Jedburgh Grammar School is situated in a town steeped in history. We know that the name Jedburgh, or rather one of its many earlier versions, Gedwearde, was mentioned by Ecred, bishop of Lindisfarne when he established settlements on the banks of Jed Water in 854. The abbey, whose ruins still dominate the south end of the town, was founded three centuries later in 1147 for the Augustinian Canons. That moment must also mark the beginning of institutional learning in Jedburgh for the canons were respected scholars of their time. To start with, however, they did not provide for the education of the lay youth of the town.
The town itself, as a significant political entity, also dates from from about this time. King David I recogised it as a royal burgh as early as 1150. Town and abbey, the secular and the sacred, coexisted in reasonable harmony through the medieval era, vulnerable to the same external threats. These were real enough during the wars of independence and came principally from the south.
The end of the fifteenth century saw the establishment of the first institution to bear the name Jedburgh Grammar School. It was a project of the abbey and the education provided by the monks (to boys only) was grammar, that is, Latin grammar, together with a basic grounding in Christian doctrine. Neither the abbey nor this first edition of JGS was to survive the next turbulent century.
What the English began with their destruction of the abbey the Scottish Reformation concluded. The abbey buildings never again housed a religious or educational community. But they did not cease to be a place of prayer. The Reformed church, now organised on Presbyterian lines, chose the nave of the ruined abbey as the site for the Jedburgh parish church. The new Protestant church carried on the educational tradition with its parish schools. In towns such as Jedburgh, these parish schools co-existed with burgh or grammar schools under the control of the town's heritors. So it was that the next edition of JGS came into being and taught generations of Jedburgh boys.
Fees were normally paid by the pupil's parents and the school master's earnings were derived directly from these. He could augment his income by offering board for students from out of town. A vivid picture of the life of JGS from 1809 to 1815 is given by the surviving correspondence of William Lorrain who was JGS schoolmaster during that time.
The education acts of the 1870s brought Scottish education under the unified state administration of the Scottish Education Department which gave rise to the third edition of JGS. Some of the buildings on the present site date from that period. There were a number of additions in the last century including what is now known as the Social Dining Area. This served as the town Primary School.These were major changes in the 1970 with the building of Rutherford (ROSLA) building and the main Sports Centre.In the 1990's an attempt to build a new school at another site was unsuccessful. Instead, a series of refurbishments and rebuilding has taken place over the last ten years resulting in the present site.The process is not yet complete, "Phase 6" is the redevelopment of the Social Dining Area. When this complete we will have a school to take us into the 21st Century.