Officials from the college, founded in 1843, which charges annual fees of more than £30,000, were forced to call in police and private security guards amid fears that more travellers would arrive.
Last night the travellers, including families with young children, with cart horses and dogs, were refusing to leave the Water Meadows field despite orders from the school.
Wiltshire Police said they were “monitoring the situation” after officers yesterday spoke to female members of the group, who had set up camp in the college’s south-west corner. The travellers, who declined to be named, insisted they were temporarily staying on the site and that they were going to a steam fair in Dorset next week.
They said they had received permission from the school, a claim denied by officials.
The travellers had converged just before 6pm on Thursday after police had evicted them from a similar illegal camp 20 miles away in Newbury, Berks.
Residents and school workers watched as the group drove through the school gates. College officials immediately stepped up security and told teachers to increase their vigilance and to lock up boarding house windows.
Late yesterday a further eight travellers, in two large trucks towing caravans, were prevented from entering the field by private security guards on the gate. The field entrance had also been barricaded although the travellers already on the site were allowed to leave to go shopping.
Children were seen playing unsupervised on the field while two cart horses were grazing on grass and several dogs were roaming free.
William Wyldbore-Smith, the clerk to the council of the school, said: “We asked them to go. They were relatively polite and we gave them a reasonable time to leave. They are trespassing on our property.”
In a statement last night, Jonathan Leigh, the school master, added: “We are pursuing all legal steps to remove these people as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for the travellers said: “We are just travelling through and don’t intend to stay very long.”
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