Our history

The History of the Family of Haberdashers' Monmouth Schools

William Jones was born in Newland, Gloucestershire in the sixteenth century.  He grew up in Monmouth and became fond of the town.  A haberdasher by trade, he eventually became a very successful member of The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.  At that time, Monmouth was a centre of Catholicism, but William was a staunch Protestant and not afraid to be seen as such.  He was a great believer in the Puritan ethic of ‘giving back to society’ and the Schools in Monmouth are testament to this philosophy.

In 1613, towards the end of his life, he bequeathed £6,000 to be spent locally for charitable purposes, appointing the Company as Trustee.  He provided another £3,000 in his will, and this time included a school in his list of objectives.  The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, as Trustees, bought a site for the school in Monmouth and organised the building work, for which they sent bricklayers down from London who were paid per thousand bricks laid.  Finance for the school came from the Manor of Hatcham Barnes (now New Cross, London) which the Company bought in 1614.  The Manor then consisted of farms and woodland, and it was the annual rent from these farms which covered the running costs of the school.

Founded under James 1 in 1614, Monmouth School for Boys was originally a grammar school.  It was rebuilt in 1865, and as a result of rising revenues from the developing New Cross area in London, the foundation was reorganised in 1891.  In addition to Monmouth School for Boys, the foundation could now support a new girls’ school and an elementary school in the town, as well as a school for West Monmouthshire and Pontypool.  The girls’ school opened in temporary premises at Hardwick House in Monmouth in 1892, while the Company negotiated for a permanent site and put up buildings, to which the girls moved in 1897.  These buildings are still the landmark ‘on the hill’, the origin of Monmouth School for Girls.

The elementary and Pontypool schools were transferred to the County Council in 1940 and 1955 respectively, leaving only Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth School for Girls in the foundation.  The two schools acquired Direct Grant status in 1946, and their finances improved from the 1950’s, partly as a result of the Company’s decision gradually to sell off the New Cross estate.  The Schools became Independent in 1976.  In 1997, Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep & Nursery joined the family.

The endowment from the William Jones Foundation enables the Schools to continue to improve their facilities, and offer an excellent education whilst ensuring very competitive fees.  The Haberdashers’ Company takes a great interest in its schools and the Master and other members visit the schools regularly, on Deputation days, Speech Days and other important occasions.  The Master is an ex officio member of each Governing committee.  The Company provides a wide range of scholarships, including Travel scholarships and bursaries.  In special cases, financial assistance is available to enable past pupils to continue their university studies.

We are immensely grateful to our benefactor and very proud to be known as Haberdashers’ Schools.

An excerpt from the article ‘Where to Educate our Girls and Boys’ taken from ‘The Lady’ magazine – 30th September 1897

In 1891 the Commissioners got out a new scheme, under the Endowed Schools Act, and speedily built a splendid Grammar School, rich in exhibitions and scholarships, at Monmouth.  The tuition fees are only £6 yearly, and to families who reside in Monmouth and its immediate neighbourhood this sum represents the total cost of a very complete course of teaching and training.  Accommodation for one hundred boarders and day scholars has been contemplated to begin with, but the buildings have been planned with a view to extension, and as soon as the scope and advantages are known throughout the length and breadth of England and the Colonies, that extension will be required.

The Headmistress , Miss Lückes, [pictured above] who is an old Cheltenham student, tries to know the pupils individually, to help them profit by the advantages of school life, and to take an interest in the welfare of the School, so that they may gain that esprit de corps and power of working with others which will make them useful and unselfish women, ready in the spirit of the foundation motto to “Serve and Obey.”

History of the Haberdashers Company

The Company, whose patron saint is St Catherine of Alexandria, most probably had its roots in a fraternity which worshipped at St Paul’s Cathedral; certainly two of this fraternity’s Wardens in 1389 were prominent Haberdashers.  Members were haberdashers by trade.  They sold ribbons, beads, purses, gloves, pins, caps and toys.  Then, in 1502, they were joined by the hatmakers’ fraternity, and after that there were two types of haberdasher: haberdashers of hats, and the original haberdashers of small wares.  The Company had the right to search all haberdashers’ shops within three miles of the City, and to destroy goods which were not up to standard.

Like other Companies, as the Haberdashers became more successful they collected the status symbols appropriate to the times.  Their first surviving ordinances were recorded by the Mayor’s Court in 1371.  In 1446 they adopted their first coat of arms (an important visual symbol when many adults could not read), and in 1448 Henry VI granted a charter of incorporation.  This charter entitled the Company to hold land, and so to have its own Hall for meetings.  Of course, other arms and charters have been granted since then.  The present arms date from 1503 (with crest and supporters added in 1570), and the current charter from 1578.

Please follow the link to view the Haberdashers’ website: http://www.haberdashers.co.uk/

1200 1199 John Late 13th century, Monnow Bridge was built.
1216 Henry III
1272 Edward I
1300 1307 Edward II 1371 Earliest records of an organised fraternity of Haberdashers in the area around St Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.

1387 Henry V born in Monmouth Castle.

1327 Edward III
1377 Richard II
1399 Henry IV
1400 1413 Henry V
1422 Henry VI 1448 Henry VI granted the Haberdashers’ Fraternity a charter of incorporation.

1459 The first Haberdashers’ Hall was built in Maiden Lane, London.

1461 Edward IV
1483 Edward V
1483 Richard III
1485 Henry VII
1500 1509 Henry VIII 1564 William Shakespeare born.
1547 Edward VI
1553 Lady Jane Grey
1553 Mary I
1558 Elizabeth I
1600 1603 James I 1613 The first William Jones bequest – to fund schools in Monmouth.

1614 Monmouth School for Boys founded

1625 Charles I
1649 Interregnum(Oliver Cromwell)
1660 Charles II 1666 Haberdashers’ Hall destroyed in Great Fire of London

1671 Second Haberdashers’ Hall built on same site as first.

1685 James II
1689 William III and Mary II
1700 1702 Anne 1802 Lord Nelson visits Monmouth.


1714 George I
1727 George II
1760 George III
1800 1820 George IV
1830 William IV
1837 Victoria 1856 Monmouth School for Boys rebuilt.

1892 Monmouth School for Girls founded

1897 Monmouth School for Girls moved to present location and buildings

1900 1901 Edward VII
1910 George V
1936 Edward VIII
1936 George VI 1940 Second Haberdashers’ Hall destroyed in air raid.

1946 Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools acquire Direct Grant status.

1952 Elizabeth II 1956 Third Haberdashers’ Hall opened.

1976 Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools become fully independent.

1990 Monmouth School Girls’ Prep moves to their new building

1998 Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep & Nursery joined the Haberdashers’ Family of Schools.

2000 2002 The fourth Haberdashers’ Hall is completed.

2009 Monmouth School Boys’ Prep, moves to new building.

2014 400th anniversary of Monmouth School for Boys

2017 125th anniversary of Monmouth School for Girls

2018 Monmouth Schools Sixth Form launches with co-educational teaching

2021 Fully co-educational Monmouth Prep School opens