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BY CHARLES HOOLE, A. N.,
Master of a Grammar School at Rotherham in 1636, and of a Private School in London in 1660.
CHAPTER 1.-Of the Founding of a Grammar School
The most of the grammar schools which I have yet taken notice of in England are of two sorts. The first I may call mixed schools, where a structure is made, and an allowance given of ten, twenty, or thirty pounds per annum only to one man to teach children freely that inhabit within the precints of one parish or of three or four neighboring hamlets adjoining. And such schools as these very seldom or never improve scholars further than to teach them to read and write, and learn some little (they know not what it meaneth) in the common grammar; partly because the master is overburdened with too many petty scholars, and partly because many parents will not spare their children to learn, if they can but find them any employment about their domestic or rural affairs, whereby they may save a penny. In some places more populous, an allowance is made to a master of about twenty pounds per annum to attend grammarians only, and ten pounds to an usher, whose work it is to teach the petties. In sach schools as these, I have known some boys more pregnant-witted than the rest, to have proved very good grammarians, and to have profited so in the Latin and Greek tongues as to come to good maturity in university studies, by a tutor's guidance. But the masters of such schools for the most part either weaken their bodies by excessive toil, and so shorten their days; or (as soon as they can fit themselves for a more easy profession, or obtain a more profitable place) after a few years quit their school, and leave their scholars to another's charge, that either hath his method to seek, or else trains them up in another quite different from that which they had been used to. And thus through the
• The following is a copy of the original title page:
a Grammar Schoole,
By C. H.
Church Yard, 1659.
change of masters the scholars are either dispersed or hindered from going on with that alacrity and profit which otherwise they might.
The second sort of schools are those which are purely grammatical, being especially conversant in teaching the art of grammar. Now some of these have yearly salaries for a master and one usher, where the master is employed in perfecting those scholars which the usher hath already grounded. And many of these schools, (especially if they be situated in places where accommodation is to be had for tabling;) do happily train up many scholars which about sixteen or seventeen years of age are fit to be sent to the university. But in regard there is no preferment attending these schools, the most pregnant-witted children are commonly taken thence, after they are well grounded, and disposed on to other places, where they may gain it. So that of all others our collegiate schools, or those that come nearest them, have the greatest advantage of making most scholars. For these having commonly large revenues belonging to them, do not only provide sufficiently for a master and one usher at least, but also for a certain number of scholars, which being for the most part the choicest wits picked out of other schools, and such as depend upon hopes of advancement, do industriously bestir themselves to attain what learning they can, and submit themselves orderly to such discipline as is there exercised. But forasmuch as these greater schools rather intend the forwarding of such children as are already grounded, than busy themselves about mere rudiments, it causeth many parents to disperse their little ones abroad to tabling-schools, where (for the most part) there is but one man to teach a few promiscuously hand-over-head, without any settled method, and these changing and removing ever and anon as cause is offered, do seldom attain any stable proficiency in grammar learning. Yet in some of these, where an able schoolmaster is well seated and provided with all fitting accommodations, so as to entertain many gentlemen's sons of good quality, and an able usher to assist him in teaching, I have observed children to make double profiting in respect to other schools, because they have the advantage of spending much of that time at their books which others trifle away in running up and down about home; not to say that the constant eye of - the master is an especial means to regulate them in point of behavior.
Now comparing all the schools which we have in England with some that I read of in other countries, (that I may speak freely, and without offense to any man, submitting myself herein also to the judgment of those of my profession) I do not know one that is so completed as (perhaps) many might easily be, with all necessary accommodations and advantages to improve children to what they are capable of in their playing years, and wherein we evidently see how many places of education beyond the seas do quite outstrip us.
