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Wotton-under-Edge, Sevenoaks, and Winchester College, the date of which is 1387. (Richard II.)
In the reign of Henry VI., Eton was founded, in 441, and three others, Ewelme and Towcester and the City of London, (revived in 1834.) In the reign of Edward IV., four; Edward V., none; Richard III., only one, and that not due to the king, but to William of Wainfleet, the founder of Magdalen College, Oxford.
In the reign of Henry VII., the tide in favor of the foundation of grammar schools begins to set in rapidly, and goes on with steady increase till the reign of James II., when it as rapidly begins to ebb; and in the reign of William IV. I can find but one, and in the reign of the present queen also but one grammar school, of the old type, and calling itself a grammar school, founded.
In the reign of Henry VII., twelve schools were founded; including those of Reading, Wimborne Minster, and Bridgnorth.
In the reign of Henry VIII., no less than forty-nine were founded ; including Manchester, Taunton, Barkhampstead, and Warwick, and the cathedral schools attached to St. Paul's, London, Bristol, Worcester, Ely, Durham, Peterborough, Canterbury, Rochester, Chester, Gloucester, Coventry, and Carlisle.
In the reign of Edward VI., short though it was, the prudent forethought of Cranmer procured or gave the stimulus to the erection of no less than forty-four schools; including those of Norwich, Lichfield, Sherborne, Bury St. Edmunds, Sudbury, Macclesfield, Shrewsbury, Bedford, Birmingham, Leeds, Ludlow, St. Alban's Bath, Southampton, Gigleswick, my own school at Bromsgrove, and, beyond all others in the substantial aid it has given to thousands of parents in the feeding, clothing, and educating of their children, at Christ's Hospital, London.
In the reign of Mary, twelve schools were founded; including those of Ripon and Repton.
Queen Elizabeth carried on vigorously and effectively the educational movement begun by her father, and continued by her brother. Long though her reign was, yet equally long is the list of schools founded during the years she held sway. No less than 115 date from her reign ; and among them, Westminster, (1560) Merchant Taylor's, (1561) Guernsey, (1563,) Ipswich, (1565,) Richmond, (1567,) Rugby, (1567,) Cheltenham, (1578) St. Bee's, (1583,) and Uppingham, (1584;) all now effective and flourishing schools, doing large work in the education of this day.
In the reign of James I., forty-eight were founded; including Charterhouse, (1611,) and Dulwich, (1618,) and others of less note.
The disturbances of the reign of Charles I. had their effect in preventing the foundation of schools. Only twenty-eight date from his time, none of any remarkable note at the present day.
In the interval between the death of Charles I. and the Restoration, sixteen were founded.
In the reign of Charles II., thirty-six.
In the reign of William and Mary, seven.
In 1842, Southampton Diocesan School; and so ends the list, which, commencing with Wantage, in the reign of Alfred, contains 436 schools, 422 of which have sprung into existence in the 435 years that have elapsed since the foundation of Eton College, by Henry VI., in 1441.
There can be no doubt that hundreds of schools existed in the monasteries, and fell with them. This fact will account for the few schools which can date before the Reformation. The desire to supply their place will account for the vast outburst of educational foundation which marks that great epoch. The spoils of the monasteries no doubt, in many schools, especially those of royal foundation, supplied the endowment for the new institutions.
With regard to the future, a long reflection on the subject suggests to the mind the desirableness,
1. Of having (besides the great public schools) from two to six thoroughly good grammar schools in each county, so as to place a thoroughly sound classical education, of a high stamp, within the reach of all who require it.
2. The improvement of the smaller endowed schools, so as to afford a good practical middle-class education for the majority, who do not go to the universities; the head-master might teach the few classical pupils wholly, the other master or masters give a good English education, of an enlarged and improved kind, with the elements of Latin, mathematics, and, if required, French.
3. The enlarging of the curriculum of learning in all schools, by introducing such a system of instruction in history, geography, and modern languages, combined with classics, as Dr. Arnold had the boldness to originate at Rugby, and which in twenty years has pervaded all the best schools in the kingdom. The necessity for a modern department has increased of late with the increase of competitive examinations for the public service, the army, India, &c.
4. The charity commissioners ought to be armed with peremptory powers (to be cheaply applied) for modifying ancient foundations; not destroying their old character, but adding many new features, called for by the lapse of time and change of circumstances.
5. And, in modifying the endowments, care should be taken to arrange them so that both master and pupil shall be stimulated to exertion thereby, and no pensioning of laziness and inefficiency allowed. To effect this, there is nothing so good as the foundation of scholarships or exhibitions.
