norwich school website logo

A brief history of Norwich School

The Past

Before the dissolution of the monasteries, there were two schools situated in and around the Close. By 1492 the schools appear to have been amalgamated to form a single school, the Schola Grammaticalis, which occupied a part of the Almonry building in the Upper Close. When the Cathedral Priory was dissolved in 1538, the Dean and Chapter shared with the city the responsibility of supporting a grammar school.

In 1547 The Great Hospital Charter granted by King Edward VI established the School as a royal foundation and shortly afterwards it moved to its present location in the Cathedral Close occupying buildings which were part of Bishop Salmon's Chantry foundation of 1316; this is now the School Chapel. Links with the University of Cambridge go back to 1547 when Theologian Matthew Parker, later Queen Elizabeth's Archbishop, provided an annuity for scholars of Norwich at Corpus Christi College.

The School continued over subsequent centuries to serve both the city and the county and included some distinguished headmasters such as Parr and Jessopp. The latter was invited to be one of the twelve founding members of the Headmasters' Conference in 1869. In the twentieth century, the School, having been a Direct Grant School, reverted to full independence.

The Present

Since the Second World War, strong links have been established with the Worshipful Company of Dyers, a London livery company. Each year a School Choir sings at the annual Dyers' Service in St. James Garlickhythe in the City of London.

A steady programme of building and development has been carried out with the help of the Company together with parents, old boys and friends. The support of the Dyers has enabled the school to build Dyers' Lodge, create the Fleming Laboratories, refurbish the Barbirolli Room and more recently, extend the Lower School.

The Lower School, which is on the Lower Close, was rebuilt in 1972 and further developed and enlarged in 1991 and again in 1999; a Lower Close pavilion has been added.

Recent development has also included provision of Sixth Form facilities in the Bishop's former palace, including lecture and other study areas, a music school, the refurbishment of the Chapel crypt, and an astro-turf playing surface. 1999 saw the creation of the Daynes Sports Centre and the conversion of the former gymnasium to provide two further laboratories and the Blake Drama Studio.


calendar new window
cathedral choir