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Royal School
Ranfurly Road, BT71 6EG, UK Dungannon
Tel. 02887 722710





"Excellence Through Perseverance"

The Royal School Dungannon was founded in 1608 by King James I and began her journey in the year 1614. The school recently celebrated the completion of a building project aiming to provide pupils with some of the most modern and advanced facilities in the country.

The school welcomes children of all faiths and offers an excellent caring and learning environment for 660 pupils from the ages of 11 to 18 with accommodation for overseas boarders.  All pupils study for GCSE examinations and most continue to study for A-Levels and then progress to universities and colleges throughout the United Kingdom .

Welcome to the RSD website from the Headmaster, Mr. P D Hewitt

I would like to thank you for looking us up whether you are a former pupil, a friend of the school, a present pupil, a parent or a potential pupil interested in coming to the school. This website has been designed and is maintained by pupils and staff of the School. We aim to be interesting, informative and helpful. As the oldest School in Ireland and one of the oldest in the UK we approach our 400th Anniversary in a few years time with renowned vigour and enjoy rising to the challenge of the technological revolution. On this website you should find most of the things which will be of interest to you, but if not, or if you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to let us know. We will consider any suggestions very carefully. Can we ask you to let your friends know of our website, especially those living around the world. We would like to hear from all former pupils regarding their career, family situation and other interesting details.


The Royal School
Co Tyrone

School History


To celebrate the 390th anniversary of the Royal School, Dungannon, a detailed history of the school was produced called "The Castle and The Crown". 

Below is an extract from the first few pages of this book.  Copies are available from the school.

"Plantation School

During the spring of 1601 Dungannon began to experience some of the devastation which its lord, Hugh O'Neill, had been visiting on many other parts of Ireland. Since he had deserted the service of Queen Elizabeth at Enniskillen in 1594, O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, had been at war with the Crown. He had welded together a formidable coalition of the Gaelic lords of Ulster and, following his spectacular victory at the Yellow Ford in Co. Armagh in 1598, had won so much support in the other three provinces that for a time the very survival of English rule in Ireland was in question. Elizabeth, for her part, could not contemplate failure: the triumph of Gaelic lords in alliance with Philip II of Spain would expose England to Counter Reformation attacks from the west.

In Charles Blount, Lord Mount joy, the Earl of Tyrone found an opponent as tenacious and resourceful as he himself was. Appointed Lord Deputy in 1600, Mount joy planned to break O'Neill's rebellion by an unceasing war of attrition: he preferred to fight in winter when it was more difficult for the Irish to hide in the leafless woods, their stores of grain could be burned and their cattle exhausted by hunger when stampeded. In short, Mount joy intended to break Ulster's resistance by slaughtering the fighting men and starving the people. Mount joy engaged

O'Neill himself in the Moyry Pass, north of Dundalk; leading an amphibious operation at Derry, Sir Henry Docwra drove a wedge between the O'Neills and the O'Donnells as he worked his way up the River Foyle; and Sir Arthur Chichester, Governor of Carrickfergus, built a fleet of vessels at Antrim and made daring raids across Lough Neagh towards the capital of O'Neill's earldom, Dungannon. In May 1601 Chichester reported to Mount joy:

we have killed, burnt, and spoiled all along the lough within four miles of Dungannon, from whence we returned hither yesterday; in which journeys we have killed above one hundred people of all sorts besides such as were burnt, how many I know not. We spare none of what quality or sex soever and it hath bred much terror in the people. .. and Tyrone himself lay within a mile of this place, but kept himself safe.

In September the Spanish landed in west Cork and, after much heart-searching, the Ulster lords set out southwards to join them only to meet with decisive defeat at the hands of Mount joy on Christmas Eve at Kinsale. Finally, in March 1603, O'Neill submitted to Mount joy at the house of Sir Garret More at Mellifont.

At Mellifont Mount joy knew, but Tyrone did not, that Elizabeth had died and that lames VI of Scotland was now lames I, the first monarch to rule all of the British Isles. Political uncertainty in 1603 had resulted in lenient treatment of O'Neill, apart from the wholesale confiscation of church lands. Soon, however, the Gaelic order found the new order intolerable and in 1607 around one hundred men, women and children - the cream of Ulster's old aristocracy - sailed away from Lough Swilly, never to return. Chichester, now the King's Lord Depury, advised lames to confiscate the abandoned territory and 'withal bring in colonies of civil people of England and Scotland. .. the country will ever after be happily settled'. The advice was taken and preparations for colonisation were well under way when Sir Cahir O'Doherry raised the standard of revolt again in 1608. Once the rebellion had been crushed, Chichester was given authority to extend the scheme of colonisation to one which became the largest of its kind ever carried out in western Europe.

