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mentions les clers d* Orleans glomerians. About 1 290 at Bury St.
Edmunds we find a common form for the use of the Sacrist of
the Abbey, who exercised the powers of archdeacon in Bury.
It ran "A. of B. official of C. hearing that certain pedagogues,
wrongly usurping the title of master, with sacrilegious daring
usurping the jurisdiction of Sir C., rashly presume to teach school
without his authority in the liberty of St. Edmund and keep
adulterine schools, pretending to teach dialecticians, gram-
marians (glomerellos) and pupils of all kinds against the head-
master (magister scolarutn) of St. Edmunds " directs the clergy
throughout the liberty to excommunicate the offending peda-
gogues. A year or two later, one John Harrison (Jilius
Henrici) was directed to desist within eight days from
keeping an adulterine school for grammarians (glomerellos]
and other discipulos against the privileges of the abbey and
school of St. Edmunds. At Salisbury, the same building is
described in 1308 as a school of glomery (scale glomerie)
and in 1328 as a grammar school (scole gramaticales], thus
establishing the identity of the term beyond dispute.

The second point of interest in this earliest account of the
Merton schoolboys is the amount of the tuition fee paid to the
Master of Glomery, 4d. a quarter, which is exactly half the
sum settled by undated, but apparently fifteenth-century,
statutes of the University for the fees in Grammar Schools at
Oxford, unless a special agreement had been made for more,
and also at Ipswich in 1477 ; while, at the Grammar School
founded at Newland in Gloucestershire about 1480, it was
provided that it should be half-free, grammarians paying 8d.
a quarter and those learning to read 4d.

Merton school was apparently regarded as rather a grievance
and a burden by the elder scholars, fellows as they came to
be called, the governing body of the college, and it had come to
an end altogether two years later. Friar John Peckham,
Archbishop of Canterbury, as a result of a visitation of the



COLLEGES, CHURCHES, AND SCHOOLS 173

College on 31 August, 1284, issued an amended "rule" in
seventeen chapters. In Chapter iii. he says : " Moreover the
institutor of your college " the earliest use of that word in
relation to the house "seeing that the clerks of England for
the most part stutter and stammer in talking Latin " ordered
that grammar pupils should be maintained under a grammar
master, to be encouraged by a storehouse of grammar books ;
and commanded "you to talk Latin (loqui litteraliter} which
hitherto has been neglected". The Visitor therefore orders
this to be amended as soon as possible and the books of Papias
and Hugucio and Brito's Summa to be bought and chained
on a proper desk. After reprobating other breaches of the
Rule, the Visitor returned again to the grammar boys in Chapter
xii. In many ways, he says, the Fellows have departed from
the holy purpose of the founder. In the first place, they were
only to admit the poor and not those who had sufficient means
of their own or their parents' or who could by industry or favour
provide for their own needs. In view of the founder's kin pro-
visions, it is probable that the ex-mendicant friar was straining
the word " poor ", as it has often been strained since in popular
argument, out of all relation to the founder's real intention.
The second breach is, says the Visitor, that against the in-
tention of the rule, the Fellows were not willing to admit
youths (adolescentes] able to become proficient, but only those
already advanced in learning, whereas they ought, as above
said, to admit those learning the rudiments of grammar, and
he blames them for not admitting boys of the family of the
founder.

That the Visitor's strictures were effective is shown by
the accounts for 1290. There were then thirteen boys of
founder's kin besides Roger, nephew or grandson (nepos) of
Mr. Richard of Worplesdon, a former Warden, and their
pedagogue (petagogo\ Their cost was 7 IDS. 8d., or a little
over is. 6d. each, for half a year. In 1299 they were not
boarded in college but in a separate house, for which 45. rent
was paid. A book, of which the name unhappily is not
given, bought from Mr. Thomas of Wilton, cost no less than
2s. 6d., at least .3 of our money.

