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Naturally enough the steady diminution of the school
numbers, which commenced in Dr. Butler's time and
continued subsequently, until, in 1841, there were only 133
boys in the school, was the cause of considerable anxiety
to his successor. But it so happened that Shrewsbury met
with a very remarkable success in the Classical Tripos of that
year at Cambridge, the first three places being all attained
by men who had been educated at that school. Advantage
of this occurrence was at once taken by the leading in-
habitants of Shropshire to present Dr. Kennedy with an
address, 2 assuring him of the esteem in which he was held
by his neighbours, and the perfect confidence which they
reposed in him as the Head Master of Shrewsbury School.
This address was signed by about 200 persons, including

1 George Hanley Hallam. Head boy, 1864-1865 ; gained the Craven university
scholarship and three Browne Medals while an undergraduate ; bracketed Senior
Classic in 1869.

2 The address was presented in March, 1841.


the school trustees, several peers and members of Parliament,
forty-four magistrates, and the chief professional men,
merchants, and tradesmen of Shrewsbury and the neighbour-
hood, and was presented to Dr. Kennedy in Top Schools by
Mr. John Loxdale, the Mayor, who went thither in state
for the purpose, accompanied by the rest of the Corporation.
Dr. Kennedy's reply to the address, which is preserved in
a letter written by him to the Bishop of Lichfield, and
published in 1842, is of special interest, both as a careful
statement of the chief motives which induced him to accept
the head-mastership of Shrewsbury, 1 and also as an ex-
position of the principles on which he based, or desired to
base, his dealings with the boys under his charge. These
were, he emphatically stated, to be lenient, and even
indulgent, so far as he could be so, consistently with the
strictness which is needful in matters of vital import ; to
reduce corporal punishment within the narrowest limits ; to
deal with boys as rational beings, by explaining to them
the reasons of discipline and the just motives to obedience ;
to give credence to every boy of unimpeached character, and
to make his pupils generally, and the elder boys especially,
understand and feel that his advice and assistance would
always be at their disposal, and that if they erred for want
of a counsellor and friend the fault would be their own.
Towards the end of this same year, 1841, an anonymous
letter appeared in one of the London newspapers, in which
imputations were made against the religious teaching given
in the school. Among other allegations it was stated by the
writer of the letter that he believed that three of the masters
who held " erroneous and strange doctrines " were engaged in
" pouring out their curses loud and deep upon the principles
of Protestantism," that one of them had taught the doctrine
of transubstantiation in a sermon preached at St. Chad's
Church, and that the pupil of another had recently become
a Roman Catholic. Neither accuracy nor fairness can

1 Prominent among the motives which Dr. Kennedy mentioned were his strong
affection for his old school and his earnest confidence in the wisdom and power
of its system.


reasonably be expected from an anonymous assailant, and
it is evident that the writer of the letter was very imperfectly
acquainted with theological questions. The sermon to which
he referred had been preached by the Rev. William Linwood,
the distinguished scholar, who was then an assistant curate
of St. Chad's, and appears to have been an able exposition of
the teaching of some of the most honoured theological
writers whom the Church of England has known since the

The incident is chiefly noteworthy as affording an illus-
tration of the loyal support which Dr. Kennedy invariably
extended to his colleagues, as well as of the intense
dislike which, like his predecessor, he felt for meanness,
intolerance, and narrow-mindedness. Much of the corres-
pondence which took place on the subject is printed in
Dr. Kennedy's letter to the Bishop of Lichfield, to which
reference has already been made.

Mr. Linwood, whose undergraduate career at Oxford was
one of almost unparalleled brilliancy, had been for about two
years an assistant master at Shrewsbury School, and to him
Dr. Kennedy had given up much of the teaching of the
sixth form, while he himself exercised a general supervision
over the instruction of the rest of the school with the view
of raising the standard of teaching in the lower forms. Of
this master Dr. Kennedy said that he was " one of the best
scholars, and most upright and single-hearted men," it had
ever been his lot to know. 1 But Mr. Linwood was not the
only master whom Dr. Kennedy associated with himself in
the teaching of the sixth form. Mr. T. F. Henney and
Mr. W. J. Kennedy 2 had both been in the habit of taking
the sixth for private lesson on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mr.
Gifford did the same when he became second master in 1843.
Mr. T. S. Evans is also said, during some years of his stay
at Shrewsbury, to have added to the regular teaching of the

