Bingley Grammar School

History of the House System

457D3S_4864-The Bingley Grammar School house system is still prevalent with students competing in various house competitions year round.

The houses originated from the wealthy benefactors that contributed to the foundation of the school, a brief history of them can be found below:


Samuel Sunderland

A wealthy merchant coming originally from Halifax, he was an important figure in Bingley and one of the first named governors, and the robbery of his house in 1674 was a local sensation. A tablet in Bingley church tower refers to his many benefactions, which extended to places beyond Bingley. He had assigned a large amount of his property to trustees, but the gift was not to be effective until after his death. It was threefold: certain property in Bingley and Cullingworth was assigned to the use of the vicar of Bingley; some land in Manningham for the poor of Bingley; and a number of land and tenements in Heaton and Wilsden to be lawfully licensed to the Master of Grammar School of Bingley.

William Wooller

William was a native of Bingley, a town which was well established in the flourishing wool trade. The cloth was woven on looms in the farmhouses or in sheds attached to them; many of the substantial farmsteads round Bingley clearly date from this prosperous time. William Wooller later became a Merchant Adventurer, moving to York as a Freeman and later becoming a Chamberlain of the City. He died in 1597 and was buried in the South cross-aisle of York Minster where his monument read, " Here lyeth the body of William Wooller, late of the cittye of Yorke merchant who died the xxi day of December 1597, and did give liberal legacies to the poore of the cittye, to prisoners, and to the erection of free school in Bingley where he was born." In his will, William Wooller left a legacy to the inhabitants of Bingley town, which for twenty years after his death ensured the welfare of both the town's poor and that of the school.

John Milner

Originally of Clayton, John Milner fought to keep the original schoolbuilding, situated on the south side of the church, within his family. The deeds surrounding such building are unclear, however the building was donated to the chantry priest, who acted as schoolmaster at the time. John Milner is one of the earliest benefactors of the school in a time when government and church clashed. His efforts ensured the church retained use of the building until it could be passed that the governments view on education became of higher importance.

John Oldfield

Son of a well renowned local shoemaker, John Oldfield was named trustee to ensure the lands of the school were maintained following the work done by John Milner. He headed the list of trustees for many years, and was the main trustee of the Wooller lands following his death in 1597. John Oldfield ensured the efforts made in the early years of the school continued and became well established.