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aforesaid." So they submitted that it was "expedient that
in London were a sufficient number of schools and good in-
formers in grammar, and not for the singular avail of two or
three persons grievously to hurt the multitude of young people.
. . . For where there is great number of learners and few
teachers, and all the learners be compelled to go to the same



THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND HUMANISM 267

few teachers, the masters wax rich in money and the learners
poor in cunning as experience openly sheweth, against all
virtue and order of the public weal."

After this powerful attack on the system of monopoly the
petitioners got their Bill. "The king wills that it be so as
it is desired, so that it be done by the advice of the Ordinary
or otherwise of the Archbishop of Canterbury for the time
being." This private Act is said to have been the origin of a
school established in St. Thomas of Aeon's Hospital, which in
1540 became the Mercers' School. No evidence has been
found of schools in All Saints', Holborn St. Andrew's, or St.
Peter's, Cornhill. The archbishop and bishop probably nipped
them in the bud, being assisted by the deaths of two at least
of the petitioning rectors within a year of their petition.

Among other schools founded at this time was that of
Newport, Shropshire, where Thomas Draper, by licence of
Henry VI in 1442, founded a College of our Lady of one
warden and three fellows and an organ-player. One of the
fellows kept the grammar school, and at the time of the
dissolution was receiving $ a year for doing so.

At Wokingham, the chantry-grammar-school of St. Mary
was founded by Adam Mullen, or Moleyns, Dean of Salisbury,
in 1445. The chantry-priest-schoolmaster's living was worth
12 2s. 6^d. a year.

The widow of Robert Greyndour, Esquire, obtained a
licence in mortmain, 6 November, 1445, for the foundation of
a chantry-school at Newland, in Gloucestershire, and endowed
it with 12 a year. A striking feature of this foundation was
that it was to be both a grammar-school and a reading school,
and only half free ; " to th 'entent that there shuld be an
honeste and discrete preste, being sufficientlie lerned irf the
arte of gramer to kepe and teache a grammer scoole ther half
free for ever; that is to saie, to take of scolers lernynge
gramer, 8d. the quarter, and of other lernynge lettres and to
rede 4d. the quarter," and also that the priest was " to kepe a
scoller sufficientt to teche under hym continually, gyvinge
him meate, dryncke, clothe, and all other necessaries".

Edward VI has heretofore had the credit of Chipping
Norton School, because in 1548, when the lands of the gild,
producing 16 a year, were confiscated, a payment of 6 a



268 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

year to the schoolmaster was continued. If any king is to
have the credit of the school, it is Henry, not Edward VI.
The credit really belongs to the inhabitants of the place ; this
like most other gilds being founded by joint-stock enterprise,
the subscriptions and donations of many. The gild founded
under licence of 1451 maintained not only a schoolmaster but
a morrow mass priest, i.e. a priest to say mass at dawn for the
benefit of the early and pious workman on his way to work,
and other " almes deades ". At the dissolution, the inhabitants
petitioned for the continuance of the school, " as ther ys muche
vght (youth) in the said towne ". Though the commissioners
reported the gild priest-schoolmaster, Sir Hamlet Malban, as
" well lerned in gramer ", Chipping Norton only obtained the
usual order for the fixed payment out of the Crown lands.
Thanks to additional endowments given in Elizabeth's reign
by William Avenell and later by others, the school was main-
tained as a grammar school till 1824. In 1859 a County
Court scheme devoted all the endowments to saving the pockets
of the parson and landowners by applying them to the National
School.

The mention in a deed of 1453 of a street called Schole-
house-gate witnesses to the existence of the Grammar School
at Appleby. On 25 March, 18 Edward IV, 1478, an indenture
was made between the Mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty of
Appleby and Sir Thomas Whynfell, chaplain, by which they
granted him the chantry of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded
by Thomas Goldyngton and his son John [in 1286] in St.
Laurence Church. Seeing that the said chantry was not
sufficient for the maintenance of a chaplain, they further
granted him two other chantries, namely, that of St. Nicholas
[which in other documents is called Threlkeld's chantry,
and was founded by one Threlkeld in 1336] in St. Laurence
Church, and that of Sir William Yngliche [English in another
deed], knight, anciently founded in St. Michael's Church.
Further, the said Thomas covenanted that he would keep,
or cause to be kept by a fit person, yearly at all fit and proper
times a sufficient grammar school (unam scolam gramatzcalem,
in the singular) in the said borough, without ceasing at any
time, in which it ought to be kept, during his life, taking from
the scholars of the school aforesaid the school fees and cus-



THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND HUMANISM 269

ternary payments (scolagia et custumas] according to the ancient
custom of the school aforesaid. The reference to the ancient
custom of the school shows that it was not then new. Nor
was this the first time the chantries had been united in the
same hands, since, among the town muniments is a lease by
Richard of Pathnell, chaplain of the chantries of St. Mary and
St. Nicholas, dated 24 June, 1397. The patron saint of St.
Nicholas' chantry suggests that it was founded definitely to
provide a grammar school. On 5 March, 1534, the same
three chantries were granted to Edward Gibson who "wills
and grants to keep the grammar school and to teach, instruct,
and inform in the best way he knows how scholars there".
On the dissolution of chantries in 1548, the property was
confiscated, but Edward Gibson continued as master with the
salary of 5 los. 8d., charged on the Crown revenues. Pay-
ment was stopped during the Marian reaction from Michaelmas,
1555, till Gibson obtained a new grant from the Court of Ex-
chequer on 17 May, 1557. It is probable that he continued
master till the school was re-founded under a charter of Queen
Elizabeth, 22 March, 1574, who is now called in consequence
its founder and is said to have given ,5 ios. 8d. a year; in
fact, merely continuing that payment. Fortunately private
benefactors added new endowments or the school would not
have continued to our time and attained the flourishing con-
dition it now enjoys.

In 1448 a chantry for two priests was founded at
Alnwick, his native place, by Bishop Alnwick of Lincoln, who
was a Percy, brother of the Earl of Northumberland. One
priest had to keep a grammar school and the other a song
school and they received 12 33. 4d. between them.

William Sponne, Archdeacon of Norfolk, by will of 4
September, 1447, founded a chantry at Towcester for two
priests. He obtained letters patent, 17 November, 1448, but
it was only after his death that the endowment was legally
settled and the foundation made effective, 8 July, 1451.
One priest was to be a preacher, with a salary of 8 133. 4d.
and the other a schoolmaster, whose salary was 7 6s. 8d.
The school still lives though sadly in need of endowment.

The growth of the interest of the laity in the schools may
be seen in the licences granted to two Trinity gilds in Oxford-



270 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

shire to maintain schoolmasters, one at Deddington in 1446,
and the other at Chipping Norton in 1451.

William Wayneflete, the greatest schoolmaster, was also the
most prominent educational founder of the era. In direct imi-
tation of William of Wykeham, he founded Magdalen College,
when Bishop of Winchester, at Oxford, and attached to it not
one but two schools, one at his native place, Wainfleet, in
Lincolnshire, in 1459, the other Magdalen College School, by
the gates of the college at Oxford. He had been carrying
the latter on from 1448 and the college from 1456 though,
through the Wars of the Roses, the final establishment and
formal statutes for both were postponed to 1480. At Oxford
there was to be a master with 10 a year and an usher
with 5 "to teach all comers freely and gratis without ex-
action of anything". The humanist tendency came out most
strongly in the provisions as to the thirty " demyes ", so-called
apparently because their commons were to cost half those of
the fellows, or poor scholars, distinguished from instead of
being merely junior fellows. " Because a weak foundation
destroys the work, as experience teaches, and as we understand
some of our 30 scholars are in the habit of passing to logic
and sophistry immaturely before they are sufficiently instructed
in grammar, the mother and foundation of all the sciences, we
order that none of them be admitted to sophistry and logic or
any other science before he is able and sufficiently instructed
for it in the judgment of the President and the Grammar
master." The old schoolmaster and the humanist also show
themselves in the additional direction that two or three of the
thirty demyes are to be insistent and work hard at grammar
and poetry and the other humanist arts so long that they may
not only be profitable to themselves but also become able
and fit to instruct and teach others. In fact Magdalen was to
serve to a certain extent, like God's House at Cambridge, as
a Training College for Secondary School teachers.

