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and chapter "to the fee of your school " loos, a year, charged
on the synodals, or payments made at the Easter assembly at
the mother church of the four archdeaconries of the diocese, and
in 1 1 89, when the archbishopric was vacant, the King's re-
ceivers accounted on the Pipe Roll for half a year's payment
of this to the schoolmaster. It is not till 1191 that the
chancellorship is mentioned, and the chancellor declared in a
solemn judgment by Papal delegates to be the third person in
the minster and to take precedence of archdeacons, who had
apparently tried to take precedence of him. In 1271 we find
the chancellor under that name demanding payment from the
archbishop of the stipend of five pounds due to the " chancery "
from the synodals, being the sum payable to the school-

At St. Paul's we find even earlier than at York a positive
mention of the schoolmaster, and proof of his afterwards
changing his title to that of chancellor, while there is no
mention of a precentor till then, and at St. Paul's the
chancellor always continued to take precedence of the pre-
centor. It is fortunate that the chief city of the world has


preserved the evidence of the antiquity of its chief school
better than most towns. A copy, made in 1241, is preserved
of a grant to the schoolmaster about the year mi. Bishop
Richard de Belmeis (de bels mains), of the fine hands, or the
fair house (de bello manso) for opinions differ as to the origin
and meaning of the name or as he calls himself, " Richard by
the grace of God, minister of the church of London ", address-
ing William the dean and the whole assembly (conventui) of
brethren, says, " Know ye my dearest sons that I have con-
firmed to our beloved Hugh, schoolmaster (magistro scolarum),
in virtue of the dignity of his mastership and to his successors
in the same dignity the place of Master Durand in the angle
of the tower, viz. where Dean William by my command placed
him between Robert of Eu and Odo. I grant to him also and
to the privilege of the school the custody of all books of our
church", and he orders the dean to give them him with a
duplicate catalogue, getting back any books, whether secular
or theological, which had been lent out to anyone, and to
place them in presses by the altar which he had made for the
purpose. Here then is Master Hugh in Norman London
performing himself the same joint function of schoolmaster
and librarian as Alcuin performed at English York 400
years before.

This document marks, not the foundation of the school as
misinterpreted by Bishop Stubbs, nor the gift of a new house
to the master of it, but, the confirmation to the schoolmaster
ex officio of the house which Master Durand, the immediate
predecessor of Master Hugh, had been given, apparently as a
personal, not as an official residence. The date of this document
is between mi, when William became dean, and 1128, when
the bishop died. Durand had been master some time, since
his name appears among the witnesses to chapter documents
from 1 104. No doubt the school had existed from the founda-
tion of the church in 604, or at least from the days of Alfred's
recovery of London from the Danes. On the retirement or
death of Master Hugh a few years later, probably about
1 125, the same Bishop Richard informs the same dean and the
chapter, and William of Oschenden, the bishop's steward, and
all the bishop's men, that he has granted to " Henry, my canon,
pupil (nutritd) of Master Hugh, St. Paul's School (scolas

>O *'" -

" _ ^0 '


Sancti Pavli], as honourably as the church ever held it at its
best and most honourable wise; and the land of the court
which the aforesaid Hugh inclosed for his house there ; and
the meadow which I gave the said Hugh in Fulham, viz. four
acres, from the ditch to Thames, at I2d. a year; and in alms
(i.e. in perpetuity, rent free) the tithes of Ealing and the tithes
of Madeley ".

Bishop Stubbs was misled into thinking that this and the
previous document witnessed to the foundation of St. Paul's
School, chiefly by the word for school being scolas and scolarum
in the plural. But a school was nearly always spoken of in
the plural, and the schoolmaster of a single school was called
scolarum magister in Latin and of course nearly all the
documents relating to schools are in Latin from the beginning
of the twelfth century to the middle of the reign of Henry VI,
and in most official documents to Henry VII I's reign. At
Oxford a man still talks of being " in the schools ", when he is
undergoing an examination in some single school, of classics,
or law, or history.

