History and Foundation

History of the School

We are very proud of the long tradition of our school and celebrate this each year on our Commemoration Day with a service held at the Parish Church.

The Free Grammar School of Philip and Mary at Clitheroe was founded in 1554 for the “education, instruction and learning of boys and young men in grammar, to be and to last for ever”.

The Girls’ Grammar School was set up in 1915 and after 42 years of sharing the school buildings with the boys, the newly-built Girls’ Grammar School opened in 1957. The school amalgamated with the Boys’ Grammar School in 1985.

Clitheroe Royal Grammar School continues to thrive on the two sites, with the Sixth Form Centre occupying the historic buildings on York Street and the Main School at the former Girls’ Grammar School buildings on Chatburn Road.

View the timeline showing some of the major events in the History of the school here.

The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation CIO
Charity Number 1174177 (England and Wales)

The school has a Foundation whose purpose is to hold, on trust, the centuries-old permanent endowment of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, which dates back to 29 August 1554 and the Letters Patent of King Philip and Queen Mary. These Letters Patent not only established the Free Grammar School of Queen Mary in Clitheroe, but also gifted lands and tithes in and around Skipton and Almondbury in Yorkshire, thereby funding the School such that it was “to be and to continue for ever”.

The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. Currently this is made up of five Appointed Trustees and two Nominated Trustees. Of the Nominated Trustees, one is nominated by the Parent Governors of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, and the other by the Ribble Valley Borough Council.

These Trustees, in common with their predecessors over the past 464 years, have no powers to spend any of the School’s permanent endowment. They do, however, apply the net income (interest, rents etc) derived from it solely in accordance with the objects of the charity, namely:

  • Providing for the School such special benefits of any kind not normally provided by governmental or other public funds or provided as part of the normal running costs of the School as may from time to time be agreed between the School’s Governing Body and the charity trustees.
  • Otherwise promoting the education (including social and physical training) of persons who are pupils of the School, or former such pupils under the age of 25 years, who are in need of financial assistance.The Trustees of the Foundation fulfil their statutory obligations in respect of these objects in two main ways:

Firstly, by managing the investment portfolio that represents the School’s permanent endowment, increasing its value as and when opportunities arise; and

Secondly, by applying the income derived from these investments to make donations to the School in respect of Object 1 and grants to individual students and their parents in respect of Object 2.

Since 2012 the Foundation Trustees have made donations to School totalling £538,724 and donations to Students and their Parents of £203,654.

Relationship between the School and its Foundation

While the School and its Foundation both exist to further the education of the students at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, the two separate charities do this in distinctly different ways.

The Governors of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School use the Public Funds given to them, primarily in the form of its General Annual Grant from the Department for Education, to carry out the day-to-day operation of the School itself.

On the other hand, The Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation exists solely to hold and manage, on trust, the centuries-old permanent endowment of the School (ie the Private Funds of the School), the present value of which is represented by land in Clitheroe (Highmoor Farm) and a balanced investment portfolio. It is the income from these investments that enables the Trustees of the Foundation to fulfil the Foundation’s objects by making donations to individual students, their families, and to the School itself

It is important to note that the Governors of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School have no influence whatsoever in the decisions made by the Trustees of the Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Foundation. Equally, the Trustees of the Foundation have no influence in the operation of the School itself and, in particular, over the curriculum taught.


"In Saxo Condita" - Founded on Rock

— Our School Motto