Records of St Peter's School, York

Scope and Content

The collection consists of an extensive series of school magazines and a commissioner's report from 1894. The school was also known as the Cathedral School of St Peter of York.

Administrative / Biographical History

St Peter’s School was founded by St Paulinus of York in 627 AD, on the same site as York Minster. Little is know about the school's early history.

In 705, St John of Beverley became Head Master. In 741 both the school and Minster burned down. Both were rebuilt by Archbishop Aelberht. In 778, Northumbrian scholar Alcuin became Head Master.

In 1289 the school moved from the site of the current nave of York Minster to a house near the Minster's east end.

The school was given a Royal Charter by Queen Mary in the sixteenth century, and in 1557 moved premises to new buildings in the Horsefair, just outside the city walls.

In 1644 the school buildings were destroyed in the Siege of York, part of the English Civil War. The boys were moved back inside the city walls and the school continued in Bedern, a former refectory and dormitory for clergy.

The school moved again in 1730 to the Bagnio, a Turkish bath on Coney Street, before a further move five years later to the disused church of St Andrew. In 1828 the school amalgamated with York Proprietary School in Clifton, and as part of the merger the new combined school moved to the beautiful buildings of the Proprietary School outside the city walls.

In 1901 the school acquired St Olave's Preparatory School. In 1922 a swimming pool was built, initially as an outdoor pool before being covered over in 1965. The school began to admit female pupils into its sixth form from 1976, and in 1987 St Peter's became co-educational at all levels.

St Peter's purchased Clifton School and Nursery in 1994, allowing continuous education for pupils from the ages of 3 to 18 for the first time. In 2001 St Olave’s moved to the Queen Anne site on the lower campus, so all three schools shared the same grounds.

Conditions Governing Access

Material is available subject to the usual terms and conditions of access to Archives and Local History collections.

Other Finding Aids

More detailed finding aids for this collection can be found online by searching the Explore website (

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Laura Yeoman, Archives and Local History Public Services Manager, May 2015.

Conditions Governing Use

Images are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Geographical Names