Connaught Connections

Ninety years ago exactly, on July 16th, the foundation stone for the School at Ricky was laid by the Duke of Connaught, the Grand Master and President of the Institution. Fifteen School prefects attended the ceremony, accompanied by some members of staff, travelling from Clapham for the occasion. The largest part of the audience were some 3000 Freemasons, clearly from across the world as an American Freemason there said “This is a sight I do not think I will ever forget…” Whether he meant the convocation of so many international Masonic representatives or the formal stone-laying ceremony is not recorded.

Formal it certainly was with a large marquee and banks of seating positioned approximately where the teaching corridor now meets the Dining Hall quad. The original mansion, Park House, and its gardens were still in existence, evidenced by photographs taken by those visiting prefects. As is still the case today, they were more concerned about photographing themselves than the event or the surroundings which were later demolished!

The only picture of the actual ceremony is a very grainy image from Machio 1931.

Of the ‘full Masonic ceremony’, we know that the foundation stone was placed in the centre of the dais. ‘Punctually at three o’clock the procession entered the marquee’ and everything thereafter followed a protocol including the placing of coins and a ‘roll of papers’ in the cavity in the stone. The coins are symbolic of wished for prosperity and part of most stone-laying ceremonies. Without levering the foundation stone from its current place and looking underneath, the roll of papers must remain a mystery.

‘The Assistant Grand Secretary handed the trowel to the architect Bro. Denman, who presented it to the Grand Master, who spread the cement on the lower stone. The upper stone was then lowered and adjusted by the Grand Supt. Works.’

All terribly formal and including ceremonial use of a maul, square, level and plumb rule. The maul ensures the stone is set into place, the square and level ensure its correct position and the plumb rule that it is level.

The stone is then consecrated with corn, wine, oil and salt. A quick dash through the Old Testament shows that Psalms LXXII, v.16 contains the reference to corn – “I scatter Corn on this Stone, the emblem of plenty …’; Numbers, Chap. XV, v.7 contains the wine reference – ‘I pour wine on this Stone, the emblem of joy and gladness … and may we ever dwell together in peace and unity.’ The oil is next (Exodus, Chap. XXX, v.25-26) with the words ‘I pour Oil on this Stone, the emblem of charity’. The salt is from Leviticus, Chap. II, v.13 – ’I sprinkle Salt on this Stone, the emblem of hospitality and friendship’.

The stone is then a foundation and the rest of the building may be constructed upon it.

The Duke of Connaught’s name is also preserved elsewhere in the School. One of the boarding houses is named in his honour (Connaught, not surprisingly) but also the Head Teacher’s residence is called Strathearn House after him. What is known as the ‘royal window’ in the Great Hall contains his coat of arms.

Portrait by Philip de László, 1937

Prince Arthur was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. His title, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, was bestowed on him in 1874. He was additionally Earl of Sussex and, as Governor General of Canada, was given the title Chief of the Six Nations by the Iroquois as well as the honorary name Kavakoudge, ‘the sun flying from east to west under the guidance of the Great Spirit’.

In the same year his ducal title was granted, Prince Arthur also became a Freemason, beginning an illustrious Masonic career including being elected Grand master no less than 37 times.

Image from

He died on 16 January 1942 at Bagshot Park, at the age of 91 years, the last surviving child of Queen Victoria.

Image from

The mention of Bagshot Park brings the Connaught connection of the title. Researching individual pupils –the girls being a major part of the School’s history – Bagshot Park came up in connection with the death of Hilda Edith Mary Hayward’s father in 1908. Richard Hayward’s probate gave his residence as Bagshot Park although his death had occurred at Frimley Sanatorium. Knowing that Bagshot Park was a royal residence (currently occupied by the Earl and Countess of Wessex), this set the curiosity antenna a-quivering, eventually uncovering more than one royal residence for the Hayward family.

Richard Hayward came from relatively humble stock in West Bromwich. His father was an ironworker and they lived in Richard St, Wednesbury in 1871. As his father was also Richard, there were a lot of Richards in this one household! The family was still there in 1881 but by 1891, Richard Jnr was in Carlton House Terrace, St Martin in the Fields as footman to Henry Byng, Colonel Equerry to the Queen. Quite how he made the leap from son of a tinman at the ironworks in Wednesbury to Carlton Terrace is probably destined to remain a mystery.

