London, Volume 6

Knight, Charles


CXXVI.-Education in London: No. I.-Ancient.

CXXVI.-Education in London: No. I.-Ancient.




It is fortunate, in respect at least, that our ancient English historians had not the same view as the moderns of the dignity of history, for if they had we should have been often men and things, instead of having them vividly to us; we should have had polished periods, and critical acumen, and weighty philosophy, but we should have lost the gossip, frequently so instructive, and generally so entertaining and characteristic. That there was, for instance, a free school at so early as the reign of the Confessor, in which grammar and logic were taught, and that the Queen Edgitha took a personal interest in it, are valuable facts when we consider that they are the very earliest of which we have any cognizance relating to the great subject of education in the metropolis, and derive interest, however told, from that consideration, whenever the subject is before us; but if they are to remain with us at all times in the memory, and be frequently recalled with pleasure to the thoughts, they must be made interesting in themselves; we must learn them, as in the present case, from such relaters as Ingulphus. This writer, the well-known monk of Croyland, having spoken of himself as an humble servant of God, born of English parents, in the most beautiful city of London, and told us that to attain to learning he was put to School, further informs us,

I have seen how, often, when being but a boy, I came to see my father, dwelling in the King's court, and often coming from school, when I met the queen, she would oppose me touching my learning and lesson. And falling from grammar to logic, wherein she had some knowledge, she

Tower of London [and] Remains of Old Monastery Jarrow the Residence of Bede

would subtilly conclude an argument with me. And by her handmaiden give me




pieces of money, and send me unto the palace, where I should receive some victuals, and then be dismissed.

[n.2.1]  From School, Ingulphus went to Oxford, where he studied the Aristotelian philosophy, and the rhetorical writings of Cicero : the express mention also, by the way, of the famous university. How long before this period the school in question may have existed, what other schools were contemporary with or may have preceded it, or what was the nature of the studies generally pursued, are questions that can be only answered by a glance at the general state of education in England during these early ages.

It is a remarkable circumstance that the man to whom we owe the establishment of Christianity among us, Augustin, should also be the presumed founder of our earliest schools, those at Canterbury, where the golden book of the learning in philosophy of the ancients was, it is supposed, opened to the eyes of our countrymen. Augustin's successor in the archbishopric, Theodore, greatly improved and enlarged these schools, and, with his friend Adrian, as Bede tells us, personally instructed crowds of pupils in divinity, astronomy, medicine, arithmetic, and in the Greek and Latin languages. The impulse thus given spread. Schools multiplied until in a very short space of time they were to be found generally in connexion with monasteries, and more particularly at the different seats of the bishops. London therefore, in the century, had doubtless schools of some kind, most probably the original foundations of the present and . But good teachers could no more be created suddenly then than now; and, in consequence, the relations of the sister island and England assumed an aspect curiously opposed to all that has since characterised them. Ireland, strange as the statement seems to us, was the chief seat of European learning during the and the or following centuries: thither, accordingly, in common with students from different parts of the continent, flocked our English youth; and the circumstances under which they were received appear still more extraordinary. Bede, having told us it was customary for English , from the highest to the lowest, to retire to Ireland for study and devotion, adds, that they were hospitably received, and supplied with food, with books, and with instruction. This was, indeed, making tuition a labour of love ;--learning, and the diffusion of it, its own reward. Bede's statement is corroborated by his contemporary Aldhelm, whose remarks are the more significant that they come in the shape of a complaint of such a state of things.


says he,

should Ireland, whither troops of students are daily transported, boast of such unspeakable excellence, as if in the rich soil of England, Greek and Roman masters were not to be had to unlock the treasures of divine knowledge? Though Ireland, rich and blooming in scholars, is adorned like the poles of the world with innumerable bright stars, it is Britain has her radiant sun, her sovereign pontiff, Theodore;

who, it may be as well to observe, was a patron of Aldhelm. It was probably to check this wholesale emigration, as well as from a conviction of their superiority, that Irish teachers were obtained for some of the more eminent of the English schools. Alcuin, of the most learned men of the century, has given us an interesting account of what he learnt


at the school at York, where he was educated, and what he himself afterwards taught, when he had become eminent as a teacher. The former comprised, in addition to grammar, rhetoric, and poetry, in which Alcuin was evidently a proficient,

the harmony of the sky, the labour of the sun and moon, the


zones, the


wandering planets, the laws, risings, and settings of the stars, and the aerial motions; of the sea, earthquakes, the nature of man, cattle, birds, and wild beasts, with their various kinds and forms, and the sacred Scriptures;

whilst as to the latter Alcuin tells us,

To some I administer the honey of the sacred writings; others I try to inebriate with the wine of the ancient classics. I begin the nourishment of some with the apples of grammatical subtlety. I strive to illuminate many by the arrangement of the stars, as from the painted roof of a lofty palace.

Alcuin's instruction combined, in short, what in the phraseology of the time was called the , or entire circle of human learning.

