Rothesay Netherwood School began in 1877 as Thompson's School, located upstairs in Whelpley Hall near the Rothesay train station. James F. Robertson purchased Thompson's School in 1891, renamed it Rothesay Collegiate School, and moved it to its present location. In 1907, the school was formally taken over by the Synod of the Diocese of Fredericton, and Rev. W.R. Hibbard was appointed headmaster in 1908.
Dr. Hibbard was succeeded by Dr. C.H. Bonnycastle in 1938. While Dr. Bonnycastle served overseas during World War II, the school was run by his assistant, Dr. J.F.L. Jackson. In 1963, the school became incorporated and was leased to an independent Board of Governors.
Following Dr. Bonnycastle's retirement in 1970, a series of five headmasters presided over the school during the next 17 years. In September 1987, Paul Kitchen became Head of School, a post he held for 29 years. In 2016, Paul McLellan became Head of School.
Girls were enrolled at RCS until the school moved up the Hill in 1891. Netherwood School for Girls was founded in 1894 by Miss M. Gregory, who was succeeded in 1895 by her aunt, Mrs. J. Armstrong. In 1903, Miss E. Pitcher became Principal, and in 1912 Dr. S.B. Ganong purchased the school and led it until her retirement in 1944. Dr. Ganong was succeeded by Miss H. Cannell, Miss E. Palin, and Mrs. M. Crimmins. Several other headmistresses led the school for shorter periods of time.
Thanks to the hard work of Jack Hickman '42 and many supporters of the school, the Call to Excellence Campaign (1984-1991) raised $1.2 million. In the last 15 years, the campus has seen significant transformation. The layout of the grounds has been enhanced: gates to the campus, new roadways, new paths and the planting of several hundred trees. Under the leadership of Jack Hickman '42 and Jim Irving '46, the highly successful Building for the Next Century Campaign (1995-1996) resulted in several new buildings being added to the campus, while many more received renovation.
In June 2002, Kirk House, the junior boys' residence, opened its doors. Collegiate Hall, opened in May 2005, houses the school's Administrative Offices, the Alumni Room, classroom space, a meeting room, and faculty work areas. In October 2006, the junior girls' residence, Netherwood House, was opened. South House, the oldest building on campus houses administrative offices and faculty work rooms. Our state-of-the-art dining hall, Heritage Hall, was opened in 2009. During the summer of 2010, our senior boys' residence, Mackay House, was completely renovated and our school library was moved to Fawcett Hall. The summer of 2013 saw the opening of the newly constructed Kitchen House, the Head of School's residence; while the following summer (2014) saw the completion of the Jordan Boyd Memorial Pond and the Sunken Garden. Later that year in December, a expansion to the school's rink was completed and named in honour of Dr. C.H. Bonnycastle. A new Fitness and Wellness Centre, attached to the arena, is currently under construction and is expected to be complete winter 2017.