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The first page of this document, which would no doubt have
shown its origin, is unfortunately lost, and so when it was
printed in Archceologia by that industrious antiquary Thomas
Wright, he gave it as the time-table of Saffron Walden
School, and as such it was quoted even in the History of Eton.

There were, however, a good many schools founded in
Henry VIII's reign at places where, so far as is known, no
school existed before ; but most of these schools, being planted
in places selected because they were the founder's birthplace


or abode and not because there was a population with a real
demand for a school, have, except when they have become
boarding-schools, not been very successful.

One of the earliest of these was Pocklington in the East
Riding of Yorkshire, founded under a patent of 24 May, 1514,
as a Gild of the Name of Jesus, the Virgin and St. Nicholas, by
John Dowman, LL.D. of Cambridge, a Chancery lawyer, arch-
deacon, and so on. To it were added by deed of I December,
1525, five scholarships for boys from the school at St. John's
College, Cambridge. The master was endowed with the mag-
nificent stipend of 16 i6s. 4d., that of Henry VI's founda-
tions of Eton and St. Anthony's, London. Fortunately there
was some flaw in the conveyancing, and this school retains its
old endowment through being re-fourided by Private Act of
Parliament in 1549, after being confiscated to Edward VI
under the Chantries Act.

Another new school was that founded in 1520 by Bishop
Robert IV of Chichester, Robert Sherborne, at Rolleston, Staf-
fordshire, " where I was born and by the grace of baptism re-
born ", as he says. Sherborne had been a scholar of Winchester
and of New College, and then a canon lawyer and Chancery
official, Master of St. Cross Hospital and Dean of St. Paul's
before being made Bishop, first of St. David's, then of
Chichester. He tried to make his foundation a smaller Win-
chester, giving the appointment of the master to the Warden
of New College and directing even the prayers in school to
follow those of Winchester, which he sets out in his beautifully
illuminated statutes for the purpose. They form one of the
most interesting educational documents of the date. They are
not confined to a bare legal definition of the schoolmaster's
salary and method of appointment, and the government of the
school (which was vested in Mr. Thomas Rolleston of that ilk
and his heirs male, together with the churchwardens), but
also give the founder's views on school methods. For in-
stance, they direct that the master is to pay attention to and
often ask where in men's judgment is the grammar school of
best repute for advancement of learning, what style of teaching
and what authors it uses ; and as far as he can to imitate
those whom he understands by results are most proficient in
teaching. Sound advice, not always followed ! Among other


nice directions is one that the master is to look after the boys'
manners and dress as well as learning, and particularly that
" their bodies are free from worms and their clothes whole ".
The clever boys he is to press on, so that they may act as pupil
teachers (pedagogos) to teach small boys who may be brought
to him, the alphabet and first rudiments. He is to take par-
ticular care of the clever boys, while the stupid, the lazy, and
those in human judgment incapable of learning he is to sharpen
as far as he can by reading, writing and casting accounts, lest
they should seem to have come to this our school for nothing.
If the master gets in a " bate ", as Mr. Herman says, he is
to follow Plato's example, and dropping the subject which
makes him angry, pass on to some other boy or another sub-
ject until he has cooled down. For the master must set a
good example, and that is a " vulgar ",

Turpe est doctori cum culpa redarguit ipsum

On the teacher the shame
When his is the blame.

"And indeed this age has seen teachers who had far better
have been asleep than teaching like maniacs." Sherborne
would have his master remember that blindness is to be en-
lightened by skill, not by force, and imitate Ipocrates, the
prince of doctors, with his aphorism " that we ought to lead
nature where it wishes to go ".

If a boy at the beginning has grasped even one thing he
is to praise him vehemently with this or the like good saying :

Omni bina die si discam verba sophiae
De parvo puero clericus aptus ero,

which may be Englished :

Two words of wisdom mastered every day
Make clever clerk, and drive dull boy away.

But all those words of wisdom were thrown away. Not
being able to find any land for sale near Rolleston for the
endowment of the school, Sherborne gave 500 to the Dean
and Chapter of Chichester for a perpetual rent charge of 10
a year. That is still duly paid. The result is that the school
which was to take Winchester for its model is now a public
elementary school.

