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quite a distinct institution in connexion with the Douze gild
of twelve clerks in the town, though also under the patronage
and protection of the abbey.

In the twelfth century the movement was renewed, by
which not only schools but churches and hospitals, boroughs
and markets were brought under the dominion of the " religi-
ous", the monks and the regular canons. A wave of mon-
astic furore swept over Europe, and threatened to annihi-
late the secular clergy altogether, as in the Buddhist regions
of Thibet and China, or reduce, them to the merely subordin-
ate position as " poor parsons of a town," which they hold in
the Greek Church, while all the lucrative and governing posts
are held by monks. Impelled by the doctrine of vicarious
atonement, the secular lords, who spent their time in robbing
and murdering the peaceful inhabitants and each other and
ravishing virgins and wives, founded monasteries out of their
ill-gotten gains in which monks and regular canons might, on
their behalf, carry prayer, fasting, and abstinence from sexual
intercourse to as great an excess as they carried self-indul-
gence. The Cluniacs, a new order of reformed Benedictines,
with its centre at Cluny, and the Augustinian canons, who
followed the monastic rule without wholly immuring them-
selves in their monasteries like the monks proper, spread over
the country. Henry I in his anxiety to gain and retain the
support of the Church for his very dubious and uncertain title
to the throne, won, as was alleged, by conspiracy against
William Rufus and upheld against his elder brother Robert,
threw himself into the movement with vigour.

Reading Abbey was founded by him in 1125, chiefly, ac-
cording to William of Malmesbury, to serve as a convenient
hotel at the first or second stage of the journey from London
or Windsor to Gloucester. Apparently the patronage and
government of the school of Reading had been transferred, or
was intended to be transferred, together with the churches of
Reading which were all granted to the abbey. But either the
grant was not clear or the secular clergy had disregarded it
and continued to keep the schools in their hands. For in
the abbey chartulary is the copy of a writ by which, between


1125 and 1139, Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, in which diocese
Berkshire was until after the Reformation, informed the arch-
deacon of Berkshire and all the deans (presumably rural
deans, unless it may include the Dean of Windsor and the
Dean of Salisbury, to whose office divers churches in Berk-
shire were annexed) and the whole clergy of Berkshire that he
prohibited any one from keeping school at Reading except
with the consent and good-will of the abbot and convent.
The abbot and convent were thus given the same monopoly
of school-keeping and of granting licence to teach, which
was enjoyed in the diocese at large by the bishop, or in
London by the schoolmaster of the cathedral. Bishop
Hubert, in 1189, confirmed to the abbey the school of
Reading (scolas Rading) with the churches of Reading, as it
held them in the days of Bishops Roger and Jocelyn. He
gave archiepiscopal confirmation in the same words when he
became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1193. The school, like
the churches, had existed before the abbey in the hands of the
secular clergy, and probably in the hands of the canons of a
collegiate church of secular canons, which there is reason to
think existed there before the abbey was founded. The writ
of Bishop Roger, addressed to the secular clergy, represents
the decision of a contest about the school in the abbey's

So at Dunstable, another royal borough, when Henry I
founded the priory of Austin canons about 1130, he gave to
it the whole manor and borough and its market " and the
school of the same town", previously existing, as we saw,
circa 1 1 oo.

At Huntingdon before the Conquest there was a collegiate
church of secular canons at St. Mary's Church. Henry I, in
a foundation or confirmation deed of the priory of Augus-
tinian canons there, between 1124 and 1135, originally in the
town and afterwards moved outside " because of the noise of
the town," gave it five churches in Huntingdon, " and the
chapel of the castle and the school of the same town ", and the
gift was confirmed by the Pope in 1 1 47.