In 1300-1 there is a highly interesting account for one Bere-
ford, who appears to have been a young aristocrat, as he had a



174 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

separate chamber. Between St. James's day (25 July) and St.
Andrew's day (30 Nov.) he had five pairs of shoes for 2s. id.
His school fee (scolagiuni) for the winter term was 4d. in addition
to i^d. as a tip (died} for the usher (hostiarii), who is also
called vice-monitor. A payment of 2d. for a cock for his use
against the carnival (carniprivium}, shows that at Oxford in
the thirteenth as in London in the twelfth and Yorkshire in the
seventeenth century the custom of a cock-fight in the school on
Shrove Tuesday prevailed. A halfpenny was paid for a hoop
(trocd) for him, while on the day before Whitsunday some un-
decipherable sum was paid for his gloves (were they fives-gloves ?)
and balls. In the same year among the "expenses of the
Founder's nephews " we find 2d. paid for two dozen of parch-
ments for them, 2d. for a pound of candles. The dica of their
usher was ^d. each, and their scolage also was 4d. a term.
Their dica or offering on the feasts of the two patron saints of
schoolboys St. Katharine (of Egypt) and St. Nicholas (of Myra)
was a penny each, except for " little Peter Clive ", who only
paid a halfpenny. In 1304-5 their scolage was at the rate of
6d. a term, or rather perhaps id. a week. For it varied from
term to term, seven boys in the winter term costing 35. 4d.,
and in Lent term 2s. lid., while six boys in the summer
term cost 35. Seemingly there were only three terms in the
year. In 1308 there were ten boys whose scolage in
summer was 33. 4d. or only 4d. each. We get a glimpse of
what they learnt in the purchase of "a Cato" the pseudo-
Cato's Moralia for 2d. and ivory tablets for i^d., while in
the following year a Donatus, or accidence, cost 3d. and
parchment 5d.

The small Merton Grammar School was by no means
the only Oxford Grammar School, nor the oldest, as may be
gathered from the existence in the Southern Proctor's and
the Chancellor's books of a copy of " Ancient Ordinances for
Masters in Grammar, but they are not in modern use ", which
must be of the first half of the thirteenth century. The first
of them, providing that Inceptors in grammar are to be
bound by pledges {fide media) to observe the statutes and
customs ordained by the Chancellor, seems to show that the
Faculty of Grammar was organized on the same basis as that
of Arts, and that the licence to teach was only granted to



COLLEGES, CHURCHES, AND SCHOOLS 175

those who had already shown their capacity by actual
teaching under supervision. Inception in fact corresponded
pretty nearly to the theoretical instruction accompanied by
practice-schools of the most recent educational training. The
other grammar school statutes are of the ordinary gild type.
All grammar masters were to attend the funeral of any of
their number or of any grammar scholar. They were to hold
two stated meetings at the beginning and end of each term
and other meetings when necessary. They were all to have
the same holidays, or, as it is expressed, to keep the same
feasts. On Fridays they were bound to dispute grammatical
questions only, and not, presumably, questions of rhetoric or
logic. The longest and apparently most important statute is
that " On making a roll ". " The names of all grammar
scholars known and unknown shall be inscribed on the roll of
the master regent in grammar ", that is actually teaching gram-
mar in the first two years after his licence, a provision curi-
ously qualified by the condition " when there is any such in
this University". This roll every regent master of the faculty
is bound at the beginning of each term, and twice a term
afterwards, to read aloud in his school, " so as to exclude false
brethren ". Every master is bound, on pain of perjury, not to
enter anyone's name on his roll nor to defend anyone in life
or death as his scholar, unless he knows or has good reason to
believe that he attends the grammar school of some one
licensed by the Chancellor to teach grammar in the accus-
tomed way. Every master is bound to give public notice in
his school of this constitution, and that every one whose name
is not found on the roll, or whose name is on the roll, but
does not regularly attend school, is outside the protection and
privileges of the University. The grammar schools were not,
however, like the schools of other faculties, confined to
masters. For the next statute directs that each public
teacher of grammar, who has not been adorned with the
estate of a master, is bound to i tell the regent master or regent
masters, if more than one, the names of his scholars as well
boarders (commensaliutri} as others, and see that they are duly
entered on the roll for the protection of the scholars. On the
other hand, every regent master in grammar is bound to the
best of his ability to make all those publicly teaching



1 76 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

grammar in the University, who had not obtained the honour
of the mastership, observe the foregoing rules.

There are many other schools which appear in the thirteenth
century in towns where there were monasteries, which were
clearly not kept by the monasteries or monks, and remained
under the control of secular clergy. They are mostly known
only from casual entries in records. Among them is Colchester
School. On 28 May, 1 206, a grant was made by the Bishop
of London of a soke in St. Mary's, Colchester, extending from
the town wall to Head Street, which soke with the school of
Colchester belonged to the barony of the see of London.