Image citation ‘Plate 68: Carlton House Terrace, east block facing the Mall’, in Survey of London: Volume 20, St Martin-in-The-Fields, Pt III: Trafalgar Square and Neighbourhood, ed. G H Gater and F R Hiorns (London, 1940), p. 68. British History Online [accessed 27 June 2020].
Carlton Terrace – or the geographical position thereof – has another connection to the School’s history. The land on which it was built had once been part of the grounds of St James’s Palace, and previously occupied by Carlton House, home to George IV (whilst Regent)  – and next door neighbour of Bartholomew Ruspini!

Henry Byng died in 1899 and by 1901, Richard Hayward is listed as a valet to the Duke of Connaught. Whether he moved to that position after Byng’s death or before is unclear. In 1898 he had married Ada Jane Bailey so perhaps as a young married man he was keen to seek promotion. In 1901 Richard and Ada and their eight month old daughter Hilda are in Dublin at the Royal Hospital, Usher’s Quay. This is how the census records it although the Royal Hospital and Usher’s Quay do appear to be in slightly different places.

Above: the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, now housing the Museum of Modern Art
image of Usher’s Quay by Guiseppe Milo on Flickr

The Royal Hospital was a military establishment and the Duke of Connaught was there so this makes sense but it is unclear whether the one in Kilmainham today is the same place.

Richard Hayward was clearly a man going places as in 1906 he is recorded as a member of Stuart Lodge and listed as Personal Attendant to HRH Duke of Connaught in his residence of Clarence House.

Clarence House. Above left, in 1874; above right, as it is today as the London home of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Sadly, his career was cut short by his death in 1908 in Frimley Sanatorium. This was part of the Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest, Brompton, ‘built according to the best principles of the day, with four wings in an X shape so that all wards were south-facing, with plenty of large windows and balconies in order to support open air treatment …’

Richard was buried in Bagshot St Ann’s but his family continued to live in Bagshot Park after his death as Ada and her son are listed there in 1911 in a seven room house. However, there is some discrepancy in the information as the Hayward son Richard (who was actually 5) is listed as being 38 and a gardener! It looks as if Ada started to fill the return in and signed it but another hand has added information and somewhere along the line complete garbage has resulted. The assumption can be made that the Hayward family had been given a grace and favour residence at Bagshot Park whilst Richard was working for the Duke and they continued to live there for a while after his death.

Hilda was listed as a pupil at the School in 1911. She was due to leave in 1916 but was retained as a pupil teacher in the Senior school to assist with music teaching and subsequently became the Silver medallist in 1917. She moved to the Junior School but, perhaps deciding that a teaching career was not for her, left in 1918 and entered the Accountant General’s Office. In 1923, ill health intervened and she was forced to give up work for a while but the following year she took up employment in an insurance office.

In 1938, she married Percy Rockliff, ‘Secretary to Approved Societies [&] Director of Public Companies’, and is found in the 1939 register at Dalbrook, Gordon Avenue, Harrow. There also appears to be a 2nd residence @ 7 Devonshire Place, Eastbourne. Members of the family are listed by The London Gazette as directors of a bank in 1938.

Hilda died on 28 January 1987 in Worthing, bringing to an end the Hayward connection to School history. Although the School motto did not exist at Hilda’s time as a pupil, it seems to have some resonance for a childhood spent in various royal palaces. Circumornatae ut similtudo templi is rendered by the King James’ Bible as ‘That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style’. If Hilda could be said to be ‘sculptured in palace style’ because of her Connaught connection, it makes her a polished cornerstone in more than one sense.

A light on windows?

We should begin with three definitions:

  1. Window light – a pane of glass which has been installed in a window frame
  2. stained glass – ‘the colored [sic] glass used for making decorative windows and other objects through which light passes’
  3. 3. numbers – arithmetical values representing a particular quantity and used in counting and making calculations.

Bear with (as the modern phrasing has it) – this may all become clearer. Or may not.

As the School approached its first one hundred years, consideration was given as to how this could be commemorated. It was decided that, as accommodation was tight because of growing school roll, more building was required and this could be combined with the Centenary. Amongst other buildings that came to fruition about this time was a Hall, at first called the Centenary Hall, later the Alexandra Hall. Once the principle was established and following a very successful centenary festival, it was decided that this hall should have stained glass window décor. Edward Frampton was commissioned to design and create the windows and

The Freemason, January 25 1890

This was more formally given as:

The Freemason Feb 1 1890

Then started a flurry of activity that continued for some years as decisions were made by lodges about this, funds were received, artwork commissioned and so on. But how many windows and where in the Hall they were has been something of a conundrum, particularly while Lockdown is preventing access to the Minutes which might provide a definitive answer.

