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THE DIXIE GRAMMAR SCHOOL
ASSOCIATION
Founded 1984
© The Dixie Grammar School Association 2015        www.thedgsa.co.uk       info@thedgsa.co.uk
Mail: info@thedgsa.co.uk?subject=Information request.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL

The two main books on the history of the School, that of Hopewell, published in 1950 and Newman, published in 1967, state that there is a good reason to believe that a school existed in Bosworth as early as the eleventh century. This of course would not have been “The Dixie” as we know it today. A school was most probably founded around the time of Edward the Confessor, although according to Newman, there is the possibility that this was the revival of a much older school established by Alfred the Great, because there is strong evidence that there was a school at the time of Egbert, Alfred’s grandfather.

However as both Hopewell and Newman state frequently, this early history has no written records to support it; it is merely conjecture and as with so much history of this period, local legends play a large part. It is certain however that there was a school at Bosworth at that time and The Dixie may well have a legitimate claim to have been directly descended from it.


The earliest records we have of the School's existence date from 1320, but the School that we know gained its present name when it was re-founded in 1601 under the will of the Elizabethan merchant and Lord Mayor of London, Sir Wolstan Dixie.


According to Debrett’s, Thomas Wotton in 1771 asserted that “the Dixies were an ancient family descended from Wolstan, Earl of Ellenden, who married a sister of Egbert, the first king of England”. The earliest reference to the family is in Sir William Betham’s “The Baronetage of England, Volume 2”, published in 1802. From these records we find that Thomas Dixie had four sons. The youngest, Wolstan, was born in 1524. An intelligent young man (Newman) he was apprenticed to Sir Christopher Draper who came from Melton Mowbray and owned an estate in Leicestershire. Sir Christopher was to become Lord Mayor of London in 1566. Wolstan made sure of his success in life by marrying Sir Christopher’s daughter, Agnes, his co-heiress.

Wolstan met with great success in the fur trade and soon became an Alderman and then a Sheriff  of the City of London. In 1585 he became Lord Mayor, and as is customary for a Lord Mayor of London he was knighted.


Now a wealthy merchant, Sir Wolstan took a lively interest in education. He paid towards the building of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and was President of Christ’s Hospital, The Blue Coat School. He had acquired as part of his wife’s dowry an estate in Leicestershire. He purchased the manor of Bosworth and planned to make this his home. It was around this time that he began to take an interest in its ancient school. In 1593 he built a school-house and a residence for its schoolmaster. Unfortunately, the following year, he became a victim of the plague which was raging in London at the time.


There have been many distinguished former pupils including Thomas Hooker, founder of Hartford, Connecticut, and Father of American Democracy, and more recently Prof. Dame Carol Black DBE FRCP, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, Adviser on Work and Health at the Department of Health, England and Chair of the Nuffield Trust.

Dr. Samuel Johnson, author of the famous dictionary, taught at the School in the mid-eighteenth century.


The main School building we see today, in the market square of Market Bosworth, was built in 1828, and has become a well known feature of the town. The School which our members attended was closed in 1969 as part of Stuart Mason’s ‘Leicestershire Plan’ which heralded the implementation of comprehensive schools for secondary education.






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