Manchester Grammar School
The Manchester Grammar School Motto Sapere Aude
(Dare to be wise)
Established 1515 Type Independent HMC High Master Christopher Ray Deputy High Master Stuart Leeming Chair of Governors Maurice Watkins Founder Hugh Oldham Location Old Hall Lane
Staff c. 240 Students c. 1480 Gender Boys Ages 7–18 Publication MGS News and Ulula Former pupils Old Mancunians Website mgs.org
The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) is the largest independent day school for boys in the UK (ages 7–18). It is based in Manchester, England. Founded in the 16th century as a free grammar school, it was housed on a site adjacent to Manchester parish church (later the cathedral) until 1930, when it moved to the present site in Fallowfield.
In the post-war period, it was a direct-grant grammar school (by which one quarter of the places were directly funded by central government with the rest attracting fees, some paid by the Local Education Authority, some by private pupils, and a few funded by so-called Foundation Scholarships awarded on the basis of performance in the school entrance examinations). It chose to become an independent school in 1976 after the Labour government abolished the Tripartite System. Fees for 2011-12 are £9,996 per annum.
- 1 Motto, coat of arms, and school badges
- 2 Heritage
- 3 Buildings
- 4 Old Mancunians
- 5 Senior Team
- 6 Associated schools
- 7 Life at the school
- 8 Community Action
- 9 Recent developments
- 10 High Masters
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Motto, coat of arms, and school badges
The School motto is sapere aude (dare to be wise), which was also the motto of the Council of the former County Borough of Oldham (now, with the same coat of arms, the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham), granted on 7 November 1894. Sapere aude is a quotation from Horace, famously used by Immanuel Kant, and also the motto of The Enlightenment.
The MGS Coat of Arms, which the School displays in the Memorial Hall, is that which Hugh Oldham bore as Bishop of Exeter. It consists of the arms of the Bishopric of Exeter and Oldham's personal coat side by side. The Exeter arms show the keys and sword, emblems of St Peter and St Paul, to whom Exeter Cathedral is dedicated. Oldham's own arms include owls, which it is assumed he chose as a pun on the first syllable of his name, and red roses, indicative of his Lancastrian origins. The motto "Sapere Aude" may be translated as 'Dare to be Wise'.
During a visit by the Queen to MGS in 1965 it was discovered that the School had (within living memory and the available records), in all innocence, been using Bishop Hugh Oldham's Episcopal arms. Heraldically, this is improper practice, though the use of a founder's arms by scholastic establishments is not uncommon.
As a consequence the Old Mancunians undertook to finance an application by the School to the College of Arms for a grant of Arms personal to itself. Arms are honours and all honours in this country stem from the Queen. Heraldic matters come under the jurisdiction of the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, and he is approached in such matters through the College of Arms in London. The officer of the College who dealt with the School's petition for a grant of arms was Colonel J. R. B. Walker, Clarenceux King of Arms.
The Senior School badge is an outline of an owl, carrying a banner with the word "dom" on it. This is a heraldic 'canting' reference to its founder, Hugh Oldham, and the badge should be read as "owl-dom". This suggests that he pronounced his name, as the local accent in Oldham still tends to do, as 'Ow[l]dem'. Owls, too, are to be seen in the shield of the Borough of Oldham.
There is also, possibly, a second significance to the "dom" of which Hugh Oldham, as a churchman, would have been very well aware. D.O.M. was and is a standard abbreviation for "Deo Optimo Maximo" meaning "To God, the Best and the Greatest", a phrase of dedication often required to be written by schoolboys before the Reformation and in Roman Catholic education since, at the head of a new piece of work, a practice continued into adult life by many as they committed a new undertaking into God's hands. This badge replaced the original one when the School colours changed from red, black and yellow to dark and light blue to reflect its connection with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The Junior School badge, which depicts the face of an owl, was introduced to blazers and ties in 2008.
