Discover our History
Step back into time to discover who we are...
Collyer’s has a long and fascinating history in Horsham that is integral to the fabric of our community. We were founded in 1532 during the reign of King Henry VIII in the will of London Mercer and Merchant Richard Collyer “… to keep a Free Scole in Horsham in the Countie of Sussex where I was borne”. Richard Collyer became Third Warden of The Mercers’ Company in 1528, five years before his death in 1533.
The original Tudor school was built next to St Mary’s Church at the heart of the town, with 60 pupils all in one large classroom taught entirely in Latin. Our first master – Richard Brokebanke – was appointed in 1541 following Apposition led by Richard Jones, then High Master of St Paul’s School, a fellow Mercers’ School.
Over the last five centuries Collyer’s has prospered and benefitted greatly from the support and guidance of The Mercers’ Company. In the mid-1500s we survived the Dissolution of the Chantries. In the late 1500s our then master James Alleyn raised a militia against the Spanish Armada. During the 17th and 18th centuries the school grew and was refurbished before being completely rebuilt in 1840 at the original site, and then moving in 1893 into the ‘new’ grammar school building on Hurst Road that it currently occupies.
In 1976 the grammar school converted to become a mixed sixth-form college and is now one of the leading sixth-form colleges in the country with over 2,000 students. Over the coming years we look forward to celebrating three key milestones:
2022 100th anniversary of the Old Collyerians’ Association (OCA)
2026 50th anniversary of conversion to a sixth-form college
2032 500th anniversary of foundation by Richard Collyer