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Winchester College

Winchester College is a public school situated in the city of Winchester in Hampshire, in the south of England. In fact it is the original public school, with others, such as Eton College, being modelled on it. Their website states that the school has "the longest unbroken history of any school in England"[1].

It was founded in 1382 by William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester and High Chancellor of England, who also founded New College, Oxford. Its original purpose was to educate "seventy poor and needy scholars". Since the scholars now only get 50% off their school fees, they probably aren't as "poor and needy" as their predecessors.

The school also took a few paying students, known as "Commoners". Originally there were only about 10, rising steadily until the early 19th century, when their numbers were approximately equal to those of the Scholars. In the late 1850s and throughout the 1860s, the numbers expanded dramatically as nine new boarding houses were built. One more boarding house was built in 1905, bringing the total to the current 11 (including "College", the Scholars' house), and the total number of pupils to almost 700. A twelfth boarding house is currently in the planning stage.

As of May 2003, the current headmaster is Mr. T. R. ("Tommy") Cookson, who succeeded Dr. Nicholas Tate when he resigned in 2003[1].

Winchester Slang

The slang used at Winchester College are known as 'notions'. The use of notions has declined somewhat over the years but are still in use. Examples include 'aeg', 'No. Bo.', 'toyes', 'gallery' and 'mugging hall'. Until recently, all students underwent a 'notions test' administered by the prefects. A dictionary of notions has been published- Winchester Notions: The English Dialect of Winchester College [ISBN 0485115255].

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