The impulse, however, originally given by Augustin and Theodore to learning in England, was gradually subsiding even at this time; and before the piratical Danes appeared to level learning, religion, civilization, and freedom, in common ruin, scarcely a single school of the highest class seems to have been preserved in its integrity. It is well known that Alfred, in the half of the century, could find no masters to instruct him in the higher branches of knowledge. This simple fact tells us all we can need to know with regard to the state of education in the metropolis at the time. That truly great monarch, however, had scarcely obtained peace in his dominions before he set himself earnestly to the task of removing the dreary state of ignorance in which he found his country, and of which he had himself so seriously felt the disadvantages. He invited to his court the best scholars of the period from all quarters. At the age of he began the study of Latin; with what admirable object let his own words to Wulfsig, Bishop of London, declare:--

I think it better,

he says,

if you think so, that we also translate some books, the most necessary for all men to know, that we may all know them; and we may do this with God's help very easily, if we have peace; so that all the youth that are now in England, who are freemen, and possess sufficient wealth, may for a time apply to no other task till they


well know to read English. Let those learn Latin afterwards, who will know more, and advance to a higher condition.

It is most probable that the principal schools of a former time that had been destroyed with the monasteries by the Danes, or which had sunk into decay with the previous decay of learning, were now restored, and animated by a new spirit. But Alfred's biographer, Asser, only expressly mentions the he founded for the sons of the nobility, and for the support of which he devoted the enormous amount of - of his kingly revenue. This school must have presented an interesting scene. In it were to be found the nobleman of mature age almost commencing his education side-by-side with the youthful son of the wealthy burgher (for Asser expressly says the school was attended by many of the inferior classes), and with the servant of some other man of rank, who, having neither son nor kinsman, thus availed himself of the final alternative which could alone excuse his own absence: the King was determined they should read way or another, either with their own eyes, or with the eyes of those who would be generally about them, and ordained accordingly. This school has been supposed


to have been the commencement of the University of Oxford, a supposition, however, utterly unsupported by any evidence of weight, and which has therefore been rejected by some of our best writers. Is it not then most probable that the seat of this important establishment was London, which we know to have enjoyed Alfred's especial care and attention? If he did not, like the Roman Emperor, find a city of brick and leave it of marble, he found it of wood, and left it of brick and stone. The period from Alfred's reign to that of the Confessor, when Ingulphus was a scholar at , was marked by a decline of education, in consequence of the wars that preceded the conquest by Canute, and then a new rise, through the liberality and wisdom of that monarch, when he was firmly settled upon the throne.

The next direct record that we possess, with regard to the early schools of London, is no less interesting than that left us by Ingulphus, and somewhat more detailed. This is Fitz-Stephen's, the secretary of Thomas à Becket, whose account of London, during the reign of Henry II., we have so often had occasion to mention in our pages.

In the reign of King Stephen and of Henry II.,

he writes,

there were in London


principal churches which had famous schools, either by privilege or ancient dignity, or by favour of some particular persons, as of doctors, which were accounted notable and renowned for knowledge in philosophy. And there were other inferior schools also. Upon festival days the masters made solemn meetings in the churches, where their scholars disputed logically and demonstratively; some bringing enthymems, others perfect syllogisms; some disputed for show, others to trace out the truth; and cunning scholars were brave scholars when they flowed with words. Others used fallacies; rhetoricians spoke aptly to persuade, observing the precepts of art, and omitting nothing that might serve their purpose. The boys of divers schools did cap or pot verses; and contended of the principles of grammar. There were some, which, on the other side, with epigrams and rhymes, nipping and quipping their fellows, and the faults of others, though suppressing their names, moved thereby much laughter among their auditors.

We see here very plainly that love of wrangling, and disputation for its own sake, which was so characteristic of the learned men of the middle ages, and which of them, John of Salisbury, contemporary with Fitz-Stephen, so pleasantly ridicules in his treatise , where he describes them as exerting their intellects in the discussion of such knotty questions as Whether a person in buying a whole cloak bought the cowl also; or as When a hog was carried to market with a rope about its neck, held at the other end by a man, whether the man or the rope was really the carrier. The scene of the discussions to which Fitz-Stephen refers, was the Churchyard of St. Bartholomew, where the scholars sat on a

bank boarded about under a tree,

as described by Stow, in whose time the custom still existed.[n.4.1]  The principal schools mentioned by Fitz-Stephen are supposed by Stow to be those respectively attached to the Cathedrals of St. Paul and , and to the Abbey of : the ordinance of the General Council of Lateran, in , that there should be a school with a head teacher in every cathedral, who should have authority over all the scholars of the diocese, making it tolerably certain that there must have been a school then established at , if there


had not been previously in existence,--Ingulphus's notice having determined the fact of the existence of a school at , and there being no other great religious house then founded in London to which the school could have belonged but . From these notices we may judge that education was progressing upon the whole, though with many pauses and goings back. About this very time, or at least but a few years before, namely, in , the Earl of Arundel, having been associated with other noblemen, and some ecclesiastical dignitaries, in an embassy from Henry to the Pope, found it necessary at the close of the Latin harangues, delivered by his clerical companions, to commence his own address in the mother-tongue thus:--

