Lewis School, Pengam

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Lewis School, Pengam is a comprehensive school founded in 1729 in the parish and village of Gelligaer and, later, moved to the nearby village of Pengam, in the Rhymney Valley in South Wales. It was founded and funded by a legacy of Sir Edward Lewis of Gilfach Fargoed in the Parish of Gelligaer, a knight, landowner and captain of industry who died in 1728.

Lewis School, Pengam
The School Logo
Pengam, Glamorgan
Type State
Motto Ni Ddychwel Doe (Welsh language: "Yesterday Never Returns")
Established Trusteeship established 1729, school probably not inaugurated and functioning until circa 1760
Headmaster Mr C Parry
Pupils 1100 (approx.)


The school currently occupies a new facility, opened in 2002, in Gilfach at the northern perimeter of one of its former Pengam sites. Before 2002, the campus was in Pengam, across two sites, with a bridge spanning the main road between them. This bridge is still used to connect the new site to a collection of sports facilities located across the road. A third site, at the former Graddfa Secondary Modern School in Ystrad Mynach, provided for around 300 younger secondary pupils between 1973 and 2002. This third site was purchased in 2003 by Ystrad Mynach College, whose Ystrad Mynach campus lies adjacent to the Graddfa site. Until circa 1848, the school was wholly located in Gelligaer.


Lewis School was established as a school for poor boys of the parish of Gelligaer, as can be seen from this extract of Sir Edward Lewis' will,

"That they in the first place out of the profitts of the Wood and premisses Build a School near the Church of the value of fforty pounds And also every year after the Building of the said School that my said Trustees pay to a School Master yearly out of the rents and profitts of the said premisses the sume of ten pounds per annum and likewise that my said Trustees lay out ffifteen pounds yearly for Coats and Caps for ffifteen poor Boys of the said parish to be taught by the said Master to Read write and cast Accompt, And the rest of the profitts for the improving that Charity for the use of the said Master and Boys",

Lewis' School was originally a school for boys founded in a time when girls rarely received an education so no distinction of gender was needed in its title which was simply Lewis' School. So from modest beginnings the school was moved and enlarged, 1848, later to become a grammar school, though always maintaining the simple title, Lewis' School, eventually extending its catchment to other parishes, Bedwellty, Mynyddislwyn and St Ilans and more and more in the late 19th century to girls of those parishes.

The school is associated with Lewis' School for girls originally opened in Hengoed near Pengam in November 1900 but later moved to a new, larger facility in the town of Ystrad Mynach. Once again Lewis School Pengam became a boys' school, hence, since there were now separate Lewis schools for boys and girls, local people started to refer to the Pengam school as "Lewis' Boys" which was much frowned on by successive headmasters and staff.

Both schools became comprehensive schools under subsequent educational reform. Lewis School Pengam remains an all-male school until the end of year 11, as Lewis Girls' School remains an all-female school until the end of year 11. However, both schools share a mixed-gender 6th Form Consortium for years 12 and 13. Two other nearby schools, Heolddu Comprehensive School and Rhymney Comprehensive School are also included in this consortium.

Both institutions during their times as grammar schools were renowned for consistently excellent standards of education and the high attainments of many of their pupils.

In 1986 the school was criticised by STOPP for its use of corporal punishment (caning), after an inspectors' report stated that 60 out of 360 boys in the lower school had been caned in the course of one year.[1]


Notable former staff[edit]

Notable old Ludovicans[edit]

External links[edit]


  • The History of Lewis School Pengam; Sir Arthur Wright B.Sc.; published by the author, 1929

Coordinates: 51°40′21″N 3°13′28″W / 51.6725°N 3.2245°W / 51.6725; -3.2245