History of Rossall School
‘The Eton of the North’
Rossall is a school steeped in history.
Rossall School was founded in 1844 by Rev. St Vincent Beechey as a sister school to Marlborough College which had been founded the previous year. Its establishment was ‘to provide, at a moderate cost, for the sons of Clergymen and others, a classical, mathematical and general education of the highest class.’ Beechey set about finding the funds required to set up such a school and received support from many including The Earl of Derby, the Duke of Devonshire and the Bishop of Chester.
Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood agreed to lease his ancestral home of Rossall Hall to the school on a 21 year lease with the option to purchase for £7000 in the first ten years. The Northern Church of England Boarding School, renamed Rossall College under the reign of its first Headmaster Dr John Woolley, opened on 22 August 1844 with 70 boys enrolled. By the following March 120 pupils were in residence.
Rossall was part of a flurry of expansion in education during the early Victorian period and the School was granted a Royal Charter on 21 October 1890. Rossall was widely considered to be in top 30 public schools in the UK and by the end of Queen Victoria’s reign its academic results were among the best in the country and enjoyed a reputation as ‘The Eton of the North’.
The School’s first ever Captain of Rossall, TW Sharpe wrote: “The choosing of the site was often held up in the ridicule .… but to us, who could bear the winds and brunt the storm, it gave a hardening strength which has braced us up for life.”
Girls first joined the school in the 1970’s and now represent half of the student body.
When students leave Rossall, they automatically become lifetime members of the Old Rossallian Club.
The Rossall Foundation was set up by former Chair of Council, Hazel Trapnell, in 2005 to support the School's aims and to help it to flourish.
We value the on-going relationship with our wider school community very much.