Thetford Grammar School celebrates 900th birthday with special service

Thetford Grammar School 900th anniversary

Thetford Grammar School 900th anniversary - Credit: Archant

An independent school older than Eton, Harrow and Cambridge University has toasted its 900th anniversary.

The first documented evidence of Thetford Grammar School came in 1114 in a letter from Herbert Losinga, Bishop of Norwich, which restored the school to Bund, Dean of Thetford.

On Friday, a reading of that letter became one of the focal points of a service to celebrate the school's 900th anniversary.

There were also hymns, bible readings and a medieval plainchant from headteacher Gareth Price and head of music, Dr Marie Stoppard, for a school which has produced alumni including Thomas Paine and Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk.

The service concluded with a recital of the school song, Loyaute Me Oblige.

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Mr Price said the school could be proud of its roots and traditions, describing it as a 'small, friendly, family-based community'.

'There are so many changes it has gone through and acknowledging the 900 year legacy is vitally important.

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'Our role is about sending young people out into the world to be good citizens, and the school has done that throughout its history,' he said.

Dignitaries including Sylvia Armes, mayor of Thetford and Robert Kybird, chairman of Breckland Council, attended the ceremony.

Mr Kybird, a former pupil at the school and current governor, said the school was somewhere students made friends for life.

'I think it's great to celebrate the school's long history. The site itself changes but it's always familiar.

'We have an annual dinner which regularly brings more than 100 former pupils and it's always been a very warm, friendly environment,' he said.

Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, spoke at the ceremony to tell pupils the importance of education.

'School is a placeof friendship, learning, and the enrichment of our lives,' he said.

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