On 9 May, 1 229, the schoolmaster of Leicester was ap-
pointed by Pope Gregory with the Abbot and the Dean of
Christianity, the rural dean so to speak, of the city of Leices-
ter, as judge to determine a case on appeal to the Pope be-
tween the prior and convent of Thurgarton and the rector
of Banston as to a payment due from the latter. He with
the Dean of Christianity as principal judges, with a sub-
delegate of the abbot, tried the case and decreed judgment
against the rector on 9 April, 1230.

In July, 1242, the schoolmaster of Cirencester (magister
scolarum Cirencestrie) was one of three judges who heard an
appeal to the Pope in a case in which Gloucester Abbey was
concerned.

The school at Lewes appears in 1248. The alien prior of
the Cluniac priory there, Guigardus, and the convent contested
the claim of the mother abbey to the tithes of Lewes, and the
case was referred to the cardinal priest of St. Laurence in
Lucina to hear as Papal delegate. On Whit-Monday, 1 248, the
priory appointed their beloved clerk Lucas, master of Lewes
school, as their proctor, steward, or syndic. As 860 marks and
costs estimated at 100 more were involved this was no small
case. On 8 July Lucas duly appeared at Rome, and after
various sittings and adjournments admitted the claim of the
Abbot of Cluny. Archbishop Peckham was probably at this
school as he declared that Lewes Priory was dearer to him
than any other in England because he had been brought up
close by it (not, be it noted, in it,) from a boy. In December,
1285, John of Hampton, master of Lewes School (scale Lew-
ensis), was ordained acolyte by Peckham at South Mailing



COLLEGES, CHURCHES, AND SCHOOLS 177

church. Another master appears in a will in 1405 as being
owed " 6d. for half a quarter " tuition fees.

Henry, schoolmaster of Battle, in Sussex, born in Corn-
wall, appears in a deed of I April, 1251, and another after 1261 ;
he was a married man, for his daughter Alice appears as a
grantor of land in 1277 and 1299.

At Arundel, about the same time, the prior covenanted with
Master William of Wedon in consideration of a grant of land
by him, to find him in eatables and drinkables at the monks'
table and to provide him a fit house (hospicimn) in which to keep
his school decently, and a chamber in the priory, and a mark
of silver so long as he was able to teach the school efficiently.

The schoolmaster of Marlborough (Merleberge] was one of
three Papal delegates to try a case between a canon of Salis-
bury and the Archdeacon of Surrey.

Thomas of Kyrkeham, schoolmaster of Lancaster, appears
as witness to a deed in the priory chartulary early in Henry
Ill's reign. On 17 April, 1284, Emma, wife of Master
Thomas of Lancaster brought an assize of mort (T ancestor and
a few weeks later " Thomas le scholemaster of Lancastre " and
Emma his wife successfully defended a counter action brought
by the defendant in the former action.

At Chesterfield in the reign of Henry III, Sir Henry,
clerk, of Ashbourne, thanked Simon, rector of Chesterfield,
for having obtained for him from the Dean of Lincoln "the
mastership of your (i.e. Chesterfield) school ", especially as the
rector had pressed his appointment before he had asked for it
It is notable that in 1337 Sir Henry of Sutton, schoolmaster
of Chesterfield, appears with a wife Agnes holding land there.

At Malmesbury, the Priory Register written " at the end of
the 1 3th or beginning of the I4th century" shows us Master
Reginald, schoolmaster, and afterwards vicar of St. Peter's
church, holding property in the town, and his school building
later vested in the Pitancer.

At the following places where no monasteries existed,
secular or lay records furnish notices of schools at this time.
Included in the property of Baldwin de Insula, Earl of Devon,
in 1263, was the township of Plymton with the advowson of
the school.

At Louth when a new vicar was appointed on 23 October,

12



1 78 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

1276, a letter was sent to the schoolmaster of Louth to in-
duct him.