The clearest evidence of contest over such a transfer is at
Bedford, where St. Paul's Church appears in Domesday as a
collegiate church of secular canons. A few years before 1160,


the Norman lord, Simon Beauchamp, founded in Bedford an
Augustinian priory, and provided that, as the secular canons
of St. Paul's died off, they were to be replaced by regular
canons, and granted the church to them. One of the secular
canons was Nicholas, also Archdeacon of Bedford and Canon
of Lincoln. About 1155 he executed a deed, clearly under
compulsion, addressed to " all the sons of holy mother church ".
" Know ye all that St. Mary's chapel, with the tithes of Hor-
delhide and Bedford school (scolas Bed) which I have held
for some time with the consent of my fellow-canons, I confess
to be of the right of and appurtenant to St. Paul's church, and
therefore I have voluntarily resigned them to Auger the Prior,
and the convent of canons regular of that church." The
priory having acquired the church and school, was afterwards
moved outside the town, down the river to Newenham, and
became known as Newnham Priory. Not till after the dis-
solution of monasteries did the school escape from the control
of the regulars, when it was refounded by the corporation under
a charter of Edward VI, and re-endowed by William Harper,
ex-Lord Mayor of London, under Queen Elizabeth.

At Christchurch, Hants, the ancient collegiate church ot
twelve secular canons, known as Twyneham, had been given
by Henry I to Richard of Redvers. His son Baldwin at
first confirmed it to the dean, Hyllarius, and the secular
canons, " with all its free customs, as they anciently held
the same, namely, the school of the same town, its free
courts" and so on. But in 1150 regular canons were intro-
duced and as the secular canons died off, their places were not
filled, and it was expressly provided that " none of their
families should be brought in as by inheritance ". A formal
deed of confirmation of all the rights of the seculars to the
regulars was executed in 1161. The school then passed to
the priory and the master was appointed by it. The school
does not appear again in history till the dissolution of the
priory was impending in 1538, when a vehement petition for
its continuance was presented by the prior, John Draper, one
of the chief reasons alleged being that the canons and their
predecessors " have used contynually hitherto to kepe a maister
to teache grammer to children and schollers there, and certeyn
of them havyng meate drynke and clothe ". Like the school



at Dunstable, it perished with the priory at the dissolution of

At Thetford, on the other hand, is an exceptional instance
of a resumption of this right of school government from a
Cluniac priory. Bishop Herbert, known by the surname or
nickname of Lozinga, who had been made Bishop of the East
Anglian See when it was at Thetford, in 1094 removed the
see to Norwich. By his advice the ex-cathedral church of
St. Mary was converted into a Cluniac priory by Roger Bigod
in 1 107. But seven years later the priory was moved outside
the town, the monks preferring rural solitude to town life ;
and having quarrelled with the monks over the possession of
the body of Bigod, the bishop restored the town church of St.
Mary to secular hands, and with the church, the school. So
in, approximately, the year 1114 we find him addressing the
brethren (the monks) and his sons (the secular clergy) : " know
ye that I have given back to Dean Bund his school at Thetford
as he best and most fully held it, and I order that no school
shall be held there except his own or any which he shall allow ".
The restored Dean of Thetford remained an independent
ecclesiastical potentate with power of probate of wills and
other ecclesiastical rights belonging to " peculiar " jurisdiction,
exempt from the archdeacon, until the Reformation. The
school appears at intervals in the Norwich episcopal registers
from 1328 to 1496, the bishop appointing or licensing the
master, but whether in the vacancy of the deanery or in
resumption of the jurisdiction over the school from the dean
does not appear. Refounded or re-endowed in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth by Sir Robert Fulmerston's will of 23 Janu-
ary, 1566, this school became the subject of a leading case in
the law of charities, was refounded by Act of Parliament in
1610, and still continues.

Cluniac foundations were comparatively rare in England
there were only twenty-five because, owing to their subjection
to the foreign house at Cluny and their exemption from epis-
copal control, they were not popular with the bishops. But
the Augustinians were spread over the land, many of the
secular collegiate churches being converted into their stricter
and therefore, theoretically, more holy houses, while many
of the hospitals were taken out of secular hands and placed


