TUCKED away, next to the now closed and boarded up Cross Keys pub in Skipton is the original Ermysted's Grammar School, founded by Canon Ermysted more than 470 years ago, in 1548.

A plaque over a boarded up door in the chapel part of the building in Shortbank Road, says; "This 16th century building was originally the chapel of St James of the Knights Hospitallers of St John's of Jerusalem.

"It subsequently passed into the hands of Canon Ermysted who housed his Grammar School here, which he founded in 1548."

The Knights Hospitaller, or the Order of St John, to which the former chapel was dedicated, was a medieval and early modern Catholic military order which was based in the Kingdom of Jerusalem until 2191 and then on the Greek island of Rhodes, from 1310 until 1522, then in Malta, St Petersburg.

Today, several organisations continue the Hospitaller tradition, including the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

A spokesman for the Ermysted's Old Boys Society said that the school was re-founded by William Ermysted in 1548.

"Its roots date back to at least 1492, as it was mentioned in the will of Peter Toller on his death in 1492. 

"The Free Grammar School of Skipton-in-Craven', as it was, was a chantry school originally in the Holy Trinity Church before it moved to where the Cross Keys is, and then later to Gargrave Rd in 1876."

Black and white photograph reproduced by kind permission of the Ellwood family, Mrs V. Rowley, and North Yorkshire County Council, Skipton Library www.rowleycollection.co.uk