Our History

  • 1934 the date we moved to our present site on a 200-acre estate to the north-west of London

  • 15 total number of pupils when the School opened in 1788

RMS has an exceptional, unusual and distinguished history.

The School became an open fee paying school in 1978 and accepts girls from all backgrounds and faiths. The majority of families associated with the School have no links with Freemasonry, with our name now largely being a reference to our past. 

RMS is one of the oldest girls’ schools in the country. Founded by Chevalier Ruspini in 1788, the School's original purpose was to educate the daughters of Freemasons who were unable to support their families through death, illness or disability.

The School started with fifteen pupils and a matron in Somers Place in East London and moved twice within London until it finally settled in the magnificent grounds of Rickmansworth Park, Hertfordshire, in 1934.  

With 315 acres of stunning grounds, Rickmansworth Park once surrounded a stately home. The School was purpose built on its site, making the most of its generous land.  With over 3000 trees, rolling grassland and exceptional facilities, the staff and students are indeed blessed to live and work in such a beautiful place. When the School was designed, the size, scale and quality of the buildings was generous to a fault; come and visit the acoustically magnificent chapel with its organ and delicate frescoes, the impressive Great Hall and the Dining Hall with its exquisite cameos of deer, rabbits and plants.  The Garth is home to the boarding houses and our well equipped Resource Centre and beyond is our state of the art Sports and Fitness Centre.

But it is not just about buildings; we are a school which embraces its traditions while looking forward to the future.  Keep reading, and learn about Drill and the tradition of the Ashlar...... or read our School Historian's blog here

Our School Historian has also written a book about the School: 'Polished Cornerstones: a history of The Royal Masonic School for Girls'. Available in A4 paperback, with over 300 pages and many colour illustrations, it tells the story of the School from its earliest days in 18th century London through to the 21st century.

Order a copy of 'Polished Cornerstones: a history of The Royal Masonic School for Girls'.

History Trails

The History Trails build up a story around the life events of some of the many former pupils of the School from before 1911.

It looks at the areas in which they lived or with which they are connected and perhaps events that they may have witnessed, the style of clothing they may have been wearing or the people they may have known.

Click on the names below to read the stories.

Sophie Anderson

The Bridgeman Sisters

Mary and Eliza Chase

Mary Claisen

The Clark Sisters

Lucy Clemence

Melora Collings

Arabella Cummins

May Downes

Mary Kierulff

Maria Louisa Flintoft

Alice Kent

Lizzie Lamplough

Betty Lang

Hilda Liverd

Bessie Locke

Clara and Elizabeth Measor

Mabel Messenger

Mabel Osmond

The Pattison Girls

Grace Robinson (nee Abbott)

Catherine Robinson-Thompson

Frances Sansum

Ida Tucker

Ellen Wadham

Mary Woodman

Daughters on the Stage

The Missing Mariner's Daughter

Martha's Story


RMS Chapel History

If you are interested in finding out more about the Chapel at RMS, our School Historian and Archivist has compiled a fascinating history, from the Chapel's consecration to more up to date events such as the stunning WW1 Centenary poppy tribute which was created using poppies made by every member of the School which formed a cascade across the altar.

Read our Chapel History here

In addition, the font from the Chapel of the old Royal Masonic School for Boys in Bushey now sits proudly in the Chapel Quad at RMS. This has happened thanks to great persistence from Gordon Metcalf, and hard work from Billy Lees and the Estates Staff.

Daily Life for Nineteenth Century RMS pupils

A History of the RMS House Names

Harris? Zetland? If you'd like to find out more about the origins of our School's house names, click here

Treasured Things

"Treasured Things" is your chance to share with the School community your special memory of RMS - it could be a place, a symbol, an event, or even a sound.

Examples can be found on this presentation, which include the May blossoms around Zetland, the Chapel choir stalls, and the "Virtuous Acts" clock.

We invite all members of the community to share their memories with us here

Dorothy Mortimer Watson

Dorothy Mortimer Watson was a pupil at the School from 1896 to 1904.  She served as a nurse in the First World War and died in 1913,  A memorial to her was unveiled in the School Chapel on the centenary of here death.

More about Miss Watson and her memorial can be found here

The setting successfully provides a stimulating, happy and caring environment were all children are encouraged to reach their full potential ISI Early Years Report

Contact RMS

The Royal Masonic School for Girls

Rickmansworth Park

01923 773168
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