George William Fisher.

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VARIOUS events have happened during the last few
years which are calculated to bring Old Salopians more
frequently together, and to renew or increase their interest
in the school where they were educated. Of these the most
important is the foundation of the Old Salopian Club, which
now numbers more than seven hundred members. Under
its auspices the Triennial Dinner has become a permanent
institution, and the "Year Book," which is sent to all its
members, supplies them with a valuable record of any
occurrences connected with Shrewsbury School which are
likely to be of interest to its past or present scholars.

The revival of the annual Speech Day is another important
event in the recent annals of the school. Two books also
have appeared during the last eight years which could not
fail to be of deep interest to Shrewsbury men. First, Dr
Calvert's admirable edition of the Regestum Scholarium from
1562 to itijj, which was published in 1892; and, secondly,
The Life and Letters of Dr. Samuel Butler, edited by his
grandson, which appeared in 1896. Another book, and one
which will perhaps excite greater interest among the younger
generations of Salopians, may, not improbably, see the light
before the present year comes to an end. It comprises,
among other matters of school interest, a list of Shrewsbury
scholars during the past century, with biographical notes, on
which the Rev. J. E. Auden has bestowed much time and

It remains for me now to speak briefly of the volume to
which these words are intended to form an Introduction.
When I was asked by Mr. Spencer Hill, three years ago, to
write the Annals of Shrewsbury School, I began my work


under favourable circumstances. Not only had I in my
possession much manuscript material, collected many years
ago, in the hope that it might some day help to illustrate the
early history of the school, but four long-lost volumes had
recently been discovered, in which Mr. Hotchkis, the anti-
quarian head master of the eighteenth century, transcribed
many important documents and wrote many valuable notes
relating to school affairs. I need hardly say that I have
found these Hotchkis MSS. of great service. Much light
also has been thrown on school history from 1578 to 1797 by
two volumes of school accounts, of which very little seems
to have been known before 1890. I have made much use
again of the school documents preserved among the Town
Records, which the recent labours of a committee of Shrews-
bury antiquarians have rendered easy of access. To one of
these gentlemen, Mr. William Phillips, my best thanks are
due for kindly help given me in ways too numerous to
mention. It is a pleasant duty also to express my gratitude
to several old friends among the assistant masters for their
ready and valuable assistance in writing some of the closing
chapters. Without the bibliographical knowledge indeed of
Mr. T. E. Pickering it would have been impossible for me
to do any kind of justice to the interesting library which
belongs to the school. But to no one am I more indebted
than to my old friend and colleague Dr. Calvert, who has
from the first taken a deep interest in the progress of the
book, and has done his best to help to make it a truthful
history of Shrewsbury School. There are many Old
Salopians again, far too many to mention by name, who
have corresponded with me about their schooldays, whom
I desire to thank once more for the reminiscences with
which they have so kindly supplied me, and which the
following pages will show I have duly appreciated.


MR. FISHER, at the time of his death last November,
had completed the writing of the " Annals," and had
revised the proofs except that of the last chapter and the
Appendices. My task in seeing the work through the press
has not been difficult. I have completed the revision of
the proofs, supervised the making of the Index, and have
arranged for the illustrations, of which Mr. Fisher had only
selected about a dozen. In this part of my work I have
particularly to thank Mr. A. F. Chance, Mr. W. D. Haydon
(who has taken many of the photographs specially), and
Mr. E. Tudor Owen, who have all been most helpful.
My best thanks are also due to the Rev. C. J. S. Churchill,
for the portrait of Mr. T. A. Bentley ; to Mr. Samuel Butler,
for the view of the old school in 1833, reproduced from his
Life and Letters of Bishop Butler ; to Messrs. Adnitt and
Naunton, for permission to reproduce the view of the castle
and school in 1658, facing page 173 ; and to Dr. Calvert, for
the view facing page 392. To Dr. Kennedy's note on Libera
Schola, in the Appendix, page 463, I have added, at the
suggestion of Mr. T. E. Pickering, the differing view held
by Mr. A. F. Leach, our latest authority on such matters,
though it does not seem to me altogether convincing.

Every one into whose hands the book may come, whether
Old Salopians or others, must regret that Mr. Fisher did
not live to see the full completion of a work on which he
spent so much loving labour, and in which, I think every
one will admit, he has achieved very considerable success.
I have only to add that I shall be grateful for any additions
or corrections, which shall be carefully considered when
a new edition is required.

