Lancaster Royal Grammar School has been a boarding school since medieval times.
Our first known boarder was a certain Adam de Preston, mentioned in a court case in 1292. Adam had been sent to “Thomas le Scholemaystre of Lancaster,” and boarded with the Schoolmaster.
However, boys from outside the town would often lodge with friends, or (to quote the school historian) board “in special houses usually under the control of some formidable lady.”
Rev. Thomas Faulkner Lee arrived as Headmaster in 1850. He raised funds for an impressive new building on the edge of the town, and Queen Victoria granted our royal title. This is Old School House, which had dormitories upstairs and classrooms below (“Big School” – our Library today).
Faulkner Lee’s bold project thrived. Boarding numbers grew to over one hundred, with pupils from Lancashire, Yorkshire, southern England, Ireland and India.
Today’s four boarding houses are a world away from those Victorian dormitories! A second change has been the rise of flexible and weekly boarding. About two-thirds of our 170 boarders live within an hour’s radius of the school; one third travel from London, elsewhere in the UK and overseas.
Boarding remains the heart of the school, thriving on immensely deep foundations.