Appleby Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Sir John Moore Church of England Primary School, which was formerly known as Appleby Grammar School
Appleby Grammar School
Appleby Grammar School logo.jpg
Type Academy
Headteacher Andrew Lund
Deputy Headteacher Nick Mills
Chair Michael Saint
Location Battlebarrow
CA16 6XU
England Coordinates: 54°34′55″N 2°29′30″W / 54.5819°N 2.4916°W / 54.5819; -2.4916
DfE number 909/5407
DfE URN 137251 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Staff 44 + Support Staff
Students 653
Gender Mixed
Ages 11–18
Houses ‹See Tfm›     Hastings
‹See Tfm›     Threlkelds
‹See Tfm›     Yates
‹See Tfm›     Whiteheads
Colours Black and Red ‹See Tfm›     ‹See Tfm›    
Website School homepage

Appleby Grammar School is a mixed secondary school and sixth form in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria for students aged 11 to 18. Since August 2011, it has been an Academy. Until 9 September 2013, the school was a registered charity.[1]


The origins of Appleby Grammar lie in the three chantries established in the town's two medieval churches; those of the Blessed Virgin Mary (founded c.1260 by William de Goldyngton, Mayor of Appleby) and of St Nicholas (founded in 1334 by Robert de Threlkeld), both in the Church of St Lawrence,[2][3] and that of the Virgin Mary (founded by William L'English before 1344) in the Church of St Michael, Bongate.[4][5] These Chantries, constituted to celebrate masses for the souls of their founders, were also endowed (as deeds of 1478 and 1518 [WSMB/A] and 1533 show)[6] with monies to enjoin the chaplain to teach a free grammar school in the borough, initially in the church itself, as a part of his duty.

The first mention of a school in Appleby is shown by a sale in 1452 of a burgage house made by John Marshall, Vicar of St Michaels, to Thomas Lord Clifford, (also responsible for erecting the greater part of the present Appleby Castle during the reign of Henry VI), in which the property is described as "on the west side of Kirkgate extending in length to a certain narrow lane called School-house Gate".

In consideration of the loss sustained by the dissolution of the chantries, in the time of Edward VI, Queen Mary granted to the school at Appleby a yearly rent charge of £5 10s. 8d., its revenues being replaced by a grant payable from the income of the Rectory of Crosby Ravensworth, and further bequests were made from the wills of Robert Langton (Archdeacon of Dorset 1486-1514, educated in Appleby) and Dr. Miles Spencer (d. 1569). These legacies enabled the Borough to purchase Royal Letters Patent, endowed by Queen Elizabeth I on 22 March 1574, and so provide a firm basis for the continued establishment and survival of the Grammar School, "with ten governors, who are to appoint successors, nominate the master and usher, make statutes for the regulation of the school, and receive lands and possessions, so as they exceed not the clear yearly value of £40", but this limitation has been greatly exceeded.

The incumbent headmaster in 1574, John Boste, later a Catholic convert and martyr (canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1970 as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales) was followed in 1580 by Reginald Bainbrigg, a considerable scholar, who made tours of Hadrian's Wall in 1599 and 1601 and corresponded with William Camden and Sir Robert Cotton on antiquarian matters. On his death (c.1613) he bequeathed some 295 volumes to the school library, which grew considerably in size as witnessed by the catalogues of 1656, 1782 and 1847, its funds being augmented each year by contributions from leaving pupils. The library is now in the care of the University Library of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Since the royal charter of Elizabeth, records show further supplements to the Master's incomes derive from many benefactions:

The rent charge of £20, from the Newton Garths estate, in the county of Durham (purchased in 1579). In 1589, the governors received £40 from the will of Rainold Hartley, with which they purchased the field adjoining the school called Pear-Tree Garth.

In 1661, Dr. Smith, later Bishop of Carlisle, procured a lease of the corn tithes of Drybeck (first leased in 1661 to the Governors), to be granted by the dean and chapter to the schoolmaster, who pays for them a yearly rent of £3 3s. 4d..