The next school was founded not by a successful cleric but



by a prosperous citizen and took as its model not Winchester
but Eton.

Edmund Flower, " citizein and marchaunt tailor", of
London, in his will, n July, 1521, said "I for certeine years
past at my costs and charge have caused a free Gramer Scole
to be maintained and kepte at Cukfelde for the erudicion and
lernyng of pore scolers thedur resortyng ". As he had made
his fortune by 1504, he probably started the school soon after,
and endowed it on his death by will, which was proved 13
August, 1521, for a graduate "beyng a secular prest and suffi-
cient man to teche Gramer " to be " always resident there to
teche gramer" with lands to the value of $ a year. A
further endowment was given by William Spicer, parson of
Balcombe, on I October, 1528, who expressly provided that
the schoolmaster " shall teach the scholars in the said school
grammar after the form order and usage used and taught in
the Grammar School at Eton near Windsor from form to
form ". To this end, a time-table was sent from Eton, which
is fully set out in the Cuckfield statutes, and it was enjoined
that these " acts and orders " were only to " continue until
such time as the Controlers be certified of others being used
and taught in Eton more profitable to scholars ". Unfortu-
nately we have only a corrupt copy of a later date of this, the
earliest specimen of an Eton time-table preserved.

Another school in Sussex, Horsham, was founded by a
man of the same type, Richard Collyer, citizen and mercer of
London, by will 23 January, 1532-3. A house was to be
built for a free school, " in which house to be threescore
scolars", the master to have 10 a year for his " wagis," the
usher 5. The said "scolars were to be at noo charge of
their scole hire, but freely without any money paying therfor",
and preference was to be given to the poor of Horsham and
the neighbourhood, " for consideracion gentilmen and other
men be in better habilitie than poore men be ", but no one
from the parish was to be refused. The appointment of
master and scholars was given to the vicar and inhabitants,
but the management of the estates to the Mercers' Company,
which did not prove of advantage to the school, as they took
all surplus income for themselves.

In 1523 the inhabitants of Berkhampstead agreed to


devote all the lands of their brotherhood to finding a school-
master to teach their children and to the building of a school
to teach in. John Incent, Dean of St. Paul's, being president of
the fraternity, gave all his lands there to be joined with the
brotherhood lands for the same purpose. Further, on 14
October, 1541, John Incent obtained a licence to found a
chantry and also "one Free Scole within the towne of Berk-
hampstedde, of one mete man being a scolemaster, and one
other mete man being an ussher for the techyng of children in
grammer frely, withoute any exaccion or request of money for
the teaching of the same children, not exceeding the nombre
of one hundreth fourty and four ". After the founder's death,
the King " as principal founder " was to present the chief
master and teacher, and the Dean of St. Paul's the usher.
An Elizabethan account of the school which the dean built,
and which still stands, says " Th'ole building is so strong an
faire that the like Grammar Schoole for that point is not to be
scene in the whole realme of England ". An ex-fellow of All
Souls' College himself, he made Richard Rive, or Ryves, a
fellow of that college, the master, with an usher and a chap-
lain, or petties' master, as at Colet's new school at St.

This school has been lately selected for special notice by a
Professor of History in the University of London as one of
three schools founded by Edward VI, i where no school was be-
fore, and as thus effectually disproving the wanton assertion,
made by the present writer, that none of the Edwardian Gram-
mar Schools were really his creation. Professor Pollard cited
as proof an Act of Parliament for Berkhampsted School passed
in 1548. Had the professor, however, looked at the Act he
professed to quote he would have seen that it recited In-
cent's foundation and alleged a flaw in the conveyancing of
the property, which was therefore claimed by Andrew Incent,
the founder's cousin and heir. The Act negatived this claim
and corrected the alleged flaw by a re-foundation ; Rive arid
his usher and their successors being incorporated as " Master
and Usher of the Free School of King Edward VI in Berk-
hampstead ", a title which has deceived the unsuspecting pro-