The Freemason, January 25 1890 tells us:

Those of you with enough fingers and toes and an ability to do multiplication may at this point be saying “But …” because six times nine is not 144. It wasn’t in 1890 and it isn’t now.

In October 1890, the number 144 is used again (The Freemason Vol XXV)

On this occasion there is no reference to the six windows with the 9 compartments so the total of 144, whilst unsubstantiated in this article, may be perfectly accurate with the evidence not recorded here as being unnecessary for the purpose.

Let’s deal with six windows issue first.

An image of the completed Hall shows three large windows. For there to have been six windows, it would require another three windows at the eastern end of the Hall to make 6 x 9. But it doesn’t take a mathematical genius to see that only two of the windows have nine compartments, the other having considerably more. Even then, the two lateral windows have nine larger panels but a further six smaller lights which may, or may not, have had designs incorporated, so a possible total of 15 lights in both left and right windows. For the record, the central window has 37-39 lights in it (depending whether you count the very small ones formed by the tracery). If this were replicated at t’other end, we would have 134-138 panes which is close to the mysterious 144 but not exact. An image of the Hall in use in 1931 gives us an indication of the light source from the windows and implies (but does not confirm) that there were windows only at one end of the Hall.

However, when it comes to adding up the numbers of windows, there were also two banks of 7 windows on either side of the Hall which, to judge from a magnified image, all had six panes with the possibility of three smaller ones at the top.

Multiply this by 14 – hang on, where’s the calculator – and we have between 84 and 124 lights down the sides of the hall. And this then needs adding to the previous totals so we are bandying about numbers ranging from 151-262. At this point it is becoming like the folklore of stone circles – that anyone attempting to count the number of stones will be unable to do so.

In The Freemason 1891, we have a detailed description of the Hall which includes

Somebody ran out of fingers and toes when counting these! It does, however, imply that the windows were only at one end of the Hall.

It goes on to describe the contents of the larger panels

As these four designs are non-Masonic as it were, we might imagine that they were the ones forming a cross-shape in the larger window. This is by no means a certainty just some educated guesswork in the absence of any other confirmation.

Before we move on, there is another little mystery here. Faith, Hope and Charity are referred to as the theological virtues used by Paul in his letters to the Corinthians of which “the greatest of these is love.” But the four acts of Charity are trickier to define. There are four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Courage, Temperance and Justice) and there are also the works of mercy, divided into corporal and spiritual, but usually grouped in six or seven. Precisely what was meant here by the four acts of Charity is unclear. The first four of the corporal acts of mercy seem appropriate to the School, relating as they do to the objects of the masonic charity: providing food, water, clothing and shelter. Visiting the sick or the imprisoned and burying the dead was rather to be hoped didn’t happen much in the School’s history although, sadly, the first and last of these did from time to time.

If these windows did indeed contain portraits as we understand the word, they have not survived. Neither have the acts of Charity and the Faith, Hope etc. Unless a window in School today but not in the Great Hall is one of these.

This window is believed to be the work of Arthur Anselm Orr, who worked with Frampton as well as others, but there is no date for it nor any certainty that it represents anything specific nor that it was ever anywhere but in the present School.

In two other panels at Clapham were the arms of Grand Lodge and the Prince of Wales.

The first of these has definitely survived: it is pictured above left as found in the Great Hall today. As coats of arms belong to an individual, the arms of the Prince of Wales are adapted to each prince and alter as he succeeds to the throne.

However, and it probably doesn’t need pointing out, all of these total 11 in a 15-pane arrangement so we are four adrift.

Finally we get to the ‘144’ windows! But just when you thought it safe to go back in the water as far as numbers were concerned, we must fast forward through the School’s history. When, in due course, RMIG outgrew the Clapham site and it was decided to move the whole shebang to Hertfordshire, the windows came too. Or more exactly, the windows went ahead of the School as a pupil in Machio 1932 noted in ‘A Masonic Alphabet’ of which:

All of the sections were re-assembled in the Great Hall with new interconnecting pieces and descriptive calligraphy by Louis Ginnett ROI and Elizabeth Tatchell.