The third recorded master of St. Paul's School became,
some fifteen years later, the hero of a document, which has
been often quoted and generally misinterpreted by historians
of London and of education. The actual document, and not
merely a copy in the chartulary, is still to be seen in the
Library of St. Paul's Cathedral. It is a writ written at Win-
chester by " Henry, by the grace of God, minister of the
Church of Winchester", to the Chapter of St. Paul's, William,
Archdeacon, and their ministers. " I command you ", it runs,
"by your obedience that, after three summonses, you pro-
nounce sentence of excommunication against those who with-
out the licence of Henry the Schoolmaster, presume to lecture
in the whole city of London, except those who teach the
schools of St. Mary-le-Bow and St. Martin-le-Grand." Dug-
dale's comment on this in his History of St. Paul's was,
"which Henry was so respected by Henry of Blois that he
commanded ", etc. ; and this comment was repeated in Knight's
Life of Colet, which until quite recently was regarded as
the chief authority for the history of St. Paul's School, and one
of the chief authorities in the history of schools in general. It
never occurred to them to ask why or how a Bishop of Win-


Chester could issue mandates to the Chapter of St. Paul's, and
the Archdeacon of London, or that such a decree was a some-
what remarkable way of showing respect to a schoolmaster.
The simple fact is, that Henry of Blois was holding the see
of London in commendam, that is, in charge, as acting-bishop
during a vacancy of the see which followed on the death of
Robert de Sigillo in 1 138. The writ was issued in the ordin-
ary course of episcopal business, to protect the schoolmaster
of St. Paul's in the monopoly which he in common with all
other masters of cathedral schools enjoyed in the liberty or
area of jurisdiction of the bishop or chapter. The exemption
of St. Mary-le-Bow (de arcubus) church was due to its being the
seat of the Court of Arches, the supreme ecclesiastical court of
the Archbishop of Canterbury, and as his " peculiar " church
exempt from the jurisdiction of his suffragan, the Bishop
of London. St. Martin's-le-Grand being a collegiate church
of Saxon creation and a royal free chapel, was exempt by
the royal prerogative, and probably also by special Papal
privilege, and the exemption must have dated from Saxon
times. Henry of Blois himself had been dean of it before he
became bishop. Schoolmaster Henry is found signing docu-
ments as magister scolarum down to the year 1 1 70, when he
was succeeded by Ralph of Highbank, de alta ripa or Haute
rive, who held till 1 1 8 1 , when Master Richard of Stortford
came in. He generally signs his title at full length " School-
master of the School of London (magister scolarum London}
\iensium\ ". The schoolmaster's endowment was largely in-
creased by Bishop Richard Fitzneal, probably in consequence
of a decree of the Lateran Council in 1179. "Finding", he
says in a deed of 1198, that when he was first called to the
bishopric, i.e. in 1 189, "the Schoolmaster of St. Paul's enjoyed
only the name of master and derived little or no emolument
from the mastership ", he had assigned to it the tithes of the
episcopal manor of Fulham, of n acres of land at Barnes
and of some 210 acres scattered about in other places, and
now confirmed the gift. A later thirteenth-century hand has
written in the margin of this deed, " Note of tithes granted to
the Schoolmaster, now the Chancellor ". When Stortford
vacated office, his successor, John of Kent, was no longer
called schoolmaster but chancellor, signing a deed of the


bishop's as such in 1205. In the earliest chartulary of St.
Paul's, where the deeds quoted above, with some other later
ones referring to the Chancellor as such, are collected, they are
headed "Of the Schoolmaster and Chancellor seven deeds".
So that at St. Paul's, as at York, there is positive evidence
that the dignitary called chancellor had at first been called
schoolmaster, and was so called because he actually taught
the cathedral school.

It would be a very strange thing if the statutes of Salisbury
had really anticipated by a century the development of London
and York, and, it may be added, of Lincoln and Wells, especi-
ally when the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of London
and Lincoln are represented as being witnesses to the Institu-
tion. Indeed, Henry Bradshaw inferred a sort of committee
of bishops headed by Thomas of York, to give a new constitu-
tion to the old cathedral of York, and settle the constitutions
of the new cathedrals of Lincoln and Salisbury. While re-
jecting the copy Institution as an exact reproduction of the
original, we may feel sure from it that, at the end of the eleventh
and the beginning of the twelfth century, the normal state of
things in the cathedrals was that the bishop had delegated to
the dean and chapter the supervision of the schools, and that
one of the chief canons, the second or third in rank, was called
schoolmaster, and personally taught the cathedral school him-
self; and, if he allowed other schools in his district, himself
issued the licence without which no one was allowed to teach

A similar state of things prevailed in the collegiate
churches, which were almost subordinate bishop's sees and the
constitution of which reproduced that of the cathedrals. We
have already seen that the schoolmaster of the collegiate
church of St. Martin's-le-Grand was by custom, already
ancient, exempt from the jurisdiction of the schoolmaster of
St. Paul's.

