Rugby School is an English independent boarding school for pupils aged 13–18 in Rugby, Warwickshire, England.
Founded in 1567 as a free grammar school for local boys, it is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain. Up to 1667, the school remained in comparative obscurity. Its re-establishment by Thomas Arnold during his time as Headmaster, from 1828 to 1841, was seen as the forerunner of the Victorian public school. It is one of the original nine "great public schools" considered by the Clarendon Commission of 1864 and subsequently subject to the Public Schools Act 1868.
The school's alumni – or "Old Rugbeians" – include a UK Prime Minister, and prominent poets, scientists, writers and soldiers.
Rugby School is birthplace of Rugby football,
HistoryRugby School was founded in 1567 as a provision in the will of Lawrence Sheriff, who had made his fortune supplying groceries to Queen Elizabeth I of England. Since Lawrence Sheriff lived in Rugby and the neighbouring Brownsover, the school was intended to be a free grammar school for the boys of those towns. Up to 1667, the school remained in comparative obscurity. Its history during that trying period is characterised mainly by a series of lawsuits between the Howkins family, who tried to defeat the intentions of the testator, and the masters and trustees, who tried to carry them out. A final decision was handed down in 1667, confirming the findings of a commission in favour of the trust, and henceforth the school maintained a steady growth. "Floreat Rugbeia" is the traditional school song.
In 1845, a committee of Rugby schoolboys, William Delafield Arnold, W. W. Shirley and Frederick Hutchins, wrote the "Laws of Football as Played At Rugby School", the first published set of laws for any code of football.
It was no longer desirable to have only local boys attending and the nature of the school shifted, and so a new school – Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School – was founded in 1878 to continue Lawrence Sheriff's original intentions; that school receives a substantial proportion of the endowment income from Lawrence Sheriff's estate every year.
Rugby was one of three provincial schools among the nine studied by the Clarendon Commission of 1861–64. Rugby went on to be included in the Public School's Act 1868, which ultimately related only to the boarding schools.
The core of the school was completed in 1815 and is built around the Old Quad, with its Georgian architecture. Especially notable rooms are the Upper Bench, the Old Hall of School House, and the Old Big School. Thomas Hughes once carved his name on the hands of the school clock, situated on a tower above the Old Quad. The polychromatic school chapel, new quadrangle, Temple Reading Room, Macready Theatre and Gymnasium were designed by well-known Victorian Gothic revival architect William Butterfield in 1875, and the smaller Memorial Chapel was dedicated in 1922.
The Temple Speech Room, named after former headmaster and Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Temple is now used for whole-School assemblies, speech days, concerts, musicals – and BBC Mastermind. Between the wars, the Memorial Chapel, the Music Schools and a new Sanatorium appeared.
By the twentieth century Rugby expanded and new buildings were built inspired by this Edwardian Era. The Temple Speech Room, named after former headmaster and Archbishop of Canterbury Frederick Temple and now used for whole-School assemblies, speech days, concerts, musicals – and BBC Mastermind. Oak-panelled walls boast the portraits of illustrious alumni, including Neville Chamberlain holding his piece of paper. Between the wars, the Memorial Chapel, the Music Schools and a new Sanatorium appeared.
In 1975 two girls were admitted into the sixth form, and the first girls’ house opened 3 years later, followed by three more. In 1992, the first 13-year-old girls arrived, and in 1995 Rugby had its first-ever Head Girl, Louise Woolcock, who appeared on the front page of The Times. In September 2003 a last girls’ house was added. Today, total enrolment of day pupils, from forms 4 to 12, numbers around 800.
Rugby footballThe game of Rugby football owes its name to the school.
The legend of William Webb Ellis and the origin of the game is commemorated by a plaque. The story that Webb Ellis was the first to pick up a football and run with it, and thus invented a new sport, has been known to be a myth since it was investigated by the Old Rugbeian Society in 1895.
There were no standard rules for football in Webb Ellis's time at Rugby and most varieties involved carrying the ball. The games played at Rugby were organised by the pupils and not the masters, the rules being a matter of custom and not written down. They were frequently changed and modified with each new intake of students.
The sole source of the story is Matthew Bloxam, a former pupil but not a contemporary of Webb Ellis. In October 1876, four years after the death of Webb Ellis, in a letter to the school newspaper The Meteor he quotes an unknown friend relating the story to him. He elaborated on the story four years later in another letter to The Meteor, but shed no further light on its source. Richard Lindon, a boot and shoemaker who had premises across the street from the School's main entrance in Lawrence Sheriff Street, is credited with the invention of the "oval" rugby ball, the rubber inflatable bladder and the brass hand pump.handball game, similar to squash, played in an enclosed court. It has similarities with Winchester Fives and Eton Fives.
It is most commonly believed to be derived from Wessex Fives, a game played by Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby, who had played Wessex Fives when a boy at Lord Weymouth's Grammar, now Warminster School. The open court of Wessex Fives, built in 1787, is still in existence at Warminster School although it has fallen out of regular use.
Rugby Fives is played between two players or between two teams of two players each, the aim being to hit the ball above a 'bar' across the front wall in such a way that the opposition cannot return it before a second bounce. The ball is slightly larger than a golf ball, leather-coated and hard. Players wear leather padded gloves on both hands, with which they hit the ball.
Rugby Fives continues to have a good following with tournaments being run nationwide, presided over by the Rugby Fives Association.
HousesRugby School has both day and boarding-pupils, the latter in the majority. Originally it was for boys only, but girls have been admitted to the sixth form since 1975. It went fully co-educational in 1992. The school community is divided into houses.
Academic lifePupils beginning Rugby in the F Block study various subjects. In a pupil's second year, they do nine subjects which are for their GCSEs, this is the same for the D Block. The school then provides standard A-levels in 29 subjects. Students at this stage have the choice of taking three or four subjects and are also offered the opportunity to take an extended project. Oxbridge acceptance percentage in 2007 was10.4%
ScholarshipsThe Governing Body provides financial benefits with school fees to families unable to afford them. Parents of pupils who are given a Scholarship are capable of obtaining a 10% fee deduction, although more than one scholarship can be awarded to one student.
- Annual boarding fee: £32,025
- Annual day fee: £20,094
See also :Category:People educated at Rugby School
Rugbeian SocietyThe Rugbeian Society is for former pupils at the School. An Old Rugbeian is sometimes referred to as an OR.
The purposes of the society are to encourage and help Rugbeians in interacting with each other and to strengthen the ties between ORs and the school.
In 2010 the Rugbeians reached the semi-finals of the Public Schools' Old Boys' Sevens tournament, hosted by the Old Silhillians to celebrate the 450th anniversary of fellow Warwickshire public school, Solihull School.
Thomas ArnoldRugby's most famous headmaster was Thomas Arnold, appointed in 1828; he executed many reforms to the school curriculum and administration. Arnold's and the school's reputations were immortalised through Thomas Hughes' book Tom Brown's School Days.
David Newsome writes about the new educational methods employed by Arnold in his book, 'Godliness and Good Learning'. He calls the morality practised at Arnold's school muscular Christianity. Arnold had three principles: religious and moral principle, gentlemanly conduct and academic performance. Dr George Mosse, former professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, lectured on Arnold's time at Rugby. According to Mosse, Thomas Arnold created an institution which fused religious and moral principles, gentlemanly conduct, and learning based on self-discipline. These morals were socially enforced through the "Gospel of work." The object of education was to produce "the Christian gentleman," a man with good outward appearance, playful but earnest, industrious, manly, honest, virginal pure, innocent, and responsible.