analytical and creative thinking skills

complex communication skills

digital and quantitative literacy skills

local to global perspective

teamwork, leadership, and citizenship skills

adaptability, initiative, and risk-taking

integrity, spirituality, responsibility
  • Curiosity:  We seek knowledge and wisdom in all forms, that we may become lifelong learners and teachers.
  • Acceptance:  We foster and celebrate the diversity of individuals, our community, and our world.
  • Integrity:  We are honest as we grow into whole selves who act out of a sense of identity and purpose.
  • Respect:  We value the persons and the property, both physical and intellectual, of others.
  • Kindness:  We show charity to one another.
  • Self-confidence:  We persevere in the face of our own limitations and those of others.
At A Glance

Mission | History

Christchurch inspires and guides each student's unique journey to self-confidence, purpose, and identity. Within a caring, structured community, students discover their infinite value and develop the skills to become compassionate, successful, and engaged global citizens.

As a community, we aspire:

  • To build an academic culture that emphasizes relationships and the rich investigation of connections. To this end, we meet students where they are, set high expectations, utilize active teaching and learning, and give students agency by helping them make meaning out of the world around them. 
  • To lead lives of transformation, both for ourselves and for others. As an Episcopal school that welcomes everyone, we are committed to developing a sense of our interdependence, cultivating spiritual reflection and growth, and fostering self-confidence, purpose, and identity in ourselves and others. 
  • To prioritize sustainability in all our programs. We understand that the preservation of the natural world, social equity, economic viability, and being an engaged global citizen are all important aspects of our community and we use the river as a physical and metaphorical resource to develop this mindset. 
  • To lead lives of physical, psychological, and creative integrity based on the awareness of and development of individual strengths. To this end, we are committed to developing active lifestyles, healthy minds, and creative and artistic expression through co-curricular programs that offer breadth of experience and the choice of depth.
  • To be a community of diverse connections, cultures, experiences, and relationships. We are learners who intentionally build time and opportunity to create welcoming, supportive, and meaningful interactions that encourage genuine empathy, appreciation, and respect for other people and their cultures and traditions. 
  • To be aware of and actively engaged with the international community. To this end, we are committed to building curricular and co-curricular programs that foster a global understanding of learning and living. 

Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr. '63 
Pulitzer Prize-winning author

William Styron '42
Pulitzer Prize-winning author


1921-24  F. Ernest Warren (The Rev.)

1924-27  Barton Palmer
1927-34  W. Page Dame (The Rev.)
1934-42  W. D. Smith, Jr. 
1942-43  George L. Barton, Jr. 
1943-46  Janney Hutton (The Rev.)
1946-49  James Ratcliffe
1949-57  Branch Spalding
1957-71  Robert M. Yarbrough, Jr. 
1971-74  William P. Scheel (The Rev.)
1974-84  Louis M. Randall
1983-84  Benjamin J. Bonaventura (acting)
1984-94  Robert Phipps (The Rev.)
1994-95  C. Jackson Blair
1995-00  David Holland Charlton
2000-2022 John E. Byers
2022-Present William J. Coyle


In 1921, Bishop William Cabell Brown and the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia founded Christchurch School on the Eastman Farm, in Middlesex County. The simple intention of this “venture of faith” was to provide a comprehensive education at reasonable cost in a time when secondary education was not universally available to American children. On September 28, 1921, Christchurch School opened its doors with several local students and ten boarders.
The beauty of the Rappahannock Riverside location was and remains spectacular and unspoiled. Early on, the school was referred to as “the only country school for boys on Virginia’s salt water.” Arch Harrison ’43 remembers the setting fondly, “I am not sure why the Episcopal church chose this Middlesex County site … maybe God just said, trust me.”
Like the rest of the country, Christchurch endured hard times during the Depression, graduating an average of only six students each year. Nevertheless, the faculty maintained its devotion to the unmistakably special place. In 1934, church school trustees drafted a strategy for survival, stating “an effort should be made to develop the features and opportunities which are unique to Christchurch because of its location on the river and remote from any considerable town. Reference is specifically made to activities, educational and recreational …as field sports and water sports.” Today, the Christchurch waterfront is home to the school’s sailing fleet, our oyster farm, and our active science program.
While staying true to its original mission of creating “high character, pure and healthy bodies, well-furnished minds, and the spirit of unselfish service,” Christchurch kept up with the times, admitting the first African American male student in 1971. In 1972-73, female day students were welcomed, with the first graduating in 1975. In 1983, Christchurch added its flagship Learning Skills Program to allow students with learning differences to receive the attention they need to identify gifts and weaknesses in order to succeed in the rigorous curriculum.  In 2010, the school ensured its place in the annals of college prep excellence when it launched its unique new curriculum, Great Journeys.  The school’s updated mission statement continues to embody the direction, values and aspirations of its leaders through the decades and into the 21st century. In fall of 2012, Christchurch School welcomed its first boarding girls as a conscious effort to better reflect the world around us. 

Christchurch School is a private Episcopal day school and co-ed boarding school. Founded by the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia in 1921, our private day boarding school has a highly acclaimed Learning Skills Program, a national championship sailing team, an outdoor program, traditional sports, and a successful, individualized college counseling program. CCS is located on the Rappahannock River in the Hampton Roads, Williamsburg, Fredericksburg area, one hour east of Richmond, three hours north of the NC Research Triangle area, and 2 and 1/2 hours south of the Northern, Virginia/Washington DC area. 

For inquiries, contact:
Billy Burlee, Director of Admission
Christchurch School
49 Seahorse Lane
Christchurch, Virginia 23031
804.758.2306 ext. 122

Christchurch School

49 Seahorse Lane,
Christchurch, Virginia 23031