The original Ancren Gate became Hill House, and the name Ancren Gate went to the other side of the site. Ancren Gate then split to North and South
ANCREN GATE / AGN and AGS
The original Ancren Gate was built 1914, so it was already in the grounds when the school came to Cold Ash in 1922.
Miss Curtis, one of the two founders of the Order of Silence, from whom Olive Willis bought this estate in Cold Ash, had a house built for her own use. It was, Anne Ridler writes “at the eastern edge of the grounds … called Ancren Gate, to recall the medieval anchoresses”. An Anchoress or an Anchorite is one who withdraws from the world for a solitary life of prayer. Note that they will withdraw, not cut themselves off completely. They would live in a small room which would have three windows; one looking towards the church so that communion can be received, the second would allow contact with their assistant and the third would allow people to come and seek the guidance and advice of the anchoress or the anchorite, and to request prayers to be said.
Again from Anne Ridler, regarding Ancren Gate; “The school retained the name, but filled it first of all with staff, and later on with the younger girls, who slept there under the wing of Miss Croft”.
After a time being used for the VIth form, when the house system started in 1979, Ancren Gate (AG) became one of the four main school houses and occupied both the original Ancren Gate and Red Shute, the building next to it, which is now Darwin House.
As the school enrolment increased, it was decided in 1992 to have a fifth house and AG was split into Ancren Gate North (AGN) and Ancren Gate South (AGS) with AGN occupying the original AG and AGS occupying Red Shute – both had extensions added. The terms AGN and AGS were used before that, depending on which building girls were in but they were combined as AG for inter-house activities such as drama, games, music and so on.
In 2001, to give the girls more space, there was some swapping of buildings between houses. So AGN swapped with Hill House, moving into a revamped, enlarged building - its present building. AGS swapped with Darwin House, also into its present, revamped, enlarged building.
1979 - 1982 Mrs Juliet Austin
1982 - 1986 Mrs Judith Hamilton
1986 - 1992 Mrs Rosanna Oldham
ANCREN GATE NORTH
1992 - 1997 Miss Pat Volanté
1997 - 2004 Mrs Paula Plass
2004 - 2008 Mrs Kristen Simpson
2008 - 2010 Miss Virginia Woods
2010 - 2013 Mrs Suzy Dixon
2013 - 2017 Miss Kayleigh Anger
2017 - Mr Adam Treadaway
ANCREN GATE SOUTH
1992 - 1994 Mrs Jennifer Howard
1994 - 1997 Mrs Jenny Crosby
1997 - 1999 Mrs Michelle Hobbs
1999 - 2003 Mrs Jane Shone
2003 - 2011 Mrs Genevieve Ford
2011 - 2014 Mrs Charlotte Jones
2014 - Mrs Sofia McClymont
Anne Ridler, Olive Willis and Downe House: an adventure in education. Published in 1967 by John Murray