Samuel Saltus, after whom the school is named, was a descendant of Richard Norwood who first surveyed the Bermuda Islands in 1622. At his death in 1880 Saltus left a bequest in his will for the founding of a boys' school, but it was not until 6th February, 1888 that Saltus Grammar School first opened its doors in the Pembroke Sunday School Building at the corner of North and Angle Streets in Hamilton, with thirty-five students enrolled.
In 1893, the School moved to “Woodlands,” an historic house which still serves as the heart of the current main campus. The following decade saw modest improvements being made.
Classrooms were added in 1923 to accommodate the increase in students, the veranda was added to the main building in 1953 and, by the middle 1960s, enrolment had reached 170. Up until this time the School had been grant aided, but in 1971 the Trustees made the major decision to have Saltus become a completely independent, fee-paying school.
Saltus continued to progress, growing and adapting to meet the needs of its students in the context of a rapidly changing world. To handle the larger numbers and the increasingly diverse curriculum, major additions were made to the campus to the Laboratory and Science Block in 1969 and the Cavendish-Preparatory Department in 1972.
Saltus leased Cavendish Hall in 1972, thus establishing a second campus. Thanks to the generosity of the Cavendish Trustees, that school has now been incorporated into Saltus Grammar School.
Other major projects since then included: The Reiss Library (1975), The Haygarth Gymnasium (1979), and The Henry Hallett Art and Music Facility (1982). Also in 1982, land leased to the Bermuda Swimming Association enabled a 25-metre swimming pool to be constructed on the main campus with the School having use of the facility.
In 1990, the Trustees made the decision to extend co-education, previously only at Grade 12 level, throughout the School and, in September, 1991, eighty-nine girls joined 608 boys to commence a new era in the history of the School. At the same time, an extensive building programme was undertaken, adding a new block to Cavendish plus several additional classrooms at the main campus and including major reconstruction to the interior of “Woodlands.” Rebuilt in 1993, the new “Woodlands” centre now contains: administrative offices including the Headmaster’s office, Upper Primary classrooms, an Art classroom and the Secondary Design Technology Department. This phase of construction was concluded in late 1993 when total enrolment stood at 780, including 156 girls. By this time, the teaching staff numbered 59, and the School was led by its 6th Headmaster in 106 years, Mr. James Keith McPhee.
In August 1995, Mr. R. Trevor Rowell joined the school as its next Headmaster and immediately launched a consultative School Development Plan with input from staff, parents, trustees and students. This outlined the School's growth and development during Mr. Rowell's energetic tenure which saw the continuation of the Saltus tradition of academic excellence.
In June, 1999, Mr. Nigel J. G. Kermode, then a twenty-two year veteran teacher at Saltus, became the School's 8th Headmaster. He sought to continue the pace of the School's advances whilst retaining both its high academic standards and its nurturing and caring atmosphere. During his tenure as Headmaster, Saltus developed a school-wide strategic plan that resulted in the development of a Foundation Year Programme at the Preparatory level, the establishing of a Centre for Learning and significant curricular developments and additions to the School’s physical plant on both its campuses -- the largest and most significant of these being The Francis "Goose" Gosling Centre on the main campus. Mr. Kermode retired in August of 2009.
Mr. E. G. “Ted” Staunton, former Head of St. Andrews College, one of Canada's oldest boarding and day schools took over as Headmaster in 2009 and with him Saltus entered another period in its distinguished history. There have been many challenges as well as a number of accomplishments under Mr. Staunton’s watch so far, including: the introduction of a new administrative model whereby members of the Senior Management Team set personal objectives for their departments which were aligned with the School’s strategic goals; the School’s mission and vision were defined; a performance appraisal system for faculty was implemented; a Middle Years section (Years 7, 8 and 9) was created in the Secondary Department to focus on the unique needs of this age group; a new Director of Finance & Administration was hired to improve the efficiency of the School’s Accounts Office (critical in improving financial strategic planning); a number of the recommendations made by our accrediting organization, CAIS (formerly known as CESI), in their May 2008 report have been addressed including improving communications with parents with the introduction of the Parent Ambassador Programme, a monthly E-newsletter and new Saltus Magazine; and the Canadian anti-bullying “Dare to Care” programme was brought in to work with students, staff and parents. Mr. Staunton has also been behind a new push for academic excellence and imparting of values such as pride, respect for one another, good behavior and honesty, as well as a commitment to community service.