- 1550-1923 (Creation)
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1.9 cubic metres
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Ripon Grammar School was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1555 as the ‘Free Grammar School of Queen Mary at Ripon.’ Evidence shows that a precursor to the school existed in Ripon by at least the fourteenth century, but it was the 1555 incorporation that provided the modern school with its landed endowment and its first governors. The first school buildings were in St Agnesgate, next to Ripon Minster, but in 1874 the school moved to a new site at Bishopston Close.
Until the late nineteenth century the school governors had the power to frame statutes and ordinances for the school, with the advice of the Archbishop of York, and to appoint a master and undermaster or usher who were responsible for its day to day running. Tuition was initially free for all boys of parents living within the town of Ripon, but those outside of Ripon were required to pay a fee to the master for their tuition and any boarding costs.
A rise in the number of boarding students and a decline in the attendance of local boys in the early nineteenth century saw a concerted effort to restore the school to its original purpose with new statutes drawn up in 1814 and 1837. Boarders were limited to 16 and the curriculum was broadened to appeal to local parents with greater focus on English grammar, mathematics, history and geography. As a result, the number of local pupils rose from 17 in 1820 to as many as 40 by 1850.
In 1864 the Schools Inquiry Commission was appointed to report on endowed elementary and grammar schools and the resulting Ripon Scheme, which replaced the original Royal Charter, brought further changes to the school. From 1872 the governors lost their right to make new statutes and all changes to the school’s constitution had to be agreed with the Charity Commission. The new scheme set out the subjects to be taught and introduced tuition fees for all pupils, despite significant local opposition.
In the twentieth century this link between the school and government continued with the grammar school receiving funding from the Board of Education and the County Council. At the same time its facilities were expanded, with a new science block opened in 1907, new swimming baths in 1913 and the modernisation of boarding houses and classrooms.
Today Ripon Grammar School is a co-educational state boarding school, having merged with Ripon Girls’ School in 1962. It celebrated the 450th anniversary in 2005 and since then has undertaken a significant expansion of its buildings and facilities.
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