We, who are illiterate laymen, do not understand


word of what the Bishops have said to your Holiness,

&c. As an incidental feature of Metropolitan Education at the period in question, it may be mentioned that the Jews had now a school in London as well as in several other large towns of England; and the fact, taken in connexion with the superior character of the education given in these schools-arithmetic and medicine being generally taught with such higher branches of study as Hebrew and Arabic-forms an instructive comment on the opinion which our nobles and others made it the fashion to hold of the Jews, as to their debased and avaricious nature. It is farther noticeable that the Jewish schools were open to the children of Christians, and that the latter did not hesitate to allow their children to participate in the advantages offered. Knowledge was then even more emphatically power than now, because restricted to a smaller number: that any particular class of persons, but especially the Jews, who needed all available weapons both of offence and defence against the oppressions to which they were subject, should have been ready to impart their knowledge, does seem to be a highly honourable circumstance. Only last century, the governors of a school not many yards distant from the locality where the ancient Jews resided, and where, no doubt, was their school, excluded Jews by express ordinance from the benefit of an institution founded for the children of all nations and countries indifferently: we allude to the Merchant Tailors!

Again, for a century or more, the history of Metropolitan Education is a blank; but there are satisfactory and interesting evidences that the education itself must have been progressing rapidly during a part at least of the period. At the beginning of the century we are told, and the statement seems all but incredible, that there were students at Oxford, and probably still more at Paris: it has been truly said that this looks something like an almost universal diffusion of education. Ingulphus's brief personal history shows us that Oxford, even in the century, had assumed the character it has ever since main. tained, that of a place for instruction in the higher branches of learning in their highest stages of development only. How numerous and how efficient then must have been the preliminary schools of England and France in the century to supply such an army of students! And what was the quality of the education whilst the quantity was so extraordinary? We may partly answer by a little anecdote. In the Rector and Masters of the Faculty of Arts, in the University of Paris, petitioned for the postponement of the hearing of a cause in which they were concerned, on grounds that a dignitary of Oxford or Cambridge of the present day would certainly never guess:

We have,

said they,

difficulty in finding the money to pay the Procurators and Advocates, whom it is necessary for us to employ-we

whose profession it is to possess no-wealth


When men of learning devoted themselves to the business of education, and could think and speak thus, who can doubt that education must have been essentially high? Chaucer, who, after receiving in all probability the rudiments of knowledge in a London school, passed through the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Paris, will satisfy us that such sentiments were by no means confined to the other side of the Channel; indeed, we may observe in passing, that the countries were evidently engaged in a very different and times more glorious kind of contest than that which, at the same time, was draining the blood and treasure of both; and a most interesting feature of the period it is--this contest--this under-current of sympathy, such as kindred tastes, objects, and success must have caused between the men of learning of France and England, under circumstances so adverse to their existence. To return: Chaucer's character of the Clerk in the

Canterbury Tales,

to which we referred, is decisive both as to the honourable and cheerfully-accepted poverty, which was the lot of a scholar in the century, and of the high standard of moral as well as intellectual perfection which Universities then must have had in view.

A Clerk there was of Oxenford also

That unto logic hadde long ygo ;Gone.

As len6 was his horse as is a rake;

And he was not right fat, I undertake,

But looked hollow, and thereto soberly.

Full threadbare was his overest courtepy,

For he had getten him yet no benefice,

Ne was nought worldly to have an office;

For him was lever have at his bed's head

A twenty bookes, clothed in black or red,

Of Aristotle, and his philosophy,

Than robes rich, or fiddle, or sautrie;

But all be that he was a philosopher,

Yet had he but little gold in coffer;

But all that he might of his friendes hent, Borrow.

On bookes and on learning he it spent;

And busily gan for the soules pray

Of them that gave him wherewith to scholay.

Of study took he moste care and heed:

Not a word spake he more than was need;

And that was said in form and reverence,

And short and quick, and full of high sentence.

Sounding in moral virtue was his speech,

And gladly would le learn, and gladly teach.

Much difference exists in the present day as to both the end and the means of education; for our part we should desire no better evidence of good system at least, than that it leaves men in the position described in the last of these noble lines.