And therefore from what I have heretofore read in Mr. Mulcaster's Positions concerning the training up of children, in chap. 40, (which he wrote when he had been twenty years schoolmaster at Merchant Tailors' School, which was erected in 1561, being afterwards head master of Paul's in 1600,) and what I have been informed touching Mr. Farnaby's improvement of a private grammar school in Goldsmith's alley, now called New street, also Jewen street; and what I myself have experienced for about fonrteen years together both in that place and in Lothbury Garden, I am induced to think that it is a matter very feasible to raise many of our grammar schools to a far higher pitch of learning than is ordinarily yet attained in England. For whereas in most of our grammar schools (as I have noted) there is but one, two, or three ushers besides a master, employed in teaching the Latin and Greek tongues, and some smattering of the Hebrew, together in one room to six or seven forms of scholars, who by reason of the noise of one another (not to mention the clamor of children) and the multiplicity of their work, with several boys in each form, do both over tire themselves and many times leave things to the halves; I conceive a course may be taken (espe. cially) in cities, and towns of greater concourse, to teach a great multitude of scholars (as Corderius professeth to have taught five hundred, and I have been informed that in some places beyond seas, twenty-five hundred are taught in one school) without any noise, in a pleasing and profiting manner, and in their playing years, not only the English, Latin, and Greek tongues) together with the duties of piety and civil behavior) but also the Eastern and other needful foreign languages, besides fair writing, arithmetic, music, and other preparatory arts and sciences which are most obvious to the senses, and whereof their younger years are very capable; that thereby they may be fitted for ingenious trades or to prosecute higher studies in the universities, and so be able (when they come to man's estate) to undertake the due management of private or public affairs, either at home or in other countries.
He that shall but consider the low ebb that learning was brought to (by reason of the Danish barbarism) in England in King Alfred's days, who could not find a master in all his dominions to teach him the Latin tongue, (which he began to learn at thirty-six years of age, having begun to read English at twelve, which his elder brethren, because less studious, could not attain to) and the paucity of them that understood Greek not much above threescore years ago, when a scholar (yet living) of thirteen years old from the school was owned as a better Grecian than most of the Fellows of the College to which he went; he that, I say, shall consider the former rareness of the Latin and Greck tongues in England, and now see how common they are (especially since Queen Elizabeth's days, in whose time more schools were built than there were before in all her realm,) and withal take notice what an excellent improvement that noble spirited Mr. Busby hath of late made at Westminster School, where the Eastern languages are now become familiar to the highest sort of scholars, will. undoubtedly think (as I do) that our children may be brought on to far more knowledge of language and things than hitherto they have been, and that also in a more easy manner.
And forasmuch as I observe it as å great act of God's mercy towards his Church, that, in this jangling age of ours, wherein too many decry learning, he hath raised up the spirit of some that know better what it is, to endeavor heartily to advance it, I shall here address my words to such, whosoever they are, but more especially to the honorable and reverend trustees for the maintenance of students. And as before I have hinted somewhat touching the erecting of petty schools (whereof there is great need, especially) in London, so I will here presume (and I hope it will prove no offense) to publish what I have often seriously thought and sometimes spoken with some men's approbation, touching the most convenient founding of a grammar school; that if it shall please God to stir up any man's spirit to perform so pious a work, he may do it to the best advantage for the improvement of piety and learning. For when I see in many places of this land what vast sums have been expended (even of late) in erecting stately houses and fencing large parcels of ground for
orchards and gardens and the like, and how destitute for the most part they stand, and remain without inhabitants, I am too apt to think that those persons who have undergone so great a charge to so little purpose, would willingly have disbursed as much money upon a public good, did they but rightly know how to do it; since thereby their name and memory will be more preserved, especially if they have no children or posterity of their own to provide for.
But to return to the contrivance of a school, which is to be in many things (as I have mentioned) above the ordinary way of schooling, yet gradually distant from and subordinate to university colleges, which would thence also take a further rise towards perfection in all kinds of study and action. For the better grounded a scholar is in the principles of useful matters when he comes to the university, the greater progress he will make there in their superstructures, which require more search and meditation; so that at last he will be able to discover many particulars which have not yet been found out by others, who (perhaps) have not gone so rationally to work as he may do, having obtained the whole encyclopedia of learning to help him in all sorts of books.
Such a school then as may be fit for the education of all sorts of children (for we have seen the very poorest come to dignities of preferment by being learned.) should be situated in a city or town of great concourse and trading, whose inhabitants are generally addicted and sufficiently accommodated to entertain tablers, and are unanimously well affected towards piety, learning and virtue. The place should be healthfully and pleasantly seated in a plentiful country, where the ways on all sides are most commonly fair, and convenient passage is to be had from remoter parts both by land and by water.
