The School was originally founded in Worcester around 685 by Bishop Bosel, making it the fifth oldest school in the United Kingdom and reputedly the sixth oldest in the world. In 1265, the first written reference to the School appears, when Walter of Cantelupe, Bishop of Worcester, appointed four chaplains to go out to teach in the School, rather than teaching from within the Precincts of the Cathedral. The earliest definitive records of the School being separate from the Cathedral date back to 24 May 1291.
‘…reputedly the sixth oldest in the world.’
Fast forward to 1561, when the School received its first Royal Charter, which ensured that the School was endowed permanently with a governing body known as the Six Masters. A second Royal Charter was granted in 1843 by Queen Victoria, with the title of ‘Royal’ being conferred in 1869. Princess Anne’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, also visited the School in 1961, providing a neat symmetry of royal visits.
The School moved from its site behind St Swithun’s Church, just off the High Street, to its current site, which was then called Whiteladies Farm in 1868. Many people in the City are familiar not only with the frontage along The Tything, but also the handsome playing fields on Flagge Meadow Walk and St Oswald’s Field on Lansdowne Road. Cricket was first played at Flagge Meadow in 1886 and is now Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s second home.
Connections with the City of Worcester are evidenced in many ways. Charles William Dyson Perrins, whose father was a former pupil of the School and founded Lea & Perrins, was a major benefactor, allowing some striking buildings to be added on the site. Intriguingly, Perrins Hall, which was designed by a former pupil, was added in 1914 and includes an underground rifle range.
Fast forward to modern times, in 2007, RGS Worcester merged with the girls-only Alice Ottley School, which has also been a landmark within the City for well over 100 years. This also saw the AOS Prep School, Springfield, being absorbed into the family of schools and brings the history of RGS right up to date.
The School has received several Royal visitors during its history. After the visit of Queen Elizabeth I in 1575 HRH, the Duke of York opened the Science Block in 1922 and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited in 1961 to name Eld Hall and open Hillard Hall. More recently, The Princess Royal also visited the School in 1991 and opened an extension to RGS The Grange, one of the School’s Prep Schools, in 2004. The visit of the Princess Royal to RGS Worcester in 2011 commemorated the 450th Anniversary of the granting of the first Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I, but that tells just a part of the School’s proud history.