The founder Hugh Oldham, a Manchester-born man, attended Exeter College, Oxford and Queens' College, Cambridge, after having been tutored in the house of Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. Historical accounts suggest that he was not a particularly learned man, but was in royal service, being a favoured protégé of Countess Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, and became recognised for his administrative abilities. He was appointed Bishop of Exeter in 1505. His great wealth came from his water-powered corn mills on the River Irk in Manchester, which were subsequently used to fund the School's endowment.
On the 2 July 1515 he signed an endowment trust deed establishing the Manchester Free Grammar School for Lancashire Boys. A site was purchased in September 1516 and construction took place between April 1517 and August 1518. The combined cost was £218.13s.5d, largely given by Oldham, but with the help of his and the Bexwyke (Beswick) family who had provided an earlier endowment for a school within the parish church. A more elaborate deed in 1525 set the detailed rules for the school until the late 19th century.
The original deed promoted “godliness and good learning” and established that any boy showing sufficient academic ability, regardless of background, might attend, free of charge. The school was situated between Manchester Cathedral, then a collegiate church, and the church’s domestic quarters, subsequently Chetham's School of Music.
Later Oldham's great friend Richard Foxe, the Bishop of Winchester, wished to found a monastery. Oldham, however, convinced him instead to found Corpus Christi College in Oxford and contributed 6000 marks. Oldham also had a hand in the founding of Brasenose College, Oxford. Thus he did a great deal in establishing places of higher learning.
The original foundation provided a school house in the curtilage of Manchester's parish church and two graduates (the 'High Master' and the 'Usher') to teach Latin, and later Greek, to any children who presented themselves. The school was intended to prepare pupils for university and eventually the Church or the legal profession. Typically, pupils would have stayed for 8 to 10 years before leaving for university. There was often enough money to fund bursaries or exhibitions for pupils.
In 1654, the world’s first free public library was formed next door to MGS in what had been the church’s living quarters. This was facilitated by a bequest from a wealthy businessman (and ex-pupil) Humphrey Chetham, which also served to create a bluecoat orphanage there, schooling 40 poor boys.
By the 18th century, there are thought to have been between 50 and 100 boys in the Grammar School at any one time, three or four of whom each year were awarded exhibitions to Oxford and Cambridge. An extra room had been built onto the school house for boys who needed instruction in English before they started Latin, and another master was employed to teach them.
The 1515 building was replaced on the same site in 1776. This was on two levels, an Upper School for the Latin and Greek pupils, a Lower School for the English students. Boarding-houses were added and many of the Upper school pupils were boarders from surrounding counties. When De Quincy came as a boarder in 1800, classes were held at roughly 7.00am to 9.00, 9.30 to 12.00 and 3.00pm to 5.00.
By 1808 consideration was being given to moving from the site, as it was becoming insalubrious, but this proved impossible as the deed could not be changed except by Act of Parliament.
Going from the Old Church to Long Millgate ... one is in an almost undisguised working men's quarter, for even the shops and beerhouses hardly take the trouble to exhibit a trifling degree of cleanliness ... [The Irk, immediately beside the School,] is a narrow, coal black, foul smelling stream full of debris and refuse.
A commercial school, in parallel with the classical school, and more suited to Manchester's business climate, was established in the 1830s. By this time the school was getting richer on the proceeds of the mills which provided its funding and had a growing surplus on account. Its 'feoffees' (or governors) were mostly landed gentry from outside Manchester and they were heavily criticised for running the school to suit the needs of their offspring rather than as originally intended, the poor of Manchester. This led to a long running suit at the Court of Chancery, which eventually promoted the commercial side at the expense of the classical side of the school.
The area around the school continued to change. During the 1840s, Victoria Station was completed opposite the school and the church became Manchester Cathedral. Then, in the 1870s, a new building, the Manchester Grammar Extension, was built, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, and including new classrooms, laboratories and a gymnasium, reflecting the wider curriculum that had developed since the 1830s. It was connected to the original by a first-storey bridge. It was said that the bridge’s purpose was not for ease of movement between the parts of the school, but rather to dwarf Chetham’s gatehouse both in terms of size and grandeur.