1 See letter to the Bishop pf Lichfield, by B. H. Kennedy, D.D., 1842.

2 Mr. Henney left Shrewsbury in 1838, and was succeeded by the Rev. W.
J. Kennedy, the youngest brother of the Head Master, who only remained about
two years.


fifth form the superintendence of much of the sixth form
composition exercises. 1

In 1843 Dr. Kennedy was made a Prebendary of Lichfield,
and in the same year he published his elementary Latin
Grammar, which, after being largely used for many years
in English schools, was adopted in 1864 as the basis of
The Public School Latin Primer?

It was in 1843 a l so that the Rev. James Ind Welldon,
M.A., who had been for eight years second master, was ap-
pointed to the head-mastership of Tonbridge School, and
was succeeded at Shrewsbury by Mr. Edwin Hamilton
Gifford, fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, who had
graduated a short time before as Senior Classic and fifteenth
Wrangler. Between 1843 and 1851 few events occurred
which can be regarded as of moment in the history of the
school. Various changes, however, took place in the staff
of masters. Dr. Gifford resigned the second-mastership on
his appointment to Birmingham in 1847, and was succeeded
by the Rev. William Burbury, M.A., fellow of St. John's
College, who had graduated as fourth Classic in 1843.
Thomas Saunders Evans, who had been an assistant master
for six years, also left Shrewsbury in 1847 to take the place
of composition master to the sixth form at Rugby, which
had become vacant through the death of his old school-
fellow, George John Kennedy. 3 Many Salopians and
Rugbeians of those days still cherish an affectionate memory
of "Tom Evans," with his tall, lithe form, sparkling brown
eyes and curly black hair, and reminiscences of his slow,

1 Dr. Kennedy does not seem, however, to have repeated his experiment of
handing over the teaching of the sixth form entirely to any assistant master after
Mr. Linwood left.

2 Dr. Scott and Dr. Hessey were appointed to assist Dr. Kennedy in the
revision of his original work, and it was published in 1866 as The Public School
Latin Primer.

3 George John Kennedy, third son of the Rev. Rann Kennedy, was at
Shrewsbury School from February, 1828, to April, 1830, and went up to St.
John's College, Cambridge, in the following October. In 1831 he gained the
first Bell scholarship and the Person Prize, and in 1832 he was elected Davies
university scholar; Senior Classic, 1834; fellow of his college, 1835;
Examiner for the Classical Tripos, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841. Died at Rugby
of fever in 1847.


emphatic statements, his keen wit, and those sudden bursts
of laughter, of which Archbishop Benson and others have
spoken, are easy to evoke. But, much as they liked him,
Shrewsbury boys used sometimes to take advantage of his
characteristic simple - mindedness. He was by no means
a lynx-eyed disciplinarian. In those days it was the custom
at repetition lesson for one of the boys, generally a day boy,
" to tear out of his own book the leaf containing the lesson
and stick it on the front of the master's desk, where it was
safe from his eyes and very useful to the form in general."
On one occasion the boy whose lot it was to discharge this
duty in Evans's form had not brought his book into school,
and was obliged to copy the passage out on paper. Whether
from carelessness, or out of malice prepense, it so happened
that on the written paper two lines of the repetition lesson
were omitted. The result, of course, was that boy after
boy left out the same two lines. But, if the traditional story
is to be credited, the master, though puzzled and irritated
by the strange coincidence, never discovered its cause. Of
"Tom Evans" too the story is told that once, during the
Shrewsbury races, he was left in charge of the sixth form
boys while they did a composition paper which Dr. Kennedy
had set with the view of keeping them out of harm's way.
Very few minutes, however, elapsed before the boys proceeded,
one by one, to take up to the master's desk a few lines hastily
scribbled, and, saying they could do no more, to leave the
room ; and it was long before " Tom Evans," who, in his
dreamy studies, had become quite oblivious of the races, dis-
covered that he was left alone with one conscientious pupil. 1

The year 1851 is notable in the annals of the school for
the celebration of the tercentenary of its foundation in 1551.
The festivities lasted two days, beginning with a public
breakfast on Wednesday, April 23rd, at the Lion Hotel.
On the same day a performance of Haydn's Creation was
given at the Music Hall, and in the evening there was a

