back to news

City Celebrates John Carpenter's 600th Anniversary

On 20th April 1417, John Carpenter was elected Town Clerk of the City of London. He was Town Clerk to Dick Whittington and both were extremely philanthropic. John Carpenter left money to educate 4 boys in his will, and Dick Whittington was the first Lord Mayor to leave all his wealth to charity after his death.

The School commissioned a piece of music from celebrated composer David Knotts to mark the 600th Anniversary of his appointment. We were delighted that David Knotts was able to attend the first ever performance of his music. Before the Senior Strings Orchestra played 'The Unicorn Dances', David explained to the audience how he came to write the piece:

"John Carpenter, the founder of the school, was Town Clerk of London in the reign of Henry V, and was famous as the author of the Liber Albus, (the white book) a compilation of the laws, customs and privileges of the City. When I was asked by Paul Harrison, Director of Music, to compose a piece to be premiered at a concert celebrating the school founder, I was inspired to look at all things Medieval and, in homage to Carpenter’s famous book, all things white. It wasn’t long before I came across a collection of Medieval tapestries collectively known as the Hunt of the Unicorn, celebrating the mythical and magical white beast. The tapestries are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn."

Performed by the Senior Strings Orchestra and conducted by Julia Jones, and despite the added pressure of the composer being in the audience, The Unicorn Dances was a triumph. The second piece of music played at the concert was Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor conducted by Paul Harrison which received a standing ovation. Senior 6th Soloist, Jorrit, was awe-inspiring - reducing his family and many others to tears! Mogg Hercules, Head of Jorrit and orchestra member Domonic's Primary, Dallington School, commented "The evening felt so welcoming and inclusive, as well as commemorating the 600th Anniversary of John Carpenter, it was quite an emotional experience." They even gave a glowing review on their website which you can read here

We have received many more fantastic comments about the evening – one such from our friends and supporters of the School, the Worshipful Company of Glovers: "The concert was brilliant, what gifted students you have in the Senior String Orchestra and the First Orchestra.The outstanding performance by the soloist was breath- taking and well deserved the standing ovation he received".

John Carpenter left money in his will to educate ‘four poor boys’ and we would love to raise money for four bursaries in the coming year. In recognition of this special anniversary, we would like to encourage you to donate £60, £600 or £6000 to the Bursary Trust.

If you would like to find out more about how you could help us achieve this, please call the Development Office on: 020 3680 6314 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The outstanding performance by the soloist was breath-taking and well deserved the standing ovation he received.
back to news