In 1584 Elizabeth I issued a charter containing a ‘grant to the town of Colchester for the erection of a Free Grammar School’. In practice this formalised the status of an already existing school – in fact there are documents confirming the existence of a school in Colchester dating back to 1206 and possibly earlier. It is likely that this was the forerunner of CRGS giving our grammar school a history stretching back nearly 900 years.
The influence of Old Colcestrians is considerable. From William Gilbert, physician to Elizabeth 1 and the ‘father of electricity and magnetism, to Admiral Ramsey who masterminded the evacuation of Dunkirk and the Normandy landings.
This thoroughly researched book examines the long history of CRGS and its links to the changing fortunes of Colchester across the centuries. And at 600 pages it is indeed a mighty tome.
But how would today’s students fit in to the school in times gone by? Scholars in Tudor times, we find, had to be present in school by 7 am in winter and 6 am in summer – and the schoolmaster was authorised to use ‘reasonable correction’ to discipline latecomers!