Cordwalles Preparatory School was founded by Bishop Frederick Samuel Baines in 1912 as a feeder school to Michaelhouse, which had started in Pietermaritzburg in 1896 and moved to Balgowan in 1901.
In March 1911, the Bishop of Natal, Reverend Baines and the Board of Governors of Michaelhouse decided that Michaelhouse needed a Preparatory School of its own to ensure a steady stream of boys of the correct age to enter Michaelhouse. At that time, Michaelhouse only had 59 pupils, which meant that it was unable to make funds available to open a new school.
Bishop Baines dedicated himself to finding a suitable property for a new preparatory school in Pietermartizburg. While walking down Chapel Street one day, he looked up towards Town Hill and saw a house on the hill. The Bishop remembered that he had visited the house years before, so he set off on a voyage of exploration up a mountain footpath from Chapel Street.
He subsequently bought the property for £1450 and arranged for renovations and alterations. Other benefactors, including Mr Harry Butcher, purchased large grounds around the house to be used as school playing fields. The house and grounds were generously loaned to the school for six years, which enabled the school to become established.