Towcester Grammar School is the oldest Grammar School in Northamptonshire and one of the oldest in the country. It became a comprehensive school and the name was changed to Sponne School when it joined with the Secondary School in 1969.
Its origin goes back to Archdeacon William Sponne who became Rector of St. Lawrence's Church, Towcester in 1422. He may have started teaching a few boys by the traditional date of the school foundation, 1430, and he had secured funding for his "preach and teach" chantry before his death in 1448. It was left to the executors of his Will to establish the Chantry House in 1451 to house two chaplains to say Mass for his soul.
When, a hundred years later, Henry VIII passed acts of parliament to dissolve the chantries exceptions were being made if they maintained a grammar school, preachers or poor people. Henry VIII's commissioners reported that the Chantry was 'Founded to maintain 2 Prestes, beyng men of good knowledge, the one to preache the Words of God, and the other to keep a grammar schole.' (Ref 2) The chantry was therefore not dissolved by Henry VIII and survived until 1548.
The school was based at the Chantry House building until 1867. It moved to new buildings in Brackley Road in 1890 and in 1919 wooden huts were built to expand the school. The photographs show these huts, from an aerial view and from the Brackley Road. The aerial view shows the playing field and the oak tree. The whole school was destroyed by a fire in 1923, and the replacement building, which was officially opened in 1928, is still in use as part of Sponne School.