Royal Grammar School Worcester

From Academic Kids

The Royal Grammar School Worcester (RGS Worcester) is a British independent Public School founded before 1291.

RGS Worcester
Founded: ante 1291
Motto: Respice et Prospice
Headmaster: Walter Jones MA
Pupils: c.700

Old Motto: Semper Fidelis Mutare Sperno



The School was originally founded as a secular monastic school in Worcester around 685 by Bishop Bosel. The first reference to the school appears in 1265 when the Bishop of Worcester Bishop, Walter de Cantelupe, sent four chaplains into the city to teach. Conclusive evidence appears in 1291 when an argument was settled by Bishop Godfrey Giffard regarding who owned the wax from the candles used at the feast of St Swithun. It was decided that the Scholars of the Worcester School owned the wax, and the Rector of St Nicholas Church had to rely on the generosity of the scholars in order to get candle wax. The headmaster is mentioned as Stephen of London.

The next headmaster was appointed in 1312 as Hugh of Northampton. He was appointed personally by the Bishop of Worcester, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Chancellor Walter Reynolds. The school continued to exist under the control of the city guilds through the centuries with various records of headmasters being appointed. One in particular was 'Sir Richard (Chaplain)', who was dismissed by the bishop of Worcester in 1422 for taking money from the scholars for his own use. He was replaced by Sir John Bredel. Sir Richard Pynnington was appointed in 1485 and is known to have given money to the Archbishop of Canterbury's fund.

In 1504 an attempt was made at establishing a rival school in the city, but the Bishop of Worcester at the time, Sylvestre de Giglis, passed a law that stated any person who set up a school in the city or monastic precincts would be excommunicated. Thus all rivals ceased to exist, and the headmaster of that said school, Hugh Cratford, was created headmaster of the City School in 1510.

Bishop Hugh Latimer wrote to Thomas Cromwell in 1535 asking for money to help with the City Walls, The Bridge and The School. After a petition by some notable citizens of Worcester to endow the school permanently, the school was given a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1561 and a governing body known as The Six Masters was set up, which remains as the governing body today. Amongst famous Six masters includes John Wall, Earl Beauchamp and Sir Anthony Lechemere.

A second Royal Charter was granted in 1843 by Queen Victoria, and the tile of Royal was conferred in 1869 after the school moved to its present site in Worcester.

Many of the current buildings were paid for by the great benefactor and collector Charles William Dyson Perrins, who was an Old Boy and a Six Master. Perrins Hall was named after his father James Dyson Perrins, owner of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, who went to the school. In the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries the school has connections with Worcester Academy USA, with which the RGS is twinned.

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Image:RGS Worcester Quad.JPG

Main Quad of Royal Grammar School

Perrins Hall (far left), Clock Block (centre), Perrins Science Building (right)

Notable Patrons

School Buildings

The Old School buildings were built in 1868 on a site owned by the school since 1562. The Main Hall, Eld Hall and adjoining buildings were designed by A E Perkins in the Gothic style. It is three bays long with a central lantern. A life-size statue of Elizabeth I by R L Boulton stands above the central window.

The Perrins Hall is arguably the finest building. Built in 1914 to the plans of Alfred Hill Parker (an Old Boy), it is in a Jacobethan style with an oriel window on the staircase end and balcony looking over the hall. The interior is panelled with fitted bookcases and a plastered ceilling. The organ is on the stage. Two war memorials ( for the two World Wars are housed in the hall. The hall is named after James Dyson Perrins of the Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce factory and was built by his son Charles William Dyson Perrins, whose life size portrait hangs opposite the fireplace. Portraits of the 20th-century headmasters hang below.

The Clock Block is connected to the Perrins Hall and was built in 1927. It has a bell tower and clock above the entrance.

The Science buildings form the third side of the courtyard. These were built in 1922 and opened in that year by the Duke of York (George VI) and The Queen Mother.

Whiteladies House, built in the seventeenth century, is the Headmaster's house and stands opposite Clock Block across the gardens. Its West wall is part of the Whiteladies Priory chapel built in 1255.

Other buildings include Priory House (17th Century), Pullinger House (1980s), Gordon House (after Adam Lindsay Gordon OE) and Hillard Hall (1961, opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on her second visit to the school).

The Almshouses, built in 1877 in the Arts and Crafts style, were designed by the famous architect Sir Aston Webb and are an example of some of his earliest work. Sir Aston Webb designed the facade of Buckingham Palace, the Royal Naval College Dartmouth and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The school also has a rare Black Pear tree, planted in 1961, in its main courtyard. The tree is associated with Worcester after the visit of Queen Elizabeth I in 1574 (at which a scholar from her school welcomed her to the city) when she commented on the Black Pear trees. Hence the City and the School both have three black pears on their Arms.

School Houses

There are eight day school houses in the school as follows:

  • Whiteladies - after cistercian priory on site of school
  • Temple - after Henry Temple, headmaster 1850s
  • Tudor - after Elizabeth I
  • Woolfe - after Richard Woolfe, benefactor 1877
  • Moore - after John Moore, benefactor 1626
  • Langley - after William Langley, Six Master 1561
  • Wylde - after Thomas Wylde, benefactor 1558
  • Yewle - after Robert Yewle, Six Master 1561

Past Pupils

Famous Old Boys of the school or Worcester Old Elizabethans (full list here), include (in alphabetical order)

In 2002 the school accepted girls for the first time in its 750 years of recorded history.


  • Follet, F V. 1950. 'History of the Worcester Royal Grammar School'
  • Leach, A F. 1914. From 'Victoria County Histories: Worcestershire Vol IV- Schools'
  • Wheeler, A R. 1991. 'Royal Grammar School Worcester, 1951 to 1991 with retrospect to 1291'

External links


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