Old Farnhamians' Association

Brief History of Farnham Grammar School

Farnham Grammar School traced its roots to the year 1560, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. That is the date of an historical record of the application for a licence to build a school at Farnham, in the County of Surrey, England. The first evidence that the school was built is a record in 1585 of a yeoman in Farnham donating 20 shillings 'to the maintenance of the school of Farnham'. (There is a possibility, but with no conclusive historical evidence, that the school was actually in existence from the year 1351. This is the date that a chantry was established at Farnham Castle, later transferred to the Parish Church.)

During the 17th century, it is recorded that the school received various gifts and bequests. The school was housed in West Street, Farnham until 1906, when, following the 1902 Education Act by which funding of grammar schools was given to newly-created Local Education Authorities, new premises were built on approximately 6 acres of land in Morley Road. Until the introduction of the Common Entrance Examination under the 1944 Education Act, entrance to the school was subject to the payment of fees or by scholarships awarded on merit. A school prospectus from the 1920s makes interesting reading (click here).

Farnham Grammar School ceased to exist as such in September 1973 when, with the introduction of educational reforms, the premises were taken over by Farnham College. During its near 400-year existence, Farnham Grammar School educated several thousand boys, most of whom came from the town of Farnham and the surrounding villages. In later years, many of the pupils travelled daily to the school from other Surrey towns such as Guildford, Godalming and Woking.

This was a school with a rich history that achieved great success in educating boys from the rural area that it served. The boys who passed through the school came from a wide variety of backgrounds. Educational standards and academic achievements were always good by the norms of the period and the school taught a stream of pupils who went on to considerable achievement in many fields of human endeavour.


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