CMS Grammar School, Lagos

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CMS Grammar School, Lagos
CMS Grammar School shield.jpg
Nisi Dominus Frustra
Without God we labor in vain
St. Finbarr's College Road, Bariga
Lagos, Lagos State
Coordinates 6°32′04″N 3°23′19″E / 6.534583°N 3.388638°E / 6.534583; 3.388638Coordinates: 6°32′04″N 3°23′19″E / 6.534583°N 3.388638°E / 6.534583; 3.388638
School type Secondary
Established 6 June 1859 (1859-06-06)
Principal Ven Tunde Oduwole

The CMS Grammar School in the Bariga district of Lagos is the oldest secondary school in Nigeria, founded on 6 June 1859 by the Church Missionary Society. For decades it was the main source of African clergymen and administrators in the Lagos Colony.[1]


The seed funding for CMS Grammar School, Lagos was made possible by Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies who in April 1859 provided Reverend Thomas Babington Macaulay with £50 (equivalent of ₦1.34 million as of 2014) to buy books and equipment for the school. With the seed funding Reverend Macaulay opened CMS Grammar School on June 6, 1859.[2] In 1867, Captain Davies contributed another £100 (₦2.68 million as of 2014) toward a CMS Grammar School Building Fund.[3] Other contributors to the CMS Building Fund were non Saros such as Daniel Conrad Taiwo AKA Taiwo Olowo who contributed £50. Saro contributors also included men such as Moses Johnson, I.H. Willoughby, T.F. Cole, James George, and Charles Foresythe who contributed £40.[4] The CMS Grammar School in Freetown, founded in 1848, served as a model.

The school began with six students, all boarders in a small, single story building called the 'Cotton House' at Broad Street. The first pupils were destined to be clergymen.[1] The curriculum included English, Logic, Greek, Arithmetic, Geometry, Geography, History, Bible Knowledge and Latin.[5] The first principal of the school was the scholar and theologian Thomas Babington Macaulay, who served until his death in 1878.[6] He was the father of Herbert Macaulay.[7] When the British colony of Lagos was established in 1861, the colonial authorities obtained most of their African clerical and administrative staff from the school.[1]


  • Revd. Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1859–1878.
  • Ven. Henry Johnson, 1879 - 1881 (acting).
  • Revd. (Later Bishop) Isaac Oluwole, 1881–1893.
  • Mr. James Johnson, 1893-1894 (acting).
  • Revd. E.A. Godson, 1894-1895.
  • Revd. Joseph Suberu Fanimokun, 1896-1914.
  • Revd Canon E.J. Evans, 1915-1927.
  • Revd A. Hobson, 1927-1929.
  • Revd F. Watherton 1929–1932.
  • Revd (later Ven) J.O. Lucas, 1932-1935 (acting).
  • Revd. C.G. Thorne, 1935-1936.
  • Revd.(later Bishop) S.O. Odutola, 1936-1938. (acting)
  • Mr.(later Professor) Leonard John Lewis, 1938-1943.
  • Revd. (later Bishop) Seth.I. Kale, 1944–1950.
  • Revd. Canon (later Ven.) B.A. Adelaja, 1950–1970.
  • Mr. T Ojo, 1970-1972, (acting).
  • Chief I.A. Olowu 1972-1984.
  • Mr. B.A. Nigwo, 1984-1986.
  • Mr. J.B.A. Edema, 1986-1997.
  • Mr.T.O. Jemilugba – 1997–2001.
  • Revd (later Ven) J.O. Onayinka – 2001–2005.
  • Ven. Tunde Oduwole -2005- till date.


Some notable alumni:


  1. ^ a b c "School History". Old Grammarians Society. Retrieved 2011-05-21. 
  2. ^ Elebute, Adeyemo. The Life of James Pinson Labulo Davies: A Colossus of Victorian Lagos. Kachifo Limited/Prestige. p. 190. ISBN 9789785205763. 
  3. ^ Herskovits Kopytoff, Jean. A preface to modern Nigeria: the "Sierra Leonians" in Yoruba, 1830-1890. University of Wisconsin Press, 1965. p. 244. 
  4. ^ Herskovits Kopytoff, Jean. A preface to modern Nigeria: the "Sierra Leonians" in Yoruba, 1830-1890. University of Wisconsin Press, 1965. p. 365 note 87. 
  5. ^ Ambassador Dapo Fafowora (June 4, 2009). "150 years of the CMS Grammar School, Lagos". The Nation (Nigeria). Retrieved May 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Macaulay, Thomas Babington 1826 to 1878 Anglican Nigeria". Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Brief History of CMS Grammar School". CMS Grammar School. Retrieved 2011-05-21.