History of the School

The Ryleys School was founded in 1877 by a Mr William Thomas Williams in the year in which Queen Victoria became the Empress of India. The school’s first premises was above, what now is the chemist on London Road in Alderley Edge.

The school moved to its present site on Ryleys Lane within a few years and took the name from the house that was originally built there the early 19th century by Manchester cotton merchant, Mr Peter Taylor. The school was origionally an all boys day and boarding school.


The School's Houses

Boys were organised into houses, each named after an honoured Old Boy, ElstobHoyle,   Waterhouse and Wilson, which are still in existence today.

The Ryleys During The War Years

The Headmaster during the Second World War, Mr Woodhouse, kept the school open. Boys sheltered in the cellars as as bombers returning from Manchester would jettison unused incendiary bombs on the gardens and fields around Alderley Edge.

27 ex-Rylesians were killed in the First World War; the youngest was H Peters who was just 20 years old. Ex-pupil, Lieutenant Colonel Wilfrith Elstob of the Manchesters was killed at the battle of St Quentil in 1918 and was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Elstob, along with all the old boys killed in the war were commemorated on the walls of the dining room and can still be seen today.

It appears at the time that the school was known to its pupils and staff as the ‘Black School’, perhaps because of the school colours. The origins of the school logo – the cross within a circle within a square – are unknown but the school’s motto TU NE CEDE MALIS comes from Virgil, DO NOT GIVE INTO MISFORTUNE - BUT ADVANCE ALL THE MORE BOLDLY AGAINST THEM.

The Ryleys was one of the first preparatory schools in the country to exist independently of a parent school public school. Mr Williams saw the school through the earliest years and into the new century as it established itself and grew.

Sport was high on the agenda in the early days with the results of an assortment of cross country races – the Soss Moss, Warford and Wizzard Runs, being faithfully recorded. As were the athletics and annual soccer and cricket matches between The School (day pupils) and The House (boarders).

History of the Uniform

In the very early years of the school, the boys wore grey suits. In the 1920s, black blazers were introduced with yellow piping. It was in the 1930s that the black blazers with yellow stripes, that we are familiar with today were introduced.

Within the school tie is a blue stripe, a nod to Harden House, a local prep school (on the Harden Park site, Alderley Edge) which merged with The Ryleys School in 1963 / 1964. 

Harden House's school colours were mid blue and grey.