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History of the school

One of the things which Boston Grammar School is most valued for is its History and values based on traditions. There is a great deal of interest from the local community in the school’s history. The school was given a Royal Charter in 1555 and it has stood on its current site since 1568. In the 1980s 'Floreat Bostona' was written by G.S.Bagley and published by the Old Bostonian Association. This book examines the History of the town of Boston and places emphasis on Boston Grammar School.

Much of the information which features on this page is based on the work of Bagley and also from the members of the Old Boys Association who have worked tenaciously to undertake research on Boston Grammar School. 


It is believed that Boston had a school in the 14th century, though Boston Grammar School, as it stands today, dates back to the sixteenth century. Indeed, there are significant links between the school and the Tudor period. Our students are aware of this due to their History lessons, but also the school's many traditions and celebrations. 

Our current school owes its origins to the breach between Henry VIII and the Papacy. As Bagley argues, “Fortunately for the friaries and guilds of Boston, the town was incorporated as a free borough in 1545, which enabled Boston to preserve its school and almshouses. This was, at least, until Henry's death. On the accession of Edward VI, guild lands passed to William Parr, now Lord Chamberlain and Marquess of Northampton. The existing schoolhouse was lost. However, Northampton made the mistake of trying to install his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne, instead of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's daughter. As history lessons tell us, Mary triumphed, and Northampton ended up in the Tower on high treason charges. His land was forfeit to the Crown. In 1554, those lands were conveyed to the Mayor of Boston for the foundation of a grammar school in the town….and here we are!”

Philip and Mary’s Charter was significant in quoting a desire for Boston to have “good Education of the Youth and Children.” In the reception area of the school, you will, see a replica of our Charter, in Latin. It is really a set of letters patent from Philip and Mary, bequeathing land for “the finding, maintaining and establishing, for ever, a Free Grammar school in Boston, and a fit master to teach, instruct and serve in the said School for the Education and Instruction of Boys and Youth in Grammar…."

The school Library proudly carries an image of Philip and Mary in stained glass.It seems that the school continued in its old Wormgate location for twelve years, until the building of the 'new' schoolhouse – now the Library around which our modern school thrives – took place between 1567 and 1568. Each autumn the school celebrates this Royal Charter. 

In the seventeenth century, the majority of Headmasters were Cambridge graduates, stemming particularly from Emmanuel College, where Puritanism was the order of the day. Despite a swing to Oxford graduates under the reign of the restored Charles II, Cambridge provided the majority of 'ushers' for the school. At times, the majority of BGS teachers came from Boston's surrounding villages or further afield, and boarding was common right up until just after World War I. There is no doubt that BGS has a fascinating history, having watched nearly five centuries of history play out around it, while retaining a central place in the social and cultural history of the town.


Colour - Blue
This name commemorates the earliest known reference to a Grammar School in Boston. In 1329, the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln appointed Robert de Muston, clerk, as Master to the Grammar School at Boston.


Colour - Red
William Gannock was Mayor of Boston in 1567, the year in which the building of our School Hall was completed. His name appears on the large stone over the door at the North of the Hall.


Colour - Yellow
John Laughton of Boston, gentleman, in his will dated 27 November, 1707, left a sum of money to provide for the school. The choice of master was left to the Vicar and Headmaster of the Grammar School. The school was situated in Wormgate.

In 1909, a scheme drawn up by the board of Education readjusted the uses of the money and applied it to help educate children of the Freeman of the Borough of Boston and for several other purposes. The residue was to go to the Governing Body of Boston Grammar School for the purposes of that Foundation.


Colour - Green
Thomas Parry left in 1875, money to pay the fees of five boys at the Grammar School. These were to be chosen one from each of five named elementary schools. He also founded the Parry Medal to be awarded to 'the Boy who being (except previus Medallists) in the Boston Grammar School'.

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