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all and their common advantage ", they being incorporated to
hold it as " one body and community of themselves by the
name of ' Burgesses of the town of Warwick in the county of
Warwick ' ". They were to maintain a vicar and an assistant
and to pay the master or pedagogue of " our " school to be
incorporated 10 a. year and provide him a convenient house,
habitation or mansion to live in. The King then, "moved by
his love for the ungrown ups (impuberes] of the country, that,
henceforth imbued from their cradles with more polite litera-
ture than was usual before our time, when they have come
to a more advanced age they may turn out better instructed,
thinking assuredly that so the church of England, whose im-


mediate vice-gerent we are, may be adorned and glorified not
only by learned men in the world of literature but by wise
men for the commonwealth of the kingdom ", proceeded to
erect and found " to endure for ever a Free School to be called
in the vulgar tongue ( The King's Newe Scole of Warwyke ' ".
By the very fact of calling it the new school he thus preserved
the memory of its being an old school.

At Ottery St. Mary instead of all the inhabitants four
" Governors of the hereditaments and goods of the church ",
in fact, the church wardens, were incorporated and the school
was founded in almost identical terms as at Warwick, called
" the King's Newe Gramar Scole of St. Mary of Ottery ".

A less advantageous course was pursued at Higham Ferrers
where the college estates were granted to Robert Dacres on
condition of maintaining the vicar, the almshouse and the
grammar schoolmaster, but the deed unfortunately specifying
the amount to be paid, 10 to the schoolmaster, has been
treated as a fixed charge by the Fitzwilliam family, into whose
hands the property came, and the school is now in abeyance
for lack of endowment. The same was done at Wye, where
the college possessions were granted to Walter Bucler on con-
dition of maintaining a sufficient schoolmaster, paying him
13 6s. 8d. a year. In the reign of Elizabeth the property
was resumed by the Crown for failure to comply with the con-
dition, but Charles I regranted it in 1630, and actually re-
newed the condition, only raising the amount to 16 a year.
Fortunately in 1724 another endowment was given. But this
too proved inadequate, and after struggling along in a half-
starved condition the school has now become an Agricultural
College maintained by the County Council.

A more successful effort in the same line was the sale of
St. Thomas a Becket's College of Aeon to the Mercers' Com-
pany for 969, on condition of their maintaining a free
grammar school with a sufficient master to teach twenty-five
children and scholars freely for ever this was the origin of
the Mercers' School.

The example of dissolution proved contagious. The
mesne lords, following the lord paramount, began to dissolve
the hospitals, colleges, and chantries, of which by virtue of
their ancestors' foundation they were patrons, while in many


cases, particularly hospitals, and more particularly leper hos-
pitals, the object of which for lack of leprosy had failed, the
masters appropriated the incomes to themselves, or sold the
property, or granted long leases on fines and pocketed the
fines. A curious instance of illegal suppression of a school
was reported at Malpas in Cheshire, where, about 1538, "there
was a gramer scole erected" with endowment of 12 a year,
the same lands being resumed and taken away by one Sir
Roger Brereton, Kt, so that "there is no school there kept
albeit it were very necessary to have a school there". To
meet such cases, and also to supply sinews of war against
France and Scotland, the Parliament which met in November,
1545, passed the Chantries Act, "An Acte for the dissolution
of Colleges Chantries and Free Chappells at the Kinges
Majesties Pleasure ". It vested in the King absolutely all " col-
leges, fre chappelles, chantries, hospitalles, fraternities, brother-
hedds, guildes and stipendarie prestes havinge perpetuitye for
ever" which had been illegally dissolved before Christmas,
1545, and enabled him during his life to issue commissions to
enter into any others and take them into his possession. The
King, according to the chronicler Hall, then M.P. for Bridg-
north, made a speech expressing his surprise and gratitude at
this unexpected and unsolicited present. In the Act, Parlia-
ment had expressed its belief that he "of his most godlie and
blessed disposicion entendeth to have the premises used and
exercised to more godlie and vertuouse purposes ". So Henry
said, that if contrary to their expectations he suffered " learn-
ing, which is so great a jewel, to be minished" he were "no
trusty friend ... or lover of the public weal ", and assured
them " their expectations shall be served more godly and
goodly than " they dared to hope.

