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which was also in a prebend. Stamford School is further known
owing to the preservation at Exeter College, Oxford, of a
MS. book, a commentary on the pseudo-Boethius' De disciplina
scolarium by Master William Wetelay (Wheatley) " compiled
by a master who taught school (rexit scolas] at Stamford A.D.
1 309 ". He was afterwards master of Lincoln Grammar School



THE ERA OF SCHOOL STATUTES 193

where he composed another book preserved at New College,
Oxford, on Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, with two hymns
to St. Hugh of Lincoln, which he tells us he composed for
a play produced at Christmas, 1316, in which year there was
great scarcity and mortality, to comfort himself and others in
their misery.

Here then are ten grammar schools in this single county all
appearing in the course of the years 1276 to 1329, and there
were no doubt others in various prebends which remained un-
noticed. To these ten at least one other school, Wainfleet, was
added by William Waynflete, founder of Magdalen College,
Oxford, in 1459; its present building being erected in

1484.

An interesting development of a boarding-house in a
hospital in connexion with a cathedral school took place at
this time at Exeter. Bishop Stapledon, in 1314, founded at
Oxford Stapledon Hall, now Exeter College. Having seen
that those " who had not drunk a foundation of grammar are
rendered useless or at least less useful for higher learning ", after
founding his college at Oxford for scholars in logic, he had
set to work to provide for the "maintenance of boys studying
grammar, and receiving instruction in morals and life ", in con-
nexion with St. John the Baptist's Hospital by the East gate
of Exeter. His head and career being cut off by a London
mob in a rising against Edward II in 1326, the completion
of his design was effected by his successor, Bishop Grandi-
son, by an ordinance of 18 November, 1332. Under this the
master and brethren of the hospital, in consideration of the
appropriation to them of the church of Yarnescombe, were to
provide an " inn " (hospidunt) and all necessaries for a gram-
mar master, and eight or ten grammar boys, to be elected,
two, if possible, from the parish of Yarnescombe, and two or
one from the Archdeaconries of Totnes and Cornwall, while
the dean and chapter were to send three choristers, whose voices
had broken, and the De Columbers, patrons of Yarnescombe,
were to name one. The election was to be by the High
(Summus} Master of the School of the City of Exeter, and the
boys were to know their psalter and plain song. They were
only to board in the hospital, and were to attend the City
Grammar School for a period of five years, unless they got no
13



194 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

very quickly. Though not in terms connected with it, this
house was plainly intended as a nursery for Stapledon Hall.

The same Bishop Grandison set a fruitful precedent for
the treatment of property belonging to foreign houses in con-
nexion with a new college and school founded by him at
Ottery St. Mary's, Devon. On 2 January, 1337-38, he pur-
chased from the Dean and Chapter of Rouen the manor and
church of Ottery St. Mary, which had been appropriated to
them in 1061 by Edward the Confessor, and founded a col-
legiate church therewith. The college consisted of eight
canons, eight vicars-choral, eight clerks, and eight choristers,
with a parish priest, a matins priest, and a chapel and
chaplain of the Blessed Virgin. There was also a grammar
schoolmaster (Magister scolis gramaticalibus) to teach the
boys, and it is notable that it was expressly provided that he
was not to be a married man. The pay of the schoolmaster
was not extensive, being two marks (1 6s. 8d.) a year, but
the canons residentiary had only 2, and the warden 3,
and this was " besides the profits of his school", showing that
the school was intended to be frequented by outsiders who
would pay fees. The chaplain of the Blessed Virgin was to
teach the Song School and playing on the organs this word,
like schools being commonly used in the plural for the singu-
lar. On 9 December, 1339, the founder expressed his dis-
pleasure at hearing that the choristers had not taken up their
residence in the house he had provided for them, and that on
Innocents' Day, not content with their dissolute and insolent
behaviour in the parish by which this Puritanical bishop
meant the usual boy-bishop's celebration they had wandered
about outside it for many days leaving the church unserved.
He ordered them therefore to go into their house and that
the schoolmasters should sleep in their chamber, and that, as
the flogging authorized by the statutes did not keep them in
order, they should be fined as well the enormous sum of 33. 4d.
for every day's absence from choir " except when attending
school ". The school continued to flourish till the dissolution
by Henry VIII in 1545 when the master, Sir John Chubbs, re-
ceived ;io, a maximum salary. Henry VIII refounded the
school as the King's " Newe Scole ", when he gave back the
church to the parishioners in 1 547.