There was a school at Shrewsbury at least as early as
1080, for Ordericus Vitalis, the Anglo-Norman historian, tells
us how at five years old he was put by his father to be in-
structed there in grammar by Siward, and he was no monk
but "a noble priest", or, as he puts it elsewhere, " I was put to
school (traditus scole) at Shrewsbury and performed the first


duties of clerkship in the basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
Then Siward for five years taught me grammar (litteras) and
also put me to psalms and hymns and other necessary instruc-
tion." But meanwhile the basilica, which was his father's,
his father being one of the married clergy, was converted into
a monastery. So then his father, who presumably had to
forswear matrimony and become a monk, sent Orderic abroad
to Normandy, where at eleven years old he received the
clerical tonsure, and at sixteen became a monk. Shrewsbury
School went on after the transfer of the church to the regulars.
For on 10 October, 1232, we find King Henry III appointing
Master Roger of Abboteslee, schoolmaster (rector scolaruni) of
Shrewsbury, to appear for the Crown in a suit to be tried by
Papal delegates in St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, which, with St
Chad's, is mentioned as a collegiate church in Domesday,
and remained a collegiate church of secular canons till 1 547.
This school was beyond doubt not merely the precursor, but
the immediate predecessor of the present Grammar School,
refounded under a charter of Edward VI, dated 10 February,
1551-2, and endowed with tithes formerly belonging to these
two collegiate churches.

At Beverley Minster, the East Riding Cathedral, as it
practically was, of the Archbishop of York, we find a tale told
by a miracle-writer of the first half of the twelfth century about
the schoolmaster of an incident which happened certainly not
later than the first quarter of that century. A certain school-
master (scholasticus quidani} came to Beverley wishing to
teach school there, as the place was full of clerks, and was
received by the prelates of the church with whole-hearted zeal.
Here, as he excelled in literary knowledge and was notable
for his moral excellence, his manners, free and affable, pleased
everybody ; so did his skill in the exercise of his profession,
which showed a judicious mixture of mild persuasion and
good-tempered severity. Outside the church he was assiduous
in teaching a crowded school, inside it he exercised the care
of the choir in a kindly spirit, not as a lazy prebendary but as
an active officer. This paragon, however, saw a pretty girl and
fell in love with her. Though he never told his love, the dis-
cipline of the school began to be relaxed and the fervour of
learning to grow cold ; and you would think the man was suf-


fering from some dreadful disease, so much were his youthful
good looks disfigured by pallor and emaciation. In our day
he would presumably have married the girl and lived happily
ever afterwards, with a boarding-school, the more successful
through the attractive wife. As it was, he wasted away, till
one night, when the poor man had lain weeping before the
altar from midnight matins till lauds, St. John of Beverley
came to the rescue, and he got up cured of his disease to the
astonishment of all beholders.

At Pontefract, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where
Ilbert of Lacy founded the collegiate Church of St. Mary and
All Saints in the castle in the lifetime of the Conqueror,
Thomas, Archbishop of York, when he consecrated the church
at the same time confirmed to it the school of Kirkby and
Pontefract, that is, of the old Anglo-Danish town of Kirkby
and the new Norman Castle of Pontefract.

At the south-east end of England, Robert, Count of Eu
in Normandy, before 1090 founded (or did he only augment
and reconstitute a Saxon ?) collegiate church in the castle at
Hastings, and assigned separate properties to the various
canons or prebendaries, including Aucher and Gymming or
Wymming, each of whom besides lands and a church in the
country had a mansion house in the castle. His grandson, in
a recital of the foundation, said that " to Aucher's prebend
belongs the teaching of the Grammar School and to Wym-
ming's the teaching of the Song School ".