Preference of the classics and grammar to logic is charac-
teristic. The humanists made a dead set at dialectic in the
schools. Rhetoric or the art of oratory they encouraged, but
dialectic or the art of argument they discouraged. The reason
apparently was that dialectic had become indissolubly con-
nected with scholastic theology, and had little to do with the



THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND HUMANISM 271

poets who formed the main study of the humanists. Like
mathematics it presented too severe a study for those who
found the whole end of life, literature and education in belles
lettres and the art of expression. Petrarch had inveighed
against dialectic. Niccolo dei Niccoli of Florence, c. 1430,
apparently sees something peculiarly English in it. " What
is there in dialectic which has not been disturbed by the
sophisms of the British ? What which has not been separated
from the true and ancient way of disputing and transmuted
into emptiness and trifles?" No doubt dialectic had been
carried to excess and converted into a somewhat solemn
trifling. But the humanist educators were one and all
churchmen and papalists, holders of Church preferments, pos-
sible papal secretaries, like Petrarch, or Popes themselves,
like yEneas Silvius. This reference to Britannic sophisms
savours of dread of Wicliffe, who was, like Socrates, the
greatest sophist of his age. Frightened orthodoxy, jealous
of the superior repute of Oxford, played a part in this hostility
to dialectic. It is at least greatly to be regretted that when
the school age was being extended Vittorino's pupils stayed
till twenty-one dialectic, which had been too early inculcated
on boys of fourteen, should have been dropped. Logic,
especially since the creation of Inductive Logic, is after all
a more humane and human study than grammar. Even the
puerilities of dialectic were better than the puerilities of
grammar as a preparation for the politician and the citizen.
The art of argument has more bearing on human life than
the minutiae of the use of enclitics in a twice dead language.

Waynflete's moderate reform, however, was no doubt useful.
Magdalen College School became the most advanced school
of the day. The Grammar of John Stanbridge, a Winchester
boy who was usher at Magdalen College School, and became
head master in 1487, was the first rational English-Latin gram-
mar, and superseded the doggerel Latin verse of Alex-
ander de Villa Dei. Stanbridge's grammar was adopted by his
brother in the famous school at Banbury, which Sir Thomas
Pope at Reading and Bishop Oldham at Manchester equally
prescribed as the model for teaching their scholars. It was as
Head master of Magdalen College school that Thomas Wolsey
got his first start in life, and it was from Magdalen that Colet



272 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

got the first master of his re-endowed school of St. Paul's,
William Lyly, whose grammar, with unessential modifications,
ruled the schools of England to the middle of the nineteenth
century.

Another educational foundation, the completion of which
was delayed by the Wars of the Roses, was that of Heytesbury
Hospital in Wiltshire, on the model of Ewelme Hospital, and
the first foundation of Eton. Licence was granted 20 February,
1472, to Margaret, widow of Robert, Lord Hungerford, to
found an almshouse, to consist of a chaplain, twelve poor men,
and a poor woman, an attendant and nurse. But a memor-
andum annexed to her will shows that she was not the real
founder. Walter, late Lord Hungerford, her father-in-law,
she says, had builded an almshouse for twelve poor, and a
schoolmaster, being a priest able to teach grammar, to have
the rule and oversight of the same, and directed by will certain
manors to be " amortised " for the purpose : but as it was not
performed in his days a modest way of stating the fact that
he was killed and attainted as a traitor she had now obtained
the licence in mortmain at a cost of 200. Her deed, dated
2 April, 1472, incorporated "the Gustos (warden, or keeper)
of St. John the Baptist, poor men and woman of the Hospital
of Walter and Robert, late lords of Hungerford and Heytes-
bury ". The statutes, only preserved in a Jacobean transcript
or translation, make it plain that the school was the first object.
For it was provided that the Chancellor of Salisbury, the
educational officer of the diocese, " he shall do present an able
keeper and a sufficient teacher of grammar at every avoidance ".
On every " feastful " day the keeper was to attend the church
and perform service. But "all other days that he intend and
do his diligent labour to teach and inform all such children
and other persons that shall come to the place, which is
ordained and deputed them to teach in within Heytesbury,
and . . . shall teach from the beginning of learning until such
season as they learn sufficient or competent [knowledge ?] of
grammar ; no school hire take of no person or take [save of]
such as their friends may spend 10 or above, or else that
will give freely ; and that he daily attend and keep his school ".
So that this Free Grammar School of Heytesbury was even
more prominently the first object of the foundation than even