In 1283, Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, ap-
propriated to St. John the Baptist's Hospital, Bridgewater, the
rectory of Wembdon, and in 1290 that of Morwinstow, in con-
sideration of which, Geoffrey, Prior of the Hospital, covenanted
in 1298 with Burnell's successor William of Marsh, to main-
tain within the walls of the Hospital, thirteen poor, able
scholars, for instruction in grammar, and also to provide daily
dinners from the Hospital kitchen for seven of the poorest
scholars sent by the schoolmaster (rector scolaruwi) of the town
of Bridgewater. The Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535 shows
fourteen scholars still being maintained out of the revenues of
the two rectories.

The coming of age of Hugh de la Tour in 1 309 was proved
by a witness who knew it because his own son had been at
Taunton School with him (ad S colas Taunton in societate pre-
dict?) in 1293.

At Wakefield a court roll of the manor for 1298 shows
Alice Sampson being indicted for breaking into the barn of
Master John, rector of the school of Wakefield, at Topcliff, and
stealing therefrom sixteen fleeces.

In a thirteenth-century feoffment among the Belvoir Castle
MSS., Christiana, wife of the late schoolmaster of Helmsley,
Yorkshire, was grantor.

It is difficult to decide whether the endowment of a house
in High Street, Salisbury, given by Bishop Robert Bingham
about 1270 for the use of masters who should instruct in arts
on condition that poor scholars should be taught free was for
the Grammar School or for the masters of the incipient Uni-
versity. As a little before in 1 267 his predecessor had founded
the college of St. Edmund for theologians, it is on the whole
more probable that this was intended as a University not as
a school foundation.

As local records come to be examined by more than the
single pair of eyes which have lit on these notices, with as
much attention to the evidence as to living educational institu-
tions as has hitherto been paid to dead monasteries and chant-
ries, the number of schools which can be traced to the thirteenth
century or earlier will be indefinitely increased.




AT some time unknown before 1 306 a new departure was
taken in organizing the Grammar Schools at Oxford
which appears to point to a considerable increase in
their number, accompanied perhaps by a falling off or failure in
the supply of regent masters, to whom, under the "Ancient
Statutes no longer in modern use", their management was till
then entrusted. For at a specially solemn congregation held
at the beginning of Michaelmas term 1 306, at which the Arch-
deacon of Oxford and the Bishop of Lincoln's Official Principal
were present, representing the special episcopal control over
grammar schools, perhaps in the absence of the Chancellor (for
otherwise that control was exercised by him), it was provided
that two M.A.'s should be yearly elected to superintend the
grammar schools. If it had not been for the addition of the
words " as has been the custom ", we might have supposed this
to be an entirely new arrangement, whereas apparently it
was only the statutable and episcopal recognition of what
had already been the practice. The superintending masters
were to be paid a salary, as to which it is somewhat mystic-
ally stated "that saving the proper seat of the vice-monitor,
the whole residue should be divided into two equal parts, to
be applied one to the M.A.'s and the other to the vice-moni-
tor"; and, to prevent fraud, the two M.A.'s were to collect
this salary together. Who was the vice-monitor? In the
Merton School documents the vice-monitor seems to be the
same as the Hostiarius or usher. He appears also at this time
in the Grammar School of Canterbury and in that of St.
Alban's, and he is probably the usher or second master, who
is also mentioned. But why the usher should have half the
salary collected besides his own special fees as usher, and where

179



i8o THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

the schoolmaster himself comes in, is most obscure. Nearly
half a century later we find that the University, having spent
a large sum on the repairs of the Inn called "le Bufohall ", or
Toad-hall, the regent masters agreed in December, 1352, that
the University should have two-thirds and the visitors of
grammar schools one-third of the rent received for the hall
until the sum spent was repaid. This appears to be explained
by another undated but probably late fourteenth-century
statute to mean that in fact the whole sums called collections
(collecta] paid to the grammar schools were divided into three
parts, one to the superintendent masters, one to the teaching
masters and the other to the vice-monitor. It is then stated that
to encourage the grammar schoolmasters to teach their boys
with greater diligence the superintending Masters of Arts
should take two marks only from them, whether there was only
one master or more, and four marks from the University
revenues, two marks in each term, the superintending masters at
the same time being absolved from the obligation of ordinary
lectures on Priscian's De constructionibus to which they had been
obliged, though they are still to lecture in two terms cursorily,
and to visit the grammar schools once a week. If, however, the
University rents assigned for the purpose proved deficient, 403.
a year for each superintendent master was to be made up out of
the collections in the grammar school, i.e. the fees received by
the grammar school masters. These superintending masters
correspond to the Master of Glomery at Cambridge, a term in
use there as late as 1 540. There being only one at Cambridge,
instead of two as at Oxford, points to a less number of
grammar schools and schoolmasters.