But wait a minute! This glass panel refers to the number of armorial shields transferred. 97?? What happened to the 144? Were some dropped along the way in a vitreous oops butterfingers moment? Let’s count the armorial shields in the Great Hall today.

Oh dear.


So neither 144 nor 97 but an entirely different number. Definitely all armorial bearings of which 48 represent Masonic Provinces, 71 are individual lodges and 15 are found in what is known as the Royal Window reserved for the important bods. But nowhere do we see 97 or 144. And if 97 shields were transported from Clapham but there are 134 in the Great Hall today, which are the 37 that appear to be unique to Rickmansworth? There are possibly 8 in the royal window but that still leaves 29 to find.

The quest is on. Or as Sherlock Holmes might say – the game’s afoot! (But Shakespeare used it first.)


(With grateful thanks to Phillip for providing many additional resources.)

Drill – the extra bits

Each performance of Drill is timed perfectly and lasts 20 minutes. But with such a long standing tradition, writing about it takes two blog posts!

Whilst Drill was not unique to the School when it started out, it seems likely that no other schools have anything like it today. The closest might be Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore which has some movements that are similar. However, their Gym Drill is described on their own website as

The Middle and Upper School perform an all-school dance and school exercises which have been performed since 1904

There are elements that are more like cheerleading movements than the marching exercises performed at RMSG but as trainees under Madame Bergman-Osterburg came from, and disseminated to, all corners of the world, it is quite possible that the origins were once closely aligned.

Martina Bergman-Osterburg

This image, dated 1880, is the earliest photograph of Drill apparently being performed. One has to say ‘apparently’, as this may be a posed image, possibly including every girl in the School at the time, and there are no records anywhere of it being performed outdoors. Clearly, if this were a performance, someone would have had to have wheeled out two grand pianos for the accompanying music!

This brings us nicely onto the music. In the C19th and perhaps the earlier part of the C20th, the music was played by senior girls. By the later part of the C20th, that task fell to music teachers. The pianists required skill not just to read and play the music but, if necessary, to speed up or slow down tempo if the Drillers were a little too enthusiastic or tardy in performance. On one occasion, some Senior girls decided, out of mischief, to repeat some of the exercises more times than normal. Valerie Curtis, music teacher from 1958, later commented that she had thought the Drill was taking a little longer than usual but she just fitted the music to the movement being performed!

In 1980, it was decided to try recorded music. With some trepidation Miss Curtis was asked if she would mind being made redundant. The nervousness was uncalled for as Val was delighted to be freed from the task of turning up to every rehearsal on time and thumping out music on a keyboard!

This sample of Drill music is from 1933 although the book is dated 1916.

In 1982, Hooked on Classics – classical music given an up tempo treatment by Louis Clark – was storming the charts. The Drill was re-worked to this music which now includes the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, March of the Toreadors from Bizet’s Carmen, the Blue Danube Waltz, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Sousa’s The Liberty Bell, Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 and The Dam Busters. About 30 years later, the opportunity arose to tell Mr Clark how his musical treatment had been utilised.

“He was genuinely intrigued and delighted to know that his musical arrangements had helped to popularise Drill, giving pleasure to so many over such a long period of time.”

Drill is a special part of life at RMSG but that does not mean that it is a fixed entity which no-one dare change. It is said that former pupils watch the performances with eagle eyes, later declaring that it wasn’t as good as in their day but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

However it can, and does, change according to need.

This movement is no longer included although, as this image from the Great Hall shows, still was in the 1930s. In 1937, as a special, the staff performed a version of drill for the girls. The School magazine records the apparent astonishment of the watching pupils as, in slow motion, the staff touched their toes!

This is the wheel performed in the very earliest days at Rickmansworth (no portraits on the wall gives that away). It was not performed for Prize Day 1934 (then in May) as there had not been enough rehearsal time since the School had only arrived on site in April. However, it was performed when Queen Mary opened the School – on a wet, miserable, rainy summer day. Some of the spectators here appear to be dressed appropriately for British summer: raincoats and warm clothing!

With performances stretching back as far as at least 1876, there have been many notable spectators. In 1888, the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) watched it. In 1946, his grandson, George VI watched it.