The schools of London still continued attached (probably exclusively) to the religious houses, and increased as they increased. A proof of the regular nature of the connexion is to be found in the circumstances attending the gradual dissolution of the latter from the time of Henry V. downwards. Stow, alluding


to that monarch's suppression of the alien Priories, does not think it necessary to state formally that those of London had schools attached to them, but goes on to speak of the schools that were then broken up as a natural consequence, and to point out that Henry VI., to remedy the evil, appointed that there should be Grammar Schools at , , , St. Dunstan's in the West, and St. Anthony's Hospital. The year following this ordinance, or in , other Grammar Schools were added by Parliament, namely, in the parishes of St. Andrew's, , Allhallows the Great, , , and St. Thomas-of-Acon's Hospital, . It may be doubted whether this last measure proceeded beyond the stage!! of enactment; certain it is that, years later, we find clergymen of the City petitioning Parliament for the power of providing each a

to teach all that will come


of these was John Neil, the Master of St. Thomas-of-Acon's. The petitioners complained at the same time that teaching had become a monopoly, and observed,

Where there is a great number of learners and few teachers, and all the learners are compelled to go to the few teachers, and to none others, the masters wax rich in money, and the learners poor in learning, as experience openly showeth, against all virtue and order of public weal.

Comparing the state of things here revealed, with that of the preceding century, we have another striking evidence of the exceedingly fluctuating character of the history of education in this country. The prayer of the petition having been granted, a school was founded by John Neil and his associates in connexion with their establishment; from that the present Mercers' School may be said to be descended.

The Reformation in England had a -fold effect upon education; by breaking up the religious houses it destroyed nearly the whole of our schools; on the other hand the general awakening of intellect which characterised the and centuries, and of which the Reformation itself may be said to be but effect, was evidently in the highest degree favourable to the inculcation of knowledge. The intense desire for classical learning (which, preceding the religious movement, was afterwards strongly acted upon and forwarded by it, chiefly through the circumstance that the Greek Version of the New Testament became the universal standard of authority to which the Reformers appealed in all their religious contests) was a still more direct influence tending to the establishment and diffusion of education. New Colleges at the Universities sprang into existence with startling rapidity; new schools were established almost as fast as the reforming king had destroyed them. Hence it is that of the exceedingly numerous body of grammar-schools scattered over every part of the country, nearly the whole were founded in century, the ; hence it is that the whole of the older schools of the metropolis, with the single exception of the , founded in the beginning of the , date their establishment on the present basis from the same period. Of these, , and the , having been already treated of at length in our pages, need not further be referred to here.

We may infer from the personal history of Colet, the founder of the earliest of these last-mentioned establishments, that the ordinary motives of a religious Reformer of the century for desiring the extension of education, acted upon him with so much force as to lead in a great measure to the foundation of


the school. His appointment as Dean of was soon distinguished by his vigorous and searching discipline; among other matters recorded of him, it appears, he introduced the practice of preaching himself on Sundays and
great festival days. The more luxurious of the clergy could perhaps have forgiven this inroad upon their habits; but the use to which he directed his public preachings, as well as his private influence and conversation-his freedom of opinion-his contempt for the abuses of the religious houses-his aversion to clerical celibacy-above all his inclination to the new principles of which he was indirectly of the most active promoters;--all this they could not forgive. Dean Colet very naturally, as his biographer tells us, became highly obnoxious to the metropolitan clergy. They even had a notion of honouring him by a Smithfield martyrdom. No man could better afford such dislike, for no man had truer or better friends. Linacre, the eminent physician, the founder of the , and of the best scholars of the age, was of them. Latimer was another. Both these, with Lyly, the master of Colet's school, he had become acquainted with in Italy, where the were all studying Greek, and where Colet himself had gone for general improvement. Of the relations between Colet and the illustrious author of the


the following passage from of More's letters, written to the former while he was abroad, will give the best idea.

Return, therefore, my dear Colet; either for Stepney's sake [where Colet then resided], which mourneth for your absence, no less than children do for the absence of their loving mother; or else for London's sake, in respect it is your native country, whereof you can have no less regard than of your parents; and, finally (though this be the least motive), return for my sake, who have wholly dedicated myself to your directions, and do most earnestly long to see you. In the mean time I pass my time with Grocine, Lanacer [Linacre], and Lily; the


being, as you know, the director of my life in your absence; the


, the master of my studies; the


, my most dear companion. Farewell, and see you love me as you have done hitherto.--London,

21st Oct.

, about



The delightful spirit that pervades these sentences needs no comment. They come from the heart, and therefore speak directly to it. Lastly, Erasmus was, if possible, even more than any of these the constant companion of Colet, when in


England, his constant correspondent when abroad. And the unflinching nervous intellect and irrepressible enthusiasm of the Dean must have finely contrasted with the subtler but more temporising spirit of the eminent Reformer. Colet's biographer, Knight, has given us a pleasant peep into the privacy of their society, on an occasion when their respective characteristics were happily shown. He refers to a period immediately following the commencement of their intimacy.



friends, being now happy in each other's acquaintance, were not wanting to improve it to the mutual benefit of


another, particularly at a public dinner in the University, after a Latin sermon; where the table talk was scholastical and theological, Master Colet sitting as Moderator. Among other discourse, Colet said that Cain's greatest offence, and the most odious in God's sight, was his distrusting the bounty of our great Creator, and placing too much confidence in his own art and industry, and so tilling the ground; while his brother Abel, content with the natural productions of the earth, was only feeding sheep. Upon this argument the whole company engaged; the divine arguing by strict syllogisms, while Erasmus opposed in a more loose and rhetorical manner.