Another case, that of Stamford Grammar School, cited in


the same connexion by the same professor to support the same
allegation of Edwardian initiative, showed even greater ab-
stinence from research and regard for facts on the professor's
part. The Act of Parliament of Edward VI for this school
in 1548 recited the endowment by William RadclifFs will
and the fact that " for 17 or 1 8 years since his death an honest
learned schoolmaster had taught according to the mind and
intent of the same William Radcliff greatly to the benefit of
the same poor towne and to the other townes thereto adjoyn-
ing." It did not even profess to found or re-found the school, or
call it Edward VI's Grammar School, but only made the
Alderman of Stamford (a mayor had not yet been created)
ex officio trustee and governing body of the school, vesting
in him the property bequeathed by Radcliff. The professor
need not even have taken the trouble to read the Act he pro-
fessed to quote. For in the very book which he was attack-
ing, English Schools at the Reformation, the certificate of
Edward VI's Commissioners was printed, which showed the
pre-existence of the school. The certificate gave the date,
i June, 1532, and terms of the will of William Ratclif (so they
spelt it) for the maintenance of a fit secular chaplain sufficiently
learned, to celebrate for the soul of the said William and freely
teach the art of grammar in " Staunford ", with a power to get
a licence in mortmain for the Alderman of the Corpus Christi
Gild to hold it, and also a finding that the school was being
carried on under Libeus Byard, who enjoyed for his salary or
stipend the rents of the lands given, amounting to 10 35. id.
gross, and 9 53. 5d. net. The Commissioners actually di-
rected this school to be continued, charging the salary on the
Crown revenues, the chantry lands being confiscated. But the
school had a friend at court in the person of one William
Cecil, an " old boy ", who was M.P. for Stamford in the
Parliament which passed the Chantries Act, and it cannot be
doubted that it was through his influence, being Secretary of
State, that the Act of Parliament was procured, which saved
to the school the endowment, which it still enjoys, without,
as usual, substituting the name of the cuckoo King for that of
the previous benefactor. Ratclif, however, was not the creator
of a new school. As we saw, there was evidence of the
school's existence in 1309, in 1327, and 1389, and the Henri-


cian founder was therefore at the best only reviving and prob-
ably only refreshing an ancient institution.

An interesting school which may, or may not, have been
first founded at this time is Basingstoke Grammar School.
The Holy Ghost Gild " the brotherhodd of the chapell of the
Holly goost", was, before 1244, founded to maintain a priest
in the picturesque chapel, the ruins of which are seen from
the South- Western railway station. A chantry certificate in
1548 said that "sythens", that is, at least since its legal in-
corporation under a licence of 16 November, 1524 of which
Bishop Fox has had the credit, though he apparently only
lent his name as a petitioner for it the endowment was " em-
ployed to fynde a scole master to teche children grammer " ;
the master receiving 5 173. 8d. a year. As no continuance
order of Edward VI had been found, it was assumed by the
present writer in the Victoria County History of Hampshire,
that the school ceased by virtue of the Chantries Act, and was
only resumed under the new charter or letters patent of Philip
and Mary, 24 February, 1557, whence it is now called Queen
Mary's School. This assumption now turns out to be wrong,
the Ministers' accounts, since made available, disclosing the
payment from the Crown revenues throughout Edward VI's
reign of 5 173. 3d. to Thomas Browne, " schoolmaster of the
grammar school founded by a certain gild called the Fraternitie
in Basingstoke " under a warrant or continuance order made
by Sir Walter Mildmay in 1548. The school therefore never
ceased, and if any sovereign, rather than the people of Basing-
stoke, is to be regarded as its founder, that sovereign is Henry
VIII, not his daughter. She, indeed, did on the request of
Cardinal Pole, refound the gild, and restore its lands for a
priest to celebrate in the chapel " and for the instruction and
education of the youths and boys of the said town". The
accounts of the resuscitated gild mention a schoolmaster in
1559, but not his name. In 1560 the vicar taught the school
for i a quarter, and the vicar was the same Thomas Browne,
a student of Christ Church, Oxford, who had been school-
master in 1 548. He still taught occasionally during vacancies
till 1567, what was always called, down to 1852, The Holy
Ghost School. The continuity of this now flourishing school
from at least 1524 is therefore definitely established.