It shows how erroneous is the usual view about the scanty
instruction given in the grammar schools at this time, that
the code of the faculty of grammar, in which this statute is
embedded, provides that no one shall teach (legaf) in it without
the Chancellor's licence, nor get that licence without being first
examined and found fit in verse making and writing prose (de
modo versificandi et dictandi] and in books (auctoribus], " lest the
saying of Isaiah might apply, ' thou hast multiplied the people
but hast not increased joy' ". On being licensed the masters were
to swear to be diligent in teaching their scholars, and not let them
for greater gain run about outside the school or play in school, and



THE ERA OF SCHOOL STATUTES 181

to teach them good conduct as well as learning. Every fort-
night the boys were to be set verses to make, and letters to com-
pose " in fitting terms, not in six-feet-long words and swelling
phrases, but in succinct clauses, apt metaphors, clear sentences,
and as far as may be full of good sense ". These verses and
letters the boys were to write on parchment on the next
holiday, and on the next school-day to recite them by heart to
the master and give him what they have written. The masters
were also to make them observe the rule in Latin or in French ac-
cording to their statutes, i.e. to talk either in Latin or in French
according to their age and advancement. This is an apt illus-
tration of the passage in Higden's Polychronicon, written in
1327, a copy of which was one of William of Wykeham's gifts
to his new college, commenting on the corruption of the Eng-
lish language. It " comes to-day ", he says, " chiefly from two
things, viz. that boys in school, contrary to the custom of all
other nations, since the first coming of the Normans, abandoning
their own tongue are compelled to construe in French ; and
also that noblemen's sons from their very cradles are taught the
French idiom ; and country men, wishing to be like them, that
so they may appear more respectable, endeavour to Frenchify
themselves with all their might ". A remarkable proof of the
extent to which it was carried is that there are three extant
letters of William of Wykeham's to Englishmen and all are
written in French. It is clear from the insistence on composi-
tion both in prose and verse that the medieval grammar school
differed not at all in subject or method from the Renaissance
school or the school of the so-called New Learning, the post-
Reformation school, except that boys translated their Latin
not into English but French. That difference disappeared, as
will be seen, before the end of the century with which we are
now concerned.

Nor was it only at Oxford, the centre of intellectual
activity, that the schools were thus highly organized. On the
contrary, the schoolmaster, the grammar school master, occupied
a relatively lower position at Oxford, where he was over-
shadowed by the teachers in the higher faculties, than in places
where he was the chief representative of learning, and required or
kept a position corresponding to that of the Chancellors of Oxford
and Cambridge themselves, especially when they were not over-



182 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

shadowed by the Chancellors of cathedral or great collegiate
churches. A wealth of documents in the first part of the
fourteenth century has been fortunately preserved which enable
us to compare the position occupied by the schoolmasters at
Canterbury and St. Alban's with that occupied by those at
St. Paul's, London, and Beverley.

At Beverley on 27 October, 1304, the chapter of the
Minster or collegiate church of St. John, on the complaint
of Master Thomas of Brompton, rector of their school, that
one Robert of Dal ton, clerk, unmindful of his [soul's] health
and not fearing the sentence of greater ex-communication
healthfully promulgated four times a year in the minster
against all those audaciously infringing the liberties of St.
John of Beverley, kept a school in the town of Dalton to
the prejudice of the liberty of the minster, directed Walter
of Kelsay, their clerk, to warn the said Robert that within nine
days, of which the first three should be taken for one warning,
the next three should be taken for a second, and the third three
for a third and peremptory warning, he should totally desist
from keeping such school there or elsewhere within the liberty,
and not attempt any such things thereafter. If he disobeyed,
he was then and there excommunicated in writing by the
chapter, and Kelsay was to proclaim or cause him to be pro-
claimed excommunicate every Sunday and feast day with bells
ringing, candles lighted and extinguished, during mass in the
parish church of Dalton. Some three months later, 20 January
1304-5, another rival schoolmaster appeared in Stephen of
Garton, clerk, who equally unmindful of his soul ruled an
adulterine, i.e. unlicensed, school (the word is commonly used



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