From a ‘bright stream’ to Royal connections – with a side serving of ‘Roux’!



Shipbourne School was founded in 1852 as a ‘national’ or church funded school.  We are very proud of our history and being part of Shipbourne village.


Shipbourne is part of an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  The name comes from the old English for ‘bright’ or ‘clear’ stream.  In the 13th Century it was altered to give the meaning of ‘sheep stream’. The underlying acidic sandstones of the landscape have been quarried since pre-Roman times though due to the poor soil the area remained mainly forest until late in the eleventh century.


William the Conqueror gave Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare land which included the parish of Shipbourne and he famously built Tonbridge Castle, one of the best surviving examples of a Motte and Bailey gatehouse.


Edward I granted Shipbourne permission for a weekly market, and St Giles still hosts a Farmers’ Market every Thursday.


Henry VIII held the Tunbridge Deer parks whose boundaries extended as far as Shipbourne Common.


George Austen, father of novelist Jane Austen, held the curacy of St Giles church until 1758 and in World War II the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over the village.


More recently, the Cazalet family, famous for training steeplechasers for the Royal family, owned Fairlawne estate.  Visitors included HM Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Noel Coward, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.


The Cazalet’s private chef was Albert Roux and we are very proud that his son, Michel Roux Jnr, lived in Shipbourne and attended the Primary school for a short time. Please click here to read an article from the Sunday Times about his early life in Shipbourne.


The Fairlawne estate was sold to a member of the Saudi Royal family in 1979 and the estate still forms a large part of the surrounding area.




The school hold some roll books,  part of which have been transcribed.  If you are interested in further details, please contact the school office