A Brief History of Royal Guildford School

The School dates its foundation from 1509 when Robert Beckingham, a Freeman of the City of London, left a bequest in his will to establish a free school in Guildford, Surrey. In 1512 the first governing body was formed and in 1552, By Royal Appointment, King Edward VI ordered that there was to be ‘one Grammar School in Guildford called the Free Grammar School of King Edward VI for the education, institution and instruction of boys and youths in Grammar at all future times forever to endure’.

Three years later, in 1555 the High Street site in Guildford was purchased, where the main school is located to this day. The architectural heart of RGS has remained unchanged for over 500 years: an outstanding and unspoilt Tudor school house that sits at the top of the High Street and represents one of Guildford’s proudest historic landmarks and one of Britain’s finest educational institutions.

Over the centuries the RGS acquired further buildings and playing fields and endured a devastating fire in the 1960s in the Old Building, in which most of the original school documents, including the original King Edward VI’s Charter was sadly destroyed. Nevertheless, the School and its spirit persevered and the building was restored impeccably.

In 1977 the School withdrew from the state sector and became an independent, fee paying school, this was followed a year later by the acquisition of the prestigious and very successful Lanesborough Preparatory School, also in Guildford.

The School continues to grow and flourish, whilst retaining its proud historic roots and traditions. Over the centuries RGS has continued to be a flagship for outstanding education and has established a national and international reputation for academic excellence.

In recent years the School has forged partnerships with United World Schools and has developed links with a school in Cambodia, which RGS helped to build, and with two schools in Besisahar, Nepal.

The 18th September 2016, will remain one of the most significant dates in the history of the RGS with the opening of The Royal Grammar School Guildford Qatar and what we hope will be the first of many RGS Guildford International schools in the future. Invited by the Qatari Government as part of Qatar’s ‘Outstanding Schools’ programme and the Qatar National Vision for Education 2030, the Senior Management Team (SMT) and Governors in Guildford have been heavily involved in the School’s development. The team regularly visits Qatar to ensure that the buildings, facilities and levels of tuition are of the same high quality as our two schools in the UK . . . and so a new chapter in our prestigious history begins.

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