By the early twentieth century the School was increasingly receiving funding from the state. This was negligible in 1901, fees providing three quarters of the income, most of the remainder being from the foundation. But by 1931, state grants contributed nearly 30% of the total, and the number of pupils had increased to 1100.
In 1930 the School moved out of the city centre to accommodate a growing student body and provide a wider range of facilities. The new location chosen was Old Hall Lane in Fallowfield, where the School still stands today.
Both of the School’s earlier buildings lay empty, and while the former was destroyed in World War Two, the latter, renamed the Long Millgate Building, became a teacher training college in the 1950s. In 1969, Chetham’s School of Music was founded and occupied what had been the orphanage. When the teacher training college closed in 1978, Chetham’s took over the premises.
After the Education Act 1944, MGS became a direct-grant grammar school, which meant that the bulk of funding was provided by government. Entry was by merit (based on examination) and parents were means-tested and fees paid primarily by local education authorities on a sliding scale. Fees paid by parents amounted to less than 20% of the total income. It reverted to independent status in 1976 after the Labour government - in the person of Education Secretary Shirley Williams - abolished the direct-grant funding system. Bursaries continue to support the merit based recruitment system, by abating fees for less well off pupils.
When the Assisted Places Scheme was rescinded in the late 1990s, MGS was the first school to react with a seminal "Bursary Appeal", whose patron is HRH The Prince of Wales. The Appeal has accumulated a value of over £17.5m and finances bursaries, given to boys whose parents are unable to afford the School fees (currently £9,660 per annum). Scholarships are not awarded.
Since 1930 the site at Fallowfield has seen many new additions to the accommodation.
The Main Building was designed in 1930 by Francis Jones and Percy Worthington. In keeping with the style of Oxbridge, it features a quadrangle and a grandiose Memorial Hall. Entrance to the quad is by a tripartite arch under a clock tower cupola. There is also the Paton Library (named for JL Paton, a former High Master), MGS Archive Room (formerly the Alan Garner Junior Library, which has since become part of the Paton Library), Common Room, Refectory, Medical Centre, Book Shop, Gymnasium and Swimming Pool. This is in addition to classrooms (subjects taught in this building are Art and Design, Mathematics, Economics, Classical Civilisation, Greek, History, ICT, Latin, Religion and Philosophy) and administrative offices. The MGS Theatre has recently undergone extensive rebuilding, to provide a modern and comfortable auditorium, together with studios for rehearsals and drama teaching. The Drama Centre Campaign is chaired by Sir Nicholas Hytner (Director of the National Theatre and a former pupil) who brought Alan Bennett and the actors from The History Boys to launch the campaign in 2006.
The Junior Library was situated next to the Memorial Hall, but has now been converted to an Archive Library named after former Old Mancunian, Ian Bailey. The Junior Library has been incorporated into the Paton library.
The Mason Building is the School's language department, named after PG Mason, a former High Master, during whose tenure the building was erected. On the ground floor there are the Language Labs, two suites of listening stations, mainly used to practise the listening parts of national exams. This building was originally the School's Sixth Form block, and was built in 1966-67. It is joined to the main building on the ground floor by the Paton Library.
The Marks Building, named after former pupil Simon Marks co-founder of the Marks & Spencer empire, is just west of the main building, erected in the early 1960s, and hosts the following departments: Physics, General Science (taken by Year 7 and 8 pupils - before the subject splits into the usual three divisions), Geography and ICT. There are four physics laboratories, including one for radioactive experimentation, on the ground floor. The main computer room is situated on the first floor of the Marks building.
The Sieff Theatre, named after former pupil, Israel Sieff, is situated at the end of the Marks Building and was refurbished in 2006; it is used for lectures and assemblies.
The English Block is just south of the Marks Building. It was intended to feature a drama hall in the centre, but this plan was scrapped due to a lack of funding. The second floor, accessible only from the eastern staircase, is used for the storage of the English department's large numbers of plays, poetry and fiction.
