Merchiston Castle School

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Merchiston Castle School
Merchiston logo.JPG
Motto Ready Ay Ready[1]
Established 1833
Type Independent day and boarding
Headmaster Andrew R Hunter
Deputy Headmaster Peter Hall
Chairman of Governors Malcolm Gourlay
Founder Charles Chalmers
Location Colinton Road
EH13 0PU
Scotland Coordinates: 55°54′42″N 3°15′13″W / 55.911729°N 3.253568°W / 55.911729; -3.253568
Local authority Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education
Edinburgh City
DfE number 558/1036
Staff 49 full time - 9 part time
Students 470 (approx)
Gender Boys
Ages 7–18
Houses Pringle House
Chalmers West
Chalmers East
Colours Navy, red & white             
Publication The Merchiston Messenger
The Merchistonian
The Pringle Communicator
HMIE Reports Report
Former pupils Merchistonians
For other uses, see Merchiston (disambiguation).

Merchiston Castle School is an independent school for boys in the suburb of Colinton in Edinburgh, Scotland. It has about 480 pupils and is open to boys between the ages of 7 and 18 as either boarders or day pupils; day pupils make up 35% of the school. It was modeled after English public schools. It comprises a Junior School (ages 7-13), Senior School (ages 13-16) and a Sixth Form.


In May 1833, Charles Chalmers took a lease of Merchiston Castle (the former home of John Napier, the inventor of logarithms) — which at that time stood in rural surroundings — and opened his academy, starting with thirty boys.[2]

Over time, the number of pupils grew and the Merchiston Castle became too small to accommodate the school. In 1930, the governors decided to move the school to Colinton House four miles south-west of Edinburgh in Colinton.[3]

Three years later, in 1933, Merchiston celebrated its centenary, attended by the Duke and Duchess of York.[4] Fifty years on, in 1983, at a time of further expansion and with 350 boys on the roll, their daughter, now Queen Elizabeth II, visited the school for its 150th anniversary.[4]

Merchiston Castle School at Colinton

Academic performance[edit]

In 2013 82% of pupils achieved between A* and B at A-level.[5]

Sports and games[edit]

A range of sports and activities is available at the school; particularly in rugby union, which over 60 Merchistonians have played at international level. The now defunct Merchistonian Football Club for former pupils of the School was a founder member of the Scottish Rugby Union and was involved in the very first rugby international,[6] supplying three players.[7] The former 1st XV coach, Frank Hadden, who was at the school from 1983-2000, was the head coach of the Scottish national team from 2005-2009. The school has won the Scottish Schools U18 Rugby Cup five times; 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008.[8] Merchiston also participates, with the Edinburgh Academy, in the oldest continuous rugby union fixture in the world, the first being on 11 December 1858.[9]


Merchiston Castle's facilities include a swimming pool, a library, an arts centre, a theatre block and a sports hall.[2]


The houses are:[10]

  • Pringle House
  • Pringle Centre
  • Chalmers West
  • Chalmers East
  • Rogerson
  • Evans
  • Laidlaw

Notable former pupils and staff[edit]


Former pupils are known as Merchistonians.

International rugby union footballers[edit]

Merchiston has produced international rugby union footballers for Scotland, for Ireland and for England. These include Roger Baird, Iain Fullarton, Phil Godman, Duncan Hodge, John Jeffrey, Craig Joiner, Jamie Mayer, William Neilson, Thomas Anderson, Peter Walton.

Former staff[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Merchiston Castle School. "Why Merchiston? History, Traditions & Ethos. Educating boys for over 175 years". Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Merchiston Castle School". Scottish Places. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "James Rainy Brown". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Merchiston marks the arrival of Prince George". 14 November 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Merchiston Castle". Tatler Schools Guide 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Alex Gordon. "The first international rugby match". Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Rugby Football History. "Historical Rugby Milestones 1870s". Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Schools Rugby. "Scottish Schools Competitions". Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Chris Thau. "The oldest running rugby fixture in the world". Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Key fact Sheet". Merchiston Castle School. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 

External links[edit]