But in truth,

said Erasmus,

this one divine, Master Colet, was more than a match for us all. He seemed to be filled with a Divine Spirit, and to be somewhat above a man: he spoke not only with his voice, but with his eyes, his countenance, and his whole demeanour.

When the disputation grew too long, and was too grave and severe for such a cheerful entertainment, Erasmus broke it off by telling an old story of Cain, from a pretended ancient author, though purely of his own invention on the spot; and so they parted friends.

[n.9.1]  Is not this Erasmus all over?-the man who led the way to the Reformation by his witty exposure of the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, but left others to undertake the business of reformation; the man, in short, who, as it was said, laid the egg of the Reformation, but left Luther to hatch it? To the foregoing particulars of Colet, we must add a few derived from Erasmus, who gives us some interesting particulars of the domestic life of his friend;--of his dining without state among his family, but always, if possible, with some strangers for his guests,--of his short sitting at meals, that there might be more time after for the discourses which pleased only the learned and the good,--of the preliminary reading of the chapter from the Bible by some boy with a good voice, as suggestive of the matter of the discourse,--of his servant reading to him when he had no companions to his mind,--of his dress, plain black, while the clergy generally of his rank wore purple,--of his hospitality in handing over regularly to his steward the entire receipts of his offices in the church for the maintenance of his household, whilst he kept his own private estate for charitable uses. Such was Dean Colet, the man who, in , devoted nearly the whole of that private estate to the admirable purpose of founding School; where children of every nation, country, and class were to be educated free, to the number of : the number, with that fondness for conceit peculiar to the time, is borrowed from the number of fish taken by St. Peter. This school he endowed with lands and houses to the value of , now worth between and That a clergyman should have stepped out of his class to find trustees among laymen, and more particularly with regard to a school founded upon an older establishment


that had always been under the direction of the Cathedral dignitaries, is of itself a significant feature of Colet's views with relation to the religious differences of the period, and agrees in the main with Erasmus's statement.

After he had finished all,

he says in a letter to Justus Ionas,

he left the perpetual care and oversight of the estate, not to the clergy, not to the bishop, not to the chapter, nor to any great minister at court, but amongst the married laymen, to the Company of Mercers, men of probity and reputation. And when he was asked the reason of so committing the trust, he answered to this effect--that there was no absolute certainty in human affairs; but, for his part, he found less corruption in such a body of citizens than in any other order or degree of mankind.

If ever trustees were solemnly called upon to discharge their duties with fidelity, and in a mode that should at the same time animate them with the best possible spirit for so doing, it was surely in such words. We are afraid, however, that if the Dean were aware that his property had increased so greatly, whilst the scholars remained at the magical number of , and that the classics, then in many respects so much more important than now, were all that these are taught, he would hardly compliment the trustees on their observance of the spirit of his wishes: he might be apt to ask even what attention had been paid to their letter, considering that he had expressly empowered the Company of Mercers to make such other regulations for the governance of the school as time and circumstances might render necessary, with the advice and assistance of

good, lettered, and learned men.

The head master appointed by the Dean was William Lily, the eminent grammarian,

the most dear companion

of Sir Thomas More. The choice was probably determined by that high idea of the value of classical and especially of Greek learning and literature, which the Reformers in particular among our learned men had at the time in question, Lily being the teacher of Greek in the metropolis after the revival of letters. The success of the school under Lily showed the Dean's selection to have been a wise . During the years that he lived to conduct it, a host of excellent scholars were sent forth into the different departments of public life, including such men as Sir Anthony Denny, privy counsellor to Henry VIII., Sir Edward, afterwards Lord North, and the eminent antiquary, Leland. It was not, however, without considerable opposition and some obloquy, it would seem, that he and the founder were allowed to carry out their wishes of teaching the classics freely; the latter, in a letter to Erasmus, relates, that of the prelates of the church, esteemed among the most eminent for his learning and gravity, had, in a-great public assembly, accused him in the severest terms for suffering the Latin poets to be taught in his new seminary, which, on that account, he styled a house of idolatry. Lily died of the plague in , years after his friend and patron, Colet. The school at present consists of forms or classes, the receiving the pupil for instruction in the rudiments, the last dismissing him with a sound classical and mathematical education, including the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew languages. The school is strictly a free . The age of scholars at admission must not exceed . The Mercers' Company are the admitters. There are numerous exhibitions at the University in connexion with the school. Of the eminent men since Lily's time, who have been educated here, we must not forget such names as John Milton, the physician Scarborough, the gossip Pepys, the divine Calamy, and the


warrior Marlborough. We have given an engraving of the school as built by Colet. The present building was erected in the years ]-.

