History of the School
The Henry Box School has a long and impressive heritage dating back to 1660 when Henry Box provided his native town with an endowed grammar school, with boarding facilities, for a maximum of 100 boys. Now a mixed comprehensive school, it continues to maintain strong links with Oriel College, Oxford, where Henry was a student, and with the Grocers' Company of which he was a member, and then Master in 1640.
Over the years the school has aimed to deliver the high standard of education that Henry and his wife, Mary, envisaged - more recently with the support of The Henry Box Trust. The school celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2010.
Links with Oriel College
Henry Box was a student at Oriel College, Oxford. When the school was founded, the provost and four of the senior fellows of Oriel were made "visitors" of the college. Responsibility for hiring of staff was largely split between these men and the Grocers' Company in London. This tradition continues today with Oriel College sponsoring one member of the governing body.
A level students who perform particularly well are also eligible to receive the Oriel Prize, a £10 book token for receiving three A grades or better.
The Grocers' Company
Henry Box, after studying for a time at Oriel College, Oxford, decided to make a career for himself in the City. He served his apprenticeship as a Grocer, and the Company's records reveal his ascent through the various grades of its membership, culminating in 1640 in his election to the Mastership. Henry Box was, however, unwilling to accept this office.
In Henry Box's will, the School was devised to Mary, his wife, 'Upon Trust and Confidence' that she would carry out his declared intention of vesting the same in the four wardens of the Grocers' Company¹.
From the time of its foundation right up to the present day The Henry Box School has enjoyed close links with the Grocers' Company in the City of London. The school receives regular generous gifts from the Grocers' Trust for special projects. A group of Year 9 students visits Grocers' Hall each year, and the Grocers' Company nominates one of its members to serve as a Governor of The Henry Box School.
¹ Mary A. Flemming, MA Witney Grammar School 1660-1960 (1960)
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