The Michael Atherton Sports Hall was opened by Mike Atherton (a former pupil) in 1997 and subsequently used by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in recording of a live CD. Upon entering the Hall during a tour, conductor Jan Pascal Tortelier is said to have clapped loudly and on hearing the acoustic qualities, immediately requested the venue for a concert. There are also Squash Courts adjacent to the sports hall.
The Music School is at the rear of the School. There is a music library in the basement as well as a dozen or so music practice rooms, each having a piano, used for private lessons. It contains a keyboard suite allowing first and second years to learn basic keyboard playing and a hall on the west side used primarily for orchestra rehearsals. The building had been used in the 1960s as a bicycle shed.
The Chemistry Wing adjoins the Main Building. It houses the Chemistry department, and the upper floor is used for Middle School (Years 9-11) Biology classes. The building was constructed with two entrances (one near the Music School, and one from the Main Building near the Refectory) which led to two non-connected corridors. This apparently inconvenient design element may have arisen out of a safety concern, since it served to separate Middle School experiments from those undertaken by sixth formers. The corridors were connected before the start of the Michelmas 2008 term.
The Rectory is located near the Michael Atherton Sports Hall, and is the home of the Biology Department. However only A-level biology is taught there.
The Parker Art Hall is a three storey arts studio, situated in the south side of the main building and named for former High Master JG Parker. It includes a ceramics department with two kilns on the ground floor and also a dark room for photography.
The Pavilion contains changing rooms for sports teams and a cricket score board, It is linked to the Butty Bar, a cafe serving light meals. On the upper floor is the temporary Sixth Form Common Room and Study Centre, replacing what had once been the Music Department. See gallery below - image includes the recent addition of the English block with the Rectory in the background.
The Careers Room is housed in the Paton Library.
Bexwyke Lodge - Junior School pupils in Years and 5 and 6 study stimulating and unusual subjects from their purpose built base in a state-of-the-art timber building, known as Bexwyke Lodge, constructed from sustainable materials imported from Estonia. A comprehensive ICT fit-out complements the project-centred learning and every pupil is issued with a personal notebook computer to ensure the integration of ICT into more traditional lessons.
MGS has a long tradition of academic excellence and is among the most celebrated schools in England. Its alumni are called "Old Mancunians", or informally 'Old Mancs', and include politicians, mathematicians, cricketers, such as former England cricket captain Mike Atherton, former Lancashire Captain, Mark Chilton, and former Lancashire and England batsman, John Crawley, several notable writers, such as Thomas de Quincey, the playwright Robert Bolt, the author Alan Garner, after whom the school's Junior Library is named, and journalist and broadcaster Martin Sixsmith. Other Old Mancunians are John Charles Polanyi (1929-) who won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the actors Ben Kingsley, Robert Powell and more recently Ashley Margolis, the historian Michael Wood, the concert organist Daniel Moult, and cryptographers Clifford Cocks and Malcolm J. Williamson.
MGS has a Senior Team who manage the strategic, academic and pastoral needs of the School. The High Master, Christopher Ray, is ultimately in charge of the School. Stuart Leeming is the Deputy High Master and has responsibility for the day to day administration of the School and managed the introduction of the new Junior School.
There are two Deputy Heads: Paul Thompson with responsibility for all academic matters, and Pat Squires with responsibility for pastoral care at the School. Jim Mangnall is Head of Co-curriculum with responsibility for all things beyond the classroom. The Heads of Schools are Linda Hamilton (Junior School), Susan James (Lower School), Andy Smith (Middle School) and Patrick Thom (Sixth Form).
