Mary Queen of Scots was dead and the Spanish Armada had been defeated and, in the following time of relative peace, the leading citizens of Wakefield could think about the future education of their boys with some assurance.
Numerous schools bearing the name of Queen Elizabeth were founded during the reign of Elizabeth I and many survive today; outstanding amongst them is our own ‘Free School of Queen Elizabeth’. On November 19th, 1591 the charter was granted to fourteen men to act as Governors of the new school.
The actual charter is still in existence today and states that:
“Of our especial grace, certain knowledge and mere motion, we do, will grant and ordain for us, our heirs and successors, that hereafter there be and shall be one Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth at Wakefield, for the teaching, instructing and bringing up of children and youth in grammar, and other good learning, to continue to that use forever”.
Five of the fourteen men designated to be governors bore the name Savile. Generations of the Savile family have played important roles in the school’s history and hence the reason why the Old Boys’ Association is called The Old Savilians’ Club.
The School Crest came into existence soon after the school was founded and features a lion, an owl and a bible. The golden lion on a red field refers to the royal foundation; the silver owl on black is taken from the arms of the Savile family (one of the founding families) and the Bible indicates the religious side of education. The school motto – Turpe Nescire – means “It is a disgrace to be ignorant”.
The school prospered and grew in numbers and in 1854 moved from the original school building to its present site in Northgate. The availability of bequests and grants enabled the school to attract pupils from a wide catchment area and a broad range of social backgrounds. This trend continues today through Foundation Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries.
In 1910, the Governors of the day saw fit to invest in a Junior School separate from the main Grammar School, and in September 2010 QEGS Junior School proudly celebrated its Centenary. Most recently, in September 2011 new facilities were opened at Centenary House specifically tailored to the needs of young boys from 4-7 years.