"You all know, of course, that Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago - the precise date is uncertain - by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age. They built this castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution."
-- Professor Binns (CS9)
Over a thousand years ago, the four greatest witches and wizards of the age shared a dream, to create a school where young people of the wizarding world could study and be trained in the magical arts they needed to become skilled, fully-trained wizards. These four great wizards each founded one of the Houses of the school that they worked together to form: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. They have been referred to as ‘The Hogwarts Four.’
Each of the Founders contributed to the character of not just their houses but the whole school, but it was Helga Hufflepuff who perhaps did more than the others. Hufflepuff was particularly famous for her dexterity at food-related Charms. Many recipes traditionally served at Hogwarts feasts originated with Hufflepuff (JKR). She “brought people from different walks of life together to help build Hogwarts and was loved for her charming ways” (FW). Another accomplishment of Hufflepuff’s was her concern for the treatment of House-elves in the Wizarding world. She made Hogwarts a refuge for them, and as a result they were treated more kindly there than elsewhere in the world at that time (PC122, PC130).
For a number of years, the four founders worked together in harmony. Each of the founders took a group of students to be in their own house and even though they had differences of opinion about who should be trained, the house system helped them all to work together. However, as the years went by, the differences between Gryffindor and Slytherin became a serious rift.
Salazar Slytherin believed that only pure-blood witches and wizards should be allowed to attend Hogwarts. He got into an argument with Godric Gryffindor about this and eventually left the school. There was a legend that Slytherin built a secret chamber somewhere in Hogwarts that only his true heir would be able to open. This chamber, called the Chamber of Secrets, contained a monster that would finish his “noble purpose” of killing all the Muggle-born students at Hogwarts. As Slytherin’s heir, Tom Riddle did open the Chamber and released the monster, a basilisk. Harry Potter defeated the basilisk with the help of Fawkes the phoenix and the sword of Gryffindor.
The school flourished over the centuries which followed. Nearly all witches and wizards in Britain for a thousand years have passed through the school, being taught the skills and control needed to become a fully qualified wizard and the fill a productive role in magical society.
Known Heads of Hogwarts:
- Phineas Nigellus (c. 1800s?)
- Dilys Derwent ( 1741 - 1768) (OP22)
- Eupraxia Mole (1876)
- Armando Dippet (c. 1940) (CS13, OP27)
- Everard (dates unknown) (OP21)
- Dexter Fortescue (dates unknown) (OP21, DH36)
- Albus Dumbledore (c. 1970-1997)
- Dolores Umbridge (a few months in 1996)
- Severus Snape (1997-1998) (DH33)
- Minerva McGonagall (1998 - before September 2017) (DH30)