Commissioners were appointed for every county on 14
February, 1 546, to survey and certify what property fell under
the Act. Their certificates first revealed, to the present writer,
the large number and the great antiquity of the Pre-Refor-
mation grammar schools, and showed that in these secular
foundations and not in the monasteries were to be found not
merely the precursors of most of our existing endowed schools,
but the schools themselves. It has been commonly assumed,
and many historical blunders are due to the assumption,


that most of the colleges and chantries were abolished by
Henry VIII under this Act. This is an almost entire mistake.
No action could be taken under the Act till the certificates
were returned into Chancery, which was not till the summer
of 1546. Henry died, and the Act expired with him, on
28 January, 1547. So there was very little time for deal-
ing with them. So far only four colleges, one hospital,
and three chantries are known to have been seized under
the Act.

The colleges were St. Edmund's, Salisbury, which was, as
we saw, one of the earliest University colleges in England ;
Tong, Staffordshire, and Hastings, Sussex, the schools of which
have been mentioned, and Pleshey, Essex. This last was
founded by Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, son
of Edward III, under licence of 25 January, 1394. Its statutes,
confirmed 20 February, 1394-95 and revised in 1441, contain
no reference to a school. But there were lands given by
Edward Stafford, Earl of Wiltshire, " to find a priest to sing
mass and teach a school there ", and in 1 548 Sir Henry Rutter,
clerk, "teachythe a scole there and hay the to the nombre of
35 scolers ". As this endowment was distinct from that of
the college, the seizure of the college did not harm the school.
The seizure of the school endowment was left for Edward VI.
The one hospital seized, St. Bartholomew's, might, as we saw,
but it is uncertain whether it did keep a school. Of the
three chantries, Aldwinckle, Northamptonshire, had, as we
saw, "a syllable school"; Lufwick was a chantry of two
chaplains, which looks suspiciously like a grammar and song
school. OfBakewell, Derbyshire, owing to the loss of the
chantry certificates for that county, we know nothing. Its
seizure was apparently due to Sir Richard Manners, ancestor
of the Dukes of Rutland, whose fortunes were built on church
and monastic endowments, to whom it and Tong College were
sold for 486 in January, 1547. Henry's death prevented his
showing how he would have " godly and goodly " served the
institutions which he did dissolve. The cases of the college
of Crediton and St. Giles' Hospital at Norwich, surrendered
to him only a few months before the Act, the foundation of
the schools of which have been credited to Edward VI, though
in both cases the arrangements are stated to have been made



by Henry VIII, show us pretty clearly what he would have
done. At Crediton of eighteen prebends, three were before the
dissolution already being treated as exhibitions, being held by
William Hermon, described as " scoler of Excetor ", and two
others as scholars, and most of the rest were held by canons of
Exeter. By patent of 2 April, 1 547, the church, vicarage, and
" scole house " and other property to produce 62 a year,
half the income of the former possessions of the college, were
granted to twelve governors of the church, and in words
copied verbatim from the charters at Warwick and Ottery
St. Mary, " The kyng's newe gramer scole of Crediton " was
established, and the governors were directed to pay the
master 10 a. year.

At Norwich letters patent of 7 May, 1547, which re-
granted to the Corporation the whole of the possessions of
St. Giles' Hospital, and planted on it what has been called
King Edward VI's School, are expressly stated to have been
issued in pursuance of an arrangement made by Henry VIII.
Indeed the most perverse upholder of the title of Edward VI
as founder of schools could hardly suppose that at the age of
nine, within four months of his accession, this boy could have
conceived and carried out such a scheme as this, which made
the school an integral part of and thereby gave it a share in
the endowments of foundation. In 1 547 the lands produced
ji33 igs. 2-|d. a year net. In 1858 they were apportioned
by the Court of Chancery, the school share producing .1278 a
year, while the hospital share produced 5000 a year. Such
was the benefit of getting lands in specie, instead of the fixed
stipends which Edward VI assigned in the continued chantry

Many other schools and exhibition foundations appear in
the chantry certificates of 1546 or 1548, which, though un-
doubtedly some existed long before Henry VIII's accession,
can, owing to their date of origin not being ascertained, be
claimed only as existing in his reign. Thus, to take them
geographically, there were grammar schools in Northumber-
land, at Morpeth, a chantry in All Saints' Chapel, the whole
endowment of which, worth 6 8s. 2d. a year, was, after being
confiscated by Edward VI, with other chantry lands, restored
by him and the school re-founded in 1551; in Durham, at


Barnard Castle, maintained by the Trinity Gild, with 4 is.
a year ; in Cumberland, at Cockermouth, under a stipendiary
priest with an income of 5 i6s. "used to kepe and teche a
grammer schole there".