The demesne lands of New Hall, in the manor of Sandford, let for £130 per annum, were purchased in 1685 by the governors with £500, out of the £700, given in 1671, by Bishops Barlow and Smith, the Rev. Randall Sanderson, and Sir John Lowther, 1st Baronet, all of whom had been scholars at the school, and gave their several donations to the school in consideration of the governors having ceded forever the right of nominating the master to the provost and scholars of The Queen's College, Oxford, where the Appleby scholars, natives of Westmorland, have five exhibitions endowed with £40 per annum, by the Earl of Thanet, in 1720, besides the privilege of becoming candidates for one of the five exhibitions, founded in the same college by Lady Hastings, and those established by its founder, Robert de Eglesfield, "for the education of scholars from Westmorland and Cumberland".

More recently, two former pupils James Whitehead (Lord Mayor of London 1888-89) and John Percival (Bishop of Hereford 1895-1918) provided important legacies to the school.

The school archives display the long connection between the school and The Queen's College, Oxford, whose foundation statutes in 1341 permitted the preference of natives of Cumberland and Westmorland. The school devised the appointment of Masters onto the college provost in 1671, and the majority of Masters between 1573 and 1886 were Queen's graduates. The creation of Hastings Scholarships in 1739 allowed further opportunities for Appleby boys to attend the college.

When eventually, the 15th Century "little school" in School House Close, Chapel Lane, became inadequate, Reginald Bainbrigg acquired land in Pear Tree Garth for the construction of a new school, completed around 1607. The school house, a neat edifice facing "School Wynde" (now Low Wiend), was constructed in 1671, and modified in 1826 to provide boarding accommodation, at the cost of the Temple Sowerby trust.

The school, of which the Rev. John Richardson MA, (1735-1778), was headmaster, was open to all the boys of the parish of St Lawrence, and the township of Bongate.

Official criticism of the school in 1869 by the Schools Inquiry Commission (1864-1868), which examined endowed grammar schools under the chairmanship of Lord Taunton, revealed an uncertain future as a high grade classical school. In 1868 there were only 16 pupils attending but by 1880 there were 80 boarders alone. Fruitless proposals were made by the governors to rebuild and amend the existing buildings, and in 1887 construction of a new school was completed at Battlebarrow,[7][8] on the outskirts of the town, on a site provided by land purchased from St Anne's Hospital[9][10] and Lord Hothfield. A new scheme for the administration of the school along more modern lines was implemented in 1891. Thereafter, there followed a steady growth in pupil numbers, from 45 in 1887, 68 in 1914, 135 in 1940 to 170 in 1955, when girls were first admitted.[11]

In the early 1950s, due to the extended width of the catchment area and problems students would face under adverse weather conditions, there were Government proposals for comprehensive education to be provided on larger sites, for pupils of all academic abilities, offering modern and technical courses. Westmorland County Council (1889-1974), suggested a development plan for North Westmorland which was considered and agreed upon by the governors of both Appleby and Kirkby Stephen Grammar Schools for defined catchment areas to be set in place. Appleby would take pupils from an area including Appleby, Asby, the Fellside villages and villages to the west of the A66. The catchment area would eventually extend to Cliburn, Morland, Newby, Reagill and Sleagill.

With the addition of an extension at Appleby to accommodate Domestic Science, Woodwork, Science and Art Rooms, and a girls’ cloakroom on the ground floor level, plus the new school finished at Kirkby Stephen, as well as both schools becoming co-educational, the autumn term of 1955 was to see significant changes to secondary education in the Eden Valley. Appleby was to lose all its boarders at the end of the summer term that same year.

On 3 September 1959, whilst retaining the title of Grammar School, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen schools became comprehensive and expanded rapidly, so that by 1974, 400 years after the establishment of the Elizabethan post-chantry Grammar School, there were over 560 pupils on the school roll.[12]

George Washington[edit]

The father and step-brothers of the founding President, George Washington, both attended the school.

On his death, the widow of Washington's paternal grandfather, Lawrence Washington of Virginia, Mildred (née Warner) married George Gale. The Gale family were the chief tobacco merchants of Whitehaven, Cumberland. In 1700, carrying child, she moved with her new husband and three children, John 6, Augustine 3, Mildred infant, to Whitehaven.[13] In 1701, Mildred Gale died in childbirth, she was buried in St Nicholas Churchyard in Whitehaven. Midred's sister, Mary, is an ancestor of Queen Elizabeth II.

George Gale sent the boys to board at Appleby Grammar until custody of the children was successfully challenged by the Washington family, and the boys returned to Virginia, to live near Chotank Creek.

