Witney Grammar School

For nearly two and a half centuries, from 1660 until 1908 the Box Building alone housed the school. As well as the school-room, it provided accommodation for the Master, the Usher and some boarders.


The master in 1755, the Rev. Benjamin Gutteridge, planned two galleries to accommodate the significant collection of books which had grown since the original legacy from Henry Box’s library : in the end only one gallery was built. The Greek motto on the gallery tells students that if they enjoy their learning, they will become educated in the widest sense of the word.


Until 1902, the Grocers’ Company were governors of the school and spent considerable sums of money on maintaining the building. Gas lighting came to the school-room in 1877 at a cost of over £100. Earlier generations whose day had started at 6am would have appreciated this!


There are two recorded occasions when the ceiling has collapsed, most recently when a bomb fell into Church Green in 1940. The distinctive chimneys have also required regular maintenance.


The last headmaster to live in the building was Basil Robinson and it was he who converted the school-room into a library in 1950. As the school expanded in the early 1970’s, the library outgrew its location. In 1992 the governors authorised an extensive refurbishment to provide the school with a greatly enhanced facility.


The building was refurbished and reopened on April 22nd 1994 by the Foreign Secretary, Rt. Hon. Douglas Hurd.