Our History

Now set in more than 220 acres of beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, Queen Ethelburga’s has provided students with a vibrant and supportive school community since 1912.


Steeped in history, Thorpe Underwood Estate supported a stewpond that fed monks on their way to and from Fountains Abbey. The site was also home to literary great, Anne Bronte.

The present Thorpe Underwood Hall, which sits at the heart of the campus, was built by renowned York architect Walter Henry Brierley as ‘a fine modern mansion of Elizabethan design’.

QE began its life in 1912 in Harrogate and moved to its present site in 1991, bringing with it a number of fun traditions. These have remained firm favourites of QE students, such as the annual School Ghost Production, celebrating QE’s birthday, battling it out in the annual School Quiz and singing carols around the huge Christmas tree outside Thorpe Underwood Hall before sitting down for Christmas dinner. QE traditions bring students together from the four schools and from one generation to the next, uniting them in a common heritage and shared memories.

Blending these traditions and family values with modern facilities and a global outlook is central to the QE approach, we welcome girls and boys from 3 months and support them through four schools - Chapter House, King’s Magna, The College and The Faculty – to become successful independent adults who are well prepared for the future.


Our Historic Houses

Our Collegiate is named after Queen Ethelburga, a Kentish princess largely responsible for the introduction of Christianity to Northumbria. Our Houses are named in her memory.


Cantwara is the old English name for the Kingdom of Kent, with its capital at Cantwara Burg - now called Canterbury. Ethelburga was the daughter of the King of Cantwara, and she returned there after the death of her husband.

The house colour is blue, and the crest is the White Horse of Kent on a blue background. 


Eoforwic is the old English name for York, at that time the capital of Northumbria. Ethelburga was the second wife of Edwin of Northumbria, and they lived together at Aldby Park near York, before Edwin was killed and Ethelburga fled back to Kent. 

The house colour is orange, and the crest is an eofor (a boar) on an orange background. 


Derwent is the name of a river - in fact, there are four River Derwents in England, but this House is named after the River Derwent that flows past Aldby Park, where Ethelburga gave birth to her first daughter. 

The house colour is green, and the crest is a Derwent Swan on a green background. 


Lyminge was the name of a ruined Roman villa between Canterbury and the coast where Ethelburga founded the first nunnery in England after the death of her husband, and remained there as Abbess for the rest of her life.

The house colour is red, and the crest is a Griffin (half lion, half eagle) on a red background.