Oundle traces its history back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers endowed a ‘Free Grammar School’ in Oundle, where he had been educated at the original Gild School founded in 1506. The School is governed by a Royal Charter dating from 1930, last amended by granting of a supplemental charter in 1999.
“The object of The Corporation shall be to provide at the School an education of the highest class”ROYAL CHARTER
Under the terms of Sir William Laxton’s will, the Worshipful Company of Grocers (the Grocers’ Company) has been supporting the School since its foundation. There are 110 livery companies in the City of London, with the senior livery companies being known as the Great Twelve. Today, the Worshipful Company of Grocers ranks second in the order of precedence that was established in 1515. Originally known as the Guild of Pepperers, whose earliest records date from 1100, the Grocers’ Company was formed as a religious and social fraternity of merchants and moneyers who traded in spices, gold, and other luxury goods from Byzantium and the Mediterranean. Their use on occasion of pepper as a currency gave rise to the expression “peppercorn rent”. The Grocers’ Company gives generously to charity and continues to support the School through the provision of bursaries, scholarships and grants.
Oundle has long shown itself to be open to innovation and change. At the beginning of the 20th century, it experienced significant expansion and investment under the leadership of its most famous headmaster, FW Sanderson, whose innovations put Oundle at the forefront of science and engineering education, establishing a reputation still renowned today.
Following a series of major capital developments including SciTec, the Cripps Library and the Adamson Centre for Modern Languages, Oundle completed its full SciTec vision in 2016. This united Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering (STEM) both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The resulting renowned STEM facility, including the Patrick Engineering Centre, was developed with the support of both Imperial College London and Swansea University Engineering department.
The vision propelling Oundle forward into the next decade is Project 24; our commitment to invest in those things that matter most to us and to assure the long-term security of the School we want to be. Project 24 celebrates our profound belief in co-education and embraces our long-held belief that boarding offers the best environment within which to realise our ambitions for all our pupils.