Motto Ps


In his article before Christmas the Headmaster, Mr Dan Harrison, highlighted that as we come to celebrate 500 years of Sedbergh, we must ensure that the School retains Sedbergh’s distinctiveness while embracing its 21st century diversity and breadth. One area to reflect upon is the School motto, Dura Virum Nutrix, and the Headmaster invited comments during a consultation phase, which included OS, parents, staff, and other stakeholders. The Headmaster’s letter is reproduced below.

As a result of the consultation phase Dan Harrison has received a number of comments. Dan would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to express their views and for which he is most grateful. 

The process is ongoing.  Given the understandable sensitivity of this issue, while also preparing the School for the centuries ahead, Dan wants to make sure all views have been considered before bringing this matter to a conclusion.

One point to note, as there seems to be a misconception, Dura Virum Nutrix was the third functional motto for the School. The first motto did not appear until 1875.

The OS Club

Headmaster’s letter December 2023

With Sedbergh’s 500th anniversary only one year away, you will be aware that ambitious plans are in place to mark and celebrate this very special event. As we commemorate 500 years and look forward to Sedbergh’s future, our School motto is one of the aspects on which we must reflect at this significant moment in our history. The current motto, Dura virum nutrix, the stern nurse of men from Homer’s Odyssey, speaks to the resilience, endeavour and rugged kindliness for which Sedbergh has always been known, but as we move towards our quincentenary, it is important that we have a motto that retains Sedbergh’s distinctiveness while embracing its twenty-first century diversity and breadth. It must be a motto which is authentically Sedberghian, one which is relevant and familiar to our whole School community, past and present, and which not only captures what it means to be a Sedberghian, but also serves as a maxim to live by: a reminder of Sedbergh’s spirit and values which can travel with every Sedberghian on their pathway through life. As we work towards our motto for the next 500 years, we welcome the thoughts and suggestions of Old Sedberghians for what this might be, and would encourage you to share your ideas.   

Please forward any comments to Helen Seabridge ( who will collate them and submit them to the Headmaster.