was never seen alive again, although his body was later recovered.

His fellow officers and men report that he behaved splendidly in the night attack, was hit once while moving forward with the front line of his company, but got up again and went on. Hit the second time, he refused all help from his men, saying, “Never mind me, go on,” and waved them on to the attack. “A splendid example,” his Adjutant writes, “of self-sacrificing gallantry.”

Another officer writes: “Although one of the youngest, he was one of the most valuable officers we have had. I don’t think he knew what fear was, or if he did, he never showed it, which is still finer.”

From the 1916 edition of The Reptonian

WORLD WAR TWO Robert Ward Griffith Robert Ward Griffith was a boy at Saint Ronan’s during WW1. He excelled at school and won many prizes including a number of beautiful leather bound books, now owned by his grandson. In 1918 he went to The Royal Naval College in Dartmouth and entered the Navy as a midshipman in 1922. He rose through the ranks in the ‘20s and ‘30s and married Hazel Woods – Lady Vass’s younger sister - in 1939. In July 1940 their daughter, Liane, was born. His son, Robin, was born in 1943, but Robert did not manage to lay eyes on him, or take up the rank of Captain which would have shortly come his way, had he lived. On 1st April 1943 he and another sailor were working in the bows of the HMS Bermuda, which was serving on Atlantic convoy duty. The Captain turned the ship sharply without warning and Robert and his colleague were thrown overboard. The other sailor was rescued but Robert could not be found. At that time of the year the sea would have been at its coldest and hypothermia would have set in within a few minutes.

Position of the new library

Unlike the existing library, which is used as a place to gather and as a venue for match teas, the new library will be dedicated to reading and study. It will be the ideal space in which to display the stories, photos and artefacts of Old Ronians and the great characters of the School. Our vision is of a more modern and colourful version of the Reading Room at Worthing.

The Reading Room at Worthing

W B HARRIS, April 1957

Space for solitary reading: one of the benefits of the project

O U R TA R G E T: £ 8 0 , 0 0 0

HOW TO HELP We can only take this project on with the help of Old Ronians and friends. All we need at this stage is your pledge – a promise that you will make a donation if we raise enough money to go ahead.

HOW MUCH TO PLEDGE? Your donation

Total, with Gift Aid

Net cost to you*



















Please complete the enclosed form and return it to us. We will then keep you informed as the fund grows. T H E TA X M A N C A N H E L P Gift Aid is a great help to both charity and donor – as the table opposite shows. But it is worth knowing too that charitable donations qualify as exempt transfers for the purposes of Inheritance Tax. This means that the money cannot be clawed back into the estate at death. O U R D E A D L I N E : 3 0 T H M AY 2 0 1 4 If we can raise enough in pledges by the deadline, we will be able to carry out the building work over the summer of 2014, with the aim of holding an opening ceremony in the autumn. We will direct any funds raised beyond our target to the Stanley Harris Scholarship Fund. This fund helps cover the cost of places at Saint Ronan’s for talented and financially deserving pupils.

Donation level Patron of the Chapel Court Benefactor of the Chapel Court Friend of the Chapel Court

£10,000 Donations of £5,000 or more Donations up to £5,000

Acknowledgement The creation of the Chapel Court Garden A named window in the Chapel Court cloister Named on the donor panel * if you pay tax at 40%

Chapel Court Committee Dr Andrew Russell, 1939-44 The Very Revd. Henry Stapleton MBE, 1940-45 The Right Revd. Michael Whinney, 1939-44 Gospatric Home, 1941-46 James Harris, 1942-47 Richard Bonham-Carter, 1949-54 Bruce Seton, 1951-57 The Hon. Charles Bridgeman, 1963-66 The Hon. Philip Remnant CBE, 1963-67 Simon Berry 1966-70 Richard Carrow, 1963-66 Frank Gardner OBE, 1969-74

Saint Ronan’s School Water Lane, Hawkhurst, Kent TN18 5DJ

Registered Charity 1066420

Chapel Court Appeal Brochure  
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