Alleyn’s School is a 4-18 co-educational, independent day school in Dulwich, London, England.

The enterprising Edward Alleyn

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1619

Our school’s origins can be traced back to Edward Alleyn in 1619.

Edward Alleyn was a famous Elizabethan actor and contemporary of Shakespeare and Marlowe, who led ‘My Lord Admiral's Men', a celebrated company of players, and owned the Rose Theatre and the Bear Pit on Bankside, and the Fortune Theatre in Cripplegate.

He was also ‘Master of the King's Bulls, Bears and Mastiff Dogs'. This lucrative appointment, together with other business ventures in Southwark, brought him the wealth which enabled him to purchase, for £5,000, the Manor of Dulwich for his retirement.

I am a true pleyn man, my heart and tongue must always go together.

Edward Alleyn

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1605

In 1605, determined to atone for a life of worldly preoccupations, he set about creating his great charitable foundation: ‘Alleyn's College of God's Gift', which was to consist of twelve poor scholars - six poor brethren and six poor sisters. The Master was originally to be chosen from a list of two, by lot (hence ‘God's Gift'). The original Foundation building, still existing in the centre of Dulwich Village, consisted of a Chapel, with residences for the Master and staff in the centre, almshouses to the left and a school to the right.

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1616

‘Alleyn's College of God's Gift' was opened with a great feast on 1 September 1616: Edward Alleyn's fiftieth birthday.

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1619

Letters Patent (i.e. a grant from the monarch or government) to recognise the Foundation were given by King James I on 21 June 1619.

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1882-1887

Alleyn's School became a separate part of the College of God's Gift in 1882, before moving to its present site on Townley Road, Dulwich, in 1887.

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1970

Following the abolition of Direct Grant status and the withdrawal of the Inner London Education Authority's annual grant to the School, the Worshipful Company of Saddlers agreed in 1970 to provide funds to support the School, and this association continues with the investiture of Saddlers' Scholars each year.

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1976

In 1976, Alleyn's became co-educational, and was in fact one of the first independent schools in the country to do so.

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1992

Alleyn's Junior School was opened in 1992 as a fully co-educational linked school, sharing the site and its wealth of facilities.

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2022

Following its substantial redevelopment and associated expansion in numbers in 2022, the Junior School’s two buildings were named The Rose Building and The Fortune Building to reflect our links with Edward Alleyn and desire to give children the best possible spaces to learn. 


Early drawing of Alleyn's school.

Today

Alleyn's is one of the foremost co-educational HMC schools.

The future of Alleyn's

The Alleyn’s archive

Whether you want to learn more about our history, find out more about a past Alleyn’s alumni or donate to our collection. Visit our digital archive to explore Alleyn’s past. You can contact the Archive by email - [email protected], or by post to Alleyn's School, Townley Road, London, SE22 8SU.