Our Royal Garden Party
27th June 2017
On the 27th of June, the Royal School of Dunkeld held a Royal Garden Party to commemorate 450 years of the school. We invited HRH Prince Edward and he came to our cathedral service and our Royal Garden Party. He was very friendly! First he had lunch at the drill hall, then he went to the cathedral service and finally he went to the Royal Garden Party! He arrived by helicopter and landed and got taken to the Drill Hall in the square for a buffet lunch which was organised by Tiffy and Flora Shedden with food provided by lots of local food producers. Next he went to a Cathedral Service which was led by Mr Penny. Molly Gauld, Darragh MacPhee and Ruaraidh Walker, who are all in Primary 7, did readings about the school. Pete Clark, who had written a new school song, performed this for everyone too. Laura Nicoll, who used to come to our school, also sang a Gaelic song.Then he was taken from the cathedral to the drill hall to meet members of the public. Eventually he arrived at the school and was played in by an amazing pipe band. The pupil council got to meet him in a Royal line up and he talked to us about our costumes. Nursery to Primary 7 all had tents with different themes: there was a 1960, 70s and 80s tent, A Mary Queen of Scots tent, a Victorian tent, a Jacobean tent and a WW1 and WW2 tent. HRH Prince Edward went around the different tents and saw all of our work that we have done over the past year. We had to get into character and act like someone from our time period. One person from each class went to represent their class in front of Prince Edward. We had a performance stage which each class got up and did an act from their time period. The Gaelic mod singers also sung their songs and Breadalbane Ceilidh Band also came and played for us. Faye Saba, from Primary 6, played Amazing Grace by herself on the bagpipes in the Tea Tent. At the end of the Garden Party, Prince Edward cut the ribbon on the Royal Lord Lyons patent which we recently had restored. Nursery also presented him with a silver tea caddy which they had engraved for him. The Royal Tea they had made was served to him in the Royal Tea Tent.
“It was really good and lots of people showed up even though it was raining.” Erin P6
“It was really fun meeting Prince Edward and it was fun talking to the parents about World War 1.” Elliot P6
“I really liked acting and being in role as a soldier.” Thomas P6
“I like singing Jonny Cope on the stage I really liked the song.” Rowan P5
“Prince Edward came with lots of security and police. Our class performed three songs for him. My favourite bit of the day was when he came into the P3/4 tent.” Tom P4
“My favourite bit of the day was when we did our show on the stage. I met Prince Edward and spoke to him.” Eilidh P3
“I liked listening to the people performing on the stage at the school. “ Lara P1
“Prince Edward came and I got to talk to him in our tent. He was very tall! We did two songs and one poem on the stage.” James P3
“When I was at home I felt nervous but when I was at The Garden Party I was excited.” Poppy, P2
Thank you to everyone who has helped to organise The Royal garden Party. It has been a fantastic community event and the support we have received has been overwhelming. There are too many people to thank individually but we would like to pay particular thanks to Fiona Ritchie who has led on the event. Her enthusiasm and support of the school has been invaluable and we couldn’t have done it without her. A massive thank you from all of the staff and pupils Fiona.
Happy Birthday to us!
On the 2nd of February we turned 450 years old. To celebrate this very special year we are busy in our classrooms learning about the history of our school. Each class is learning about a different time period of the school's history and we are busy creating a 'living museum'. On the 27th of June we are going to share our learning with the community at our very special Royal Garden Party and a celebratory cathedral service. Please keep an eye out for more exciting news to come.
You may have noticed that the school is looking a little brighter! Many thanks to Mr MacEwan, Mr Lyon, Fiona Ritchie, Callum and Ramsay for illuminating our school. The school will be lit up in the evenings in the run up to the Garden Party to mark this very special school year.
The seeds of Scotland’s educational history were sewn in the days of St. Columba in the latter half of the 6th century. One of Columba’s disciples established a monastic settlement near the Pictish fort on King’s Seat, overlooking the River Tay and present-day Dunkeld. The Abbots of Dunkeld were men of great learning, including Columba’s biographer St. Adamnan. A church school would certainly have existed there by the end of the 8th century, teaching music and Latin for the chanting of psalms. After 1127, when David I conferred the title of Cathedral on the church of Dunkeld, some notable scholars were appointed as Bishops to the See. The best known was Gavin Douglas, the Poet Bishop, who “in a barbarous age, Gave rude Scotland Virgil’s page” according to Sir Walter Scott. Such men would certainly have created a culture of learning at Dunkeld.
Bishop George Brown, Chancellor of Dunkeld Cathedral, founded a Grammar School in the early 16th century for the education of choristers. The precursor of today’s Royal School, this was located in the Cathedral Chapel of St. George until much of the Cathedral was destroyed in 1560 during the Reformation. A few years later, on 2nd February 1567, the Earl of Moray in the name of King James VI of Scotland granted a Royal Charter for a Grammar School "to be called for all time to come The Royal School of Dunkeld". At the same time the school came under the patronage of the Earl of Atholl and his successors and the original Royal Charter still resides in the archives at Blair Castle.
After the school was destroyed at the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689 pupils were accommodated in a building attached to the east gable of the Cathedral, which still shows the marks. By 1798 the scholars numbered 80 in winter and 60 in summer, each paying 2/6d per quarter, and the schoolmaster’s annual salary was £34. During this century the school moved to a building at the foot of Cathedral Street, remaining there until 1891 when it relocated to Culloden House at the Cross. Both boys and girls were educated here, however in 1853 a girls’ school, endowed by Anne, Duchess of Atholl, was established nearby. When this closed in 1898 the girls rejoined the boys in the Royal Grammar School. By 1930 pupils from Dunkeld and schools on the other side of the river in Little Dunkeld and Torwood were transferred to the present building, which carries on the proud name and history of The Royal School of Dunkeld. The bishop's mitre in the school’s coat of arms recalls its Cathedral origins.
Believed to be the oldest ‘Royal’ school in Scotland, The Royal School of Dunkeld has always been at the heart of the community. In its long history, it has educated the children of many ancient Highland Perthshire families, with a Prime Minister of Canada (Alexander Mackenzie) and a Great British Bake Off semi-finalist (Flora Shedden) among its former pupils. Now providing nursery and primary education for 180 children from Dunkeld, Birnam and district, it was a pioneer of the Eco-schools movement and recipient of a permanent green flag for its environmental education. As well as academic and sporting excellence, the school has a proud tradition of participation in the Perthshire and Angus Provincial Mod, keeping Gaelic alive where it was still widely spoken until the early 20th century. Rooted in the past, The Royal School of Dunkeld embraces the future in its motto: “Procedite Honeste” ~ Proceed with Honour.