School Heritage and Chapel

Woodard School

We are a co-educational school in the Woodard Corporation, founded to teach the Christian faith.

Our founder, Nathaniel Woodard, had a simple aim: to build schools which were Christian communities. There, children could be nurtured in the values of the Gospel and each could, within the limits of their own conscience, engage with Christ in the mystery of the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Today, we are the proud successors of that inheritance.

We welcome students from across the world, from all religions and none, and retain at our heart our founding values.

We are a community of stewards and our aim is to produce young men and women, confident in their own faith and being, with a sense of justice for all – with a desire to make a difference to the wider world.

Ardingly College is known as Nathaniel Woodard’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’.

Woodard School Site

School History

“Beati Mundo Corde”      Blessed are the Pure in Heart.

St. Saviour’s College was founded originally in Shoreham in 1858.  It was one of the three schools founded in that area of Sussex by the Revd. Nathaniel Woodard (1811-1891) who believed fervently in the importance of religion in education.

The foundation stone of our magnificent main red-brick building was laid on 12 July 1864.

Most boys left the school at a comparatively early age, some after only one term. By 1880, over 3,500 boys had passed through the school. Although originally a school for boys, girls joined in the 1970s.

Despite obvious change over the years, many of the old features still remain as part of our heritage.

The Junior School did not become separate until 1911, when a Junior House was established in the current North School buildings with a separate Housemaster.

The Pre-Prep School is very much a newcomer on the Ardingly scene, opening in September 1993, in the Victorian Farmhouse, with its award-winning renovated and refurbished farm buildings on the edge of the campus.

The Chapel at Ardingly College

Like all the purpose-built Woodard schools, the Chapel of St Saviour stands at the heart, physically as well as spiritually, of the College.  

Designed by the renowned Gothic Revivalist, Richard Herbert Carpenter (who was responsible for the entire original building at the College), the Chapel of St Saviour was added in 1879-87.  It was consecrated on 5th October 1883.  

Found in the stained glass Great East Window of the Chapel, the figure of a pelican is the symbol of Ardingly.  It’s a dominant image throughout the College. In Christian art, the pelican is used as a symbol of the Eucharist. Legend has it that she would feed her children with her own blood, just as Christians believe Jesus feeds us with himself in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.  The Pelican also speaks of making sacrifices for others, something at the heart of Ardingly’s ethos. 

We actually have two Chapels; the Crypt Chapel of the Ascension is used for the quieter services. 



Senior School Chapel Services are on Tuesday afternoons, with Prep School Services on Monday mornings.  Each school holds a Eucharist service once every half-term. 

Chapel services are a point in the week when whole sections of the College gather together to reflect on the Christian Gospel and how it connects with modern life.  We regularly have services on themes such as Black History Month, LGBTQIA+ week and International Women’s Day, as well as the more traditional services of Remembrance, Carols and All Souls’ Day. 



The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick