Giggleswick school in Settle celebrates 500th anniversary

Special events have been held in different parts of the world to mark a Yorkshire school's milestone birthday. Photographs by Tony and Carol

More than 5,000 people joined in the celebrations at one of Yorkshire’s leading independent schools to mark its 500th anniversary. At least 450 former pupils of Giggleswick in Settle, North Yorkshire and their families returned to the school for a celebratory lunch and service in the chapel, a famous local landmark.

The highlight of the celebrations was an open air concert presented by Sir Tim Rice featuring the Hall� Orchestra and international soloists Sir Thomas Allen, Barry Banks, and Sarah Fox.

Despite widespread flooding in the week leading up to the concert, the ground was firm and the rain stayed away from the moment the gates opened until the spectacular finale of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture complete with a spectacular four-minute firework display.

The programme of light classical, opera and show tunes included many well-known favourites including Nessun Dorma, You’ll Never Walk Alone and a rousing Jerusalem.

A choir of more than 200 local people and senior school pupils performed the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah with the orchestra, and a Junior Choir of 80 pupils sang numbers from Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat.

‘Saturday night’s concert represented the pinnacle of our quincentenary celebrations,’ said headmaster, Geoffrey Boult. ‘We have been honoured to host the Duke of Gloucester and Sir Matthew Pinsent already this term, but having the oldest symphony orchestra in the country performing on our fields, with Sir Tim Rice as presenter, and several school choirs supporting three magnificent soloists, was an evening few present will ever forget.

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‘As we celebrate our past, we look forward confidently to continuing to offer the highest quality education to everyone of our pupils.’

Celebrations to mark the very special anniversary have been held in different parts of the world including dinners at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Hong Kong organised by former pupils and staff who are members of the Old Giggleswickian Club.

The OG club was formed in 1897 with the aim of helping to keep members in touch with each other and to help the school wherever possible.

Giggleswick School, a co-educational boarding and day school was founded in 1512. It has 385 pupils in the senior school and 90 in the junior school. For details of more quincentenary celebrations go to

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