Washington's father, Augustine, chose to enrol his two sons from his first marriage to Jane Butler, Lawrence and Augustine, at Appleby Grammar. George was the first son of his second marriage to Mary Ball. Were it not for the sudden death of his father in 1743, on reaching the age at which the two older boys had made the long voyage from Virginia, George would have most certainly followed in their footsteps.[14][15]

House competitions[edit]

Upon entering the school students are placed into one of four Houses; Yates, Hastings, Whiteheads or Threlkelds. Houses compete for academic and athletic achievement points which count toward an end of year trophy awarded to the House with the most. Each summer pupils participate in sports day, organizing or competing in events.

Charitable fund-raising and extracurricular activities[edit]

Each October students choose a charity to support, and participate in fund-raising events. The school stages regular music and drama events. In 2013, students staged a production of The Wizard of Oz.[16] A joint ski trip to Risoul, France with Kirkby Stephen Grammar is planned from 25 January to 1 February 2014.

Ofsted and academic performance[edit]

In October 2008, Appleby Grammar School was one of five Cumbrian schools presented with the DCSF International School Award for recognition of links with schools abroad.[17] In its September 2011 Ofsted inspection, the school was rated as "satisfactory".[18]

Notable former pupils[edit]

(in alphabetical order)


  • Edgar Hinchcliffe (1974). Appleby Grammar School: From Chantry to Comprehensive. J. Whitehead and Son (Appleby) Limited for the Governors. ISBN 0-95-017473-4.
  • John Flavel Curwen (1932). The Later Records Relating to North Westmorland Or the Barony of Appleby. Volume 8 of Record series. Titus Wilson & Son.
  • Andrew Connell(2013), 'John Robinson (1727-1802), Richard Atkinson (1739-85), Government, Commerce and Politics in the Age of the American Revolution: "From the North"'. Northern History, Volume L. No.1 (March 2013), pp. 54-76. Many Publishing, University of Leeds.


  1. ^ "Charity Commission - Appleby Grammar School". Charity Commission. 
  2. ^ Parish Church of St Lawrence - detailed Grade I listing
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1312067)". National Heritage List for England. 
  3. ^ "Parish Church of St Lawrence, Boroughgate (north side)". English Heritage Images of England. 
  4. ^ Church of St Michael - detailed Grade II listing
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1137750)". National Heritage List for England. 
  5. ^ "Church of St Michael, Bongate (west side)". English Heritage Images of England. 
  6. ^ "Cumbria Record Office, Kendal - Borough of Appleby". The National Archives. 
  7. ^ Main Building at Appleby Grammar School, Battlebarrow - detailed Grade II listing
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1312225)". National Heritage List for England. 
  8. ^ "Main Building at Appleby Grammar School, Battlebarrow". English Heritage Images of England. 
  9. ^ St Anne's Hospital Chapel at St Anne's Hospital - detailed Grade II listing
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1145571)". National Heritage List for England. 
  10. ^ "St Anne's Hospital Chapel at St Anne's Hospital, 7-13 Boroughgate (east side)". English Heritage Images of England. 
  11. ^ RootsWeb: ENG-WESTMORLAND-L Re: [WES] Re: appleby grammar Washington Family - From: Jill Wilbraham - 13 February 2003
  12. ^ Judith Sowerby. "Class of ’59 – 50 Years of Comprehensive Education at Appleby Grammar School". Newsletter Vol: 85, September 2009. Appleby-in-Westmorland Society. 
  13. ^ RootsWeb: ENG-WESTMORLAND-L Re: [WES] Re: appleby grammar Washington Family - From: Chris Dickinson - 12 February 2003
  14. ^ "History and Heritage of Appleby". Visit Eden. 
  15. ^ "George Washington and Appleby Grammar School". Cumberland and Westmorland Herald. 25 September 2009. 
  16. ^ "Wizard of Oz - Appleby Grammar School". Witt-Woo Photography. 
  17. ^ "8/10/2008 - International Awards for Cumbrian Schools". Cumbria County Council. 
  18. ^ "2011 Inspection" (PDF). Ofsted. 
  19. ^ John Venn, ed. (2011). Alumni Cantabrigienses: A Biographical List of All Known Students, Graduates and Holders of Office at the University of Cambridge, from the Earliest Times to 1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 222. ISBN 1-10-803611-2. 
  20. ^ "Old Boys Who's Who". 
  21. ^ "Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffrey Meyers". Random House. 

External links[edit]