Thetford Grammar School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thetford Grammar School
Fair use logo Thetford Grammar School.png
Old School at Thetford Grammar.jpg
"Old School" at Thetford Grammar School.
The building where Thomas Paine studied
Bridge Street

, ,
IP24 3AF

Coordinates52°24′49″N 0°44′40″E / 52.413527°N 0.744477°E / 52.413527; 0.744477Coordinates: 52°24′49″N 0°44′40″E / 52.413527°N 0.744477°E / 52.413527; 0.744477
MottoLoyaute me oblige
(Loyalty binds me)
Establishedc.7th century (631 A.D.)
1566 (refoundation)
Department for Education URN121245 Tables
ChairMaureen Eade
Head teacherMr Michael Brewer
Age3 to 18
HousesCole's, Cronshey's, Millington's, Reed's.
Former pupilsOld Thetfordians

Thetford Grammar School is an independent co-educational school in Thetford, Norfolk, England. The school might date back to the 7th century, which would make it one of the oldest schools in the United Kingdom.


The school website conjectures its origin traces back to 631,[2] and through its Roll of Headmasters to 1114. The Independent Schools Inspectorate assert in their 2012 report that "The school was originally founded in the 10th Century" but without any evidence provided.[3] It appears to have ceased from around 1496 until its refoundation from the will of Sir Richard Fulmerston in 1566.[4] The refoundation was confirmed by an Act of Parliament in 1610.[4] Part of the school is built on the site of a thirteenth-century Dominican Friary (Blackfriars, Thetford), which may have been built on, and incorporated parts of, a Norman cathedral.[5] This building, now known as "Old School", comprised the entire school for about 300 years, and is where the lawyer Roger North and the political activist Thomas Paine were educated.

In 1998 archaeologists from the television programme Time Team excavated at the school for three days in search of the Norman cathedral of Herbert Losinga, which was only located at Thetford for twenty years or so, before relocating to Norwich. They did not find any Norman stone building, perhaps because the short-lived cathedral was a re-used Anglo-Saxon wooden church which has not survived.

The school developed rapidly in the 1880s, and in 1888 Thetford Grammar School for Girls was built alongside the existing Grammar School. The school became a Voluntary controlled school in 1944, and remained in the state sector until 1981 when it regained its independent status. The original boys' school and the girls' grammar school merged in 1975 to form a new coeducational school.[2]

Since 2017 the school has been owned by China Financial Services Holdings, a Hong Kong-based company.[6][7]

Notable former pupils[edit]


  1. ^ "EduBase - Thetford Grammar School". Department for Education. Edubase. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Thetford Grammar School - History Archived 2010-12-05 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 17 Aug 2009
  3. ^ "Thetford Grammar School :: Independent Schools Inspectorate".
  4. ^ a b 'Thetford, chapter 23: Of the school and hospital', An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: volume 2 (1805), pp. 128-131. URL: Date accessed: 18 August 2009
  5. ^ Channel 4, Time Team: Thetford, Norfolk, 17 January 1999, accessed 18 Aug 2009
  6. ^ "New owners will secure future of Thetford school". Suffolk News. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Ownership and Management of Thetford Grammar School". Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  8. ^ Alfred Neobard Palmer, National Library of Wales
  9. ^ "James Pattinson (obituary)". The Telegraph. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 22 July 2017.

External links[edit]