The principal other old metropolitan schools were established in the following order :--the Mercers' own free-grammar school, in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII.; the Merchant Tailors' in ; , ; , ; and , . The Mercers' School originally, as we have seen, formed a part of the Hospital of St. Thomas-of-Acon's, a religious establishment of such great wealth and rank that its master, at the time of the dissolution, was a mitred abbot, and the revenues truly princely. Henry VIII. sold the buildings and a part of its land to the Mercers' Company, stipulating for once that the school should be maintained. But the merit of this precaution seems to belong to Sir Thomas Gresham, who, Strype says, was instrumental in the making of the arrangement. From this period the school became a regular free-school. In the Company wisely departed from the strictly classical system previously pursued, by including the other branches of a sound general education; and in increased the numbers of its scholars from to , and since then again to : a circumstance highly creditable to the Company, and the more necessary to be mentioned inasmuch as we have alluded to the different mode in which they have dealt with the foundation of Dean Colet, at . There are no restrictions as to age or place of residence of scholars, but a certain amount of proficiency is deemed indispensable. The instruction is perfectly gratuitous; and there is attached to the school the farther advantage of University exhibitions of per annum each, for years, to reward occasionally the most meritorious students. Of this school Colet was a member, also Sir Thomas Gresham, Sir Lionel, afterwards Lord, Cranfield, and Bishop Wren. The masters are in number. The school, like that of , is constantly full.

The school of the Merchant Tailors is an honourable instance of the application of surplus funds by a City company, assisting, as it does, to a considerable extent, in the education of no less than pupils. It was founded in for children of all nations and countries indifferently, which in was interpreted to mean that Jews were to be excepted, or else the Company had grown in the interim less tolerant in its views. Notwithstanding the Company's assistance, the education is still expensive, averaging, on the whole, not less than


yearly. Attached to the school are fellowships at College, Oxford, founded by Sir Thomas White for its scholars: in consequence, several of the best are yearly sent to the University. A long list of eminent names graces the pages of the school-records of Merchant Tailors': we read there Lancelot Andrews, Juxon, Charles I.'s spiritual companion on the scaffold, William Lowth the elder, and who is said to have been a profounder scholar even than his better known son, the translator of Isaiah, Sandys, the traveller, Dr. Schomberg, Sir James, and Bulstrode Whitelock, Robert, the Lord Clive, with archbishops, bishops, &c., too numerous to mention. The education here is strictly-classical and mathematical; and conducted by masters.

The school of St. Saviour deserves respectful mention, were it only for the admirable practical rules drawn up by its founders. According to of these, the Master is to be a man of a wise, sociable, and loving disposition, not hasty or furious, nor of any ill example; he shall be wise and of good experience, ; to work upon the disposition for the greatest advantage, benefit, and comfort of the child; to learn with the love of his book: unfortunately, it was necessary then as now to add,

if such a


may be got.

The sports of the scholars, by the same rules, were directed to be shooting with the long-bow, chess, running, wrestling, and leaping. Scholars pay, according to Carlisle,[n.12.1]  entrance-money, and per annum; the present expense, we are informed by authority, is about the same. This agrees but ill with part of the intentions of the founders in , that the school should be for children, as well of the poor as of the rich. The founders of , in , seem to have had these words in view when they formed their establishment for

children and younglings as well of rich as the poor,

being inhabitants of the parish. Elizabeth consented, it seems, to become the patron, and it was,. consequently, called her school; but her name and a legal status seem to have been all she gave to it. An excellent general education was provided, which was to be so truly free that not even books were to be paid for, and the masters were not to receive any fee or reward, directly or indirectly, on any pretence whatever. The age of admittance is or , and the boys remain generally till , when those of humbler condition are apprenticed; others, who are studying for the learned professions, may remain an almost unlimited time. exhibitions of each at the Universities are connected with the school. is now of the most valuable of metropolitan schools. The funds have been so greatly increased in progress of time, that they amount at present to about /. a-year. With the enlargement of the means the ends have been pursued, of late years at least, in a correspondingly liberal spirit. The school is exclusively for the parish, or rather the parishes, into which the old has been divided, and is only the more efficient from that very exclusiveness: since the number of children taught (limited only by the capacity of the buildings) is so large, nearly , that undue preferences whether of persons or of classes, become alike unnecessary and impracticable to any important extent: the parish therefore is and must be done justice to. The establishment is divided into schools--the classical, forming, with the head master's house, the chief portions of the exceedingly elegant and appropriate


architectural pile shown in our engraving, and the English, or branch, situated at a little distance in the neighbourhood. The tuition in the schools merely differs in this, that whilst all the ordinary branches of English education, with the classics, are taught in the , in the other the classics are omitted. This difference points to the practical difference that exists between the classes of society to which the children of the schools respectively belong, the classical school receiving generally those of the middle, the English those of the poorer inhabitants of the parish. The number of boys in the is now about , in the about ; taught, in each case, by masters.