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THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND HUMANISM 273

that at Eton or Ewelme, where the Free Grammar Schoolmaster
was only the second person in the establishment, not the first.
This is emphasized by a proviso that if the Chancellor could
not in two months find a " sufficient teacher " he was tempor-
arily to put in "a convenable and honest priest . . . unto
such season that an able keeper and sufficient teacher may be
provided". Another statute provided for an usher to teach
in the school and be Deputy overseer of the poor men. The
keeper's oath was to keep all the ordinances made for the
conservation and good rule of the school and almshouse ;
putting the school first. The then usher "called Park Miles,
now blind and may not see " was received as a poor man.
No future usher was to be so received, " for by the receiving
the usher into the said house the schoolmaster . . . would think
that such as be usher should have meat and drink of the said
almshouse, the which we would in no wise they never have,"
says the lady, piling on her negatives with both hands. The
Chantry Commissioners of Edward VI reported that the
hospital was founded " for the sustentacyon of a scolemaster "
and poor. The schoolmaster received i o a year, but this was
besides perquisites, such as two cart-loads of wood a year, and so
forth : but they said there had been no schoolmaster for five or
six years, only the poor, and an absentee master Sir William
Sharington (miscalled Skarington in the Charity Commission's
Report in 1833), a fraudulent master of the Mint at Bristol,
took the whole surplus not spent on the poor. Cardinal Pole
in Mary's reign put in a new warden, John Lybbe, B.C.L.,
ordering him to teach the Grammar School there. The
historians say erroneously that the hospital was confiscated as
superstitious at the Reformation. This is not so. Hospitals
or almshouses and schools were not within the Chantries' Act
of Edward VI. It was not till James I's reign that some
informers wrongfully alleged that it ought to have been con-
fiscated to the Crown under that Act, because the poor had to
pray for the founder's soul. In the result a new charter was
obtained from the King in 1633, under which new statutes
were made. These separated the schoolmastership from the
wardenship, making the schoolmaster what the usher had been
before, a deputy or vice-warden, and assigning a salary of
.15 a year only to him. The school, however, flourished till
18



274 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

1765, when the whole place and sixty-five houses in the town
were burnt down. Through gross neglect of the trustees the
school was never reopened. The Commissioners of Inquiry
in 1833 only remarked that "as the instruction was prin-
cipally in Latin Grammar, and this sort of learning has long
ceased to be in request among the common people of the
parish, the appointment was suffered to go into disuse".
As the income, 42 in 1548, had then risen to 1372, there
were ample funds for the provision of a proper school, which
might have become an Uppingham or a Sedbergh. But
though the case was sent into Chancery, where it stayed for
some twenty years, the Court in its scheme in 1859 entirely
ignored the original primary object, the school. Though
several schemes have been made since, and the income exceeds
2220 a year, of which, if the original proportion were ob-
served, at least 740 should be educational, nothing has ever
been done for education since 1765.

As soon as the confusion caused by the Wars of the Roses
was over the march of education was resumed. Two of the
most interesting and humanistic of the colleges modelled on
Winchester and Eton were founded by two of the Yorkist
lawyer-clerics who superseded Waynflete and the Lancastrians
in the government of the kingdom, Acaster and Rotherham,
both in Yorkshire. The former was founded by Robert
Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, no doubt while he
was chancellor, between 1467 and 1475, but the original docu-
ment of foundation is non-existent, and our knowledge of it is
derived from a private Act of Parliament in 1483, whkh
recited the foundation but not its date. There were three
schools attached to ithe College of Nether Acaster "three
divers Masters and Informators in the faculties underwritten ;
that is to wit, one of them to teach grammar, another to
teach Music and Song, and the third to teach to Write
and all such thing as belonged to Scrivener Craft, to all
manner of persons of whatsoever country they be within
the Realm of England ... all the said Masters and In-
formators to teach . . . severally, openly and freely without
exaction of money or other things of any of their such scholars
and disciples ". The Act does not tell us, but we learn from
a Chantry Certificate in 1 548 that the three masters were the



THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY AND HUMANISM 275

three fellows of the college, and with the provost formed its
governing body. Their stipends were then 10 for the provost,
6 each for the two masters and only 5 for the grammar
schoolmaster, but this seems to have been because at the time of
the certificate he was much younger than the other two.

