Our History

The history of Rugby School dates back to over 450 years. Rugby School UK was founded in 1567 by Lawrence Sheriff, purveyor of spices to Queen Elizabeth I, as a Free Grammar School for the boys of Rugby School and Brownsover, in Warwickshire. It had developed exponentially under a series of skilled headmasters.

By 1667, the school was acquiring a name for scholarship. Boys from as far as Cheshire, Kent and Somerset started joining Rugby School UK. In the late 1700s, the number of pupils reached a new high at 245. In 1750, it moved from the middle of town into an extensive, serene manor house — Rugby School’s present School House.

Between 1828 and 1842, Rugby School transformed greatly under the supervision of Headmaster Dr Thomas Arnold. He put emphasis on subjects that were, to him, a preparation for power. Arnold treated his senior pupils as gentlemen, instilling a sense of power and duties. He encouraged the young adults to share with him the responsibility for moral tone and discipline. His mantra was ‘First religious and moral principle, second gentlemanly conduct, third academic ability’. Arnold expected masters to teach as well as supervise. It was during these years that the school’s legacy pastoral care began.

Apart from the progress Arnold had contributed to the students of Rugby School UK, he was also a great mentor to his assistant masters. Many of them became Headmasters of other public schools in the UK. 


Towards the end of the 20th century, Rugby School UK became thoroughly co-educational. Today, it welcomes boys and girls from all over the country and overseas.

Entering the 21st century, Rugby School remains committed to nurturing the whole person who will thrive amidst modern-day challenges. Our school environment is active and innovative, and we use interactive learning resources. At the same time, our children and their parents continue to choose Rugby School for our old-fashioned house-dining and playing for the house. They talk about belonging to a large, warm extended family and about being a part of our long-standing history.

Our education develops the whole person. That’s the whole point.

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