In Yorkshire there were schools ; at Richmond, of un-
known antiquity, maintained in 1546 in connexion with
Trinity Chapel by the bailiff and burgesses, who paid the
master 6 135. 4d. a year; at Bradford, out of" lands given
for the use of a scolemaister " declared by a commission in
1 60 1 to have been so employed from time whereof the
memory of man runs not to the contrary, producing 2 8s. 8d.
a year, which were seized for the Crown under the Chantries
Act of Edward VI, but restored as not under the Act by a
decree of the Duchy of Lancaster Chamber in 1552, and
which still form the endowment of the present school with its
over 500 boys, and a girls' school of 350 girls ; at Borough-
bridge in Aldborough, which was also a chantry of Our Lady,
net rent 4. 133. lid. ; at Keighley, kept out of lands in feoff-
ment to find a priest to say mass and teach children, produc-
ing 3 is. 6d. a year; at Normanton, which was the chantry
of Our Lady, income 2 igs. 2d. , founded for a Fre Scole for
the " good educacion of yongthe as well in grammar as wryt-
inge " ; at Pickering, kept by the Lady Gild, the master being
paid i 153.; at Romaldkirk, the monastery paid out of a
stock of money remaining in the hands of the parishioners,
2 1 6s. 8d. In Lancashire, at Whalley, a schoolmaster had
long been kept with a salary of 13 6s. 8d. ; at Winwick, the
school was founded by Gwalter Legh, ancestor of the present
Lord Newton, temp. Henry VIII ; at Clitheroe, the school was
chartered by Queen Mary, 9 August, 1554, and endowed with
Almondbury church, part of the property of Rotherham Col-
ege, and with the lands of St. Nicholas Chantry Skipton, may
be inferred from the terms of the charter to have existed before
the dissolution of chantries.

In Lincolnshire, at Holbeach, a chantry for a chaplain
founded by Sir Laurence Holbeach, knight, was appropriated
as an exhibition for a scholar at Oxford and Cambridge,
and held in 1546 by Richard Thorpe at Queens' College, Cam-
bridge. In Nottinghamshire, at Mattersey, the "stipendarie
prieste", Robert Buttie, swore there was no chantry, but only


lands given to feoffees to find a priest at will of the parishioners
to help the vicar and teach children.

In Staffordshire, at Eccleshall, two gilds of Our Lady
and of St. Katherine, founded by licence of King Henry VIII,
maintained two priests, one of whom always kept school and
taught poor men's children, freely ; at Cannock, Our Lady's
Priest, income 4 143. 5-d., for thirty years had kept a grammar
school and taught children of the parish "for the most part,
freely "; at Paget's Bromley, a priest receiving 1 $s. 6d. a
year from lands " given of long tyme past, by whom it is not
knowen " always kept a school, but not freely ; naturally, for
the endowment was not enough to enable him to dispense
with fees.

In Suffolk, at Stowmarket, " by common consent of the
lord of the manor of Abbots' Hall and diverse inhabitants "
the Gildhall was at some time before 1 547 converted into a
schoolhouse ; at Lavenham, the priest of St. Peter's Gild taught

In Northamptonshire, the chapel of St. John Baptist on
Stamford bridge, originally a hospital, had been converted
into an exhibition for Thomas Stoddard, thirteen or fourteen
years old, at school ; at Wellingborough the gild probably
kept the school which was restored after a struggle in Chan-
cery in the reign of Elizabeth.

In Warwickshire, at Nuneaton, the endowment of a chantry,
founded in 1508 by John Leke, amounting to 2 133. 4d.
a year, was about 1541 "with more gyven of theyr devocion,
convertyd " (by the parishioners) " to the mayntenance of a
scoole master ".

In Worcestershire, at Bromsgrove, the grammar school was
maintained out of lands producing i I us. 8d. a year, of which
7 had been always employed towards the finding of a school-
master, being a priest, who was not only bound to keep a
school but also to assist the curate, the balance going to
church repair, " setting of sodijers (soldiers) forwarde to the
warres", highways, bridges and " such like charitable dedes".
The schoolmaster was continued at 7 a year and the
school chartered, but not founded or endowed, by Queen
Mary ; at Lye, a stipendiary priest at 2 2s. 8d. a year used
to teach a free school.


In Essex, a school at Finchingfield was taught by the
priest of the Trinity Gild, " foundation cannot be shewid ", who
had thirty scholars ; at Hornchurch, school was taught by
the priest of another Trinity Gild, who was paid $ 4.5. I id. a
year ; at Great Chesterford, the school was kept out of lands
given by William Holden " to find a priest to sing mass " and
the mass priest " had twenty scholars and more ".

