The Hale Grammar School Building

By Geoffrey Cordingley

The original Hale Grammar School building

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.

The single classroom in the original Hale’s Free School

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.’

New Science laboratories were added to the school in 1901 with a hall being added in 1906.


Hertford Grammar School – New Building 1930

The school name was changed to Hertford Grammar School in 1904.  The school moved to its new building on the hill overlooking the town in 1930.  This 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?!


This page was added on 22/03/2016.

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  • It must have changed its name to Grammar School before 1904. My grandfather was there in 1901, and his census entry states his residence as being Hertford Grammar School.

    By Tom Kent (23/03/2024)