Another of the schools which has been put down to
Edward VI's foundation, Sedbergh in Yorkshire, was in
fact founded in the earlier part of Henry VIII's reign by
Roger Lupton, one of the successful much-beneficed lawyer-
clerics of the day, and Provost of Eton, as we have seen, and
Master in Chancery. He founded it as a Chantry-Grammar
School, consisting of a single Chantry-priest-School master,
in his native place. The date has been wrongly assigned to
1528. The true date is fixed as between 23 July, 1523, and
24 March, 1525, by two deeds of these dates. In the first a
dispute was settled as to the ownership of the Loft-house,
which Lupton gave for the master's house, showing it not then
to be his. On the other hand, the deed of 24 March, 1525,
made by the Archdeacon of Richmond as to seats in Sedbergh
Church, says " a place shall always be kept free for the chap-
lain and scholars celebrating the Lady Mass and anthem in
the said chapel " ; clearly showing that the school was already
going on. This is further shown by a deed of 26 May, 1527,
by which Lupton granted 600 to St. John's College, Cam-
bridge, for six scholars to be incorporated among the other
scholars of the college, and receive the same emoluments
with 1 6s. 8d. more to pray for his soul. The scholars were
to be born in England [i.e. not Scots] sons of freemen (libere
condicionis) >a striking late testimony against the notion that
colleges and schools were intended for the working classes,
who were still mostly villeins "and who have issued well
, learned from my Grammar School of Sedbergh ", with prefer-
ence for founder's kin, natives of Sedbergh, Dent and
Garstall, especially those whose friends had been benefactors
to the foundation. In order that the college might get more
learned scholars from his school he gave the appointment of
the schoolmaster to the college, with preference for ex-Lupton
scholars. To bring the school under the supervision of the
college, as Winchester was under that of New College, he
requested the master of the college, if he happened to go
that way, to call and question the schoolmaster on the con-
dition of the school, and examine the most advanced scholars
and select the best for St. John's. If the master could not
go, " a fellow is to be elected, who because it is his native
country or for some business is going there". The deed


concluded with a proviso that if " through the fraud and
malice of men, which God avert, his Chantry and Grammar
school at Sedbergh should be injuriously treated so as to
come to an end ", the endowment should go over to St. John's
College for four more Lupton scholars on the same terms as
far as possible, but with preference only for founder's kin.

The school is again spoken of as already existing in a
deed of 12 August, 1527, by which Lupton obtained from the
Abbot and Convent of Coverham, to whom Sedbergh Church
and Rectory were impropriated, a grant of the site of the
school, "a little close by the churchyard called the school-
house-garth, of, the yearly rent of is. 8d., on which a school-
house has been built by the same Master Roger Lupton for
the institution of a free (gratuitam] school there for ever ".
The later foundation deed of the school, long assumed to
have been lost, but produced by the present Master of St.
John's College, Cambridge, when bursar, from among their
muniments, a deed poll of 9 March, 1528, distinctly refers to
a prior establishment of it in a provision that the chantry
priest was to find at his own cost all things sufficient for the
celebration of mass " with that sufficient ' stuff I there left at
the first endowment". In this deed, Lupton recites that
he has bought lands of the yearly value of 12 73. 9d., besides
a messuage called the Lofthouse, " in the which Syr Henry
Blomer, nowe chauntery pryst, dwellith ", the rents of which
are to be used for a chantry in the parish church, and for a
chantry priest, who is to be "sufficiently lerned and instructe
to fulfyll the chauntery duteis and habyjl to teche a gramer
Scole ". He is to be continually resident, explained to mean
not absent more than thirty days in the year, and during
that time he is to provide "iOne of hys Scolers sufficiently
lernyd to teche hys Scolers in hys absens ". He is to say
mass every day in the church and pray for the souls of the
founder and others, and to " rule and order the grammer
Scole as master, and teche frely gramer, after the maner,
forme and use of some lawdable, notable and famous Scole
of England, and in especiall my kynsmen and theym of
Sedber, Dent and Garstall, and then all other, without ony
exaccion or calenge of theyr stipend or wages besyde my allow-
aunce ". " But ", Lupton continues, "the sayd mayster of the


grammer Scole shall not be bounde to teche, ne cause no
scoler of hys to teche any other thyng but gramer to any
chyldern, except the Trends of the sayd chyldern wyll gyffe
to the seyd Scolemaster, or to the Scoler, with the masters
assent, that shall teche theym, for theyr labour as they can
agree with the sayd Scolemaster and Scoler that shall teche
theym, so that the sayd Scolemaster or sayd Scoler be no
letted to teche grammer ". A further endowment was given
by Lupton to St. John's College for two more Lupton scholars
there, making eight in all, by deed of 7 June, 1535. A few
months later he retired from the provostship at Eton, to his
canonry at Windsor, where he died in 1540. He did not
mention Sedbergh School in his will.

