Thomas Rotherham College

Thomas Rotherham College is a college for 16- to 19-year-olds, founded in 1967. It is located in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. It is situated on the top of a hill, off Moorgate Road (A618), next to Boston Castle.

Thomas Rotherham College
Moorgate Road

, ,
S60 2BE

Coordinates53.41962°N 1.35071°W / 53.41962; -1.35071
Type16–19 academy
MottoLatin: Ne Ingrati Videamur
(Lest We Should Appear Ungrateful)
FounderThomas Rotherham
Local authorityRotherham
Department for Education URN145230 Tables
Interim PrincipalDavid Naisbitt
Age16 to 19


Grammar school

The college has its origins in Rotherham Grammar School (founded 1483), whose buildings it took over. In the 1960s, the grammar school had around 600 boys and was administered by the County Borough of Rotherham Education Committee.

Sixth form college

The Thomas Rotherham College took its name from the fifteenth-century prelate and statesman Thomas Rotherham, the original founder of the grammar school. Thomas Rotherham was archbishop of York from 1480 until his death in 1500. He was at various times an ambassador, and keeper of the Privy Seal. Twice, he was Lord Chancellor of England.

The Thomas Rotherham College took its first intake of students in September 1967. It was formally inaugurated on Friday 15 March 1968 by Thomas Rotherham's successor as Archbishop of York, Donald Coggan. Dr Coggan was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1974.

For the first few years, the grammar school and the new Thomas Rotherham College operated alongside each other in the same buildings, until the last of the grammar school boys reached the sixth form (c. 1971).[1]

By the early 1970s the college had 400 students, and 500 by the mid-1980s.

Along with all other colleges, TRC was incorporated and left local authority control on 1 April 1993. It converted from being a sixth form college to a 16–19 academy, within the Inspire Trust, on 1 November 2017.

The college building (1876)

The main building of what is now the Thomas Rotherham College is a Grade II Listed building. It was built as a theological college training ministers for Congregational churches. The site (originally 8.5 acres) had been bought in 1870, for £3,200.[2] But, the building project was delayed owing to the commercial upheaval arising from the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war.[2] The foundation stone was eventually laid on 23 April 1874. The building was executed in "collegiate Gothic" at a cost of £23,000, and it was opened on 20 September 1876.[2]

The building was designed by William Gillbee Habershon and Alfred Robert Pite.[3] Their architectural practice was in London. However, WG Habershon was from the Habershon family of Rotherham. The Habershons were a Congregational family. WG's grandfather and two of his uncles were the founders of the Habershons steel rolling mills (JJ Habershon & Sons). WG's first-cousin Alderman John Matthew Habershon was the first mayor of Rotherham (1871 and 1872). John Matthew's grandson was mayor in 1922. WG's father (also an architect) had designed the Kimberworth Parish Church. WG's younger brother was the architect Matthew Edward Habershon.

The new Rotherham Congregational College was in use for only twelve years.[2] In 1888, it amalgamated with the Congregational College at Bradford and the merged college operated from the Bradford premises.[2] The Rotherham building was no longer needed and it was sold to become the premises of the Rotherham Grammar School.[2] The School moved into the building in around 1890.


Like all colleges, Thomas Rotherham College underwent two Further Education Funding Council inspections in the 1990s. Since the inspection of colleges was transferred to Ofsted in 2001, the college has undergone five further inspections:

Date of inspectionOutcomeReference
September–November 1995GoodReport
April 1999GoodReport
8–12 November 2004SatisfactoryReport
16–20 March 2009SatisfactoryReport
2–5 October 2012Requires improvementReport
14–17 January 2014GoodReport
17–19 January 2018Requires improvementReport


  • Mr Arthur Prust, September 1967–December 1982 (previously the last headmaster of Rotherham Grammar School)[4]
  • Mr James C. Garton, January 1983–????[5]
  • Mr Nigel Briggs, ????–December 1997
  • Mr Giles Pepler, January 1998–August 2006[6]
  • Dr Richard Williams, September 2006–December 2017
  • Dr Stephan Jungnitz, January 2018–June 2018 (interim principal)[7]
  • Ms Shirley-Ann Brookes-Mills, June 2018–December 2018[8]
  • Mr David Naisbitt, December 2018–present (interim principal)

Notable alumni


  1. The last intake of grammar school boys was in September 1966.
  2. Wadsworth, Revd Kenneth W Yorkshire United Independent College - two hundred years of training for the Christian ministry by the Congregational churches of Yorkshire Independent Press, London, 1954
  3. Listing description for TR College
  9. "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage". Debrett's Peerage Limited. 2 March 2019 via Google Books.
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