under some branch or other of their order. In the borough
of Derby Domesday Book tells us there was in the time
of King Edward, in the king's demesne one church with
seven clerks, namely, All Saints' Church, which remained col-
legiate till the dissolution of collegiate churches under Edward
VI, and "another royal church in like manner of six clerks".
In 1137, a body of Augustinian canons was introduced and
placed in the " oratory " or chapel of St. Helen's, by an ancient
sacred well, called St. Helen's well, the property of one
Towyns, which was rebuilt and endowed at the request, as we
are told, of many lords and knights holding fees in Derby.
A few years later, the secular canons were turned out of the
second collegiate church which was, as appears from the
Domesday description of its property, St. Mary's, and not, as
Dr. Cox in the Victoria County History of Derby suggests,
St. Alkmund's, since the latter was a dependency of All
Saints and so remained to the dissolution. But dwelling in
the noise and bustle of towns did not suit the canons, who
liked the life of country gentlemen, so, somewhere about 1 148,
they moved out a mile down the river Derwent to a place
called Darley, the meadow by the Derwent, as Derby is the
town by the Derwent, given them by one Hugh the dean,
dean probably of the dissolved collegiate church of St. Mary,
not merely rural dean. Thus they became known as the Abbot
and Canons of St. Mary of Darley. In the Darley chartulary,
the first two or three pages are unfortunately missing, so that
we cannot ascertain the exact date and character of the first
plantation in Derby and removal to Darley. The earliest ex-
tant document is an undated confirmation by Bishop Walter
Durdent, consecrated 2 October, 1149, of the possessions of
the abbot and canons, " whatsoever has been reasonably given
them," including " of the gift of William of the April-beard and
mine, the school of Derby " with three churches in Derby, as
to which it is provided that " the abbot shall be dean of all the
churches given to the church (the abbey) in Derbyshire and
especially of those in Derby, and that he may hold a chapter
of the secular clergy that with them and through them he
may judge whatever, according to the canons, Deans can
judge ". This confirmation was wrongly taken as the founda-
tion deed of the school in Lysons' Britannia, a mistake re-


peated in Carlisle's Endowed Grammar Schools in 1818, and
thence transferred to the Endowed Schools Commission Report
in 1867, with the result of Derby's being misplaced as the
second earliest school in England, Carlisle, of which anon,
being put first. It is obvious that a confirmation implies a
previously existing foundation in the case of the school as
in the case of the three churches.

William of the April-beard was a member of a family of
that remarkable name, given in French as barbe d'Averil, who
were clerks in the service of the Earls of Chester. This one
was perhaps the master of the school, and one of the secular
canons, when it was thus transferred from the secular to the
regular canons. The school remained in Derby. Very
shortly after, it was endowed by Walchelin, the moneyer
or minter of Derby and Goda his wife. They gave the house
in which they lived and some other property to the abbey
"on this disposition, that the hall shall be a school for clerks
and the chambers shall be for the house (hospicium) of a
master and clerks for ever, so that neither the abbot nor the
master may take anything for leasing the house ". The school
was thus to be a boarding school. Several of its later masters
are known, and after the dissolution of the abbey it returned
from the dead hand to the Town Council of Derby, as a foun-
dation of Philip and Mary.

At Gloucester the school which we saw was kept by St.
Oswald's collegiate church was in 1137 transferred to the
government of Llanthony Abbey, a house of Augustinian
canons about a mile outside the town. This appears from a
charter of 30 July, 1199, addressed to the Church of St. Mary
and St. John the Baptist and the regular canons of Llanthony,
witnessing that King John has " granted and confirmed to the
said church the donations which have been reasonably made to
them of the gift of Henry our father ; the chapel in the castle
of Gloucester and a school in the same town (et unam scolam
in eadem villa)." The grant was not really by Henry II or
John himself, for a deed of Milo, constable of Gloucester,
states that his father Roger had given the chapel in the castle
to the Church of St. Owen, and he himself had given this
church and its belongings to Llanthony when its church was
dedicated in 1137.


