Robert Thorne, his brother Nicholas and the rector of Holy Trinity Church, John Goodrich, bought St. Bartholomew's Hospital in Christmas Street in 1532. Their intention was to turn it into Bristol's first grammar school.
Pupils from a small school over the Frome Gate were moved in to the new location at St. Bartholomew's and although students had to pay for their board and buy their equipment, teaching was free.
Robert died in 1532 leaving money to the grammar school in his will, though it took a series of law suits to ensure the money got there. When Nicholas died in 1546, he instructed a lawyer to ensure the school was protected by public ownership and donated his books, charts, maps and scientific instruments.
By 1767, the school at St Bartholomew's was full and bigger premises were needed. The Master persuaded the Corporation to let the grammar school exchange places with Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, Bristol's other large city school
The Grammar School remained at this site until the 1870s when once again the pupils had outgrown their premises. A new school was established at Tyndalls Park, where it can still be found today.