The last, best known, and historically the most important, of all the old schools of London remains yet to be noticed. Who has not heard of the boys, of their plays and disputations, of their illustrious roll of great men who have been educated within the Old Abbey precincts, and of the Masters who have made the world ring again with the fame of their learning, almost as much as they have made the school walls reverberate with the sounds of the lash and the cries of the lashed? Personify all the awful visions that ever shook the nerves of the youthful dreamers of punishment yet to be received for hours of unlicensed absence, or tasks too late taken in hand, and whose but Dr. Busby's terrible shadow rises to the view? It is said that much of the traditional character of this exemplar of pedagogues is exaggerated; we hardly think it. When the great quarrel took place between Dr. Busby and his master, Bagshawe, which ended in the latter's dismissal, the severity of the former's discipline was of the chief points urged by Bagshawe against him. He has

often complained to me,

observes the latter,

and seems to take it ill, that I did not use the rod enough.

In the Life of some Schoolmaster in

Nicholl's Literary Anecdotes,

it is observed that he would chastise pretty severely; but it is still pointed out to his credit that he never did what it is stated was a common habit with Busby-send boys home with a piece of buckram appended to a particular part of their apparel, as a necessary temporary substitute for the part that had been flogged away by the master's zeal for his young friend's intellectual welfare. But to do the Doctor justice, we have no doubt whipping with him was a piece of honest enthusiasm, and not by any means a mere ebullition of impatience or ill temper. Pointing to a scholar, he said day,

I see great talents in that sulky boy, and I shall endeavour to bring them out.

Dr. South was the result of the discipline that followed. How could the physician help having faith thenceforward in his medicine? Some boys, to be sure, could not perhaps pass through the ordeal, and these he frankly acknowledged had no business at . He said his rod was his sieve, according to Dr. Johnson, and whoever could not pass through that was no boy for him. Busby, it appears, had his

white boys,

or favourites. Witty in himself, it is creditable to him that he is said to have liked wit in others, even though they were his own scholars, and the joke was at his own expense. It must have been a terrible piece of business though for a boy to have committed himself to a bad joke in such experiments. The only trustworthy anecdote of Busby that has been received in reference to the wit of which we spoke, seems to be this. Sitting once in company between Mrs. South and Mrs. Sherlock, the conversation turned on wives ; Dr. Busby said that he

believed wives in general

were good, though, to be sure, there might be a bad



and a bad




For years did Dr. Busby rule the destinies of the school; and during that time so many able scholars passed through his


that he was able at time to boast that out of the whole Bench of Bishops had been educated by him. The


must have been in glorious occupation after these recollections. Of the Masters prior to Busby, the most worthy of notice is Camden, who was made Under-Master in , and whilst in that position composed his great work, the


In he received the appointment of Head-Master. Ben Jonson was of his scholars. As to the Masters since Dr. Busby, the was the brother of the eminent Physician, of whom we have had occasion, in the

College of Physicians


[n.14.1]  to relate an interesting anecdote referring to his confinement in the Tower: the following verses were published in consequence of this appointment:--

Ye sons of Westminster, who still retain

Your ancient dread of Busby's awful reign,

Forget at length your fears-your panic end;

The monarch of your place is now a Freind.

This Dr. Freind caused much speculation in the school on the occasion of his brother's arrest, by giving for a theme, . To give any adequate idea of the number of the scholars who, by their subsequent career, have shed a glory over the school that educated them, is all but hopeless. Embarrassed apparently by too much wealth, the historian of the school does not attempt to mention any but those who have been distinguished by their election to the Universities. Among these we find Dryden, in , who signalised himself at the school by translating the Satire of


for a Thursday night's exercise, as he has informed us in a prefatory advertisement to the published Satire. Next comes Locke, who was elected to Oxford in . Then a batch of poets, Smith, Prior, Rowe, and Dryden's rival, Elkanah Settle. Smith's election was marked by a very unusual compliment. His performances as a candidate were so remarkable, that a contest ensued between the electors of the Universities as to which should have him; those of Cambridge had that year the preference, and they elected him; but the Oxford people, no less determined, did what they could; they offered the young scholar a studentship in of the colleges, and he accepted it. Bishop Newton follows, and then more poets, the friends Churchill and Lloyd. The last was for a short time an usher in the school. As to Churchill, when he applied for matriculation at Oxford, on leaving the school, he was, according to some, rejected on account of his deficiency, whilst others relate the matter in a very different manner, saying that he was so hurt at the trifling questions put to him by the Examiner, that he answered with a contempt which was mistaken for ignorance. He was subsequently admitted at Cambridge. Warren Hastings, and a host of more recent men, continue the list of distinguished scholars. There are some curious points in the management of this school. The mode of election of boys upon the foundation is of these. We must premise that the present school forms a constituent part of the establishment of the Cathedral, and dates therefore from the final settlement of the latter in , when it was determined, as


regards the school, that there should be Masters, and King's or Queen's scholars. These are distinguished by a peculiar garb, an academical-looking cap and gown; and enjoy peculiar and highly estimated advantages. Owing to, the high patronage under which such a school necessarily existed, admission into it has always been greatly desired by parents of the highest rank for their children. Hence the necessity for a less restricted admission.

