St Mary’s name was given to the school by the Vicar of Calne and Founder of St Mary’s, Canon John Duncan, whose church in the town was also called St Mary’s. The lily image associated with the Madonna was adopted for the school and has been used in many depictions down the generations. Set in glass, woven into chapel kneelers and adorning notepaper it is a well-recognised symbol of the school despite taking on many variations in how it is presented.
A fine example is over the doorway of the Matthews’ Entrance. A further image can be seen in one of the clerestory windows of the parish church in Calne. The Old Girls’ Association raised money in the 1980s towards the repair of the windows.
When Rachael Donaldson was Headmistress of St Mary’s from 1911 to 1915 she wrote a hymn, “Consider the Lilies”, which was put to music by William Pullein, the church organist who taught piano and directed the choir at St Mary’s for 57 years until his retirement in 1943. For many years this piece was the school hymn and in recent years has been performed as part of a concert by one of the girls.