The right of patronage of the priory was apparently much
resented in Gloucester and was continually being contested.
On 31 January, 1286-7, Bishop Godfrey Giffard issued a com-
mission to his Official Principal, to inquire as to the right of
collation to the school in the borough of Gloucester and the
possession or quasi-possession of this right, also how the colla-
tion has been hitherto accustomed to be made and by whom,
and to do further thereon and concerning the premises as the
course of law demands, giving notice to those who are inter-
ested to be present at the inquiry. The result of the inquiry
is seen in letters patent of the bishop of 21 November, 1287,
addressed to the Archdeacon of Gloucester. " The collation
of the school in the borough of Gloucester to which scholars
flock, for the sake of learning, some from our diocese and
others from divers parts, clearly belongs, as we have been
informed by the evidence of trustworthy witnesses, and as
clearly appears by inspection of the muniments and charters
which they have concerning the same school, to the religious
men, the Prior and Convent of Llanthony by Gloucester, and
is recognized as belonging to them of old time ; and they
from the time during which they have held the collation, as
we are informed by trustworthy witnesses, have held posses-
sion of the right of collation to the same, though others
indeed may, though not without incurring the guilt of usurpa-
tion, perhaps claim the right." The bishop therefore, " to put
an end to all controversy and prevent fierce disputes arising
hereafter", commands the Archdeacon to cause public notice to
be given on three Sundays during high mass, in all the parish
churches in the municipality and others in the neighbourhood,
of an inhibition "against anyone calling himself a scholar
keeping any school for the sake of teaching in the said
borough, except that one the teaching [regimen] of which has
been granted to a fit master (doctori ydoneo) by the collation of
the Prior and Convent of Llanthony, who have been and are
notoriously in possession or quasi-possession of the right of
collation to such school from time whereof the memory of
man runneth not to the contrary." "Other schools, if there
are any to which anyone has been collated to the prejudice
of the said religious " the bishop directed to be " wholly sus-
pended ". The troubles of the priory did not end then, as in


1341 they found it necessary to get a royal charter confirming
their right to the school. In 1380 Bishop Henry Wakefield
issued a mandate to the Archdeacon of Gloucester to observe
Giffard's decree. In 1410 this school became the subject of a
"leading case" in the Court of Common Pleas (Year Book,
ii Hen. IV, 47, Case 21, De Banco Roll, II Hen. IV, Mich,
m. 484, Hamlyn & Darcy v. More), which confirmed the law
that schools were subject to the ecclesiastical not the lay courts ;
the claim of the Prior of Llanthony to put down rival schools
not being enforced by the secular arm. Once again in
1513 the rights of Llanthony Abbey had to be reasserted ;
the bishop's Official directing the archdeacon to " publish an
inhibition against anyone calling himself a scholar keeping
any school for learning or sending any one not of mature
age to such schools, except those schools or that school
the teaching of which has been freely granted by the Prior
and Convent of Llanthony to a fit master ". The bishop,
however, " reserving to himself in the person of his Official
the examination and approval of the master appointed
by the convent." The school building itself always remained
in the middle of the town in Old Smith Street or the
Schoolhouse Lane, now Long Smith Street, as appears from
two priory rentals of 1455 and 1535.

So at Bristol. An inquisition was held in 1318 by order
of the bishop as to the rights and privileges of the Gild of
Kalendars, established in All Saints', the town church, appar-
ently as against the regular canons of St. Augustine's Abbey
(now the cathedral). The jury found that the beginning of
the gild passed the memory of man, and that it used to be
called "the Gild or Brotherhood of the Community of the
clergy and people of Bristol, and that the place of assembly
... of the same used to be at the church of the Holy Trinity,
Bristol, in the time of Aylward Mean and Bristoic his son,
lords of the said town before the last conquest of England ".
It must be admitted that Bristoic looks remarkably like an
eponymous hero evolved out of the name of the town. But
there is no doubt that the gild existed before the Conquest.
They found further that in the time of " Henry Fitz-Empress,"
one Robert Hardy ng, Mayor of Bristol, ancestor of the Earls
of Berkeley and Lord Fitzhardinge, "translated the gild from


