The Charter establishing the School was granted on 3rd August 1550. At “the humble petition of the inhabitants of the town of Bury Saint Edmunds” King Edward VI granted that there should be “a Grammar School in the said town of Bury Saint Edmunds which shall be called ‘the Free Grammar School of King Edward the Sixth’, for the education, management, and instruction of boys and youths in grammar for ever.”
Some clauses from the 1550 Statutes:
“1. Firstly let the Masters be good, let them teach their flock with diligence, and engraft good manners along with literature. 2. Let them abstain from dicing, playing, and drinking. 3. Let them not undertake the charge of any public office or private business, which may impede their diligence in teaching. 4. Let them neither rage with excessive harshness nor be bent by good nature to lenity.”
There followed a further 58 clauses of such details.
The first site of King Edward VI Grammar School in 1550 was a mediaeval Guildhall, The Ancient House, which still stands on the corner of Barn Lane as it joins Eastgate Street. A plaque marking this is to be seen on the front of the house, placed there some years ago by the Old Burians’ Association.
The second home of the King Edward VI Grammar School (from 1665 to 1883) was in Northgate Street (now known as St Michael’s Court). The niche above the front door once housed a bust of the Founder King with a Latin inscription beneath.
The third home of the King Edward VI Grammar School (from 1883 to 1972) was a new building at the Vinefields site which later became St James’s Middle School and St James Court. The photograph shows the Headmaster’s house with other school buildings in the background.
The School’s home since 1973 has been on the Grove Road site formerly occupied by the two Silver Jubilee Secondary Schools. The amalgamation of the three schools took place in 1972. The bust of King Edward VI (a new one made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897) is now over the inner door to the Lower Hall.
Since September 2019 A-level studies take place at Abbeygate Sixth Form College as well as West Suffolk College and SuffolkOne Sixth Form College, which comprise Eastern Colleges Group.