Powys Digital History Project

John Beddoes' School

  Founded in 1565
Presteigne's modern High School was in fact the second independent Grammar School to be founded in Wales, being established in 1565 by local clothier or woollen manufacturer John Beddoes.


John Beddoes'
signature from
a lease at Powys
County Archives

John Beddoes signatureOf a Ludlow merchant family originally, Beddoes became very wealthy, owning property in many parishes on either side of the border.
From this great wealth he gave lands and property, the income from which would provide both for the running of a "Free Grammar School" in that part of Church Street which was then in St David's Street, and for the ringing of a morning and evening (or curfew) bell.
Local families the Merediths and Bradshaws were among others who supported the school and Peter Lloyd of Boultibrooke also bequeathed funds in his will.

 Photograph of
The Vyne by
kind permission
of Mrs Cherry

Staff and boarders at The Vyne

The original school buildings, thought to have stood on the site of Garrison House, were recorded as having been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1681 and rebuilt to the south and west of Garrison House. Garrison House itself was used by the militia as a depot from 1855 to 1877 when it was acquired by the governors of the school and used to house the Headmaster and boarders.
The school also rented a nearby house called The Vine, situated at the lower end of St David's Street, as accommodation for both Headmaster and boarders. The photograph above shows the Headmaster Mr Woodrow with boarders at The Vine about 1872.

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