Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School
Motto "Non nobis solum"
Established 1550[1]
Closed 1975
Type grammar school
Location Marlborough
Coordinates: 51°25′N 1°43′W / 51.41°N 1.72°W / 51.41; -1.72
Local authority Wiltshire County Council
Ages 11–18

Marlborough Royal Free Grammar School, previously known as Marlborough Grammar School and King Edward's School, Marlborough, was a grammar school in the town of Marlborough, in Wiltshire, England, founded in 1550.

Originally for boys only, the school became co-educational in 1906. Over a period of more than four hundred years, it had a number of homes around Marlborough. In 1975 it was closed, and its final buildings were re-used for the new St John's Marlborough comprehensive school.


The Abolition of Chantries Act of 1547 closed all of the Kingdom of England's chantries, including the Hospital of St John, Marlborough. The town's burgesses then petitioned the Crown for the hospital to be converted into a "'Free-scole for the inducement of youth", and by letters patent dated 18 October 1550 a grammar school was established.[2][3] The former hospital thus became the school's first home, but in 1578 it was demolished and a new building was erected which provided a schoolroom, a house for the schoolmaster, and dormitories. This survived until 1790.[2]

The school was sometimes known as King Edward's School, Marlborough,[4] but in the course of the 18th century it began to be known as Marlborough Grammar School.[5]

In 1834 a Charity Commissioners' report called the school the "Free Grammar School" and found that its original purpose was to teach Greek, Latin, and the church catechism, and that the governing body was the Corporation of Marlborough. Fourteen boys were then being taught the prescribed subjects free but had to pay for other subjects. There were also twenty-six "pay-scholars", including some boarders.[6]

In 1853 the school survived a proposal by Earl Bruce to amalgamate it with the new Marlborough College.[7] During the nineteenth century it declined, and in 1899 was closed. However, in 1906 it reopened in new buildings, now taking the form of a mixed school for eighty boys and girls.[8] In 1947 a boarding-house for both sexes was established at Wye House.[2]

Having already occupied a variety of different sites in Marlborough, in 1962 the school again moved into new buildings, this time on the edge of the town centre.[5]

In 1975, the school was closed and merged with the local secondary modern school, Marlborough Secondary Modern, creating a new comprehensive school, St John's Marlborough. It later became St. John's School and Community College, specializing in science, technology and languages. A new school was rebuilt at the upper school site, alongside the old grammar school buildings; the buildings of the two former schools were demolished in 2010. It has since become St John's Marlborough, a centrally funded Academy school.[9]


  • Dr John Hildrop, 1711[2]
  • Rev. William Stone, 1733–1750[2]
  • Rev. Thomas Neyler the Elder, 1750–1774[2]
  • Rev. Joseph Edwards, 1774–1808[2]
  • Rev. J. T. Lawes, 1809–1828[2]
  • Rev. T. Nayler, 1828[10]
  • Rev. Frederick Hookey Bond, 1853–1877[11]

Notable former pupils[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Alfred Redvers Stedman, A History of Marlborough grammar school 1550-1945 (Devizes, 1945)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Educational Calendar and Scholastic Year-book for 1871, p. 87
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h 'Education', in A History of the County of Wiltshire, vol. 5 (1957), pp. 348-368, accessed 7 April 2013
  3. ^ Alfred Redvers Stedman, A History of Marlborough grammar school 1550-1945 (Devizes, 1945)
  4. ^ William W. Kenawell, Frederick Bligh Bond, The Quest at Glastonbury: a biographical study of Frederick Bligh Bond (1965), p. 20
  5. ^ a b Michael Bosher, Patrick Hazlewood, Nurturing Independent Thinkers: Working with an Alternative Curriculum (2005), p. 15
  6. ^ "Marlborough – Free Grammar School" in Public Charities: Analytical digest of the Reports made by the Commissioners of inquiry into charities. Digest of schools and charities for education (W. Clowes & Son, 1842), p. 128.
  7. ^ The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine, vols. 78-80 (Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society - 1983), p. 74
  8. ^ John Carey, William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies (2012), p. 3
  9. ^ Camilla officially opens St John's, Marlborough, from The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald at
  10. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 144 (1828), p. 461
  11. ^ Rev. Frederick Hookey Bond (I17188) at, accessed 5 April 2013
  12. ^ Frederick Bligh Bond at, accessed 5 April 2013
  13. ^ Edward Caswall at, accessed 7 April 2013
  14. ^ Charley Chenery at, accessed 7 April 2013
  15. ^ 'Dodson, Michael' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)
  16. ^ Harold Bloom, William Golding's Lord of the Flies (2010), p. 9
  17. ^ Notable People at, accessed 7 April 2013
  18. ^ 'Harte, Walter', in Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 25 (Wikisource text)
  19. ^ "Henry Moule (ML817H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  20. ^ 'Whitelocke, John', in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP, 2007)