Local girls' schools
MGS is also twinned with a school in Uganda. MGS became linked with the Busoga College Mwiri in 1990 as a consequence of their support for the Busoga Trust. The School donated second-hand science equipment, textbooks and, in 1998, equipped the Mwiri computer centre with almost one hundred PCs. A succession of MGS pupils have been to Mwiri to teach for a term in their gap year and five members of MGS staff and the School Medical Officer have made a combined total of over 20 visits to Mwiri. Some of MGS's pupils first formers (year 7) visited the College in 2003. In return Chairmen of Governors, Headmasters and Deputy Heads from Mwiri have visited MGS. A programme has been initiated to enable one member of the Mwiri staff each year to visit MGS for three weeks in September. This scheme was the brainchild of former Head of Physics, Roger Hand, who retired in 2008.
Life at the school
The School has gradually developed more elaborate ways of fitting subjects into the time-table. In the 1960s it introduced a six-day rotating timetable. Until 2006/07, it operated a seven-day rotating timetable, called the Seven Day Cycle, as opposed to the timetable repeating according to a five-day week. This format was replaced with a Ten Day Cycle beginning in 2007/8, with each day consisting of 7 periods of 40 minutes apiece.
Except on Fridays, the Lower School has assembly in the Sieff Theatre, whilst the Middle and Upper School do so in the Memorial Hall. However on Fridays, Religious assemblies are held. Choices are: Indian, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Non-religious, with only the latter split into age groups; using the same division as normal assemblies. The selection allows boys of all religions to sample each other's faiths, as there is no restriction on where boys can go for religious assemblies. On Fridays, at lunchtimes, Friday Prayers are held for Muslim pupils.
A bus service connects MGS to Manchester's three main train stations Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria (opposite the original site of the School), called the MGS Shuttles. The Altrincham Shuttle and the Cheadle Shuttle, were introduced in September 2008.
The School was among the first in the UK to adopt the International Mathematics GCSE. Soon afterwards, MGS also adopted the three Sciences and today it offers the IGCSE in most subjects. The main difference between IGCSE and GCSE is that the IGCSE does not have a compulsory coursework element, primarily because it would be too costly to moderate around the world. The maths and science departments decided that pupils were finding the coursework (which forms a fifth of the marks awarded in the national GCSE) undemanding and tedious and so made the switch in 2005. In 2009 the GCSE was replaced by the IGCSE in all subjects other than Art, Latin, Greek, Electronics, Italian and Russian. The International Baccalaureate was introduced in 2008 to run alongside the A-level programme. There are only 4 pupils in the Lower Sixth Form enrolled in the IB in the current Academic year 2010/2011. Economics was added as an option for both IB and A-level in 2008.
Co-curricular and sporting activities
MGS has over 130 activities available for pupils outside the classroom. These range from trekking in the Sahara Desert to climbing Mont Blanc; scuba diving to mountain biking; chess club to Russian Scrabble to name but a few. Pupils are encouraged to start new clubs and activities after gaining support from a member of staff.
There are three publications focusing on the school.
Ulula is an annual full-colour magazine detailing life at MGS during the year. It contains a comprehensive review of activities of the societies, results achieved by the sports teams, dramatic and musical performances, as well as a selection of literary and fine art work made by the boys. It also serves to announce new appointments, retirements and departures of staff members. For those pupils who leave in the year prior to the issue of Ulula, the universities to which they are moving is listed.
'MGS News' is an annual 20-page glossy magazine published in October. It illustrates articles on the successes of MGS pupils, along with features on Old Mancunians and School events and activities. It is produced in-house by the Public Relations Department for promulgation to visitors at open events, current and prospective parents and teachers and the wider MGS community.
The New Mancunian, is the School student newspaper which is written and produced by students and has won several national awards. This is twinned in nomenclature with the Old Mancunian which is a monthly pamphlet sent out to ex-pupils.
Specialist publications are produced by societies, such as the Philsoc and Docsoc (science and medical societies respectively) magazines.
