The founder of the College and the first Headmaster (from 1882 to 1912) was a scholar called G.W. Sibly. In 1882, G.W. Sibly was in the running to be made Headmaster at Queen’s College, Taunton. When he was asked what he was going to do next if he was not elected, his reply was, “Start a school. I have looked about … and have found a place near Stroud that is served by three railway lines – Stonehouse.”
He purchased what is now School House which at that time had a stone in the courtyard that bore the date 1694. He decided to call this new school Wycliffe College after John Wycliffe (1320-1384) who was an English philosopher, theologian and reformer perhaps best known for translating the Bible into Middle English (from Latin) so that common people might more easily access it.
When asked about why his father had chosen this name, his son W.A. Sibly (the College’s second Headmaster from 1912 to 1947) said “because he regarded John Wycliffe as possessing many qualities, including independence, a sturdy protestant attitude towards life and a pioneering spirit which he hoped to see embodied in Wycliffe College”.
Sibly also showed his own independence of mind by selecting an English motto and not a Latin one as so many of the nation’s independent schools founded at a similar time did. His choice of ‘Bold and Loyal’ has served the College well ever since and is still used by today’s pupils to create a unifying sense of purpose, motivation and inspiration.