SHERIFF, Lawrence

c1515 - 1567
The exact date and place of his birth are not certain, but it was in the centre of Rugby, probably on the original site of the school he founded. His father was a grocer and in 1534 Lawrence was apprenticed to a grocer in London.

He was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Grocers in 1541. He was made an Esquire and obtained a coat of Arms in 1559 for political services to Elizabeth I. By his death he had become Second Warden of the Grocers Company and accumulated some land in both Rugby and London.

His will requested that almshouses and a free grammar school should be founded, funded by the rents from his land. This was a common practice for self made men at the time. Many similar institutions failed over the years but because of the vast increase in the value of the land in Holborn, London, Lawrence's foundation has flourished over the centuries.

The Public Schools Act of 1868 reorganised the constitution of the School, including gradually doing away with Foundationers. The present Lawrence Sheriff Grammar School in Clifton Road was founded to continue the free education of local boys. There are also some scholarships to the main school for local children.

Lawrence Sheriff died in 1567 and was buried in Christ Church graveyard in the City of London on 16th September.