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Latitude: 52.2918 / 52°17'30"N
Longitude: -3.9021 / 3°54'7"W
OS Eastings: 270368
OS Northings: 267670
OS Grid: SN703676
Mapcode National: GBR 90.XMXB
Mapcode Global: VH4G1.9NZF
Entry Name: Edward Richard Old Grammar School
Listing Date: 5 December 1963
Last Amended: 15 July 2004
Source ID: 9916
Building Class: Education
Location: Situated set back from road to W of St John's Church.
Community: Ystrad Meurig
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Present building 1812, with early C20 library addition. The grammar school had been endowed in the late C18 by Edward Richard (1714-1777), of Ystrad Meurig, scholar and poet, member of the "Augustan" circle of Welsh scholars. The school was at first held in the village church, along with Richard's important library of 700 books (now at Lampeter). Richard's endowment was linked with one of 1746 by Thomas Oliver. The famous schoolmaster John Williams (1745/6-1818), was educated at the school, became schoolmaster on the death of Edward Richard, and in 1812 subscriptions were raised by Williams to build the present building.
The school played an important role in preparing candidates for holy orders, and had a history as a college for ordinands, rather than a grammar school. Thomas Burgess, Bishop of St David's in early C19, began the licensing of grammar schools as colleges for Ministers, addressing the problem of the lack of well-educated, Welsh-speaking clergymen. It fell on hard times in the 1870s, described as with windows boarded up and the only classroom in ruins, but was reconstituted as a first grade school in 1881.
Old photograph of 1895 shows the front of rubble stone (described as whitewashed in early C19) with 4 timber Y-tracery leaded windows and door between, all pointed. Since then the left window has been obscured by new library block of earlier C20, and a flat-roofed porch covers the door. The whole front has been rendered and the three surviving windows reglazed to a different pattern. The interior in the early C19 had a raised platform at one end and a gallery at the other.
Single storey school building in stone, unpainted render to front and L side; slate roof; rendered end chimneys (that to L small). To R, three large Gothic windows, with earlier C20 small-pane glazing over paired square casements; plinth course below. Two horned sash windows to L end wall, R end has exposed rubble stone.
Rear parallel block (later) in matching stone.
To front (L), lower early C20 rendered library block projects with hipped slate roof. Three bays divided by raised wall-piers: front (E) has two 2 horned 8-pane sash windows and third bay obscured by porch, rear (W) has three sash windows. Flat-roofed rendered porch in angle has panelled door to front and horned sash window to R side.
Large schoolroom open to boarded ceiling. Two high blocked windows in rear wall, and doorway with deep splays; boarded dado. To L, early C19 wooden stair to gallery and former sleeping room (2 later windows to rear) over what was formerly library. Adjacent to stair, in rear wall, blocked Gothic window with small modern window opening.
Listed at Grade II* as early C19 grammar school building, an early use of Gothic in a Welsh school building, and particularly for the circumstances of its founding by an important Welsh scholar, and its subsequent history as college for candidates for holy orders.
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