J. S. H.





Foundation and Endowment of Shrewsbury School by Royal Charter,
granted on February loth, 155^ Early Head Masters, "Sir
Morys" and John Eyton Thomas Ashton, M.A., Head Master
from 1562-1571 ... . . i


Constitution and Customs of Shrewsbury School in the Sixteenth and

Seventeenth Centuries . . . . . . 31

Thomas Lawrence, M.A., Head Master, 1571-1583 . . 48

John Meighen, M.A., Head Master, 1583-1635 . . 73

Meighen's Differences with the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury . 97

Thomas Chaloner, Head Master, 1636-1645 . . . 132

Thomas Chaloner's Wanderings, 1644-1662 . . . 161

Richard Pigott, 1646-1662 . . . . 173


Chaloner's Return to Shrewsbury His Death Andrew Taylor, M.A.,
Head Master, 1664-1687 Richard Lloyd, M.A., Head Master,
1687-1723 . . . . ... 187




Hugh Owen, B.A., 1723-1726 Robert Phillips, D. D., 1727-1735 . 211

Leonard Hotchkis, M.A., Head Master, 1735-1754 . . . 221


Charles Newling, M.A., Head Master, 1754-1770 . . . 237

The School Library . . . ... 243


James Atcherley, M.A., Head Master, 1771-1798 -Act of Parliament
in 1798 Resig-nation of Masters Appointment of New Head
Master . . . . ... 252


Samuel Butler, D.D., Head Master, 1798-1836 . . . 262

Benjamin Hall Kennedy, D.D., 1836-1866 . . . 325


Henry Whitehead Moss, B.A., appointed Head Master in 1866
Public Schools Act of 1868 New Governing Body elected in 1871
Removal of the School to Kingsland in 1882 School Life on
Kingsland . . . . ... 369


Games and Amusements at Shrewsbury School , . . 392


Ashton's Letters to the Bailiffs . . ... 423

Ashton's Final Letter to the Bailiffs . . ... 427

Letter from Sir George Bromley to the Bailiffs about the School

Ordinances . . . . ... 428

Letter from Thomas Ashton to Lord Burleigh . ... 429

Thomas Lawrence's Farewell Letter to the Bailiffs . . .431
Letter from the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury to the Master and Fellows of

St. John's College, Cambridge . , ... 432



Letter from the Queen's Council to the Bailiffs, Schoolmaster, and

Burgesses of Shrewsbury . . ... 434
Letter from Queen Elizabeth to the Bailiffs, Burg-esses, and Head

Schoolmaster of the Town of Shrewsbury . ... 434
Decree of Lord Chancellor Ellesmere in the suit of John Meighen

versus Thomas Jones and Hugh Harris . . . 435

Second Decree of Lord Chancellor Ellesmere . ... 452

Shrewsbury School at Grinshill in 1631-32 . ... 453
Letter from Dr. William Beale, Master of St. John's College, to the

Bailiffs of Shrewsbury . . . ... 454

Letter from Robert Wright, D.D., Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry,

to the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury . . ... 455
Letter from Mr. Corbet Kynaston, M.P. for Shrewsbury, to Mr. John

Lloyd, of Shrewsbury, Barrister-at-Law . ... 456
Letter from Mr. Corbet Kynaston, M.P. for Shrewsbury, to the Rev.

William Clarke, M.A., Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge . 458

Offended Dignity of the Mayor of Shrewsbury in 1723 . . . 459

Letter from the Master and Seniors of St. John's College . . 460
Note by the Rev. B. H. Kennedy, D.D., on the Meaning of Libera