In the West about iioo Henry I confirmed to the (col-
legiate) Church of St. Oswald at Gloucester, a royal chapel, the
school of the whole of Gloucester, as Bishop Samson and his
predecessors, Bishops of Worcester, had given and confirmed it.

There can be no manner of doubt then that all the cathedral
and collegiate churches kept schools, and that the schoolmaster
was one of the most important of their officers, and school
teaching one of the most important of their functions.

Though the cathedral and collegiate churches were the
chief, they were not the only source of schools in the eleventh
and early twelfth, any more than in later, centuries. On the
contrary, in every town of considerable population there was a
demand for, and consequently a supply of schools.

Thus at St. Albans, which was an important royal borough


before it became the site of the abbey to which the borough
was afterwards granted, there was an important school. A
story is told of Geoffrey of Maine, who became abbot in 1119,
which has become celebrated because it enshrines the earliest
mention of the performance of a play in England. Geoffrey,
says the chronicler, came from Maine where he was born, being
summoned while still a secular by Abbot Richard (who became
abbot in 1097) to keep the school at St. Albans. "But when
he arrived the school had been granted to another master, as
he did not come in time. He taught school (legit) therefore at
Dunstable, while waiting for St. Albans school, which was
again promised him. There he made a play of St. Katharine
which we call, in the vulgar (i.e. French) tongue, a miracle play
(miraculum). To present it more gorgeously, he borrowed
some choir copes from the sacrist of St. Albans. The following
night Master Geoffrey's house was burnt down with all his books
and the borrowed copes. So not knowing how to repair the
loss to God and St. Alban, he offered up himself as a burnt-
offering to God and took the religious habit in the house of St.
Alban. And this was the reason why after he was promoted
to be abbot he was so diligent in making precious choir copes
for it." Here then we have incidental evidence, not only of a
school at St. Albans, kept, of course, by a secular, and as there
is ample evidence in later times to show, not in the abbey but
in the town, but also of a school at Dunstable in Bedfordshire,
another royal borough, which was afterwards granted to a
monastery. That the school at Dunstable was of a permanent
and public character, and not a mere private adventure of
Master Geoffrey's, appears from a deed mentioned later.

The school of St. Albans appears again in about 1 1 64
as the school in which its most famous master, Master
Alexander Neckam, punningly Latinized as Nequam, had
been taught as a boy and himself taught as a man. A
whole volume of the Rolls Series is filled with some of his
works, in which both his prose " On the Nature of Things "
(De Naturis Rerwn} and his poem in " Praise of Divine
Wisdom " (De Laudibus Divine Sapiencie) amply justify his
fame, while a school-book of his, De Utensilibus, a Latin-
French word-book, written no doubt for the boys of St.
Albans, has also been printed. Neckam was born at St.


Albans in September, 1157, on the same night as Richard I
was born at Windsor, his mother being wet-nurse to the king,
and went to St. Albans School.

Hie locus etatis nostre primordia novit,

Annos felices leticieque dies.
Hie locus ingenuis pueriles imbuit annos

Artibus, et nostre laudis origo fuit.

St. Albans knew me when I was a boy,
Those years of happiness and days of joy.
The liberal arts St. Albans taught me then,
The first beginning of my fame 'mongst men.

Thence he went to Paris, though he tells us he did not
like the rough sea, and he knew his Paris well, where he was
a slender pillar of the school of Little Bridge, i.e. Adam du
Petit-Pont, also an Englishman :

Scarce any place is better known than that,
Where as an arch of Petit-pont I sat.

In the encyclopaedic fashion of the day,

There faithfully I learnt and taught the arts,
While reading Scripture added to my parts ;
Lectures on canon law and medicine,
On civil law, too, I did not decline.

Neckam's coming somewhere about 1185 to be school-
master of St. Albans school is the subject of a rather untrans-
latable anecdote. For Alexander Nequam having taught
school for a year at Dunstable, asked urgently for the school
of St. Albans, and Abbot Warren (1183-95) invited him in
this terse and witty letter : " If you are good, you may come ;
if bad, by no means come " (si bonus es, venias, si nequam
nequaquatn). To which Alexander wrote back equally tersely
and wittily : " If you wish it I will come, but if not, pardon "
(si veils, veniam, sin autem, veniani] as if he had said, " I don't
much care ".