THE ERA OF SCHOOL STATUTES 195

When Queen's College, Oxford, was founded in 1340 by
Robert of Eglesfield, in honour of Queen Philippa, to whom
he was chaplain, and whom he undoubtedly wished to put in
the same position in regard to Oxford as Queen Joan of
Navarre held in regard to Paris University, through her mag-
nificent foundation of the College of Navarre, he provided for
a school of poor youths to double the number of the largest
number of scholars of the college for the time being, so long
as they did not exceed the number of the seventy-two dis-
ciples of Christ. As the scholars actually provided never
exceeded the number of the twelve apostles, so the school
contemplated was in fact limited to twenty-four, and does
not appear to have numbered more than twelve. These
youths were to serve as choristers in the chapel, whereas at
Winchester there were sixteen choristers in addition to the
scholars, to prevent the boys wasting their time in services
instead of learning. The Queen's boys were, however, meant
to form a real school. They were to have informators in
grammar while learning grammar, in logic while learning
logic, and that " not only in sophisms but in the texts " ; a
" well-instructed " grammarian and a learned artist being ap-
pointed informators, and directed to teach them good manners
as well as learning, and see that they always spoke either
Latin or French. Even at meals they were to learn, being
" posed " by the M.A. fellows at the high table, until the cloth
was taken away, when the boys had their meals at the lower
side tables, the junior M.A. opposing the junior boy, and so
upwards to the senior M.A. and the senior boy. After a
solid foundation in grammar and competent instruction in
plain song, they were to spend eight full years in studying
philosophy, or four terms after taking their B.A. degree.
They were in fact partly schoolboys, partly like the under-
graduate scholars of the present day.

This was the last school founded before the Black Death,
and probably the last English school in which the boys were
enjoined to speak French.

The accounts of Merton College School at this time bring
home to us the great change which now took place of the sub-
stitution of the English language for French, as the language
of the educated and upper classes.



196 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

In 1330-31 and for several years afterwards the boys were
under the charge of John Eylesbury, " grammarian ". In 1 338
they were divided into artists (ardstarum) and grammarians
(gramaticorutn). In 1339 there were eleven boys studying
grammar, who paid $d. each for Lent and 4d.. each for the
summer term, and an usher was paid 8d. for the year. In 1347,
when there were six boys, they seem to have been sent out to
school, I od. being paid to Master John Cornwall (Cornubiensis)
for his school (salario scale) in Lent term and 2^d. to his
usher, and the same for the summer term : while what was ap-
parently an extra sum of 2d. per week was paid for the fees
(salario) of the six grammar boys in the method of writing. In
the autumn 4^d. a term was paid for the salary of six gram-
marians. In 1349 there were fourteen boys, the highest
number ever reached. They were not all grammar boys as
" candles bought at various times as well for the artists as the
grammarians " cost 45. 8|d. Parchment (membranis) for the
same cost 35. 2|d., while ink for the boys cost 2-^d. A steel
" so as to have fire at nights " with sulphur and tinder cost i^d.
The interesting educational items occur of " a broken Horace
(in debili libra oracit) for the boys, ^d. ; divers pairs of tablets,
for the grammarians to report the arguments, 2-d.", so that
grammatical disputations were in vogue. Mr. John Cornwayle
was paid for the salary of his house in the winter and summer
terms, I2d. a term, and in the Lent term iod., while his usher
was paid 3d. and 2-d.

This John Cornwall is the master who is credited with ef-
fecting the substitution of English for French in the schools.
John Trevisa, translator of Higden's Polychronicon in 1 385, says :
" Thys manere (of translating Latin into French) was moche y-
used tofore the furste moreyn, and ys sethe somdel ychaunged.
For Johan Cornwal, a mayster of gramere, chayngede the lore
in gramer-scole, and construccion of Freynsch into Englysch ;
and Richard Pencrych lurnede that manere techyng of hym,
and other men of Pencrych, so that now, the yere of oure
Lord a thousond three hondred foure score and fyve, of the
seconde kyng Richard after the conquest nyne, in al the gram-
er-scoles of Engelond childern leveth Frensch and construeth
and lurneth an Englysch, and habbeth thereby avanntage
in on syde and desavauntage yn another. Ther avauntage ys



THE ERA OF SCHOOL STATUTES 197

that they lurneth ther gramer in lesse tyme than childern
were i-woned to doo ; desavauntage ys that now childern of
gramer-scole conneth na more Frensche than can thir lift heele,
and that is harme for them an they schulle passe the see and
travaille in straunge landes and in many other places."
Pencrych has been guessed to be the master of Penkridge
Collegiate Church School in Staffordshire. His name may
be derived thence, but in point of fact the Merton College ac-
counts show that there was a Pencrych Hall opposite Merton
in 1380, which in 1367 was occupied by Penkrissh, who was
then alive. He was probably therefore a grammar school
master who succeeded Cornwall in his school at Oxford.