Henry Blomer, the first master, held office till his death.
By his will, 5 November, 1 543, he gave 6 133. 4d. to St. John's
College for the Lupton scholars, on condition that all the
scholars were elected from Sedbergh School, that proviso hav-
ing been omitted from Lupton's deed of 7 June, 1535. Blomer
also gave to his successor for the use of the " Free School at
Sedbergh, 6 silver spoons, with such certain of my books as
shall be delivered by indenture, at the discretion of my ex-
ecutors to remain as heir looms to the said foundation ".

He was succeeded by Robert Hebblethwaite, a fellow of
St. John's College, who gave him a testimonial on 27 January,
1 543-4. Some difficulty about his admission arose with the
feoffees at Sedbergh, and the rents being withheld from him,
the College appealed in a letter written by the celebrated
Roger Ascham, then in residence at St. John's, to Robert Hoi-
gate, Bishop of Llandaff, and President of the Council of the
North, " to prevent any violence or injustice being offered to
the school, and to so repress and punish the greed of these
men that the rest may learn what is the result of making an
attack on the schools and ease" (ptia, a Latinization of the
Greek scholas) " of youth, which are the very foundations of all
that is best in the commonwealth". Hebblethwaite was in
possession when the endowment was confiscated and sold by
Edward VI in 1548.

Manchester Grammar School can hardly be ascribed to
Henry VIII's reign, though it received a great increase in en-
dowment then. It was probably part of the collegiate church





founded in 1420, as stalls, erected in the choir of the church
between 1506 and 1512, assigned to the Archididascalus and
Hypodidascalus, are strong evidence of the existence of the
school before that date. A chantry founded by Alexander
or Richard Bessike in 1506 for two priests, "thone of the
two " to teach a free school, was its first separate endowment.
Hugh Oldham, a Chancery official and pluralist cleric, after-
wards Bishop of Exeter, gave corn-mills in 1515 to the warden
and fellows of the college by a Latin deed for the endowment of
a " fit person, secular or regular, learned and able, to be school-
master to teach and instruct grammar in the town of Man-
chester, according to the form of grammar now learned and
taught in the school of the town of Banbury in the county of
Oxford, which in English is called Stanbridge Grammar, and
an usher as a deputy or substitute of such person". They
covenanted to pay the master 10 and the usher $ ; and the
master took oath to " teach and correct all their boys and
scholars equally and impartially " and not to take " any presents,
gifts or any kind of thing by colour of their service or office or
teaching, except their stipend only, without any fraud, cunning
and device". They were to attend choir in surplices, " like
other fellows of the college ", and every Wednesday and Friday
go in procession with their scholars before the warden round
the cemetery or church or otherwise. Oldham died, 25 June,
1519. Six years afterwards Ralph Hulme, gentleman, one of
the trustees, turned out to be a fraudulent solicitor and claimed
the mills and lands as his own, and it was only by special
efforts on the part of John Lord Warr, who said he had only
sold the mills for the free school (libere scale] of Manchester,
that the endowment was saved. For some obscure legal
reason, perhaps because there was no licence in mortmain, a new
settlement of the endowment was made, this time in English,
on i April, 1525, which is commonly reputed the original
foundation deed. It constituted, instead of the college, an
entirely new body of twelve lay trustees, and the master was
to be appointed by Corpus Christi College, Oxford, instead of by
the chapter of the collegiate church. He was to be a " syngil-
man", priest or no priest "so that he be no religiouse man",
i.e., no monk, regular canon or friar, " able to teche childeryn
gramyar after the maner and forme of the Scole of Banbury,


wiche is called Stanbryge gramyer ". Most of the provisions
as to the school are adapted from the statutes of St. Paul's,

Online LibraryArthur Francis LeachThe schools of medieval England → online text (page 29 of 39)