6. There ought to be some means of necessitating the retirement, and providing for the support, of superannuated masters of schools."
We add brief notices of a few of the Great Public Schools, compiled from Timbs' School Days of Eminent Men,' and Staunton's 'Great Schools of England.'
HENRY THE SIXTH AND ETON COLLEGE. Henry VI. was born at Windsor, in 1921, and educated by his uncle, Cardinal Beaufort, in all the learning of the age. Hall, the chronicler, when speaking of the causes which led him to found Eton College, and King's College, Cambridge, says of him: "he was of a most liberal mind, and especially to such as loved good learning; and those whom he saw profiting in any virtuous science, he heartily forwarded and embraced." An ingenious writer of our own time has, however, more correctly characterized the young King's motive: "still stronger in Henry's mind was the desire of marking his gratitude to God by founding and endowing some place of pious instruction and Christian worship." Henry seems principally to have followed the magnificent foundations of William of Wykeham at Winchester and Oxford; resolving that the school which he founded should be connected with a college in one of the Universities, whither the best of the foundation scholars of his school should proceed to complete their education, and where a permanent provision should be made for them: Standing upon the north terrace of Windsor Castle, near Wykeham's tower, and looking towards the village of Eton, upon the opposite bank of the silver-winding Thames, we can imagine the association to have first prompted the devout King's design - in the words of the Charter, "to found, erect, and establish, to endure in all future time, a College consisting of and of the number of one provost and ten priests, four clerks and six chorister boys, who are to serve daily there in the celebration of divine worship, and of twenty-five poor and indigent scholars who are to learn grammar; and also of twenty-five poor and infirm men, whose duty it shall be to pray there continually for our health and welfare so long as we live, and for our soul when we shall have departed this life, and for the souls of the illustrious Prince, Henry our father, late King of England and France; also of the Lady Katherine of most noble memory, late his wife, our mother; and for the souls of all our ancestors and of all the faithful who are dead: (consisting) also of one master or teacher in grammar, whose duty it shall be to instruct in the rudiments of grammar the said indigent scholars and all others whatsoever who may come together from any part of our Kingdom of England to the said College, gratuitously and without the exaction of money or any other thing."
The works were commenced in 1441, with the chapel of the College; and to expedite the building, workmen were “pressed” from every part of the realm. The freemasons received 38. a week each, the stonemasons and carpenters 38.; plumbers, sawyers, tilers, &c., 6d. a day, and common laborers 4d. The grant of arms expresses this right royal sentiment: "If men are ennobled on account of ancient hereditary wealth, much more is he to be preferred and styled truly noble, who is rich in the treasures of the sciences and wisdom, and is also found diligent in his duty towards God.” Henry appointed Waynflete first provost, who, with five fellows of Winchester, and thirty-five of the scholars of that College, became the primitive body of Etonians, in 1443. The works of the chapel were not completed for many years; and the other parts of the College were unfinished until the commencement of Henry the Eighth's reign.
Eton, in its founder's time, was resorted to as a place of education by the youth of the higher orders, as well as by the class for whose immediate advantage the benefits of the foundation were primarily designed. Those students not on the foundation were lodged at their relations' expense in the town (oppidum) of Eton, and thence called Oppidans. The scholars on the foundation (since called Collegers) were lodged and boarded in the College-buildings, and at the College expense. There are two quadrangles, built chiefly of red brick: in one are the school and the chapel, with the lodgings for the scholars; the other contains the library, the provost's house, and apartments for the Fellows. The chapel is a stately stone structure, and externally very handsome. The architecture is Late Perpendicular, and a good specimen of the style of Henry the Seventh's reign. In the centre of the first quadrangle is a bronze statue of Henry VI.; and in the chapel another statue, of marble, by John Bacon. The foundation scholars seem to have been first placed in two large chambers on the ground-floor, three of the upper boys in each; they had authority over the others, and were responsible for good conduct being maintained in the dormitory. Subsequently was added “the Long Chamber” as the common dormitory of all the scholars. Dinner and supper were provided daily for all the members of the College; and every scholar received yearly a stated quantity of coarse cloth, probably first made up into clothing, but it has long ceased to be so used.
The King's Scholars or Collegers are distinguished from oppidans by a black cloth gown. The boys dined at eleven, and supped at seven; there being only two usual meals.
