The building is in the parish churchyard of St Oswald King & Martyr. Formerly called Holbache House, it was originally the site of Oswestry Grammar School founded in 1407.
Oswestry Town TIC
Oswestry Tourist information Centre is now located at Castle View, Arthur Street, SY11 1JR. The Centre is open on Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays. tel:00441691662753
History of the Building
David Holbache founded his Free School in 1407. It is believed that this building was the original with some of the structure dating from that time. It is the second oldest Grammar school in the country after Winchester.
Holbache was a pioneer in education as grammar schools were a new idea. Boys were taught Classics, especially Latin, diplomacy, English grammar and basic Mathematics. Archery would have been taught as it was required by law that all men be proficient in the longbow.
The first recorded headmaster was Reynolds ( 1537). In 1577 Queen Elizabeth took an interest by granting “of her Mercy forty shillings yearly towards the maytenance of the said Schoole”
During the Civil War Oswestry was a Royalist town. It was taken by the Parliamentarians and the headmaster was dismissed. In a letter held in the town Archives and signed by Oliver Cromwell it seems that the decision was political as the headmaster was re-instated during the Restoration in 1661.
The numbers outgrew the building so the school moved to its present site on Upper Brook Street.
By 1781 the building was used as a workhouse and by 1808 it was sold and used as a laundry. Then it became dwellings until 1950’s.
By the late 1970’s the building had fallen into disrepair but was bought and restored being used as a toy museum. Since then the building has been used as the Town Tourist Information Centre, exhibition space for local artists and a cafe. In 2020 the building closed for remedial work to the timber frame on the structure and is expected to re-open in 2021.