The King was in what has become known as the King’s Chair – one of the Caledonian chairs presented to the School in 1795. On the back of this chair is recorded a list of the illustrious royal bottoms that have sat upon it to watch Drill: Queen Mary in 1912 and again in 1934; the Princess Royal in 1927; George VI in 1946; Princess Marina in 1948.


With any well-established tradition, there have been those not normally part of a hard-working team who want to participate. In 1934, in celebration of the School being about to move to Rickmansworth, Drill was performed backwards with Drillers wearing masks on the backs of their heads. The teaching staff, as we have seen, have performed it for pupils. In the 1990s, the staff were again challenged, their numbers added to by parents, to a charity performance. Given the all too few rehearsals and fewer than 180 drillers to make the formations, their performance was given grudging praise in the comment “Hey, they’re not bad.”

Year Two pupils, in learning about the School’s history, had a go at some of the movements …

… and learned first-hand that it takes practice to be synchronised!

Drill has even been on the radio. Fighting Fit, broadcast on Radio 4 on 28th May 2005, heard presenter Fi Glover discovering that

“getting the rights and lefts going in sequence, the tippy toes turning, the arm movements in the right order and making sure it is all done in time with the music and in line with everyone else is jolly difficult.”

Rehearsal is vital to make sure each Driller knows where she should be at any given moment so let us give special praise to those Reserves who attend all the rehearsals, turn up immaculately attired for the performances and may not actually be in one. Their dedication is crucial as they might have to slot into any one of the 180 places making the performance seamless. As one of them said:

“… nothing prepares you for the moment when [you are told] ‘You’re East 71.’ You think, where the heck’s that? Am I an up or a down line in the arm things and am I a 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1?”

And sometimes things can go wrong. One former pupil recalled with horror the time her shoe fell off when the Princess Royal was watching. The lady in question winked in sympathy but the girl herself felt devastated. But full marks for quick thinking for the Driller who had forgotten her short white socks so painted her ankles with plimsoll whitener!

Drill performances are three in number: Prize Day and Remembrance Sunday are two. The other arose from what had been a full rehearsal on the Wednesday before Prize Day but, as it proved equally as popular with spectators as the other two performances, it became one in its own right.

On Remembrance Sunday, the set square and compass position is held whilst a speech is given (the speaker being implored to keep it brief to prevent girls from keeling over in a faint), Point is rewarded with a little gift and the girls prepare to end the performance. After removing the poppies they are wearing and laying them at their feet, marching on the spot begins and, at the sound of a whistle, the Drillers leave the Hall. Their poppies remain, a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by many in war.

[Additional information to create these posts was supplied by three former Heads of PE at the school to whom grateful thanks are extended.]

Digging the Past

“… archaeology: The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artefacts and other physical remains.”

The School’s history doesn’t quite stretch back to prehistory – just the eighteenth century – but as a study of a particular element of human history, it makes for an endlessly fascinating metaphorical excavation to discover what is revealed when the surface is scraped back, the layers carefully exposed and considered in situ, the material sieved, the finds washed and labelled. All of which is a somewhat contrived way of connecting several different elements, all with an archaeological spin, related to RMSG history.

Let us begin, however, with pretend archaeology in the form of Indiana Jones. The first film in the sequence – Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – had scenes filmed at the School. Given that the main buildings have a decided 1930s appearance and the film is set then, this is not so surprising.

The School represented Marshall College where Professor Jones was teaching. (In IJ3, The Last Crusade, the School represents Barnett College where Professor Jones was teaching. Funny how two different colleges have such a similar look …) tell us that Indiana “meets with the Army Intelligence guys in the school’s Great Hall, where he’s informed of the German archaeological dig at ‘Tanis’.” There were also other places used. The Professor climbs out of window on the ground floor, which was then the Deputy Head’s office – 4th window from the right in the above image. In a part of the School not shown in the above image, Professor Jones is giving a lecture. This was filmed in what was originally a Science lecture room when the School was first built although it subsequently became, and still is, a Maths room. Its banked seating has since been removed but it was here that Harrison Ford’s character looks in astonishment at one of his female students who, by a slow blink, reveals that she has ‘I love you’ written on her eyelids. (

Very shortly after this scene, Indiana was off on his adventures again – via the window.