1 See COLLINS'S Public Schools, and the Memoir of Professor T. S. Evans,
D.D., Canon of Durham, and Professor of Greek and Classical Literature
in the University of Durham, by JOSEPH WAITE, D. D., 1893.


fancy dress ball in the school library, the upper school -room
being used for supper. On the Thursday morning a special
service was held in St. Mary's Church, when the sermon
was preached by Dr. Lonsdale, Bishop of Lichfield, and
the prayers were said by the Vicar of the parish, the Rev.
William Gorsuch Rowland, who was now in his 82nd year-
The Mayor and Corporation attended in state, and the con-
gregation included the school trustees and a large number
of old and present Salopians. On the same evening there
was a grand dinner in the Music Hall, of which nearly 400
persons partook. The chair was taken, both at the dinner
and at the breakfast on the previous day, by Chandos Wren
Hoskyns, Esq, 1 who was at Shrewsbury School 1827-30.

In the course of the year 1851 the school numbers fell
very low. Whether for that reason, or because of some
difficulty in obtaining a new master, it came about that
when Mr. Johnstone, who had been an assistant master for
eight years, resigned, no successor was appointed, Mr.
Burbury taking the fourth form instead of the fifth, and
Dr. Kennedy the sixth and fifth forms together. 2 The next
important incident in the history of the school, after the
celebration of the tercentenary festival, was the issue of an
order by the Court of Chancery on August 1st, 1853, in
confirmation of a new scheme for the management and
application of its endowments. This scheme had in the
main been prepared by the school trustees, and was originally
brought by them before Vice-Chancellor Shadwell on May
7th, 1849. Counsel appeared to oppose it on behalf both of
St. John's College and of the Head Master, and ultimately
the Vice-Chancellor dismissed the petition of the trustees on
the ground that it contemplated changes which went far
beyond the scope of their trust.

1 Chandos Wren Hoskyns, son of Sir Hungerford Hoskyns, of Harewood
House, Herefordshire, Bart. Born 1812. B.A. of Balliol College, Oxford, 1834
(2nd class lit. hum. ) ; called to the Bar from the Inner Temple ; became owner
of Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire, through his first wife, Theodosia Anna, daughter
and heiress of Christopher Wren, Esq. ; M.P. for Hereford 1869-1874.

2 This arrangement seems to have lasted till August, 1852, when a separate
master was again appointed for the fifth form.


But the trustees appealed to Lord Chancellor Cottenham,
who heard the case on November loth, 1849, an d on
November I2th delivered judgment, reversing the decision
of the Vice-Chancellor, and directing that the scheme should
be referred to one of the Masters in Chancery for his report.
The Master to whom this work was entrusted was Mr. John
Elijah Blunt, and somewhat prolonged negotiations took
place between the various parties interested in the school
before the Master's report was made and the order of the
Court was issued promulgating the new scheme. The main
objects which the trustees seem to have had in view were to
get some ambiguities in the Act of 1798 explained, and to
obtain from the Court greater powers in dealing with surplus
revenues. By the Act of Parliament in question it was
ordained that the surplus revenues of the school should be
applied as a rule to the endowment of new exhibitions at
Oxford or Cambridge. But this ordinance was subject to
a somewhat ambiguous proviso that, after one such exhibi-
tion should be founded, the trustees might, if they should
think fit, with the consent of the Bishop of Lichfield, in-
crease the value of the existing exhibitions, or augment
the stipends of the Vicar of Chirbury and the curates of
St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, of Astley, and of Clive. For the
exhibitions, so to be founded, no scholars of Shrewsbury
were to be eligible who did not possess preferential claims,

(1) As legitimate sons of burgesses, born in the town or
its suburbs ;

(2) As natives of Chirbury ;

(3) As natives of Shropshire.

No one could be elected to an exhibition, moreover, who
had not been at the school for at least two years immediately
preceding the time at which he would have to go to college,
were he appointed exhibitioner, or who should not be found
on examination to be duly qualified in respect of learning,
good morals, and behaviour. Should no election be made
to a vacant exhibition, it was further provided that the
unapplied income for the year should go to the fund for
endowing new exhibitions.