Among schools, the first known evidence of which occurs
in the first half of the fourteenth century, are two schools in
Sussex ; Richard le Scolemaister of New Shoreham in an
Assize Roll of 1302, and Master William, schoolmaster of
Seaford (Safford) in a deed of 1320.

The chantry commissioners of 1 548 found that the Free
Scole of Crewkerne, Somerset, was " sometyme callyd the
chauntrie of the Trynitie". This school is reputed to have
been founded by John Combe there is a place called Comb
St. Reine in the parish canon of Exeter, in 1499. He un-
doubtedly gave it an endowment, but, if the chantry commis-
sioners were right, the school had existed and was previously
endowed, as the Trinity chantry was founded under licence of
Edward II in 1310.

Ashburton Grammar School, Devon, is attributed by the
same commissioners to St. Laurence gild, the beautiful little
chapel at which, with its graceful tower is now the schoolhouse.
The gild was founded for the continual finding of a priest to
pray for the donors of lands to it, as also " to kepe a scole for
the erudycyon of children frely ". The deed of endowment of a
chantry priest in the chapel of St. Laurence by Bishop Staple-
don, the founder of Exeter College, originally Stapledon Hall
at Oxford, to whom, as bishop, Ashburton belonged, is dated
Monday before St. Laurence's Day, 1314. Though the deed
does not mention a school it would appear that this priest kept
the school. The chapel of St. Laurence itself was earlier, as
a visitation of it in 1301 is extant.

At Northallerton, in Yorkshire, is a grammar school, which



198 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

the present writer assisted to raise from a decadent state to its
present flourishing condition as a mixed grammar school for
boys and girls with not far short of 200 pupils. The appoint-
ment of its master in 1321 is preserved, and was clearly not
that of the master of a new school. Northallerton and the
district round it, known as Northallertonshire, had been given
by William Rufus to the bishopric of Durham. The bishops
subsequently divided the possessions and duties of the see be-
tween themselves and the monks of the cathedral priory. In
this division the right and duty of exercising spiritual jurisdic-
tion in Northallertonshire fell to the prior, on whom, accord-
ingly, and not on the bishop, as in the case of Durham itself,
devolved the appointment of the schoolmaster. Accordingly,
in the second of the existing Prior's Registers at Durham, we
find on 20 March, 1322, William, Prior, addressing his beloved
in Christ, Robert Colstan of Alverton, clerk, being favourably
inclined to him by the prayers made on his behalf, conferring
by way of alms (intuitu caritatis, the usual formula in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries for the collation to livings
and other ecclesiastical offices), "the rectorship (regimen) of
our school of Alverton; on condition (itd) that you exhibit
effective diligence about the instruction of boys as due under
the oath made to us ". This appointment was rather excep-
tionally made, for what is now the regular term for school-
masters " to last only for our pleasure " or at pleasure. In
a subsequent appointment of John Podesay, as master, the
Prior describes himself as " Ordinary of the spirituality of the
Liberty of the Blessed Cuthbert " the patron saint of Durham
" in> Yorkshire ", and the appointment was for five years dur-
ing good behaviour, and was to teach both grammar and song
schools a result no doubt of the scarcity of educated clerics
caused by the Black Death and subsequent plagues. For in
1426 a separate appointment to the song and reading school
(scolarum lectualem et cantualium) is noted. In 1443, how-
ever, the two schools of song and grammar are again combined
under Sir John Leuesham, chaplain, who is to teach reading,
song, and grammar. This appointment was again only at
pleasure. At the dissolution of chantries in 1 548 this " gramer
scole " was found to be endowed with lands " gyven by certen
wele-disposed persones " worth 8 8s. a year and applied ac-



THE ERA OF SCHOOL STATUTES 199

cordingly. Another certificate describes " landes of the guylde
there ", out of which John Foster, clerke, scholemaster, received
$ is. 4d. only. So the lands were confiscated to the Crown,
and the master continued with a fixed stipend of 5 is. 4d.
only, subsequently reduced by office fees to even less. Foster
was still schoolmaster when the Exchequer held an in-
quiry as to the schools charged on the Crown revenues in
1571.