Schola . . . . ... 461

List of Masters from 1561 to 1798 . . ... 464

List of Masters from 1798 to 1898 . . . . 472

List of School Bailiffs, 1577 to 1897 . . ... 480

Shrewsbury School Distinctions in Public Examinations . . . 482


The Old School Buildings from the Castle . . . Frontispiece

Edward the Sixth (from a painting 1 by Holbein) . . . Faces page i

Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke . . ,, 8

Sir Philip Sidney . . . . . . ,, 10

Edward the Sixth (from a painting ascribed to Zucchero) . ,, 31

Philip and Robert Sidney . . . . ,,54

Screen from the Old Chapel, circa A.D. 1617 . . ,, 73

The Chapel in the Old School . . . ,,84

Archway at the Old School Buildings . . . ,,96

The Castle and Schools (from the Heralds College, 1658) . ,, 173

Edward the Sixth (from a panel in the Head Master's House) ,, 187

Leonard Hotchkis, Head Master, 1735-1754 " 221

Old School Buildings, circa 1805 . . . ,, 237

Library in the Old School . . . . ,, 243

Old School Buildings, East View, circa 1805 . . .- 252

Dr. Butler, Head Master, 1798-1836 . . . ,, 262

Sixth Form Room, under Dr. Butler . . . . - 266

The Old School Buildings, A.D. 1833 . . . ,, 290

Dr. Kennedy, Head Master, 1836-1866 ,, 325

Sixth Form Room, under Dr. Kennedy . . ,, 332

Rev. H. VV. Moss . 369

New School Building from the School Ferry . ,, 372

T. A. Bentley ... ,,374

The New School Chapel . . . ,, 376

The New School Buildings at Kingsland . . ,, 378

The New School Chapel, Interior . ,.380

Sixth Form Room in New School . ,, 384

The New School Buildings and Chapel . . ,,386
The Old School from Meadow Place, showing the old Ball Courts. ,, 392

" Coupled Up " for the " Tuck's " Run . . . "396

School Bumping Races ... ,, 400

School Cricket Field . ,,408

School Challenge Cups . ,,412

Part of Old School Wall Re-erected at Kingsland ,, 416






Foundation and Endowment of Shrewsbury School by Royal Charter,
granted on February loth, 155* Early Head Masters, "Sir Morys "
and John Eyton Thomas Ashton, M.A., Head Master from 1562-1571.

WHEN the Commission for general education was
issued by the Government of Edward VI. in 1548,
Shrewsbury was not one of the towns originally selected
by the Commissioners as the site of a Royal Grammar
School. The Charter and endowment which were ultimately
granted to Shrewsbury School seem to have been obtained
by the strenuous exertions and supplications of the people
who lived in that part of England. In the course of the
year 1548 a supplication was made to the Lord Chancellor
by Mr. Reginald Corbet, 1 the Recorder of Shrewsbury, that
a Free School might be granted to the town, 2 and, later
on in the same year, the Corporation laid out 20 in the
purchase of suitable buildings for the purpose. 3 Two years

1 Reginald Corbet was the third son of Sir Robert Corbet, of Moreton Corbet,
Shropshire. He was appointed Reader of the Middle Temple in 1551, Serjeant-
at-law in April, 1559, and Justice of the King's Bench in October of the same
year. He died in 1566. (Foss's Lives of the Judges.}

2 Extracts from the Corporation Accounts, given in OWEN and BLAKEWAY'S
History of Shrewsbury -, show that the Recorder was paid los. for his services,
and that the Corporation took the precaution to propitiate the favour of a servant
of the Lord Chancellor by a gift of 2od.

3 "Sol pempcoe liber' Scole inf a vill' Salop h'end 2o." Extract from
Corporation Accounts as given by OWEN and BLAKEWAY.



afterwards we find the inhabitants of all the neighbouring
country joining the Bailiffs, burgesses, and inhabitants of
Shrewsbury in a humble petition to the King, representing
their need of a Grammar School, and praying that some
portion of the estates of the recently dissolved Collegiate
Churches of St. Mary and St. Chad in Shrewsbury might be
devoted to its support. 1 This petition was presented to the
King 2 by Mr. Hughe Edwardes, who had been a mercer in
London, but belonged to a Shropshire family, and was now
residing in Shrewsbury, and Mr. Richard Whittaker, one of
the Town Bailiffs. In the Corporation accounts for the year
mention is made of various sums paid to Mr. Whittaker 3 for
his expenses in the matter, while there is no record of similar
payments to Mr. Edwardes. 4 The probable explanation is
that the latter was regarded as representing the aliens who
had joined in the petition, while Whittaker acted as the
official representative of the town of Shrewsbury. The
petitioners attained their object ; and, on February roth, 155^,
a Charter was granted by the King for the foundation of a
Grammar School in Shrewsbury, which was to bear the name
of " Libera Schola s Grammaticalis Regis Edwardi Sexti."
It is stated in the beginning of the Charter that it was

1 See Charter of Edward VI. in Appendix.

2 "1550. This yeare, by the labor of one hughe Edwards of Salop, and late of
London, mercer, and master Rycharde Whyttackers, beinge as thys yeare, one of
the bayliffs of thys towne of shrewsbery was laboryd to the kyng's m tie for anuetie
of xx/ for and towads the mayntenance of A free scoole in the sayde towne of
Shrewsbery for eu, w ch was obtaynid to the greate p e fermet of the youthe of that
towne and the quarters there adioyne, in good lernige and godly educacon."
Taylor MS.

3 " J 55 J ~5 2 ' "Spent on Richard Whitacres at his arrival from London,
y. to."

