Medway Council Heritage Services catalogues
  • Title
  • Reference
  • Date
  • Level of description
  • Extent
    51 boxes and 1 item
  • Administrative history / biography
    Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical school was founded in 1701 in the pursuance of the will of Sir Joseph Williamson. He bequeathed £5000 to be invested in some lands whose profits were to maintain a "free Schoole at Rochester and of a Schoole Master or Schoole Masters for the Instruction and Education of such youth there who were or shall be Sons of Freemen towards the Mathematicks, and all other things which may fitt and Encourage them for the Sea Service or Arts or callings leading or Relating thereto". Initially, Sir Joseph Williamson's executors hindered the establishment of the school, but after a lengthy court case, the school, situated in High Street, Rochester, finally opened in 1709. Some lands in the parishes of Higham, Shorne and Frindsbury were purchased in 1707, as well as the Wouldham estate in 1712. The decree of Chancery of 1708 prescribed how the school should be governed, giving details on the number of governors, the election of the headmaster, the accounts, the admission of pupils and school rules, etc. It stated that there should be 20 governors (16 ordinary and 4 extraordinary). Their title, number and duties have changed over the years with the introduction of new instruments and articles of government. The Provider, the officer in charge of the accounts of the charities managed by the City of Rochester (see DRc/C1), also dealt with those of the school and of the lands placed in trust. In 1870, new articles of government required the appointment of a treasurer and clerk to the governors. At the end of the 19th century, new articles of government brought in two amendments to the original foundation. Firstly, the school ceased to be exclusive to the sons of Freemen of the City of Rochester, opening its doors to all boys. Secondly, admission fees were introduced. The influx of new pupils put a strain on the school accommodation and new buildings were opened in 1894 and 1917. In 1937, 30 acres of land at Great Delce Farm on Maidstone Road, Rochester, were acquired, originally for use as a playing field. This has been the site of the school since autumn 1968. The original building in the Rochester High Street was demolished in 1971. Girls were first admitted to the sixth form in 1993.
  • Scope and content
    Governors' minutes, accounts, correspondence about the administration of the school, photographs and school magazines, etc. As the schools have the same governors, records of Rochester Grammar School for Girls are also included.