Our Boarding Houses

Our unique boarding community is set over four historic houses on the school grounds. We have two boys houses and two girls houses, and all are run by our highly experienced academic staff, who readily welcome international students into their family home.

The houses have all the essentials for modern family life. Each house has a well equipped kitchen should students choose to prepare food for themselves, and cosy living rooms to relax and enjoy time together. All houses have WiFi internet access. The laundry service collects dirty laundry daily, which is then cleaned and ironed and returned to the boarding house on the same day. Alternatively, students can use the washing machines in the houses if they wish.
All bedding is provided in boarding houses, though students are welcome to bring their own duvet covers and pillow cases. Boarders usually bring their own towels.
The rooms are equipped with cabin beds which have storage underneath, and all students have access to desks and wardrobes. Students are encouraged to make their rooms their own and decorate them with posters and photographs.

The houses are situated close together on the school site and share the central school facilities including the playing fields, sports hall and outdoor swimming pool, dining hall, theatre, library and coffee shop. The school has 100 acres of beautiful grounds, but the facilities are in close proximity to each other so only a short walk from each of the boarding houses.

Sandon Lodge

Sandon Lodge was built in 1870, and has a beautiful setting in the middle of the school’s 100 acres of grounds. It is one of our female houses and is run by Chris and Alison Lord, who met while they were students together at Oxford University.  Chris is the school’s Head of Classics, and also runs Learning+, the school’s programme to promote further learning outside the classroom.  Alison is a research scholar at Cambridge University and the author of several books on music and cultural history.

Alison and Chris have lived in Sandon Lodge since 1998.  They have known many generations of international students at Chigwell and now have a big network of friendships with former students and their families all over the world.

Church House


Church House, which stands next to St Mary’s Church, has perhaps the most interesting architecture of our four historic boarding houses. The central part of the house was built in the 15th century, and it was extended in the 18th and 19th centuries. Local legends says that Charles Dickens stayed there, and certainly there is a vivid description in his novel Barnaby Rudge of the view of the 16th century Kings Head Inn opposite the house.

Church House is run by Damien and Sarah-Jane Rabbitte. Damien is the Head of Geography at Chigwell School and has been teaching here for several years.  Sarah-Jane is a qualified social worker.  Church House aims to promote an environment where students can flourish both academically and pastorally; we practice a firm, but fair and usually fun approach to boarding to ensure that our boarders get the best support when it comes to their school life and their own personal and emotional safety and wellbeing.

Hainault House

Hainault House has existed on this site since 1086, when it was mentioned in the Domesday Record. In 1874 the old house was completely rebuilt in a grand Victorian Gothic style, and it was purchased for Chigwell School in 1917.

Hainault House is run by Amanda and Ian Goddard. Amanda is the Director of Boarding and teaches Geography and Ian Goddard  is the school’s Head of History. They have three young children, Freddie and twins Albert and Matilda who love living in Hainault House and meeting girls from all over the world. Bright, airy rooms and plenty of room to work and socialise enhance the friendly, family atmosphere that is the hallmark of Hainault. It enjoys the advantage of a position that is at the heart of the school and is surrounded by a large garden –  barbecues are a feature of the Summer term.

Harsnett’s House


Harsnett’s takes its name from the Founder of the school Archbishop Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York and Master of Pembroke College Cambridge House who founded the school in 1629 as a school for the poor boys of the parish, and later became Archbishop of York. He purchased the house (built in the late 16th century) in 1627, two years before he began his school.

Harsnett’s is a family home run by Neil and Michelle Saunders. Neil teaches Mathematics, and has been the school’s Director of Studies since 2002. Michelle teaches French, German, and Spanish, and is responsible for English as an Additional Language (EAL) for the Lower Sixth. They also have three children, Evie, Will and Emilia, who all attend Chigwell School.