Further information on the School's history is available in Some History from the Archives
The land was purchased and the first schoolhouse erected on the site.
The School had its first Headmaster, Peter Mease, MA, Bachelor of Divinity from Jesus College, Cambridge.
The School was formally founded by Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York and Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University. It then had 16 ‘poor scholars’. The original school building, known as “Big School”, was in what now houses the Swallow Library.
William Penn was a pupil at the School. He went on to become a prominent Quaker, advocate of religious freedom, and founder of the US state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia.
The Quaker Society sent a Native American, Prince George, son of the chief of the Yamasee Indians, to join the scholars at Chigwell.
Peter Burford was appointed Headmaster, starting the dynasty of the Burford family which continued up to the appointment of William John Burford in 1813.
William Cotton was a student at the School - he later became Governor of the Bank of England. In 1801, he infamously set the Headmaster’s garden on fire, possibly during hay-making.
Boarders now lived at Harsnett’s House (built in 1485 and given to the School by Archbishop Harsnett in 1624).
The School is split in half. In the English School the local children studied Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. The Latin School remained the Big School with the Latin scholars.
Swimming was added to the curriculum with the first wooden swimming pool ever to be built in England.
79 Chigwellians were killed in action in the First World War. The School then only had a total of only 80 pupils, but it remained open.
The Chapel was built as a memorial to it's students killed in the First World War, whose names you will see remembered on the walls today.
Second World War years; 50 Chigwellians died in this war.
Walde Music School built.
Princess Margaret opened the school gymnasium.
The first three girls were admitted to the Sixth Form.
The Junior School was opened on the main site and new science labs were built.
Conversion of "Big School" to the Swallow Library.
The Practical Arts Centre (now the Art, Design and Technology department) was opened by the Queen Mother and "Queen Mother Quad" was created.
The School became co-educational.
HRH the Countess of Wessex formally opened the Drama Centre.
The all-weather floodlit pitch was completed.
The Wilson Building was opened by former Headmaster, Mr Brian Wilson. In addition, the Junior School library extension was completed.
Harsnett’s and Church House were converted into new boys’ boarding accommodation, and new catering facilities were opened by Michel Roux Jr.
The Old Chigwellian's Club and land was incorporated into the School's estate, expanding the site to 100 acres.
Chigwell Pre Prep was opened for boys and girls aged 4 – 7. Two new science labs were opened to meet increasing numbers opting for science.
The Risham Sarao Sixth Form Centre was opened by Old Chigwellian and TV presenter, Ben Shepherd.
The Dining Hall extension was completed, as well as renovation of the Chapel, and extension of the Junior School.
Restoration of the roof of the old school buildings was completed.
The School digitally delivered more than 10,000 live lessons during the Covid-19 global pandemic, as well as producing 1,000 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS, local surgeries, care homes and pharmacies.
Groundbreaking ceremony for the new sports centre took place. This is the largest project in Chigwell School's history.