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George Gervase, Percy Shelley, cockle shells, last year's leavers and a new House tie

Last year’s Year 13 boys have left a legacy that will remain in the School for years to come.

From September 2017, Gervase moved to a new location on the Worth campus and changed use from a Year 13 House to one providing for up to 57 boys in Years 9 to 13.

Before the end of the last academic year, the Gervase boys were asked to vote on a new tie to reflect the changes in the House and they voted decisively on a new design – or rather an old one.

Among the options for the boys to choose from was the original Gervase tie from when it was previously a House for boys of different years, along with alternatives which included features of the original tie.

The boys chose to revert to the original Gervase tie of a black background with gold crests featuring cockle shells which resemble that of a scallop shell which is traditionally associated with a traveller to far places, especially a pilgrim.

The House is named after Blessed George Gervase (1571 to 1608) who was an English Benedictine priest who worked as a missionary in England during the period of recusancy and was martyred at Tyburn. He was beatified in 1929 by Pope Pius X.

George Gervase, who was born in Bosham in West Sussex, was chosen partly because the House was looking for a local connection. According to former Housemaster Fr Kevin Taggart, there is a story that the shell is a link to the great poet Percy Shelley, who lived in Balcombe and whose great-great-grandfather John was from Turners Hill. Percy Shelley’s middle name ‘Bysshe’ comes from Helen Bysshe, who was married to John.

Gervase was one of the original two Houses at Worth in 1960, along with Chapman. For the first year of the School there were no Houses. In 2002 Gervase switched to being a House for Year 13 students.

The new – or old – tie is now being worn by Gervase students and has been added to the display cabinet of ties in the corridor leading to the Head Master’s study and the Cowdray Room.

For years to come, the 2017 Gervase leavers can say the choice of tie for modern day students is down to them.

* The new Gervase tie is the middle one of the main image.