Hale’s Grammar School was founded in 1617 by Richard Hale. Hale had been a grocer in the City of London and became rich enough to purchase the mansion and estate of King’s Walden. He decided to found a public school in Hertford, ‘an exceedingly poor town.’
Official recognition of the school and its administration was granted by the Crown in Letters Patent of 29th April 1616. These allowed the Patron to appoint the Master (who taught Forms 4, 5 & 6) and Usher (assistant master who taught Forms 1, 2, 3) and make, alter or annul rules and regulations for the management of the school. The Mayor and nine Burgesses were acknowledged as the school’s governors.
Hale built a brick building standing in its own grounds next to All Saints’ churchyard with a gate leading into the garden of a large timber-framed building on the main street which was the master’s house, (currently a restaurant on Fore Street.) The school building had a room on the first floor designed as the Master’s study.
Admission was restricted to boys of the two parishes of Hertford who were able ‘to read English well and to render their accidence perfectly.’
As well as the Board of Governors, a separate “Overseer of Learning” was appointed to carry out an annual inspection and examination of the school and, if necessary, reprimand or dismiss the Master or the Usher.
Hertford Grammar School moved to its new building on the hill overlooking the town in 1930. It was officially opened on 1st May, 1930 by Lady Desborough.
In 1931, as a result of the Hadow Report, “The Education of the Adolescent” published in 1927, the schools in Hertford were reorganised from “all through” schools into primary schools and secondary schools. The original Grammar School building became Longmore Senior County Council School for Boys and Girls. Perhaps the re-organisation had been delayed until the new Grammar School building became available for use?! The story is continued in Longmore School.