Community Action at the School is an important part of school life. Pupils visit many primary schools in less fortunate areas during their lunch breaks to help younger children to read. Every Christmas, presents donated by the local community are distributed by MGS pupils in Salford to families who would otherwise not be able to afford presents for their children. During sixth form options, some pupils hold a coffee morning at a residential care home for the elderly in Salford. Other activities include DigSoc, GreenSoc, volunteering at the Manchester Chinese Centre and many more. Lots of MGS boys take part in the Millennium Volunteers V scheme (now 'Vinvolved') and receive certificates for logging their volunteering activities. There are plans for many more community action projects, including the launching of a new Community Action website.
Entrance to the school
Prospective pupils for Year 7 undertake an Assessment Day and an Entrance Exam, which consists of Mathematics and English examinations sat during the morning of the last Friday in January. Entrance to Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 is by Assessment Day only. Any pupil gaining entrance to Years 3, 4, 5 or 6 gains automatic entrance to Year 7. Entrance to Year 12 (Sixth Form) is by examination and interview. Prospective pupils may also attend Open Days which are held in October each year.
Those allocated a place by the School must choose to accept or decline the place offered by the end of March. Boys often apply to more than one school and occasionally turn down a place at MGS. For this reason a number of boys, after sitting the examination, are offered a reserve place. Should any boys with guaranteed places reject their offer, reserve places are converted accordingly.
MGS selects its pupils for Year 7 onwards on the basis of assessment and examination performance, along with a report from the former school. However, interviews may be undertaken for boys on the reserve list. There is no examination for pupils applying for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6; boys take part in an Assessment Day and those successful gain automatic entry to Year 7 at the appropriate time.
The Owls' Nest, School Camps and the Outdoor Study and Pursuits Centre
The School owns the Owls' Nest, a large hut situated in Disley, south of Manchester, near to Lyme Park. The original ex-Army hut was opened at Christmas 1920, but it was destroyed by a German bomb on 23 December 1940, and a replacement was provided in 1950. The building is used by forms and activity groups of the School as a base for outdoor trips and camping expeditions. It is most frequently used by classes in Years 7 and 8, who spend a weekend there with their form teacher and form prefects. Wide games such as "British Bulldog" take place in the surrounding fields, and orienteering challenges in nearby Lyme Park. The name refers to the School's logo of the owl.
There are four annual School Camps, which have been in existence for many decades. They are held at Grasmere, Lucton, Bassenthwaite and Borrowdale. In Grasmere, the School has its own campsite donated by Old Mancunians in 1931. Visits to camps take part in the annual Activities Week, which is a week in which an impressive array of co-curricular activities are on offer to pupils.
In 2009 MGS opened The Old School House, its new outdoor study and pursuits centre in Kirby Stephen, Cumbria. Set on a hillside with stunning views of the Vale of Eden and the Lake District Fells, the facility offers opportunities such as DofE expeditions, choral and concert practice, art workshops and courses on the Theory of Knowledge. The purchase of the Old School House was made possible thanks to the generosity of Old Mancunian, John Young and his wife Elizabeth.
In September 2008, MGS opened a Junior School for pupils in Years 5 and 6 and its doors open to Years 3 and 4 in September 2011; boys entering the Junior School do not sit an entrance exam but attend an assessment day and gain automatic admission into Year 7.
School Officers: The Captain, Vice-Captain and four School Officers are selected by the High Master before the choosing of the Gold Prefects. The School Officers are each assigned to different sections of the school, one responsible for the Junior Section, one for the Middle School, one for the Lower School and one for the Sixth Form. Each is also given a small team of assistants drawn from the Gold and Blue prefects. They can be identified by their badges, which bear the School's coat of arms in addition to the Gold Prefect Tie.
Gold Prefects: Up to twenty pupils supervise and oversee the remainder of the prefects. They are selected by the High Master during Summer Term, based on a vote amongst Lower Sixth students, and staff recommendations, based on their academic performance, overall contribution to the School and their performance as Silver Prefects. These can be identified by their gold badges and a black tie which bears a gold owl.
Blue Prefects: This category of prefects was introduced in 2007. These prefects are appointed by the High Master for contributions to Sport, Music, Art, Drama, Bookshop and The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. They work alongside Gold Prefects and wear similar badges and ties, only in blue rather than gold.