In Buckinghamshire, at Great Marlow, the chantry priest of
Our Lady paid 6 133. 4d. a year, was admitted to teach
and did teach children ; at Aston in Ivinghoe, the chaplain of
St. James' Chapel taught school.

In Oxfordshire, at Burford, the gild of Our Lady, which
if the same as the Merchant Gild dated from the end of
the eleventh century, maintained a priest at least from 1 507,
who received 7 a year out of a total income of 16 ics. iod.,
the rest going on taxes, bridges, and highways, and at Ded-
dington, the priest of the Trinity Gild, William Burton, paid 6
a year, was " a good scole master, and bryngyth up yough
very well in learnyng ".

In Gloucestershire, at Cheltenham, the priest of St.
Katharine's service, by special covenant between the par-
ishioners and him, was bound always to teach their children
at 5 a year; he was paid till 1554, and the chantry funds
were then granted to Richard Pate, 7 January, 1574, to endow
the present grammar school.

In Herefordshire, at Ledbury, the stipendiary priest of the
Trinity service, Sir Richard Wheler, at a salary of 4 is. 4|d.
kept a boarding school ; and " the inhabitants of the same have
not only had profit and advantage by the keeping of a
grammar school there as in boarding and lodging his
scholars, but also the country thereabouts in uttering their
victuals there by means of the said scholars " ; at Bosbury,
the schoolmaster was found out of lands producing 2 igs. g^d.
a year, given " with no use declared but always employed to
bring up youth in learning and to play at the organs " ; at
Leominster, " a scole " was " ever before thys tyme kept " ; at
Dilwyn, the chantry of St. Nicholas was about 1542 "con-
verted to be a school " in which were sixty scholars ; at Kin-
nersley, a stipendiary priest, wages 6 2s., had sixty scholars ;
at Yardsley, now regarded as being in Worcestershire, a sti-


pendiary was receiving 4 133. I od., founded by Sir John Basker-
vyle, Kt., to instruct and bring up his children and other men's
"in learning of grammar"; at Bromyard, lands producing
3 9s. I id. were given to maintain service and bring up
children born there in reading and writing and grammar ; at
Bucknill, a stipendiary and scolemaster received $ 6s. 8d.
wages from divers men of the parish out of a certain stock of
money of 32, to teach poor men's children their grammar.

In Kent, at Ospring, a stipend of 6 133. 4d. was paid by
St. John's College, Cambridge, to a priest to sing in the chapel
and teach children freely ; at Tenterden, the chantry of Peter
Marshall, income 10 a year, was also a school.

In Hampshire, at Odiham, a stipendiary priest was paid
6 133. 4d. to assist in the ministration and teach children
grammar; in the Isle of Wight at Godshill, John Griffith, M.A.,
priest of a chantry founded by Sir John Ligh,Kt, " teachithe
there grammer to many yung children ".

In Dorset, at Netherbury, was a."gramar scole" endowed
with 5 6s. 8d. a year ; at Blandford, the free chapel of
Westhamsworth, worth 2 8s. a year, was " ordained " for a
schoolmaster, and held by Dr. Benet

In Wilts, at Malmesbury, the stipendiary priest in West-
port, receiving $ 145. gd. a year, "doth occupie hymself in
brynginge uppe yonge children in learnynge " ; at Bradford,
Horton's chantry, valued at 10 I2s. 7d. a year, was founded
purposely for the maintenance of a Free School and no other
intent, and kept accordingly ; at Dorchester, St. John's free
chapel, worth 10 45. 6d. a year, was held by Edward Welden
by grant from Henry VIII of 3 August, 1540, "towards his
exibicion at the Universitie of Oxford " ; at Trowbridge, the
priest of Terumbere's chantry, Robert Whetacre, a very
honest man, and well learned, occupied himself in teaching a
school ever since he came first thither; at Endford was a
chantry, founded by John Westley, who gave 1000 sheep to
find a priest to sing for ever ; but 692 died, so " one parson
Burde" gave 578 sheep to increase the stock, which in 1548
numbered 886, priced at 6d. each, let to divers persons for
7 145. 6d. " The Incumbent hathe alwayes occupyed hym-
selfe in teaching of children." Four free chapels and chantries
in this county founded for priests were held by laymen as