King Henry is recorded to have expressed much anxiety for his young incipient Alumni. One of his chaplains relates that " when King Henry met some of the students in Windsor Castle, whither they sometimes used to go to visit the King's servants, whom they knew, on ascertaining who they were, he admonished them to follow the path of virtue, and besides his words would give them money to win over their good-will, saying, “Be good boys; be gentle and docile, and servants of the Lord.' (Sitis boni pueri, mites et docibiles, et servi Domini.)"
The progress of the buildings was greatly checked by the troubles towards the close of the reign of Henry VI.; and his successor, Edward IV., not only deprived Eton of large portions of its endowments, but obtained a bull from Pope Pius II. for disposing of the College, and merging it in the College of St. George at Windsor; but Provost Westbury publicly and solemnly protested against this injustice, the bull was revoked, and many of the endowments were restored, though the College suffered severely. The number on the foundation consisted of a provost and a vice-provost, 6 fellows, 2 chaplains, 10 choristers, the upper and lower master, and the 70 scholars. The buildings were continued during the reign of Heniy VII., and the early years of Henry the Eighth, whose death saved Parliament from extinguishing Eton, which was then confirmed to Edward VI.
"Among the Paston Letters is one written in 1467, by 'Master William Paston at Eton, to his Worshipful Brother, John Paston, acknowledging the receipt of 8d. in a letter, to buy a pair of slippers ; 138. 4d. to pay for his board, and thanking him for 121b. of Figgs and blb. of Raisins, which he was expecting by the first barge: he then narrates how he had fallen in love with a young gentlewoman to whom he had been introduced by his hostess, or dame; and he concludes with a specimen of his skill in Latin versification."
A MS. document in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, shows the general system of the school, the discipline kept up, and the books read in the various forms, about the year 1560. The holidays and customs are also enumerated; great encouragement was then shown to Latin versification, (always the pride of Eton,) and occasionally to English, among the students; care was taken to teach the younger boys to write a good hand. The boys rose at five to the loud call of “Surgite;' they repeated a prayer in alternate verses, as they dressed themselves, and then made their beds, and each swept the part of the chamber close to his bed. They then went in a row to wash, and then to the school, where the under-master read prayers at six; then the præpositor noted absentees, and one examined the students' faces and hands, and reported any boys that came unwashed. At seven, the tuition began: great attention was paid to Latin composition in prose and verse, and the boys conversed in Latin. Friday seems to have been flogging day. Among the books read by the boys in the two highest forms are mentioned Cæsar's Commentaries, Cicero De Officiis and De Amicitia, Virgil, Lucian, and, what is remarkable, the Greek Grammar; a knowledge of Greek at this period being a rare accomplishment even at our universities. Its study was, however, gaining ground in Elizabeth's reign; and in a book published in 1586, it is stated that at Eton, Winchester, and Westminster, boys were then well entered in the knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues and rules of versifying.' Throughout this MS. record is shown the antiquity of making the upper boys responsible for the good conduct of the lower, which has ever been the ruling principle at Eton - in the schools, at meal-times, in the chapel, in the playing-fields, and in the dormitory; and there was a præpositor to look after dirty and slovenly boys.
Of scholars' expenses at Eton early in the reign of Elizabeth, we find a record in the accounts of the sons of Sir William Cavendish, of Chatsworth. Among the items, a breast of mutton is charged tenpence; a small chicken, fourpence; a week's board five shillings each, besides the wood burned in their chamber; to an old woman for sweeping and cleaning the chamber, twopence; mending a shoe, one penny; three candles, ninepence; a book, Esop's Fables, fourpence; two pair of shoes, sixteenpence; two bunches of wax-lights, one penny; the sum total of the payments, including board paid to the bursars of Eton College, living expenses for the two boys and their man, clothes, books, washing, &c., amount to 121. 128. 7d. The expense of a scholar at the University in 1514 was but five pounds annually, affording as much accommodation as would now cost sixty pounds, though the accommodation would be far short of that now customary. At Eton, in 1857, the number of scholars exceeded 700.
The College buildings have been from time to time re-edified and enlarged. The Library, besides a curious and valuable collection of books, is rich in Oriental and Egyptian manuscripts, and beautifully illustrated missals. The Upper School Room in the principal court, with its stone arcade beneath, and the apartments attached to it, were built by Sir Christopher Wren, at the expense of Dr. Allstree, provost in the reign of Charles II. We have engraved this school-room from an original sketch; it is adorned with a series of busts of eminent Etonians,
The College Hall interior has been almost entirely rebuilt through the munificence of the Rev. John Wilder, one of the Fellows, and was re-opened in October, 1857: these improvements include a new open-timber roof, a louvre, win.