2 A


Now it must be remembered that by the year 1848 the
school numbers had sunk very low. We cannot wonder
then that the trustees should have felt that, for the present
at any rate, no new exhibitions were needed, and that it
was only equitable that they should be allowed to expend
a portion of the annual surplus in helping to provide par-
sonage houses, and to support elementary schools in those
parishes of which the school owned the great tithes. The
trustees also considered it highly desirable that, in default
of suitable candidates who possessed preferential claims,
vacant exhibitions should be thrown open to any boys
who had been educated at the school.

At the time the Public School Commissioners were making
their inquiry at Shrewsbury, in 1862, some of their number
appeared to be much exercised in mind by the fact that the
Chancery scheme of 1853 virtually repealed various pro-
visions of the Act of 1798 ; but the question whether or not
the Court of Chancery exceeded its powers in the matter
has now become, so far as Shrewsbury is concerned, only
one of academic interest. From the time of the issue of the
order of the Court on August 1st, 1853, until the passing of
the Public Schools Act in 1868, the affairs of the school
were administered in accordance with the rules and direc-
tions of the scheme. The chief provisions, briefly stated,
were as follows :

(1) Subjects of Instruction.

(a) The liturgy, doctrine, and discipline of the Church of England.
() The Greek, Latin, English, and French languages.

(c) Ancient and modern history.

(d) Arithmetic and mathematics.

(e) Such other modern languages, arts, and sciences as the trustees,
with the consent of the Bishop of Lichfield, might think fit.

(2) Admission of Scholars.

(a) No boys to be admitted under the age of eight years, or
allowed to remain after the age of twenty.

(ft) None to be admitted who could not, in the opinion of the
Head Master, read and write English.


(3) Fees.

(d) No admission fees nor subsequent payments for instruction to
be required from legitimate sons of burgesses.

(b) Other boys to pay two guineas on admission and fifteen guineas
annually for tuition.

(c) Of the total amount of tuition fees received in the year the
second master to be paid one-sixth.

(d) The amount of such fees might be increased or diminished
from time to time, with the consent of the Bishop of Lichfield, if
the trustees should think fit.

(4) Boarders. 1

Permission given to the Head Master and second master, and
to other masters, with the consent of the Head Master, to take

(5) Library and Prizes.
The trustees permitted to spend annually

(a) On the school library a sum not exceeding ^"70.

(b) On prizes a sum not exceeding $o.

(6) Admission Register, and Reports on Progress.
The Head Master to keep a register of scholars, and to send,
at least twice a year, a report as to their progress and general conduct
to their parents.

(7) Examinations.

(a) Boys to be examined once a year by examiners appointed by
the Bishop of Lichfield.

(b] The trustees allowed to expend in payment of these examiners
a sum not exceeding fifteen guineas.

1 When the school ordinances were originally framed by Ashton the school-
masters had no houses in which boarders could be received, and the only boarders
alluded to in the ordinances were those " tabled " with householders in the town.
There is no moral doubt that when the masters' houses were completed, early in
the seventeenth century, they began to receive boys as boarders. But no distinct
mention of the practice has been noticed earlier than the latter half of the eight-
eenth century. Dr. Kennedy was opposed to the insertion in the scheme of this
permissive clause, holding that the right of the masters to take boarders rested
upon ancient custom, but yielded to the opinion of the Master in Chancery, who
thought it better to have a ready answer to possible cavils on the subject. (See
Report of Public School Commission, vol. ii. p. 323.)


(8) Exhibitions.

(a) All exhibitions to be of the annual value of ^50, and to be
tenable for four years.

(6) All exhibitions, except the six founded before 1798, which were
reserved to St. John's College, to be open to any college at Oxford
or Cambridge.

(c) In default of preferential candidates found eligible on examina-
tion, the trustees allowed to elect other boys educated at the school
to vacant exhibitions.

(9) Scale of Annual Payments to be made to the Incumbents
of School Livings.

(a) St. Mary's, Shrewsbury ^300.

(b) Chirbury . . . ^200, and So for a curate.

(c) Clive .... ^90.

(d) Astley . ^70.

Permission, however, was given to the trustees, with the consent
of the Bishop of Lichfield, to increase or diminish from time to
time these stipends. They were also allowed to expend annually in
support of the parochial schools

(e) In each of the parishes of St. Mary, St. Chad, and Chirbury,
a sum not exceeding ^5.