It is strange to find the Prior of Durham in the same capa-
city of Ordinary of Howdenshire appointing in 1393 to the
separate grammar school and song school of Howden in " How-
denshire " since Howden had been made a collegiate church a
century before, and the bishop himself lived within a stone's
throw of it, in a great manor-house, part of which still exists.
Here, too, the grammar and song schools were joined under
one master in 1409. They were separated again in 1412 and
1426, but in 1456 the grammar and reading schools (scolastam
lectuales quam gramaticales) were so united.

At Harlow in Essex, a new chantry school was founded at
the altar of St. Petronilla, commonly abbreviated to Purnell or
Parnell, a favourite female name, under licence of 17 July,
1324, by the rector, John of Staunton, King's clerk and Can-
tabrigian. The endowment was worth, in 1548, 8 8s. io|d.
a year, and a rasin or bunch (racemus] of ginger.

In Lincolnshire, the Grammar School of Bourne, still exist-
ing ten years ago but now in abeyance, appears in 1330, when
on Saturday after Christmas Day the cathedral chapter, in the
vacancy of the chancellorship, admitted Sir John, son of Ed-
ward Faber, or Smith (Fabri) of Brune to the mastership, on
the presentation of the Abbot of Bourne. In view of this we
may fairly claim as a scholar of this school, Roberd of Brunne,
who, in 1303, began to "turn" "an Englyssh tunge out of
frankys", the " Handlyng synne" as he mistranslated
"Manuel des pechies" , for the benefit of the "gode men of
Brune and speciali the feloushape of Symprynghame " six
miles off.

At Farburn in Yorkshire, near Huddersfield, a schoolmaster
appears in 1348, being convicted at the assizes of murdering
a man for the purpose of robbing him of 4, and, under the
benefit of clergy, handed over by the King's Court as a clerk



200 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

convict to a chaplain of the Archbishop of York ; so that a
mild imprisonment, followed by purgation would be all the
punishment he would get.

The first actual evidence of Ripon Grammar School is the
appearance in similarly unfortunate circumstances of Richard
the chamberlain, clerk, formerly master of the schoolhouse
(scole hous] of Ripon, in Michaelmas term, 1348. The sheriff
was ordered, as he had been ordered many times before, to
arrest him, with some 1 39 others ; priests, clerks, men and
women on a charge of felony, probably a riot, and, on the
sheriff returning that he could not be found to proclaim them
outlawed. In 1354 a tenement " formerly in the tenure of the
schoolmaster " at lod. rent was let to a chaplain for 2s. id., and
this tenement on the south side of the churchyard is described
as "formerly in the tenure of Master Richard, rector of the
grammar school", in rent-rolls of 1392 and 1397. Mean-
while a new schoolhouse had been provided, as the Fabric roll
for 1380 contains an item of 6s. for rent of a messuage in
Annesgate in the tenure of " Master Thomas, skolemayster ".
The treatment of this school on the dissolution of the minster
in 1 548 curiously illustrates the reputation of Edward VI as a
school-founder, but must be reserved for a subsequent volume.
Statutes were made for the school in 1380, chiefly to enforce
the master's attendance at the Lady Mass and his reading of
the sixth lesson in church on Sundays and high days.

At Tickhill in the same county, formerly a considerable
place as one of the chief seats in Yorkshire of the duchy of
Lancaster, the chantry of St. Helen was founded by the wife
of Adam Hertehill on 14 January, 1349. The main purpose
of this chantry was a school. For a grammar school had ac-
cording to a certificate of the chantry commissioners in 1548,
been heretofore continually kept out of its revenues, amounting
to 4 135. nfd. a year. This must have been one of the
latest school foundations before the Black Death.



