Yardley Court

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Yardley Court
Yardley Court
Tudeley Road

TN11 0NJ

Coordinates 51°11′05″N0°17′57″E / 51.18468°N 0.29905°E / 51.18468; 0.29905 Coordinates: 51°11′05″N0°17′57″E / 51.18468°N 0.29905°E / 51.18468; 0.29905
TypeOther Independent School
Motto Latin: Comites in comitate
(Friends in Friendship)
Local authorityKent
Department for Education URN 118960 Tables
Head teacherDuncan Sinclair BA. HDE Prim, MA (Educational Leadership & Management)
Age7to 13
Former pupilsOld Yardley Courtiers
Website http://www.somerhill.org

Yardley Court is an independent day preparatory school for boys in Tonbridge, Kent, England, founded in 1898 by Arthur Bickmore and his wife Lillian. It now forms part of Somerhill, a public school in the British sense of the term.


There are currently around 250 boys in the school, aged between 7 and 13. The school occupies a site of 152 acres just outside Tonbridge, and is self-contained on listed park land. Since its foundation the school has been located on two sites, including the current site. Originally the school was situated on Yardley Park Road, close to Tonbridge School. For the academic year 2018/19, Yardley charges £5,155 per term.

The Headmaster since 2017 is Duncan Sinclair, previously Headmaster of Taunton Preparatory School and Deputy Headmaster at St Michael's Prep School, Otford.


Founded in 1898, Yardley Court was in its early years run by members of the Bickmore family, initially by Arthur Bickmore and later by his sons Maurice Bickmore (MHB) and Eric Bickmore (AFB). Eric Bickmore played cricket for Oxford University (1920–21) and for Kent County Cricket Club (1919–29). [1] Its original location was situated on Yardley Park Road, close to Tonbridge School.

In 1973 when Eric Bickmore retired, his sons John Bickmore and Michael Bickmore ran the school as joint headmasters. [2] They were known as “Mr John” and “Mr Michael”. Mr John’s wife, Mary Blaikie, [3] was school matron [2] and known as “Mrs John”.

In 1982 Mr John died. And in 1983, the first non-Bickmore, John Barber was appointed joint headmaster alongside Mr Michael. [2] Mr Barber had been a senior teacher for some years prior. Mr Michael retired in 1990 and Mr Barber resigned suddenly in 1992. Mr Barber was replaced by Tony Brook. [4] John Coakley was the Headmaster of Yardley Court and Principal from 1996 to 2017.

Yardley Court has had close links to Tonbridge School for many years. A high proportion of boys have gone on to Tonbridge, many of them winning scholarships. Some Yardley Court choristers are members of the Tonbridge School choir. [5] [6]

The school moved to its current site in 1990. The Yardley Park Road site was sold to a housebuilder for a substantial sum, which secured the school's future. Yardley Court was joined by Derwent Lodge in 1993, with a Pre-Prep school joining in 1996. The three schools are now known collectively as "Somerhill".

Roll of Honour

44 former students, Masters and catering staff lost their lives in World War I and 63 in World War II. Their names are listed on two plaques on the Roll of Honour. A wreath laying ceremony is held each year on Remembrance Day. [7]

The OYC Roll of Honour includes Wing Commander Eric James Brindley Nicolson VC DFC, Battle of Britain fighter pilot and recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Other notable alumni

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  1. 1 2 Lewis P (2014) For Kent and Country, pp.102–104. Brighton: Reveille Press.
  2. 1 2 3 http://www.somerhill.org/429/yardley-court/history
  3. https://funeral-notices.co.uk/South+East-West+Sussex-Crawley/death-notices/notice/BICKMORE/4439558
  4. http://www.somerhill.org/504/yardley-court/history/brief-history
  5. http://www.somerhill.org/358/yardley-court
  6. https://www.tonbridge-school.co.uk/co-curricular/music/groups/chapel-music/
  7. "Roll of Honour".
  8. "OYC News".