Holy Trinity Church to the church of All Saints, and estab-
lished the school of Bristol for teaching Jews and other little
ones under the government of the said gild and the protection
of the mayor of Bristol for the time being ; and founded the
monastery of St. Augustine in the suburb of the said town,
and appropriated the church of All Saints to it ". The gild
was confirmed by the Cardinal-legate Gualo in 1216. Unfor-
tunately the report breaks off without telling what was done.
The somewhat astonishing fact that Robert Hardyng estab-
lished or maintained a school for Jews may be accounted for
by the necessity of making provision for the orphans of those
who were killed or who fled from the outbreak against the
Jews in 1146. If this school was the city grammar school, it
was transferred from the governance of the seculars to the
regulars on the foundation of Keynsham Abbey, six miles from
Bristol, in 1171. For although the foundation charter of the
abbey does not mention the school, Leland says positively that
"William Erie of Gloucester, founder of the monasterye of
Cainesham, gave the prefecture and mastershippe of the Schole
in Brightstow to Cainesham and took it from the Calenderies ".
Leland's statement is supported by a Rent-roll of Bristol, made
about 1295, which includes an item of " I2d. of Roger Pert
for Walter, parson of the .church of St. Philip, for the old
school opposite St. Peter's ", and St. Peter's belonged to
Keynsham Abbey. The new school, wherever it was from
about 1495 till 1535 it was held in Frome Gate would not
have paid rent and therefore was not included in the roll. In
1259, an ordinance of " the Hospital of St. Mark of Billeswick,
otherwise Gaunt's", provided that out of 27 poor, 12 were
to be " scholars, ministering, in the choir only, in black
copes and surplices, admitted and removed at will of the
master and to sing at the disposition of the Precentor, and
to be more plentifully provided for than the other poor . . .
according to the means of the house, and one of the twelve
scholars of ability to be elected to keep in order and teach the
others, and he to be provided for even more plenteously and
competently than the others ".

In 1177, as we have seen, the school of Waltham fell
under the dominion of the regulars on the conversion of the
College into a Priory. The school continued, of course, under


a secular master, as in 1423 we find John Olyver of Waltham
Holy Cross, " scolemayster ", being charged with having assisted
in obstructing the Sheriff of Essex.

The transfer of the school of Waltham to the regulars
must be one of the latest. For by the end of the twelfth
century an entire change had come over the educational and
religious situation. Silently and without authority of Pope
or King, by the spontaneous action of the much-abused
secular clergy themselves, new institutions had sprung up
just in time to save the Western Church, and England in
particular, from falling entirely under the dominion of the
monks, as the Eastern Church had done. About 1150 even
in England the clergy at length yielded to the monastic craze
and abandoned the struggle against enforced celibacy, with
such results as are revealed in the famous tales of Abelard
and Heloise, of Absolon and the carpenter's wife at Oxford,
and the miller's daughter of Trumpington at Cambridge.
Meanwhile, there had sprung up, first in Italy, next in France,
and then in England, those assemblies and unions or gilds of
clerks for the sake of study and advancement of learning, which,
known at first as Studia generalia, public or general schools,
eventually acquired for themselves the exclusive use of one of
the many terms for a corporation, the Universities. Almost
at the same time as the medical schools in the salubrious
climate of Salerno, circa 1090, and the legal schools at Bologna,
there blossomed out an international institute in theology at
Paris at the end of the eleventh century, and a national institute
primarily in law, then in theology, but eventually, predomin-
antly in logic and canon law, at Oxford at the beginning of
the twelfth century. We cannot here enter into the vexed
question of when the studium of Oxford could first be termed
a University, a term which first appears at Paris in 1219 and
at Oxford in 1245. But a caveat must be entered against the
theory of Dr. Rashdall ( Universities of Europe in the Middle
Ages] that it arose from a migration en masse of English
clerks from Paris in 1165 to 1167, in response to an edict of
Henry II. This edict has been shown conclusively elsewhere
not to be capable of such a construction or of originating
such a movement, while the author of the theory admits
that no single instance can be produced of any clerk who left



Paris in consequence of the edict, still less of any clerk
going from Paris to Oxford. Oxford University was in full
bloom when Giraldus Cambrensis lectured on Ireland to the
masters and scholars there in 1 189, and there is evidence of a
teacher there, Theobald Stampensis (of Etampes), eminent in
canon law and rhetoric between 1119 and 1135, of a teacher
eminent in canon law, Robert of Cricklade, teaching clerks at
Oxford coming from divers places in England, c. 1135, of a
teacher eminent in theology in the person of Robert Pullen
(the chicken) from 1133 to 1138, and of one eminent in civil
law in the person of Master Vacarius between 1 145 and 1150.
The written history of St. Frideswide's is now admitted to
be a concoction of inconsistent fictions. All we really know is

Online LibraryArthur Francis LeachThe schools of medieval England → online text (page 13 of 39)