"Paid Richard Whitacres for divers costs by him expended, particularly
about the free school, 58/1 iSs. $d" Extracts from Corporation Accounts in
Blakeway MSS.

4 Hughe Edwardes came of a family long settled at Kilhendre in the Chapelry
of Dudleston, Salop ; but, being a younger son, he engaged in trade in London,
and was still of that city on December I4th, 1549, when the King granted to him
and William Knight, mercers, 10 messuages, 26 gardens, and half a pigeon house,
parcel of the late dissolved College of St. Chad. He was warden of the Drapers'
Company in Shrewsbury in 1562. (OwEN and BLAKEWAY.)

5 On the meaning of Libera Schola, see Appendix.


granted on the humble petition, "as well of the bailiffs
burgesses and inhabitants of the Town of Shrewsbury in
the County of Salop, as of very many other our subjects
of the whole neighbouring country." 1 The school was to be
conducted by " one master or instructor " and " one under-
master or usher." A grant was made to the Bailiffs and
burgesses of Shrewsbury in trust, for the maintenance of the
school, of "all the tithes of blade corn and grain and hay,
arising from the villages fields parishes and hamlets of
Asteley, Sensawe, Cliff, Letton and Almon Park, in the
County of Salop," which had formerly belonged to the
suppressed " College of St. Mary the Virgin at Shrewsbury,"
and " all the similar tithes in the villages fields parishes and
hamlets of Frankwell, Betton, Woodcote, Horton, Bickton,
Calcote, Shelton, Whiteley and Welbach," which had
belonged to the suppressed " College of St. Cedde in

These endowments, which amounted in value to 20 Ss.,
were subject to a rent of 8s., to be paid to the Crown
annually on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel. Power
was given to the Bailiffs and burgesses to appoint school-
masters whenever vacancies should occur, and also, with the
advice of the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, to make
ordinances for the government of the school and the
management of its property.

Very little is known of the working of Shrewsbury School
during the ten years which followed its foundation. We
learn from the Corporation accounts for the year from
Midsummer 1551 that in some form it was started at once,
for mention is there made of the payment of i2d. to "the
master of the free scole, Sir Morys." 2 But the outbreak of
the "Sweating Sickness" in Shrewsbury in 1550-51,* the
death of Edward VI. in 1553, and the fact that the tithes

1 "Totius patriae ibidem vicinse."

2 " Regardo pedagogo lib'se scolae viz d'no Morys. I2d." Blakeiuay MSS.

3 " This yeare (1550-51) the swetinge sycknes raignyd in England and began
first in the towne of shrewsbery the xxii of marche." Taylor MS.

Dr. Caius says this was the fifth outbreak of the disease in England. The first
was in 1485. (OWEN and BLAKEWAY.)


granted to Shrewsbury had been leased out in 1548 for a
term of twenty-one years, 1 were all serious impediments to
school organization. What became of " Sir Morys " does
not appear; but it is certain that he did not retain his
position long, for in the accounts of the same year in which
his name is mentioned, there occurs a further entry of 6s. 8d.
"paid on account to John Eyton, hired to keep the free
grammar school." 2 Perhaps the Bailiffs were unlucky in
their choice of masters, or perhaps they were difficult to
please; anyway, in October, 1556, we find them anxiously
looking out for "an honest and able person to serve the
Office of Head Schoolmaster of the Free Schoole," in order
that they might " avoide John Eyton." 3

After this no further mention of the school can be found in
local records before June 2ist, 1561. Under this date
Hotchkis or Blakeway found the following entry in the
Exchequer Book of Shrewsbury : " Agreed that Thomas
Asheton with on other lerned scolemaster shall enter nowe at
Mydsummer next, and for their stypend duryng the tyme
untyll the leases be expyred, to have 4o, and for an usher
8, and when the leases be expyred of Mr. Byston and Mr.
Kelton, then y e s d Mr. Asheton, fynding one other scolemaster
and usher, to have a pattent of all these tythes belonging to
the free-scoole, for lyfe. Paying 8.y. yearly to y e Queene for
chefife rent, and that he shall keepe all reparations of the
scoole-house." 4 This Thomas Ashton is usually reckoned
as the first Head Master of Shrewsbury School, and he might
almost be called its Founder ; for, by his exertions, the greater

1 St. Mary's tithes were leased to Mr. Thomas Kelton on March 3rd, 1541,
and St. Chad's tithes to Mr. George Byston on June 22nd, 1548. (OWEN and

2 " Regardo et sup' comput John Eyton conduct' ad custodiend' lib'am scola
grammatical' 6s. Sd." Blakeivay MSS.