exhibitions for educational purposes ; Cryour's chantry in
Fisherton Anger worth 5 153. 2|d. a year was given to
John Powell, age thirty-six, a very honest man, " for and to his
exibytyon to scole, albeit he is no preeste " ; the chapel of
Asserton in the parish of Berwick St. John was held by Gyles
Chestellthwayte, age twenty-six, a layman, who also had it for
his exhibition at school, and had sold a chalice and vestments
belonging to it ; the priory or free chapel of St. John in Colne,
worth 4 45. i id. a year, was held by Robert Blake, aged
twenty-six, "to fynde hym to scole"; a chantry in North
Wraxall, worth 2 45. 8d., was held by William Spenon, age
twenty, " a student in Oxforde but no prieste, and furthermore
a very poore man, havyng no parentes or any other lyvinge to
kepe hym to scole " ; while the free chapel of Backhampton in
Avebury, worth 4 5s. a year, was held by John Warner, aged
forty, warden of All Soules College in Oxforde.

In Somerset, at Yeovil, was a chapel in the churchyard,
covered with lead worth 4, which " the habitants ther
desire to have for a scole house ".

In Devon, at Barnstaple, a chapel of St. Nicholas, with free-
hold lands bringing in 7 1 8s. 3d. "was founded to kepe a
grammer scole " ; at Marldon, the chantry was for the main-
tenance of two poor men at 8d. a week, and for the mainten-
ance of a grammar school.

In Cornwall, at Saltash, from lands worth g 133. 2d. of
the gift and feoffment of John Smith and others to the Mayor
and burgesses for a priest to pray for them and their fathers
and mothers, and to teach children born in the borough 7
was paid to the schoolmaster ; at Truro, the stipendiary and
scolemaster received 6 133. 4d. frorn lands worth 9,
found by the benevolence of the Mayor and burgesses, to find
a priest to minister in the church and keep a school there.

It must not be supposed that this list, long as it is, is

It will be noticed that there are no schools in it in Cam-
bridgeshire, Huntingdon, Surrey, and Norfolk, there being no
chantry certificates for those counties, while in the Derbyshire
certificate schools are not noticed : and in several counties the
certificates are meagre.

The suppression of monasteries and colleges was by no


means regarded by Henry's contemporaries as discouraging
education or educational endowments.

In 1527, Sir George Monoux, draper and ex-Lord Mayor,
bought a plot of land at Walthamstow, on which he built a
free school and almshouse and completed the foundation with
ordinances in 1541, for the " almese prest scolemaster" at a
salary of 6 1 33. 4d. to " teche without taking of any hire or
benefit the childerne of the parisshe to the nombre of 20 or 30 ".
By his will in 1544 he bequeathed 42 more to assist to
maintain the priest "to sing masse and teche a free scole for
20 yeres ". Walthamstow school still flourishes.

John Stow recounts that the first building at Ratcliffe
Highway, then a beautifully timbered country lane " near unto
London ", was a " fair free school and almshouse " founded by
Avice, wife of Nicholas Gibsson, grocer and ex-sheriff; the
school for sixty poor men's children, the master's pay 10 and
the usher's 6 6s. 8d. The Coopers' Company were made

Berkhampstead we have already noticed. The very end of
Henry's reign was signalized by the birth of triplets from one
founder; three free schools in Yorkshire of Robert Holgate,
ex-head of the Order of Gilbertine Canons, Archbishop of York.
On 24 October, 1546, "for the good education and instruction
of children and boys of the realm of England in good manners
and the art of grammar and other liberal learning (liberalis
scientid] " he obtained licence to found three free and perpetual
schools at York, Hems worth, and Old Malton. Only that at
York was actually established by deed of 10 January, 1546-7,
in Henry's reign, eighteen days before his death. The master
was to be " convenientlie seen and have understandinge in the
Hebrew, Greek and Latin tongues ", the first appearance of
Hebrew in a school programme. Its foundation close by the
cathedral emphasizes the fact that the Cathedral Grammar
School, with only its thirteenth century endowment of 5 a
year, was not free but charged fees. The archbishop himself,
not the Chapter, was to appoint the master, who might be a
married man or a layman. At Old Malton, established by deed
24 May, 1547, Holgate named his own father-in-law as the
first master, with a stipend on Henry's highest cathedral school
scale of 20 a year.


So with the death on 28 January, 1 547 of Henry VIII, earnest
to the last in the furtherance of education, having done more
to bring the Middle Ages to an end by the swift, wholesale and,
on the whole, peaceful dissolution of those fortresses of
medievalism, the monasteries, than all the half-hearted humanists
like Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, who could not bear to see
their principles put into practice, we bring our survey of the
Medieval Schools of England to an end.

It may be interesting, in conclusion, to attempt some sort

Online LibraryArthur Francis LeachThe schools of medieval England → online text (page 32 of 39)