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Ruthin School


Ruthin School

Ruthin School
The main building of Ruthin School. The 1980 extension is to the left of this picture
Established c.1284
Type Independent day & boarding

Mold Road
LL15 1EE
Wales Coordinates: 53°07′02″N 3°17′59″W / 53.1171°N 3.2997°W / 53.1171; -3.2997

Gender Coeducational
Ages 11–18

Ruthin School is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom. Located on the outskirts of Ruthin, the county town of Denbighshire in North Wales, the school is over seven hundred years old and has been co-educational since 1990.


Ruthin School was founded in the wake of Edward I's conquest of Wales. Whilst the precise date of the foundation is not clear, in his history of the school "Ruthin School: The First Seven Centuries", Keith Kenyon-Thompson suggested that 1284 was the most likely date and Reginald de Grey the most likely founder. In any event it is clear from the Taxatio of 1291 that there was a flourishing collegiate church and school at Ruthin.

Evidence of the School in the subsequent centuries is sparse. Surviving documents such as a Confirmatio of 1314/1315 which recognised the existence, rights and liberties of "collegio de Ruthin fundato per Reginald de Grey" indicate the existence of the School but nothing more is known of the size of the establishment.

Following Owain Glyndŵr's attack on Ruthin in September 1400, it appears that the collegiate church and presumably also the School continued to function unscathed until the dissolution of the former in 1535. Thereafter evidence for the School's continuation is sketchy at best, but it is certain that in 1561 the tithes of the sinecure of Llanelidan were applied to the use of the School, which indicates that the pupils at that time would have been from local homes. Today the school is a fee paying school with pupils from foreign countries as well as local children. The state school Ysgol Brynhyfryd is across the road.


In 1574, Gabriel Goodman, the Dean of Westminster and an Old Ruthinian, built a two-storey, limestone building to house the school in the shadow of the Church. The School appears to have prospered and in 1595 Dean Goodman successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth I to grant the tithes of Llanelidan to the School in perpetuity.


Following its refoundation, the School quietly but surely prospered. It educated the sons of local gentry, including the Grosvenor, Kenyon and Trevor families. The success of former pupils such as Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon and Sir John Trevor sometime Master of the Rolls and Speaker of the House of Commons, testified to a successful regimen of instruction.

Twentieth century

In 1893 the school moved from the shadow of the Church to a building designed by John Douglas on its impressive site on the eastern outskirts of the town. In 1923 Lord Kenyon opened the Memorial Cricket Pavilion to honour those Old Ruthinians who had died during the Great War.

As the century progressed, the demand for places increased and so in 1949 Bishop Wynne House was inaugurated. Just over a decade later, a new School hall comprising a refectory, kitchens, classrooms and a theatre were constructed.

Expansion continued and in 1971 a preparatory department was established in the former Archbishop Williams' house. The quatercentenary of the School's re-foundation was commemorated by the launch of plans for the construction of a new wing consisting of dormitories, a music room, classrooms, locker rooms and other facilities, plans which culminated in 1980.

The School's septcentenary was commemorated by a visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the School's Visitor, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on 16 March 1984 when a clock in the central tower was unveiled.

On the hundredth anniversary of the School's re-location, the Hall was further extended and in 2006 the Hewer Hall, a sports facility, was opened by The Princess Royal.

Sovereign's Visitatorial Rights

The Sovereign is the Visitor of Ruthin School whose rights have traditionally exercised by the Lord Lieutenant.

Old Ruthinian Association

The Old Ruthinian Association consists of former pupils of Ruthin School. The Association, whose patron is Sir William Gladstone, Bart., K.G., was founded after the First World War and gathers for its annual meeting on the Saturday of Remembrance Weekend at Ruthin Castle.

Distinguished Old Ruthinians

The dates provided are derived from Kenyon-Thompson's history of the school which in turn were verified, as far as possible, by the Dictionary of National Biography.

