Midhurst Rother College marked Gilbert Hannam Day last Thursday, continuing the tradition of celebrating community education and outstanding achievements of students.
The day marks the continuity of education in Midhurst, of which Gilbert Hannam was an integral part, and comprises a traditional church service at aSt Mary Magdalene and St Denys, Midhurst for Year 11 and Year 13 students, followed by an awards ceremony.
Gilbert Hannam, who died on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1677, believed strongly in the importance of education, and he set up a free school for twelve poor Protestant boys in a classroom in the loft of the Market House. Later, the school was moved to Gilbert Hannam’s old house in North Street. In his will, he asked that each year, on the anniversary of his death, a service be held in the parish church at which his scholars would pray for his soul. During the service a man in orders would preach a sermon, the fee for which was to be twenty shillings and a pair of gloves to the value of two shillings and sixpence.
This special church service continues the tradition of prayers for the soul of Gilbert Hannam, the sermon and the gift of gloves.
This year current head girl, Gracie Spooner, presented the traditional gift of a pair of leather gloves to Reverend David Willis.
The congregation enjoyed a rendition of ‘Largo’ from the New World Symphony by Dvorak, performed by Midhurst Rother College Orchestra and a musical piece, composition composed and played by Mia Nicholls from Year 11.
In the evening students were invited, along with their families, to celebrate their achievements in the College Theatre.
Prizes were presented by the guest of honour Mr Charles Boher, Director, Boher Architecture, Midhurst. The evening also sees students and alumni receive endowments from the trustees of the Gilbert Hannam Education Foundation who continue this long history of stewardship.
The students, staff and governors of Midhurst Rother College would also like to thank the Gilbert Hannam Education Foundation for their continued support and particularly for their sponsorship of Gilbert Hannam Day. They would also like to express our appreciation to Reverend David Willis and all the staff and volunteers at St Mary Magdalene and St Denys, Midhurst.