Solefield History

Solefield School was founded in 1948 as a very small boarding school. One of the first Heads flew a spitfire in the Battle of Britain. He and his wife lived at the top of the school (where the Art Studio is now) and taught, looked after all the pupils as well as cooking for them and marking out fields borrowed from the water board which were then where the houses on Fiennes Way now stand. Prior to this, the main building was originally a family house first owned by Henry Sowerby (1834-1919), who built the house c.1878. [1]

The school stands next to the site of the Battle of Solefield, which took place on 18th June 1450 when a rebellious army of over 5000 ‘rebels,’ led by Jack Cade, tried to overthrow Henry VI. “The refusal of the council to receive complaint was followed by a victory of the Kentishmen over the Royal forces at Sevenoaks" [2]. A plaque is situated at the end of Solefields Road to commemorate this battle.


When a child begins at Solefield, they join one of four houses:

  • Marlowe - after the playwright, Christopher Marlowe
  • Stanhope – after the first Earl of Stanhope, General James Stanhope
  • Sackville – from the notable Sackville family
  • Wolfe – after British Army officer, Major General James Wolfe

Brothers at the school are allocated the same house.

Notable former students and staff

  • Sir Jonathan Bate - Former Provost of Worcester College, Oxford (as well as British academic, biographer, critic, broadcaster, poet, playwright, novelist and scholar)
  • Douglas Booth, Actor/Model 
  • Julian Kitsz – Published Author
  • Tom Edge -  BAFTA and WGA nominated screenwriter and producer
  • Baron Jonathan Evans of Weardale - Former Head of Security Service (MI 5)
  • Jerome Flynn, Actor
  • Alec Frank-Gemmill, Principal horn, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Ben Gibson - fashion model
  • Andrew Gourlay, Conductor
  • Justine Lord, Actress
  • Anton Matusevich - British tennis player
  • Geoffrey Smeddle -  Chef and owner of Michelin star restaurant, also voted the best restaurant in Scotland (by the Times, Autumn 2021)
  • Tim Stanley - British journalist and historian
  • Simon Starling, Artist, Turner Prize winner


[1] Richard Sowerby, “Background of School House” Letter to Headmaster, 21st August 2002
[2] JR Green: A Short History of the English People, Published by Harper & Bros., NY, 1881.