The school-house should be a large and stately building, placed by itself about the middle of the outside of a town, as near as may be to the church and not far from the fields, where it may stand in a good air and be free from all annoyances. It should have a large piece of ground adjoining to it, which should be divided into a paved court to go round about the school, a fair orchard and garden, with walks and arbors, and a spacious green close for scholars' recreations; and to shelter the scholars against rainy weather, and that they may not injure the school in times of play, it were good if some part of the court were shedded or cloistered over.
This school-house should be built three stories high, whereof the middlemost, for more freedom of the air, should be the highest abovehead, and so spacious that it may contain (at least) five hundred scholars together, without thronging one another. It should be so contrived with folding doors made betwixt every form, as that upon occasion it may be all laid open into one room, or parted into six, for more privacy of hearing every form without noise or hindrance one of another. There should be seats made in the school, with desks before them, whereon every scholar may write and lay his book, and these should be so placed that a good space may be left in the middle of the school, so that six men abreast may walk up and down from form to form. The ushers' pew3 should be set at the head ends of every form, so that they may best see and hear every particular boy. And the master's chair should be so raised at the upper end of the school that he may be able to have every scholar in his eye, and to be heard of all when he hath occasion to give any common charge or instruction. There may be shelves made round about the school, and boxes for every scholar to put his books in, and pins whereon they may hang their hats, so that they be not trodden (as is usual) under feet. Likewise every form should have a repository near unto it, wherein to lay such subsidiary books as are most proper for its use. The lowest story may be divided into several rooms, proportioned according to the uses for which they are intended, whereof one should be for a writing school, another for such languages as are to be taught at spare hours; and a third as a petty school for such children as can not read English perfectly, and are intended for the grammar school. A fourth room may be reserved for laying in wood and coals, and the rest made use of for ushers or scholars to lodge in, or the like occasion, as the master shall think best to dispose of them to the furtherance of his school. In the uppermost story there should be a fair, pleasant gallery wherein to hang maps and set globes, and to lay up such rarities as can be gotten in presses or drawers, that the scholars may know them. There should likewise be a place provided for a school library, and the rest may be made use of as lodging rooms for ushers and scholars. But the whole fabric should be so contrived that there may be suffi. cient lights and chimneys to every form and room. As for a house of office, it should be made a good distance from the close, where it may be most out of sight and least offensive.
The master's dwelling-house should be nigh the school, and should contain in it all sorts of rooms convenient for entertainment and lodging, and necessary offices that pertain to a great family. It should have a handsome court before it and a large yard behind it, with an orchard and garden, and some inclosure of pasture ground. And there should be two or three rooms made a little remote from the dwelling-house, to which scholars may be removed and kept apart, in case they be sick, and have somebody there to look to them.
Now that every scholar may be improved to the utmost of what he is capable, the whole grammar school should be divided into six forms, and those placed orderly in one room, which (as I have described) may be so divided into six that the noise of one form may not at all disturb or hinder another. There should also be six able ushers, for every particular form one, whose work it should be to teach the scholars according to the method appointed by the master, and (that every one may profit in what he learneth) to be sure to have respect to the weakest, and afford them the most help.
The master should not be tied (as is ordinary) to a double work, both to teach a main part of the school himself, and to have the inspection and government over all; but his chief care should be (and it will be business enough for one) to prescribe tasks and to examine the scholars in every form, how they profit, and to see that all exercises are duly performed and good order constantly observed, and that every usher is dexterous and diligent in his charge, and moderate in executing such correction as is necessary at any time to be inflicted for vicious enormities, but seldom or never for errors committed at their books.
As for the maintenance of such a school, it should be so liberal that both master and ushers may think their places to be preferment sufficient, and not be forced to look for further elsewhere, or to direct their spare hours' studies towards other callings. It were to be wished therefore that a constant salary of (at least) 1001. per annum might be allowed to the master, and 301., 401., 501., 601., 701, 801. per annum to his six ushers. The raising of which maintenance, (to use Mr. Mulcaster's words) as it will require a good mind and no mean purse, so it needs neither the conference of a country nor yet the revenue of a