CHAPTER X

THE BLACK DEATH AND WINCHESTER
COLLEGE

THE Black Death of 1349, followed as it was by the
Secunda Pestis of 1361 and a third plague in 1367,
profoundly affected the universities and schools.
The foundation of new colleges was absolutely stopped. None
were created at Cambridge between 1352, when Corpus Christi
College was founded expressly to repair the ravages created by
the plague of 1349, and 1439, when God's House (now Christ's
College) was founded to restore the supply of grammar masters,
to the failure of which was attributed the fact that scores of
grammar schools had fallen into abeyance. At Oxford none
were founded between Queen's in 1340 and New College in
*379- The flow of scholars was seriously diminished. Per-
haps the most striking testimony to this are two appoint-
ments of masters of Lincoln and York Grammar Schools
respectively. At Michaelmas, 1351, the Lincoln Chapter
granted their Grammar School to John Muscham "on this
wise, that if an M.A. should come and ask for the school he
should be admitted, since by custom the keeping of the school
belongs to an M.A." On 9 June, 1368, the Chapter of York
departed from the " ancient custom " of at least 1 50 years, of
appointing for a term of three to five years only, and " because
since the time of the past Death through the shortness of the
time and on account of the rarity of M.A.'s, no master in arts
has cared to teach the school ", they appointed John of York
M.A. "until he obtains an ecclesiastical benefice". The
person appointed was still master in 1380, when he was ad-
mitted a freeman of the city.

Again on 19 May, 1351, the chapter of York Minster,
during a vacancy in the office of the chancellor of the minster,
caused by the death in the plague of William of Abberwick,

20 1



202 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

ex-fellow of Merton College and Dean of the collegiate church
of Auckland, deputed Sir William of Staunton of Alverton,
chaplain, to be keeper of the Grammar School (custos scolarum
gramaticalium) of Doncaster. The use of the word " deputed "
and the appointment not as master or rector, but as custos or
guardian, show that the chapter thought themselves entitled
only to appoint ad interim, a temporary master, until there
was a new chancellor, whose duty and right it was to make a
permanent appointment of a master of arts.

To the Black Death seems to be due the earliest reference
to Ludlow Grammar School. Though it was most probably
maintained by the Palmers' Gild from its beginning in 1284,
it is not till 1349 we get certain evidence of it. John of
Lyndessye (Lindsay in Lincolnshire) received orders at the
hands of the Bishop of Hereford as sub-deacon on 19 Sep-
tember, deacon on 19 December, 1349, and priest on 20
February, 1349-50, on the title of "the School in the town of
Ludlow ". It is difficult not to think that he thus took all
the orders in rapid succession to enable him to qualify for the
numerous preferments vacated by the plague.

William of Wykeham, the founder of New College, himself
owed his own rapid rise and remarkable accumulation of pre-
ferments, surpassing even those of Henry Ill's Chancellor
John Mansel, the proverbial pluralist of previous ages, largely
to the plague. Born in 1324, he was at the time of the
Black Death merely a law clerk, who after receiving at Win-
chester, no doubt in the High School, the usual grammar
school education in "the primitive sciences", but not pro-
ceeding to the University, had become an under-notary to
the constable of Winchester Castle. At the age of forty-two,
he had risen to be clerk of the King's works at two royal
manors, and overseer of the workmen at Windsor Castle,
with wages of a shilling a day, and another shilling till he
could be preferred to some benefice worth 20 a year. It
was not till after the great outbreak of bubonic plague in 1 360-
61, called by the chroniclers the Secunda Pestis, as second only
to the Black Death of 1349, that no less than sixteen prefer-
ments deaneries, archdeaconries, canonries, rectories were,
within eighteen months, heaped upon the servant whom the
King delighted to honour, who then took inferior orders as an



THE BLACK DEATH 203

acolyte, and in 1362 holy orders. It is noteworthy that this
year saw the erection of the first collegiate church founded since
the Black Death. This was Cobham College, Kent, founded
by John Lord Cobham for a master and five chaplains, one
of whom was to teach the six choristers singing for an addi-
tion to his salary of 6s. 8d., and another was to teach the
clerks and boys grammar at 4 a year, raised in 1405 to 5.
Is it merely a coincidence that of three letters now extant, all in
French, written by William of Wykeham one is to this very Lord
Cobham? Wykeham having also the secular offices of
clerk of the exchequer, keeper of the forests and Privy Seal,
speedily accumulated the fortune which, when the bishopric
of Winchester, richest in England, and the chancellorship were
substituted for lower preferments in 1 366-67, made him the
millionaire of his age.

It was therefore no rhetorical phrase repeating an obsolete
formula, but sober fact, which made William of Wykeham
give as a reason for his great foundations of Winchester Col-
lege and its sister at Oxford, New College, " the cure of the
common disease of the clerical army, which we have seen
grievously wounded by lack of clerks, due to plagues, wars, and
other miseries ".

He must have planned the twin colleges, which have
enshrined his name, very soon after his preferment. For
already in February, 1369, his agents, fellows ot Merton Col-



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