(f) In each of the parishes of Clive and Astley, a sum not
exceeding ^5.

(10) Playground.

The trustees were, in addition, empowered to pay such rent
as they might find necessary in order to procure a suitable play-
ground for the boys.

On July 1 8th, 1861, a royal commission was issued to
inquire " into the nature and application of the endowments,
funds, and revenues of certain specified colleges, schools, and
foundations," the systems under which they were managed,
and "the course of studies respectively pursued therein."
The institutions specified in her Majesty's commission were
Eton College, Winchester College, the College of St. Peter,
Westminster, the Charterhouse School, St. Paul's School,
Merchant Taylors' School, Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury,
and the Commissioners appointed were the Earl of Clarendon,


Lord Lyttelton, the Hon. E. T. B. Twisleton, Sir Stafford
Henry Northcote, Bart, the Rev. William Hepworth
Thompson, M.A., and Henry Halford Vaughan, Esq., M.A.;
Montague Bernard, Esq., B.C.L., being nominated as secretary.
On the 22nd and 23rd of May, 1862, the Commissioners
inspected the school buildings at Shrewsbury, and examined
orally Dr. Kennedy and some of the other masters, the
trustees and the Bailiff of the school, the trustees of
Millington's Charity, and a deputation of the Corporation of

Two years later the report of the Commissioners, commonly
called the Public School Commissioners, was published as
a parliamentary blue-book. Much of this report dealt, as
was natural, with matters of common interest to all the
schools included in the inquiry, such as the relations of the
Head Master to the Governing Body, the constitution of that
body, the subjects of instruction in the various schools and
the stimulants to industry of which they made use, the
monitorial system, the encouragement given to games, the
fagging question, the want of good preparatory schools, and
the inconvenience arising from the varying dates of the
holidays, and many recommendations were made of general
application. But in addition to their general report the
Commissioners made a separate report on each of the nine
schools, and many of their specific recommendations, though
based on the same general principles, vary in accordance
with the varying circumstances, history, and traditions of the
different schools. It will be convenient to note briefly the
most important of the recommendations which were made
in the case of Shrewsbury School.

These were :

1. That the annual tuition fee should be raised from fifteen to
twenty guineas.

2. That all local preferential claims to exhibitions and scholar-
ships should be abolished.

3. That the right of gratis education, which had been enjoyed
since 1798 by the sons of burgesses, should be at once limited to
forty boys, and, after twenty-five years, should be entirely abolished.


4. That all exhibitions and scholarships, to which Shrewsbury
scholars were eligible, either primarily or in default of preferential
candidates, and the emoluments of which were supplied from funds
not held in trust by or for any particular college, should be available
for any college at Oxford or Cambridge. 1

5. That there should be a temporary suspension of some of the
school exhibitions in order to meet the demand for new buildings.

6. That any master should, with the consent of the Governing
Body, be at liberty to open a boarding-house.

Rumours as to a coming favourable report of the Public
School Commissioners had an immediate effect on the for-
tunes of Shrewsbury School. In the course of the year 1863
the numbers rose from about 130 to nearly 200, and it became
necessary to increase the number of forms. The old fourth
form, which had now for a long time been taught in the
honour-boards room where Dr. Butler had taken the sixth, 2
was converted into the shell, and a new fourth form was
introduced between the shell and the lower school. In 1864 a
most beneficial reform was effected in the chapel services.
A harmonium was introduced, a choir was formed among the

1 A special recommendation, however, was made in the case of the Millington
scholarships at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Dr. Millington, who was a
native of Shrewsbury and was educated at the school, had proceeded afterwards
to Magdalene College. Wishing to benefit both school and college he devised
by his will, dated February 27th, 1724, certain lands in Montgomeryshire for the
endowment of scholarships at Magdalene, to be held by students who had been
educated at Shrewsbury. After four scholarships of the annual value of ^63
each had been founded the Millington trustees were directed by an order in
Chancery to employ the accumulations of surplus in future for the endowment
of fellowships, each fellowship to be equal in value to two scholarships. In
pursuance of this order one such fellowship was founded in 1817 and another
in 1856. But in 1860 both fellowships were alienated from Shrewsbury and

Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 35 of 56)