3 " Ult' Oct.' 3 and 4 P & M. Agreed . . . that yf Mr. Baylieffs can heare of
an honest able . . . person which will serve the office of head scolemaster of the
Free scole of the town and shall be thought mete . . . that then Mr. Bayliffs
shall avoyd John Eyton now scolemaster gyving him one half year's warnynge
and the s d John Eyton to haue for his wages from Michaelmas last paste 14^ by
year and not above." Blakeway MSS,

4 Blakeway MSS,


part of its existing endowments was obtained, and to him are
due, in the main, the Statutes and Ordinances by which the
school was governed for more than two hundred years.
Nothing is known of his parentage or place of birth.
Blakeway suggests that he belonged to a Lancashire family,
and that his connection with Shrewsbury was brought about
through Whittaker, who was one of the Town Bailiffs when
the Charter was granted, and who came originally from that
county. But these suggestions appear to be mere guesswork,
and Ashton's first acquaintance with Shrewsbury may be
accounted for more plausibly.

From an early period it was the custom in Shrewsbury to
celebrate Whitsuntide by the performance of a Mystery or a
Morality in certain grounds adjoining the Severn, known
locally as "the Quarry."

In the arrangement and superintendence of such perform-
ances, Ashton seems to have had great taste and skill, and it
may well have been the fame of the yearly performances in
the Quarry that first brought him to Shrewsbury. Owen
records, in his MS. "Arms of the Bailiffs," that "Mr. Aston's
first playe upon the Passion of Christ" was given in 1561,
and Ashton was probably engaged in superintending its
performance when the Bailiffs entertained him and another
gentleman from Cambridge on May 25th of that year. 1

Ashton seems also to have been acquainted at this time
with Sir Andrew Corbet, of Moreton Corbet, near Shrews-
bury, and may possibly have been acting as tutor to his sons 2
before he was appointed to the head mastership of Shrewsbury
School. Two years previously he had graduated at Trinity
College, Cambridge, and he was now a Fellow of that college. 3

1 " Mr. Bayles spent upon Mr. Astone and a other gentellmane of Cambridge
over pareadijs 2O S ." (Extract from Exchequer Book given by Owen and Blake-
way.) The pareadijs is probably vino di paradiso.

2 Sometime in the same year (1561) the Bailiffs entertained Ashton in an inn
called " the Sextry " together with Sir Andrew Corbet's sons.

3 In a letter from the Bailiffs to St. John's College, Cambridge, dated August
1st, 1583, Ashton is said to have been "some time of your Colledge." This
seems to have been a mistake on their part. Ashton certainly graduated B.A. at
Trinity College in January 15^.


An interesting proof that Ashton had some close connection
with the Corbet family is furnished by the Shawbury Parish
Register, from which it appears that, on June 8th, 1561, he
acted as one of the sponsors at the baptism of Roger, son
of Mr. Robert Corbet of Sobych. Some time elapsed after
Ashton's appointment before the school was in working
order, but on December 28th, 1562, he was able to commence
his register of entries with a school list of 266 boys. They
are divided into seven classes, 1 and the names are given in
school order. Inhabitants of Shrewsbury are entered as
oppidani, and all other boys as alieni. The number of aliens
in this school list is exactly the same as that of oppidans.
Two other masters assisted Ashton in his labours Thomas
Wylton and Richard Atkys, the latter of whom continued at
his post for twenty-six years. A note in the school register
under the year 1568,

"TW. 23. Julii. decess. M."

indicates the date of Wylton's resignation. Thomas Law-
rence, B.A., of Clare Hall, Cambridge, succeeded him in
the second mastership. 2

Under Ashton's able management, Shrewsbury School
prospered greatly, and in the course of the first six years of
his mastership nearly 800 boys were admitted. Of these
boys about 277 were oppidans. The rest were chiefly from
Shropshire and the neighbouring counties, but some came
from a considerable distance. Phillip Stringer, the first boy
in the list of 1562, for example, was from Buckinghamshire. 3

Unfortunately the only school list of Ashton's time is that
of December, 1562, and we have no clue to the exact number
of boys in the school at any particular time during the

1 Later on, either from the increase of numbers, or the admission of younger
boys, Ashton found it necessary to add two more classes, the eighth and ninth.

2 Thomas Wylton probably became Rector of Middle. A clergyman of his
names, who held that cure, died July 5th, 1596, at "a good old age," and was
buried in Middle Church. The inscription from a brass plate which used to
be over his grave is given in COUGH'S History of Middle. Thomas Wylton is
there described as Gentleman, Preacher of God's Word, and Parson some time of

Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 1 of 56)