  • (1568) Richard Parry (bishop): Bishop of St Asaph, Translator of the Welsh Bible
  • (1572) John Davies: Translator; compiler of the Welsh Lexicon
  • (1589) Godfrey Goodman: Bishop of Gloucester
  • (1590) John Williams: Dean of Westminster, Keeper of the Great Seal of England, Archbishop of York
  • (1635) David Yale: Father of Elihu Yale, benefactor of Yale College, Conn., USA
  • (1640) William Lloyd: Bishop of Llandaff; Bishop of Peterborough; Bishop of Norwich
  • (1645) John Trevor: Master of the Rolls; Speaker of the House of Commons; knight
  • (1645) David Lloyd: Canon of St Asaph
  • (1650) Thomas Lloyd: Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania
  • (1675) John Wynne: Bishop of St Asaph; Bishop of Bath & Wells
  • (c.1709) Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 3rd Baronet and 'Prince of Wales' (1693–1749) [in Peter DG Thomas' Politics in Eighteenth Century Wales (1998)]
  • (1722) Josiah Tucker: Dean of Gloucester
  • (1733) Richard Perryn: Baron of the Exchequer
  • (1740) Richard Hughes: Canon of St Paul's
  • (1744) Lloyd Kenyon: Master of the Rolls; Lord Chief Justice of England; 1st Baron Kenyon
  • (1745) Robert Cotton: 1st Baron Combermere
  • (1750) John Wainwright: Bishop of New York
  • (1759) John Lloyd: Chief Justice of Carmarthen
  • (1780) Henry Parry: Canon of St Asaph
  • (1840) Sir Watkin Williams: Q.C.; Justice of the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court; Knight Bachelor
  • (1843) David Thomas: Archdeacon of Montgomery
  • (1851) Rowland Ellis: Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney
  • (1860) Richard Owen: Canon of St Asaph
  • (1880) Sir Arthur Bankart: K.C.V.O.; Surgeon Rear-Admiral; Surgeon to Edward VII and George V
  • (1860) Elias Owen; Welsh international footballer[1]
  • (1886) William Casson: Engineer; Major – recommended for the VC
  • (1886) Sir Lewis Casson: M.C.;Actor and Producer; knight
  • (1893) Spencer Ellis: Dean of St Asaph
  • (1935) Sir Ian Richmond: LL.D., F.S.A., F.B.A.,Professor of Archaeology, University of Oxford; Fellow of All Souls; knight
  • (1940) D.J.M. Hooson: Professor of Geology, University of Columbia; Professor of Geography, University of California
  • (1945) P.J. Samet: Professor of Computer Science, University College, London
  • (1945) K.A. Richardson: Q.C.; Circuit Judge, Central Criminal Court; sometime Treasurer of Middle Temple
  • (1946) Sir Trevor Hughes: Permanent Secretary at the Welsh Office: K.C.B.
  • (1947) Gwilym Owen: D.Sc.; Principal of University College of Aberystwyth; Professor of Physics
  • (1947) Sir Peter Badge: Chief Stipendary Magistrate
  • (1954) R. W. Barber: Captain of Lancashire and Warwickshire County Cricket Clubs; sometime Captain of the England Cricket team
  • (1959) R.N. Thomas: Q.C.; Circuit Judge
  • (1960) M. G. Roberts: Capped for Wales at Rugby Football; toured New Zealand with the British Lions in 1971
  • (1961) D.A. Swift: Circuit Judge
  • (1963) I.J.C. Trigger: Q.C.; Circuit Judge

Headmasters of Ruthin School

  • (1291) Henri le mestre;
  • (1310) Urian;
  • (1334) Adam;
  • (1353) Nicholas de Bletchley;
  • (1391) Gethin;
  • (1455) Walter Honte;
  • (1496) David;
  • (1512) John Greysley;
  • (1535) John Strynger, M.A.;
  • (1541) Hugh ap Ieuan;
  • (1564) Sir Richard Thelwall;
  • (1568) William Morgan;
  • (1574) John Price, M.A.;
  • (1581) High Goodman, M.A.;
  • (1584) Richard Parry, M.A. (later Bishop of St Asaph; reviser of Morgan's Welsh Bible);
  • (1593) John Davies, D.D.;
  • (1595) Richard Powell;
  • (1599) Robert Griffith, B.A.;
  • (1607) Gabriel Parry, M.A.;
  • (1609) Lewis Lloyd, M.A.;
  • (1615) John Jones, M.A.;
  • (1626) William Langford, M.A.;
  • (1650) William Jones;
  • (1653) Thomas Chaloner;
  • (1655) Henry Price, M.A.; Peter D.G.Thomas in Politics in Eighteenth Century Wales (1998), says Price "resigned his post rather than take an oath of allegiance to the Hannoverian dynasty".
  • (1691) John Lloyd, M.A.;
  • (1695) Robert Morgan, D.D.;
  • (1705) John Williams, M.A.;
  • (1714) John Wynne, M.A.;
  • (1724) Richard Edwards, M.A.;
  • (1731) Thomas Vaughan, M.A.;
  • (1739) Thomas Hughes (great-grandfather of Thomas Hughes of Rugby School);
  • (1768) William Parry, M.A.;
  • (1785) John Walters, M.A.;
  • (1789) Thomas Roberts, M.A.;
  • (1795) David Hughes, M.A.;
  • (1800) Edward Jones, M.A.;
  • (1831) Owen Owen, M.A.;
  • (1831) Charles Williams, M.A. (later Principal of Jesus College, Oxford);
  • (1839) Edward Barnwell, M.A. (Editor of Archaeologica Cambrensis);
  • (1865) William Freeborn, M.A.;
  • (1871) George Preston, M.A.;
  • (1875) William Mills, M.A.;
  • (1881) Rev. W.P. Whittington, M.A.;
  • (1909) J.J. Williams, M.A.;
  • (1913) E.W. Lovegrove, M.A.;
  • (1930) M.H. Phillips, M.A.;
  • (1936) J.R.T. Russell, M.A.;
  • (1967) A.S. Hill, BSc;
  • (1985) F.R. Ullmann, M.A.;
  • (1993) J. Rowlands, BSc
  • (2010) Toby Belfield, M.A.[2]

See also


External links

  • School website

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