The History of the Family of Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools
William Jones was born in Newland, Gloucestershire in the sixteenth century. He grew up in Monmouth and grew fond of the town. A haberdasher by trade, he eventually became a very successful member of The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. At that time, Monmouth was a centre of Catholicism, but William was a staunch Protestant and not afraid to be seen as such. He was a great believer in the Puritan ethic of ‘giving back to society’ and the Schools in Monmouth are testament to this philosophy.
In 1613, towards the end of his life, he bequeathed £6,000 to be spent locally for charitable purposes, appointing the Company as Trustee. He provided another £3,000 in his will, and this time included a school in his list of objectives. The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, as Trustees, bought a site for the school in Monmouth and organised the building work, for which they sent bricklayers down from London who were paid per thousand bricks laid. Finance for the school came from the Manor of Hatcham Barnes (now New Cross, London) which the Company bought in 1614. The Manor then consisted of farms and woodland, and it was the annual rent from these farms which covered the running costs of the school.
Founded under James 1 in 1614, Monmouth School was originally a grammar school for boys. It was rebuilt in 1865, and as a result of rising revenues from the developing New Cross area in London, the foundation was reorganised in 1891. In addition to Monmouth School, the foundation could now support a new girls’ school and an elementary school in the town, as well as a school for West Monmouthshire and Pontypool. The girls’ school opened in temporary premises at Hardwick House in Monmouth in 1892, while the Company negotiated for a permanent site and put up buildings, to which the girls moved in 1897. These buildings are still the landmark ‘on the hill’, the origin of Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls.
The elementary and Pontypool schools were transferred to the County Council in 1940 and 1955 respectively, leaving only Monmouth School and Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls in the foundation. The two schools acquired Direct Grant status in 1946, and their finances improved from the 1950’s, partly as a result of the Company’s decision gradually to sell off the New Cross estate. The Schools became Independent in 1976. In 1997, Haberdashers’ Agincourt School joined the family as a pre-prep school for girls and boys.
The endowment from the William Jones Foundation enables the Schools to continue to improve their facilities, and offer an excellent education whilst ensuring very competitive fees. The Haberdashers’ Company takes a great interest in its schools and the Master and other members visit the schools regularly, on Deputation days, Speech Days and other important occasions. The Master is an ex officio member of each Governing committee. The Company provides a wide range of scholarships, including Travel scholarships, bursaries and its own Assisted Places scheme. In special cases, financial assistance is available to enable past pupils to continue their university studies.
We are immensely grateful to our benefactor and very proud to be known as Haberdashers’ Schools.
An excerpt from the article ‘Where to Educate our Girls and Boys’ taken from ‘The Lady’ magazine – 30th September 1897
In 1891 the Commissioners got out a new scheme, under the Endowed Schools Act, and speedily built a splendid Grammar School, rich in exhibitions and scholarships, at Monmouth. The tuition fees are only £6 yearly, and to families who reside in Monmouth and its immediate neighbourhood this sum represents the total cost of a very complete course of teaching and training. Accommodation for one hundred boarders and day scholars has been contemplated to begin with, but the buildings have been planned with a view to extension, and as soon as the scope and advantages are known throughout the length and breadth of England and the Colonies, that extension will be required.
The Headmistress , Miss Lükes, [pictured above] who is an old Cheltenham student, tries to know the pupils individually, to help them profit by the advantages of school life, and to take an interest in the welfare of the School, so that they may gain that esprit de corps and power of working with others which will make them useful and unselfish women, ready in the spirit of the foundation motto to “Serve and Obey.”
History of the Haberdashers
The Company, whose patron saint is St Catherine of Alexandria, most probably had its roots in a fraternity which worshipped at St Paul’s Cathedral; certainly two of this fraternity’s Wardens in 1389 were prominent Haberdashers. Members were haberdashers by trade. They sold ribbons, beads, purses, gloves, pins, caps and toys. Then, in 1502, they were joined by the hatmakers’ fraternity, and after that there were two types of haberdasher: haberdashers of hats, and the original haberdashers of small wares. The Company had the right to search all haberdashers’ shops within three miles of the City, and to destroy goods which were not up to standard.
Like other Companies, as the Haberdashers became more successful they collected the status symbols appropriate to the times. Their first surviving ordinances were recorded by the Mayor’s Court in 1371. In 1446 they adopted their first coat of arms (an important visual symbol when many adults could not read), and in 1448 Henry VI granted a charter of incorporation. This charter entitled the Company to hold land, and so to have its own Hall for meetings. Of course, other arms and charters have been granted since then. The present arms date from 1503 (with crest and supporters added in 1570), and the current charter from 1578.
Please follow the link to view the Haberdashers’ website: http://www.haberdashers.co.uk/
Late 13th century, Monnow Bridge was built.
|1216 Henry III|
|1272 Edward I|
|1300||1307 Edward II||
1371 Earliest records of an organised fraternity of Haberdashers in the area around St Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.
1387 Henry V born in Monmouth Castle.
|1327 Edward III|
|1377 Richard II|
|1399 Henry IV|
|1400||1413 Henry V|
|1422 Henry VI||
1448 Henry VI granted the Haberdashers’ Fraternity a charter of incorporation.
1459 The first Haberdashers’ Hall was built in Maiden Lane, London.
|1461 Edward IV|
|1483 Edward V|
|1483 Richard III|
|1485 Henry VII|
|1500||1509 Henry VIII||
1564 William Shakespeare born.
|1547 Edward VI|
|1553 Lady Jane Grey|
|1553 Mary I|
|1558 Elizabeth I|
|1600||1603 James I||
1613 The first William Jones bequest – to fund schools in Monmouth.
1614 Monmouth School founded
|1625 Charles I|
|1649 Interregnum(Oliver Cromwell)|
|1660 Charles II||
1666 Haberdashers’ Hall destroyed in Great Fire of London
1671 Second Haberdashers’ Hall built on same site as first.
|1685 James II|
|1689 William III and Mary II|
1802 Lord Nelson visits Monmouth.
|1714 George I|
|1727 George II|
|1760 George III|
|1800||1820 George IV|
|1830 William IV|
1856 Monmouth School rebuilt.
1892 HMSG founded
1897 HMSG moved to present location and buildings
|1900||1901 Edward VII|
|1910 George V|
|1936 Edward VIII|
|1936 George VI||
1940 Second Haberdashers’ Hall destroyed in air raid.
1946 Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools acquire Direct Grant status.
|1952 Elizabeth II||
1956 Third Haberdashers’ Hall opened.
1976 Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools become fully independent.
1990 Inglefield House moves to their new building
1998 Agincourt School joined the Haberdashers’ Family of Schools.
2002 The fourth Haberdashers’ Hall is completed.
2009 The Grange, Monmouth Preparatory School, moves to new building.