fonds RGS - Records of Ripon Grammar School

Identity area

Reference code



Records of Ripon Grammar School


  • 1550-1923 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.9 cubic metres

95 boxes

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

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.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute by Ripon Grammar School in 1995.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Endowments, 1550; charter of incorporation, with translation and inspections, 1555, 1576, 1585; statutes and ordinances, 1814-1914; minutes of governors’ meetings, 1623-1924, 1962-1976, and correspondence, 1807-1917, 1961-1966, 1970-1974; papers relating to governors’ special meetings, 1880, 1897, c.1920; minutes of executive and finance committee, 1880-1889; financial papers, including investments, 1793-1917, bills, receipts and associated correspondence, 1793-1919, treasurer’s accounts, 1831-1850, fees accounts, 1832-1919, bank book, 1835-1859, statements of accounts, 1853-1887, 1913-1918, printed annual accounts, 1874-1884, 1886-1887, 1894, with drafts, 1873-1874, press clippings, 1874, 1879, 1880, and related correspondence, 1883, and account books, 1879-1896, 1909-1912; legal papers and correspondence, 1800-1874; papers relating to the election of governors, including lists of governors, c.1848-1891, and correspondence, 1872-1915; papers relating to appointment of headmasters, 1798-1895, and headmaster’s papers and correspondence, 1779, 1805, 1831-1918; papers relating to appointment of usher, 1766-1862, and usher/undermaster’s correspondence and papers, 1807, 1818, 1832-1875; papers concerning the appointment of the clerk, 1853-1854, 1879, 1919, and the clerk’s correspondence and papers, 1834, 1858-1890; estate papers, including surveys and valuations, 1576-1875, leases, 1556-1844, rentals, 1745-1898, tenancy agreements, 1851-1910, and associated papers and correspondence, c.1790-20th century; papers relating to the grammar school and the Charity Commission, including reports on Ripon Grammar School, 1820, 1865, and correspondence, 1854-1918; correspondence with the Board of Education, 1904-1921; papers relating to the grammar school and the West Riding County Council Education Department, including grant receipts, 1915-1916, and correspondence, 1914-1920; school prospectuses and advertisements, 1873-1890, c.1916; papers relating to Exhibitions and scholarships, including those funded by the Marquess of Ripon and the Earl De Grey, 1855-1923; papers relating to speech days, commemorations and lectures, 1878-1895; pupil records, including lists of pupils, 1836-1872, class reports, 1856-1866, lists of parents and guardians, 1878-1895, Board of Education attendance registers, 1916-1918, and related papers and correspondence, 1752, 1845-20th century; papers relating to other schools, including draft circulars, 1872, and correspondence, c.1884-1917.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Publication note

P.W. Rogers made extensive use of the archive in his work, 'A History of Ripon Grammar School' (Ripon, 1954).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 02.06.15.




Accession area