The school has a very interesting history, especially the story of how it all began...
Dame Alice Owen was born at Islington in 1547. She was the daughter of a rich landowner named Wilkes. "In the reign of Queen Mary it was an exercise for archers to shoot with their bows and arrows at butts: this part of Islington at that time being all open fields and pasture land. The Lady Owen, then a maiden gentlewoman, was one day walking abroad in the fields attended by her maid-servant, when she observed a woman milking, and had a mind to try the cows' paps, whether she could milk, which she did; at her withdrawing from the cow, an arrow shot through the crown of her hat (then worn very tall), which so startled her that she then declared, if she lived to be a lady, she would erect something on that spot of ground in commemoration of the great mercy shown by the Almighty in that astonishing deliverance. Time passed on until she became a widow, when her servant, who had been present on the occasion of the accident, being still living with her Lady, reminded her Lady of her former words. She answered that she remembered the affair and intended to fulfill her promise." She thereupon purchased the Hermitage Estate (being "land from the Welsh Harp to the Turk's Head,") and erected thereon almshouses in the year 1609, and a free Grammar School in the year 1613. The School was for 30 Scholars, 24 from Islington and 6 from Clerkenwell.
School website: Dame Alice Owen's School
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