Friends' School, Lisburn

Coordinates: 54°31′05″N 6°02′42″W / 54.518°N 6.045°W / 54.518; -6.045
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54°31′05″N 6°02′42″W / 54.518°N 6.045°W / 54.518; -6.045

Friends' School, Lisburn
TypeVoluntary grammar with preparatory department
MottoQuae sursum sunt quaerite – Seek the things that are above
Religious affiliation(s)Religious Society of Friends
PrincipalStephen Moore
ColoursGreen, Red and Yellow      
Age range4 to 18

Friends' School, Lisburn is a Quaker voluntary grammar school in the city of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, founded in 1774.


Friends’ School Lisburn was founded – as The Ulster Provincial School – on the basis of a bequest in 1764 of a prosperous linen merchant, John Hancock, who left £1,000 for the purchase of land in or near Lisburn on which to build a school for the children of Quakers. Twenty acres (8 ha) at Prospect Hill were purchased from the Earl of Hertford. In 1774, the first headmaster, John Gough, took up his post. In 1794 The Ulster Provincial School became the responsibility of the Ulster Quarterly Meeting, the body representing the Religious Society of Friends in Ulster.

Pupils going to school in c. the 1920s

Friends' is one of two remaining Quaker schools in Ireland, the other being Newtown School, Waterford. Previously, a Quaker boarding school existed at Ballitore for much of the 18th and 19th centuries.[1] There are eight in the United Kingdom.

The school has been named by The Sunday Times as Northern Ireland Secondary School of the Year[2] on two occasions: first in 2011 and then in 2017.


No. Name Tenure
1 John Gough 1774-1791
2 Thomas Barrington 1796–1800
3 William Crothers 1802
4 Samuel Douglas 1804-1817
4 Henry Bragg 1817-1822
5 George Greer 1822-1837
6 Bedford Gilkes 1837-1840
7 William Bellows 1840-1841
8 Henry Beale 1841-1843
9 Seth Gill 1844-1848
10 Joseph Black 1848-1850
11 William Groom 1850-1854
12 John Ward 1856-1860
13 Samuel Evans 1860-1862
14 John Wardall 1862-1863
15 Frank Dymond 1864-1869
16 Thomas Robson 1870-1874
17 Joseph Radley 1874-1899
18 William Braithwaite 1900-1911
19 John Ridges 1911-1921
21 Cyril Spencer-Smith 1921-1929
22 John Douglas 1929-1952
23 Ivan Gray 1952-1961
24 Neville Newhouse 1961-1970
25 Arthur Chapman 1970-1989
26 Trevor Green 1989-2001
27 Elizabeth Dickson 2001-2015
28 Stephen Moore 2015-present


The school consists of a fee-paying preparatory department, Prospect House, and a grammar school, the latter of which had, until the early 2000s, a boarding department attracting pupils from abroad (mostly Hong Kong). Friends' now only accepts day pupils, and has had an admissions number of 140 a year, with 5 "collect" groups in each year contributing to a full enrolment of 970 for the grammar school.[citation needed] However, starting in 2022, a new system was introduced for Year 8 Pupils in which there are now 6 collects with a total of around 160 in the year.[citation needed]

The original school house is no longer standing, but the date stone from it is displayed in Middle House, a building dating from 1880, which was refurbished in 2015. The latest addition to the school is the East Suite, a teaching building containing Maths and Music classes, which was opened in 2016. It stands in place of the old basketball court, which was previously the location of the swimming pool. The swimming pool was reputed to be the oldest heated pool in Ireland (1901), and used to stand beside Harding House, a temporary teaching building which was demolished to make space for the East Suite. The school has five tennis courts and three rugby pitches. A sports hall was opened in 2000 and two floodlit, sand-dressed hockey pitches were laid in 2013. As well as hosting school fixtures, these pitches are home to South Antrim Hockey Club.

Notable former pupils[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brannigan, Cyril (1985). "Ballitore Quaker School and its unique curriculum, 1726 ‐ 1836". Irish Educational Studies. 5 (2): 302–314. doi:10.1080/0332331850050218. Retrieved 13 September 2023.
  2. ^ Ian Kirk-Smith (24 November 2011). "Quaker school best in Northern Ireland". The Friend. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  3. ^ Sylvia Roger (17 September 2003). "Class act". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. ^ Niall Crozier (3 June 2014). "Ulster Rugby ace Stephen Ferris could have been one of the world's best". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  5. ^ Alf McCreary (17 September 2003). "Keith Getty: 'I regret that we didn't do more for the innocent unborn children in Northern Ireland who will never see the light'". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  6. ^ Charles Townshend, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, pp. 18-19, Penguin Books, 2005; ISBN 978-0-14-101216-2
  7. ^ "Hobson, Florence Fulton | Dictionary of Irish Biography".
  8. ^ "Biography – James William Kirkwood". CricketEurope. Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  9. ^ "GB Olympic Champions 1896–2014 – Hockey". 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Player profile: Robert William Moore". CricketEurope. Retrieved 7 November 2018.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Remembering Frank Pantridge, eminent Queen's graduate". Queen's University Belfast. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Eminent critic and author of classic dictionary of artists". The Irish Times. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  13. ^

External links[edit]