The Royal School
is a school located in Dungannon
, County Tyrone
, Northern Ireland
. It was one of a number of 'free schools' created by James I
to provide an education to the sons of local merchants and farmers during the plantation of Ulster
. Originally setup in Mountjoy near Lough Neagh
, it moved to its present location in 1636
. It was founded as a boys school but became coed
when the school amalgamated with the Dungannon High School for Girls
It has four 'sister' schools, The Royal School, Armagh in Armagh, County Armagh, The Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, The Cavan Royal School in County Cavan, and The Royal and Prior School in Raphoe, County Donegal. The original intention had been to have a "Royal School" in each of Ireland's counties (James I Order in Council read, “that there shall be one Free School at least appointed in every County, for the education of youth in learning and religion.” ) but only five were actually established, the schools planned for other counties never came into being.
The Royal School, Dungannon is one of several Royal Schools ordered in 1608
by James I
with the intended purpose "that there shall be one Free School at least appointed in every County, for the education of youth in learning and religion." These schools provided an English style education to the sons of landed settlers in Ireland
, most of whom were of Scottish
descent. A Royal Charter
of 13th May 1614
records the appointment of John Bullingbroke as the first Headmaster. Three more headmasters were appointed by royal charters before the Archbishop of Armagh (Church of Ireland)
took over the selection of Headmasters from the Crown in 1682. The present headmaster is Paul Hewitt.
Royal School for Girls
The Royal School for Girls was founded in 1889 and was housed in the Robinson (North) wing of the Royal School between 1892 and 1926. This school became Dungannon High School for Girls
in a self-contained campus adjoining Royal School lands on Ranfurly Road. In 1986 the High School was re-merged with the Royal School. The last Head Mistress of the High School was ME McBeth who became a Vice Principal in the merged school. Miss McBeth retired in 1994.
The Royal and High School sites were joined with a covered walkway at the time of merger and the High School building remained in use until 2003. Following the building of new classrooms that were sited closer to the original boys' school, the majority of the High School was demolished and redeveloped as sporting facilities.
James Dilworth, a former pupil of the Royal School, left money in his will to found Dilworth School
, New Zealand
in 1906. Since the 1990s links between the two schools have been cemented, with annual exchanges of students. Four Upper-Sixth formers from the Royal School, two boys and two girls, currently spend a gap year
as staff members of Dilworth School before starting University. In return, three students from Dilworth join RSD staff.
The school's motto
is the Latin
word 'Perseverando', meaning 'By Persevering'. New students were taught its meaning and how it related to a longer phrase 'Perseverando Vinces' ('By Persevering, Succeed') in first-year Latin classes, until Latin was removed from the timetable in 1988.
The school sports are rugby and hockey, for boys and girls accordingly. In the summer pupils are offered the chance to take part in athletics and cricket. Shooting is also available throughout the year.
The Old Grey Mother
'The Old Grey Mother' is an affectionate name for the school, referring to the older part of the current building (which is both very old and grey). The Former Pupils Association occasionally use this name in correspondence to members. The phrase Old Grey Mother was first used when the original sandstone front of the Headmaster's House was covered with grey cement.
A house system
exists to facilitate healthy sporting and academic competition. All students are assigned a house upon enrolling - where possible this is the same house as assigned to a previous relative at the school.
The current houses are named below. The names in brackets indicate the full name of each house given when the merger with Dungannon High School for Girls in 1984 incorporated the High School's own house system. Full names follow the convention of Royal School name - High School name.
- Mountjoy (or, Mountjoy-Ranfurly);
- Bullingbrook (or, Bullingbrook-Tyrone);
- Beresford (or, Beresford-Charlemount);
- Nicholson (or, Nicholson-Dungannon).
The names of houses refer to notable past Headmasters, Alumni or local geography.