Town boys

are therefore received as well as Queen's scholars, and from the the are elected. No who has once witnessed the mode of election will ever forget it. At the commencement of Lent, a certain number of boys, generally from to , announce themselves to the Master as candidates for college. An arduous training is passed through by each boy before the day of contest arrives, under the care of who has already passed the ordeal, and a most interesting feature of the business is the zeal of these assistants for their


as they call them. Morning, noon, and eve they are constantly by their side, teaching them all the tactics of the intellectual carte and tierce for which they are preparing. The great event commences at last. The candidates are arranged according to their forms in the school, and their places in the forms. The


are at hand to give all possible assistance. A lesson, some Greek epigrams, perhaps, is set, and the lowest boys, figuratively speaking, enter the arena. The lowest of these is the challenger, and now calls upon his adversary to translate of the epigrams, to parse any particular number of words in it, and to answer any grammatical questions connected with the subject. Demand after demand is made and correctly replied to. Baffled, but still determined, the challenger pursues, and at last some unlucky mistake is made; the head master, who sits as judge, triumphantly appealed to,--

It was a mistake

is the decision; the challenger and the challenged change places on the form, and then the latter, with a fierce eagerness, repeats the process by putting his questions. This continues till of them is exhausted, feels he is beaten, and resigns the contest. The conqueror, flushed with victory, now turns to the boy above him, and supposing him to be of those heroes who occasionally

flash amazement

on all around, will pass step by step upwards, taking , , aye, places in succession, before he too is stopped and quails under a greater spirit. The result is, that from to of the boys are elected into the college, according to their precedence on the list of the most successful competitors, to take the places of those sent to the Universities. There are studentships at , Oxford, and or scholarships at Trinity, Cambridge: election to the former involves the important privilege of a living on quitting the University, to all who choose to accept it. The selection of Queen's scholars to fill the University vacancies is made yearly, after an examination by the heads of the Colleges. In looking at the character of the foregoing examination, we are so strongly reminded of the meetings on the bank boarded about at St. Bartholomew's that the question naturally occurs, whether the custom is not a remnant of the other? and on referring to Stow's notice to see what schools shared in those ancient disputations, we find the boys of

St. Peter's




expressly mentioned with those of , the Mercers' (or St. Thomas-of-Acon's), and St. Anthony's. The plays of Terence, annually performed in the large dormitory erected in the time of Atterbury's deanship, from a design by


the Earl of Burlington, are grand events in the histories of boys, and of their parents, who are regularly invited;--it might also be added, of the world also, if we are to judge by the long accounts which usually appear in the newspapers on such occasions: a circumstance that makes it the less necessary for us to dwell upon the performances here. or matters connected with them are, however, worth mentioning. The early scenery of the school, which was the gift of William Markham, Archbishop of York, was prepared under the direction of no less an authority than David Garrick. Another set of scenery was presented by Dr. Vincent. During performance, the pit is set apart for

old Westminsters,

who, as may be anticipated, contribute liberally to the

captain's cap,

which is handed round at the end of the play. As much as have been collected on some occasions, from which the expenses, generally heavy, having been deducted, the remainder is divided among the senior Queen's scholars, who have that evening fretted their hour upon the stage. This school, though partially supported from the cathedral revenues, is anything but a freeschool. Both Town boys and Queen's scholars pay for their education, and that pretty handsomely. There is an entrance fee of guineas, and the annual payments after are for the Queen's scholars guineas, the Town boys . Many of the Town boys, and of course the whole of the Queen's scholars, are boarders; the former pay guineas per annum, the latter . The Queen's scholars sleep in the dormitory before mentioned, and dine in the fine old hall, formerly the Abbot's refectory; and there, in less degenerate times, they also breakfasted, on bread and cheese and beer, at o'clock in the morning. The prosperity of the school has somewhat declined of late years. When Carlisle wrote, in , he spoke of the number of boys as about ; now is about the average. A magnificent increase, however, we understand, is about to be made to the power and influence of the school, in connexion with the University endowments for its scholars, through the liberality of its late master, Dr. Carey, the present bishop of St. Asaph, who has left a large sum in his will for that purpose--it is said . This must do much to bring back to School all its former prosperity. The number of assistant masters varies with that of the scholars; there are now, making, with the head master and the master, in all. The education here, we need hardly mention, is essentially classical.


[n.2.1] Transcribed from Stow's Survey, ed. 1633; p. 63.

[n.4.1] See our account of the Priory and, Church of St. Bartholomew, No. XXVIII. p. 43.

[n.9.1] Knight, p. 39.

[n.12.1] Endowed Grammar Schools.

[n.14.1] See the College of Physicians, No. XXVII. p. 28.