Sexey's School is named after Hugh Sexey, the son of poor parents living in the Bruton area. His baptism is recorded in Bruton Parish Church on 18th November 1556. Although he attended Bruton Grammar School, he was apparently largely self-taught and, despite his humble origins rose to an important government position when in 1599 he was appointed as a Royal auditor to Elizabeth I and later James I, becoming a rich man in the process.
After his death in 1619, Sexey's Hospital was established by the trustees of his will, to care for twelve poor, elderly persons, but now caters for 30 independent elderly persons. Later the trustees established a school for children from large and poor local families who were to be apprenticed for 7 years to mechanical trades. They were to be maintained, clothed, educated in the three R's and controlled by a Master. The school, in the Hospital grounds, was to be "as well for girls as boys".
The current school was the inspiration of the Right Honourable Henry Hobhouse, who was the first Chairman of Governors. Hobhouse was a leading national politician who drafted the 1902 Education Act and founded the school in 1889 as a Trade School. The school soon became a boys grammar school and established a reputation for academic excellence which has been its hallmark to the present day. After the 1944 Education Act the school became Voluntary Controlled, reflecting the Anglican character of its foundation, religious education and collective worship at the school being based on Christian values, derived from the Tenets of the Christian Faith.
In 1977 the school decided to return to the original intention of the Founder by accepting girls and, in the first half of the 1980s expanded boarding provision to become one of the largest state boarding schools in the country. At the same time, the Sixth Form expanded as a major provider of post-16 education in South Somerset. In 1991 the school assumed Grant Maintained status and in September 1999 became a Voluntary Aided School. September 2003 marked a total return to Hugh Sexey's original concept when children from Bruton were once again able to attend their local secondary school on a daily basis.
The School Crest
The schools emblem of a two headed spread eagle is taken directly from Hugh Sexey's coat of arms which can be seen on his memorial (right), on Sexey's Hospital, the Sexey's blazers and on the school's honours boards. The schools uniform uses the Sexey coat of arms in its entirety as the blazer badge, including a pair of spread eagles above a bar of Or (gold) on a field of deep red, whilst the crest used on all school stationary and branding is a modernised, minimalist interpretation of a single double headed spread eagle, inspired by those on the original Sexey's coat of arms.
Traditionally the spread eagle was considered a symbol of perspicacity, courage, strength and even immortality in heraldry. Prior to notions of medieval heraldry, in Ancient Rome the symbol became synonymous with power and strength after being introduced as the heraldic animal by Consul Gaius Marius in 102BC (subsequently being used as the symbol of the Legion), whilst it has been used widely in mythology and ancient religion. In Greek civilisation it was linked to the God Zeus, by the Romans with Jupiter and by Germanic tribes with Odin. In Judeo-Christian scripture Isa (40:31) used it to symbolise those who hope in God and it is widely used in Christian art to symbolise St John the Evangelist. A heraldic eagle with its wings spread also denotes that its bearer is considered a protector of others.