The foundation of Jesus College at Rotherham, by
Thomas Rotherham, Archbishop of York, was on a grander
scale, consisting of ten persons, that, as he says in his will
"as I have offended God in his 10 commandments, those 10
might pray for me ". Rotherham had been one of the first
scholars of King's, Cambridge, admitted under Henry VI's
second charter of 14 July, 1443. He founded the college at
Rotherham in gratitude, because he had " been born and passed
his tender age there . . . without learning, and so should have
remained for many years, had not by the grace of God a man
learned in grammar come there, from whom as from a spring
through God's will I have arrived at the estate in which I now
stand, and several others have come to great things ". The
licence for the foundation was granted 22 January, 1483,
and ten days later, I February, 1483, Rotherham made his
statutes. They provided for a provost and three fellows,
who were also schoolmasters, and six scholar-choristers, to-
gether with the chantry priests of Rotherham admitted to free
lodging, but not free board, and not part of the, foundation.
The first fellow was to keep a grammar 1 school, the second a
song school, and as Yorkshire produced " many youths endowed
with the light and sharpness of ability, who do not all wish to
attain the dignity and elevation of the priesthood, that these
may be better fitted for the mechanical arts and other worldly
matters, we have ordained a third fellow, learned and skilled in
the art of writing and accounts ". The college was named the
College of Jesus of Rotherham. The provost was to receive
13 6s. 8d., the grammar master 10, the song schoolmaster,
6 135. 4d., and the writing schoolmaster $ 6s. 8d. They
were all to teach in schools provided in the college, " without
exaction of money or anything else ". The six scholars were
to be chosen by the provost from the poorer boys of those parts
most fit and apt for learning, with preference to founder's kin,
and they were to be entirely maintained till eighteen years of age,
and taught grammar, writing and song. The schools were all



2;6 THE SCHOOLS OF MEDIEVAL ENGLAND

free from tuition fees and open to the world. John Booking, the
grammar master, who died six months after the foundation, was
a married man, as he gave by his will the residue of his estate
to his wife Margaret for life, and then to the college, and de-
sired to be buried by the pew in the south chancel of the church
in which his wife and the wife of the bailiff of Rotherham sat.
When Rotherham died, by his will made on his seventy-sixth
birthday, St. Bartholomew's Day, 1498, he gave a large
quantity of plate and vestments to the college, including
twelve silver spoons and " a mitre for the barne bishop (the
boy-bishop) with two knoppes of silver gilt and enamylled ",
and 105 volumes of MSS. They included Lives of Tibullus
and Seneca, Terence, Poggio's letters, a commentary on
Seneca, Ovid, including, sad to say, three copies of the
Art of Love, Claudian, Lucan, Sallust, Cicero's Speeches
and Letters, Pliny, Josephus, and Isidore of Seville's Etym-
ologies ; and some Chronicles. When a later grammar school-
master died in I 509, administration was granted to his wife
Jane, showing that he too was no priest. With the college
the song and writing school perished under Edward VI, but
the grammar school was continued with a fixed salary of
.10 153. 4d. a year, charged on the royal revenues in the
county. Subsequently assisted by the feoffees of Rotherham
Common Lands, it is now flourishing on an ample site and
recently-acquired buildings.

One of the chief Yorkshire schools, Giggleswick Grammar
School, commonly attributed to Edward VI, can trace its
existence at least to the year 1499. On 12 August,
14 Henry VII, James Carr, of the Carrs of Stackhouse, founder
and incumbent of the Rood chantry, leased some of its land.
Seemingly he then taught school in hired premises. But on
12 November, 1507, he took from Durham Priory on a build-
ing lease for 79 years, perpetually renewable, at a rent of is.
a year, half an acre of land by the church garth of Giggles-
wick, covenanting to build " at hys awne propyr charges and
costes, in which beildyng he shall kepe or cause to be kept
one gramer scole ", and when he " change his naturall lyfe " the
vicar and churchwardens to elect his successor. On complet-
ing the school Carr inscribed on it the Ennian verses shown
in the illustration.



CHAPTER XIII
HENRY VIII AND THE SCHOOLS

HENRY VIII was, perhaps, the most highly educated person
for his time who ever sat on the throne of England. Whether
Lord Herbert had any authority for saying that as a younger
son Henry was originally destined for a clerical career and the



Online LibraryArthur Francis LeachThe schools of medieval England → online text (page 27 of 39)