Neckam was master till about 1195. He became Abbot
of Cirencester in 1213 and died 31 January, 1216-17, and his
effigy in stone lies in the cloister of Worcester Cathedral,
where he was buried.


The next master was Warren, nephew of Abbot Warren,
who is recorded as having been himself, before taking the
habit, a secular well known both for his literary attainments
and his good looks. Warren sen. with his brother Master
Matthew, who had been well trained in medicine at (the Uni-
versity of) Salerno, and their nephew Master Warren and two
of their pupils and companions, Fabian and Robert of Salerno
a curious instance of the cosmopolitan character of the
Universities of those days " warned by a special and spiritual
vision, vowed to take the habit of religion of St. Albans ".
All did except the nephew, Master Warren, and " he fulfilled
by an honourable life what he lost in the habit ", and died a
secular at St. Albans, having " taught the school in the borough
of St. Albans for many years, than which there could scarcely
be found in England any school better or more fruitful, or
more useful to or fuller of scholars, and this, Master Nequam,
who had preceded Warren in teaching it, saw and bore witness
of". The mention of the school as being in the borough, and
of Warren as remaining a secular and keeping the school,
shows that, here as elsewhere, the school was not a monastic
school in the sense of being in the monastery or taught by

Under the next abbot, John, 1195-1214, who was "in his
young days M.A. of Paris, where he was thought a Priscian in
grammar, an Ovid in verse, and a Galen in medicine", we
again get a glimpse of the school in a strange tale told about
William Pigun, " a traitor monk " of St Albans, who had con-
ceived a great hatred against the abbot. The seed of this
enmity was that this Pigun had a nephew Robert, whom
he brought up at his own expense, being a boy of good
ability, at school in the town of St. Albans. This William
then asked Abbot John to take Robert when still very young
to be a monk ; but as he was not yet arrived at the age of
puberty, or of such an age as to be fit and acceptable, the
abbot, though not refusing altogether, put him off. William,
impatient and proud, immediately procured the reception of
his nephew as a monk at Peterborough, where he became

This passage emphasizes the fact that the school was not
supported by the monastery as a free school, but that it was


frequented by outsiders, who paid tuition fees, and that it was
not even a necessary avenue of admission to the monastery.

Quite different is the later development of a kind of parlour
boarders, or private pupils, kept by another Abbot John,
more than a generation later, 1235-60, of whom we are told:
" this abbot was among all the prelates of the realm, the mirror
of religion, the model of wisdom, famous for his wit, and
above all, generous and open-handed ; so that many of the
nobles of the kingdom entrusted their children to his custody
to be educated ". It may be noticed the words are educandi
gratia, to be brought up, not to be taught. We may suppose
that if they were taught as well, they were sent to the public
school for the purpose, like the boarders in the conclave or
boarding-house at St. Mary's Abbey, York.

At the latter end of the twelfth century Bury St. Ed-
mund's School which, we have seen reason to believe, ex-
isted when there was a collegiate church before Canute's time,
was given an endowment which converted it into a free or
partially free grammar school. When Samson, the hero of
Carlyle's Past and Present, became abbot about 1 1 80, one
of his first acts was to tell Master Walter, son of Master
William of Dice (Diss), who asked him for the vicarage of
Chevington, that when his late father was schoolmaster
(i.e. about 1150), " and when I was a poor clerk he granted me
admission to his school and the benefit of learning in it
without any payment and by way of charity, so I for God's
sake grant you what you ask". Soon after Samson bought a
stone house, apparently the house of one of the Jews expelled
from Bury by him, and gave it for a schoolhouse on condition
that poor clerks should for ever be free of the rent, to which
every scholar whether able or not was compelled to pay id.
or d. twice a year, and in 1198 he endowed "the school-
master who for the time being taught in the town of St.
Edmund's " with half the revenues of a rectory, " that forty
poor clerks might be free of all payment to the master for
their instruction". At Bury the site of the school, some-
times called the High School, in School Hall Street, can be
identified ; it was outside the abbey precinct, in Raingate
Street. In later days the abbot's jurisdiction over the school
was exercised by him only as a court of appeal, the immediate


patron being the sacrist. The Song School (scale cantus\ which
taught reading as well as singing, we find later (1267-1426)

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