None of the IJ films are set in Palestine but this is nevertheless our next port of call. This is where an archaeologist, whose daughters became pupils, was based. Sadly, and unlike the films, this story does not end well. James Leslie Starkey was field director of the Wellcome-Marston Archeological expedition in Palestine and was working there at ‘Tell ed-Duweir, identified as Biblical Lachish, an important city of the Kingdom of Judah.” as compiled by Ros Henry 2008 tells us. In 1938 he was murdered en route to the opening of the new Palestine Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem. Depending on the sources used, this was either Arab militants or a rebel commander or possibly a lone wolf with a grudge. He had grown a long beard whilst in Palestine and one source suggests ‘it may have been this that caused him to be singled out and killed (on the basis that he was Jewish)’ Wikipedia’s information declares that a rebel commander from the ad-Dhahiriya area was held responsible by the British authorities. In addition to a lack of agreement about who perpetrated the act, there is disagreement about the manner of his death, with some quite lurid versions of it (Aberdeen Press and Journal 15 April 1938 describes it as ‘brutally slain’ at Beit Jibrin) but his family affirms that he was shot twice in the chest. He was buried in the Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, his funeral attended by hundreds of mourners and there was a memorial service in St Margaret’s Westminster in 1938 but, such was his impact, another memorial service was held in Jerusalem 50 years later.

Both of Starkey’s daughters subsequently arrived at the School, one leaving in 1948 and the other in 1951. It seems likely that their brother went to the Masonic Boys’ School as all three very much fitted the criterion for Masonic support.

It is possible, though unlikely, that during their time at the School, the Starkey girls encountered a member of staff called Elizabeth Wace. It is not clear when Miss Wace began teaching at the School but we know that she left in 1959. She became a member of the Old Girls’ Association which membership she retained until at least 1998. As she went from the School to become Director of the British School in Athens and then, subsequently to become ‘an authority in Mycenaean archaeology, especially pottery and terracotta figurines’ (Wikipedia), it seems probable she taught history. Whether the School was aware of her ‘pedigree’ is not recorded but Elizabeth was the daughter of Alan John Bayard Wace, a leading authority on Mycenae.

Professor A J B Wace, the archaeologist whose name will always be associated with the Mycenae excavations died on Saturday in Athens – The Times, 11 November 1957

When he first went to the British School at Athens early this century knowledge of Mycenaean civilization was still young (Dr F H Stubbings)

At the time Elizabeth Wace was listed as a member of staff at the School, the majority of the teaching staff were still former pupils although by this stage they were usually fully-trained. In earlier days, they became pupil teachers and learned their trade at the chalk face, as it were. Earlier in the 20th century, they began to undergo teacher training before returning to the School on the staff. But the days when the School attracted highly qualified professionals was yet to come. Elizabeth as the daughter and granddaughter (twice over) of professors may well have seemed like a flamingo amongst sparrows! Amongst other publications attributed to her is Well built Mycenae: the Helleno-British excavations within the citadel at Mycenae, 1959-1969 which has 70 editions between 1981-2013, as well as being published in translation in many countries. Her father had been appointed Director of the British School at Athens in 1914 and Elizabeth followed in his footsteps after leaving RMSG. Established in 1886, the BSA has been involved in a multitude of archaeological projects.

The final archaeological link with RMSG is archaeological fieldwork actually at the School. As part of Time Team’s Big Dig in June 2003, a group of pupils under the guidance of a local archaeologist set out to ascertain if the raised area of land on the Uppers really was part of a Roman road as had always been believed.

Following proper procedures, half a dozen or so girls began to explore the ground. The findings were all carefully recorded and any items washed and recorded. The girls discovered first hand that archaeological work is painstaking and time-consuming. Fortunately, the weather was kind. It might have been a very different story if it had been raining or scorching hot!

At the end of the day, the conclusion was that in all probability it was indeed a Roman road although the ‘classic’ elements of construction were absent. Later, a local archaeology group undertook a resistivity survey on the site and produced a report which concluded that all the evidence was in support of the view that it was Roman. Many years later, in a different part of the School, groundwork in preparation for an adventure playground showed what appeared to be a continuation of the road so that, long before the School was built – indeed long before anything was ever built in the parkland – a roadway crossed the site from north west to south east. As the current main road goes round the parkland, following boundaries established in the sixteenth century (with some adjustments over the years), it could be argued to be typical of Roman roads: don’t go round, go straight to your destination, without deviation. They probably wouldn’t have approved of this meandering, contrived account of RMSG archaeological connections!