The 'Printed Book' of conditions for successful applicants for Ulster land was published in London in April 1610. The confiscated land of each county was divided into baronies or 'precincts' and each precinct subdivided into large, middle and small estate or 'proportions' with a rent-free allowance for woodland and bog. The largest group of colonists, known as Undertakers, had to be Protestant English or Scots and were to clear their estates completely of native inhabitants. Servitors, those who had served the Crown, and favoured native Irish were not required to plant but paid lower rents to the king if they did. Deadlines were set for arriving, colonising, building and rent payment; conditions were laid down for bringing in craftsmen, for putting up forts and castles and for erecting parish churches.

The five precincts of Co. Tyrone were Omagh, Strabane, Clogher, Mountjoy and Dungannon. Dungannon precinct was set aside for servitors and the successful applicants included Sir Arthur Chichester, Sir Toby Caulfeild, Sir Francis Roe, Francis Annesley, Sir Thomas Ridgeway, Sir Richard Wingfield and William Parsons. The neighbouring Mount joy precinct was reserved for Scots, the largest grant going to Lord Ochiltree. Chichester, who had already acquired vast estates in Inishowen and the area around Belfast and Carrickfergus, was granted 'the manor of Dungannon with the fort, castle, town and lands, water mills and water courses of Dungannon, alias Drumcoo... Kenemele... Gortmarron, Moygashel... Mullaghmore, Mullaghdun'. Natives were also granted lands in the Dungannon Precinct. The main beneficiaries were Tirlagh O'Neill with 3,000 acres; Catherine O'Neill, 12,000 acres; Brian Crossagh O'Neill 1,000 acres and Brian O'Neill, 480 acres. The surnames of those who received smaller grants included O'Hagan, O'Quinn, MacDonnell, O'Devlin, M'Anallen, O'Gormley and many O'Neills.

Captain John Leigh, High Sheriff of Tyrone, observed in a report to the King in 1608 that 'the best gentlemen' wanted to have schools established for the benefit of their sons and those of their tenants. Before the year was out James I ordered that there shall be 'one Free School at least appointed in Every County, for the education of Youth in learning and religion'. Chichester made arrangements that lands for their upkeep were 'distinguished by mears and bounds'; if possible the school lands were to be tenanted by British, but otherwise native Irish were permitted. Little seems to have been done for several years, partly in consequence of the O'Doherty rebellion. On 30 January 1613, the King wrote to Chichester ordering him to give the confiscated lands to the bishops for the maintenance of the schools and their schoolmasters. Lord Ochiltree, in particular, was reluctant to see Catholic native Irish tenants in his precinct: 50 acres of land assigned to the Dungannon school were in his barony - which was supposed to be entirely cleared of Irish. In fact Ochiltree, like most undertakers, had been slow to remove native Irish because of their willingness to pay high rents in order to stay. James I refused to countenance further delays and on 21 April 1614 he sternly ordered that the lands be transferred forthwith. On 13 May 1615 the Free School of Dungannon was set up by letters patent and John Bullingbroke, recommended by the Archbishop of Armagh, was appointed the first master by the king. The original charter, in the Public Record Office, was destroyed in the Four Courts fire in Dublin in June 1922.




A.        General Behaviour


1.         Pupils are expected at all times to behave in a courteous, orderly and considerate manner, especially when they are wearing the School uniform in public places or representing the School in any capacity.

2.         Pupils are subject to the direction of the Prefects who are responsible for general discipline inside and outside the School.

3.         Pupils will stand aside at any doorway, and allow visitors, members of Staff or Prefects to precede them, holding the doors open for them whenever possible.

4.         Pupils must not run in corridors or on stairways, when walking in those places pupils must keep to the left.

5.         Bullying in any form is forbidden.  This includes physical, verbal, written or any electronic, photographic or mobile text or image forms of bullying.

6.         No use may be made of electronic or photographic images or drawings of any person/s connected to the School, of pupils or members of staff, with or without the knowledge and permission of the subject/s either to belittle, demean, mock or humiliate them or which are offensive, objectionable or in any way contrary to the law.

7.         No statements on publicly accessible websites or in the media may be made which might bring the School into disrepute in any way or which are malicious, offensive, derogatory or defamatory           about pupils or members of Staff past or present, with or without the use of offensive, obscene, crude or blasphemous language in any context in which the School appears or is referred to in any way.  Such material or words, once discovered, must be removed immediately pending disciplinary action being taken by the School.

8.         Smoking tobacco or other substances and the possession of smoking materials, alcohol, fireworks, weapons or any dangerous substances or items are strictly forbidden at all times.  Being in possession of such potentially dangerous items is a most serious breach of the School Rules which are designed for the safety and welfare of all pupils and may result in automatic suspension and the initiation of the expulsion procedures.

9.         Damage to School property is a major offence which cannot be tolerated.  All breakages or damage to School property must be reported immediately to a member of Staff.

10.       Litter must be deposited in waste paper baskets or bins.

11.       No spiked, studded or dirty sports footwear may be worn indoors.

12.       (a)        Pupils should arrive by no later than 8.40am and be in Assembly by 8.45am .

            (b)        They may not leave without permission before 3.35pm

            (c)        Pupils are required to be punctual at all times.

13.       Pupils may not bring to or chew gum at School or on any School occasion.


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