Silver Prefects: Comprise most Upper Sixth students (Year 13) and Lower Sixth students (year 12) after mid-Michaelmas Term. Duties include patrolling corridors or monitoring queues, during non-lesson time. They wear a silver Owl badge and a distinctive tie.
Deputy Prefects: Are appointed provisionally for a month after the middle of Michaelmas Term before being accepted or rejected by the Teacher in Charge of Prefects. Selection is usually based on their record of attendance at their weekly duties and on their general conduct.
Discipline is maintained by two members of staff, known as Proctors, assisted by Year 12 and 13 prefects.
PS: Punishment School. Detentions that take place on Tuesday and Thursday early evenings and Saturday mornings. They last for half-an-hour or an hour in the former case and one or two hours in the latter case. Saturday PS's are imposed for more serious infractions than those on weekdays, even when the detention is of the same duration. An example of an offence that could lead to a weekday PS would be repeated misbehaviour in lessons. A Saturday morning PS tends to be reserved for greater misdemeanors. Pupils are given the opportunity to appeal against PSs, however most appeals are rejected.
The School also operates Exclusion and Expulsion policies for serious issues such as bullying and drugs.
Commendation Certificates are awarded to pupils by teaching staff for exceptional behaviour or work.
MGS Drama Centre
The school has replaced its original Lecture Theatre with a new Drama Centre. This was opened in November 2010 with a series of shows and events featuring some of the school's well known Old Mancunians.
The former Alan Garner Junior Library has been converted into the Ian Bailey Archive Library and is open for pupils and visitors to research the history of the school.
- 1515- William Pleasington
- William Hinde
- James Plumtree
- 1534- Richard Bradshaw
- Thomas Wrench
- William Jackson
- 1547- Edward Pendleton
- William Terrill
- James Bateson
- Richard Raynton
- 1583- Thomas Cogan
- 1597- Edward Chetham
- 1606- Edward Clayton
- 1616- John Rowlands
- 1630- Thomas Harrison
- 1637- Robert Symonds
- 1638- Ralph Brideoake
- 1645- Nehemiah Paynter
- 1652- John Wickens
- 1676- Daniel Hill
- 1677- William Barrow
- 1720- Thomas Colburn
- 1722- John Richards
- 1727- Henry Brook
- 1749- William Purnell
- 1764- Charles Lawson
- 1807- Jeremiah Smith
- 1838- Robinson Elsdale
- 1840- John William Richards
- 1842- Nicholas Germon
- 1859- Frederick William Walker
- 1877- Samuel Dill
- 1888- Michael George Glazebrook
- 1890- John Edward King
- 1903- John Lewis Paton
- 1924- Douglas Gordon Miller
- 1945- Eric John Francis James (later Lord James of Rusholme)
- 1962- Peter Geoffrey Mason
- 1978- David Maland
- 1985- James Geoffrey Parker
- 1994- George Martin Stephen
- 2004- Dr. Christopher Ray
- ^ a b c Bentley, James (1990). Dare to be wise: a history of The Manchester Grammar School. James and James. ISBN 0907383041.
- ^ Mumford, Alfred Alexander (2010). The Manchester Grammar School, 1515-1915: A Regional Study of the Advancement of Learning in Manchester Since the Reformation. BiblioBazaar. ISBN 114358385X.
- ^ "Fees". The Manchester Grammar School. http://www.mgs.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94&Itemid=82. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- ^ Most of the material in the first part of this section is taken from The Manchester Grammar School 1515-1965, edited by J A Graham and B A Phythian (both of whom were members of the school's teaching staff at the time), Manchester University Press, 1965
- ^ Engels, quoted in MGS 1515-1965 referenced above
- ^ Figures from MGS 1515-1965 referenced above
- ^ BBC.co.uk
- ^ MGS.org
- ^ School website Owls' Nest page Accessed 2010-10-06
- ^ High Masters of MGS, MGS web site, accessed on 2 January 2010
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