The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4

Allen, Thomas

1827

Westminster School.

 

This great national establishment is supposed to have been erected about the year , but refounded by queen Elizabeth in the year , for the education of boys, denominated the queen's scholars (now called the king's scholars) and almsmen. The masters who have presided, and many of the scholars who

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have received their tuition here, have, in all the period since its endowment, been men of eminent talents, and afforded bright ornaments to the nation both in church and state. William Camden, the antiquary, was at time master, and Ben Jonson of his scholars.

Dr. Busby, of classical memory, and celebrated on some other accounts, was master of this school upwards of years, and greatly contributed by his great erudition to its reputation. He was a native of Lincolnshire, and was born , and died in .

Among the eminent men who received their education within these walls, may be noticed the great lord Burleigh, the poets Cowley, Dryden, Prior, Bourne, Churchill, and Cowper; Kennet, bishop of Peterborough; Atterbury, bishop of Rochester; Boyle, earl of Cork and Orrery; Bonnel Thornton; Gibbon, the Roman historian; George Colman the elder, and Richard Cumberland, dramatists; and the great earl of Mansfield.

The museum belonging to this school was founded by Dr. Busby; he enlarged the master's house, and also the Green-coat Hospital in Tothill-fields. He likewise built his prebendal house, paved the choir of the abbey with black and white marble, and did many other acts of public and private generosity, by which his name has been ennobled.

The dean and chapter of hold the prebendal manor of Chiswick on lease from the prebendary of Chiswick, of , under lease for lives. It has passed through several hands, but contains a stipulation, taken from the original lease, that the lessee should erect additional buildings, adjoining to the manor house, sufficient for the accommodation of of the prebendaries of , the master of the school, the usher, boys, and proper attendants, who should retire thither in time of sickness, or at other seasons when the dean and chapter should think proper.

To this day a piece of ground is reserved in the lease to the sublessee, as a play-ground for the scholars; though it is not known that the school was ever removed to Chiswick since Dr. Busby's time. It is on record that he resided there, with some of his scholars, in the year . Dr. Nichols was the last master who actually resided at the college-house. Dr. Markham (late archbishop of York), when master of school, rented the prebendal lodgings of the dean and chapter.

The whole was let on a repairing lease in , and is now, or very lately was, occupied as an academy by Dr. Horne.

school is now endowed with lands and possessions specifically appropriated to its own maintenance, but is attached to the general foundation of the collegiate church, as far as relates to the support of the scholars. It is under the care of the dean

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and chapter of , and conjointly with the dean of , Oxford, and the master of Trinity, Cambridge, respecting the election of scholars to their several colleges. The boys on the foundation as before mentioned, are denominated king's scholars from the royalty of their founders, and are in a state of collegiate association. They sleep in the dormitory, have their dinners in the hall, and may have other meals if they chuse. They are distinguished from the town boys (who are very numerous) by a gown, cap, and college waistcoat, which are furnished by the establishment. of them are generally elected at the end of the year to , Oxford, or Trinity college, Cambridge. They have studentships at Oxford, and scholarships at Cambridge. The former are worth from to per annum; but the latter are of small beneficial consideration.

The buildings occupy a considerable space of ground. The college hall, or refectory for the king's scholars, was originally an apartment in the house of the abbot, and served that dignitary in a similar capacity. It was erected by Nicholas Litlington, abbot in . This apartment is wainscotted to a considerable height, and the roof (which is of timber) is supported by corbels of angels holding shields of arms.

The school is a spacious and handsome room, with a timber roof of plain but neat workmanship. At end is a seat for the head master; and on each side are tier of forms, rising above another. The dormitory is a spacious and elegant building, and was erected for the scholars on the foundation, during the time when the celebrated bishop Atterbury was dean of . In the year , sir Edward Hannes, of the physicians in ordinary to queen Anne, as a mark of gratitude for the education which he received at this school, had left by his will a for that useful purpose. It was intended to raise this structure on the site of the ancient chamber, which was built about for the purpose of a granary, when the place was a monastery, and had been erected on stone arches of sufficient strength to support any new edifice. Sir Edward Hannes' legacy, however, was not competent to meet the estimated expence; and bishop Sprat, then dean, does not appear to have paid much attention to the business. But Atterbury revived the project, and entered into the execution of it with his usual activity. For this purpose a memorial was presented by the chapter to George I. who gave a , to which the prince of Wales (afterwards George II.) added . The parliament also voted , and William Maurice, high bailiff of , gave . The earl of Burlington gave the design and superintended the works, the total expence of which amounted to about . In this building the Latin plays are represented by the king's scholars, when a part of it is fitted up as a commodious theatre.

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On the north side of the strong tower, in the , was a place called Thieving-lane: and was so denominated from thieves passing that way to the Gatehouse prison, during the continuance of the privileges of sanctuary. This gatehouse, together with that and the additional building on the east, were erected by Waller Warfield, butler to the abbey church of , in the reign of Edward III.; the for a common gaol, and the building on the east side of Dean's-yard gate for the bishop of London's prison for clerks convicts.

Nearly adjoining this prison was the long ditch, over which Maud, Henry I.'s queen, erected a bridge leading to and the .

In , , is a charity school, where about boys have their learning and clothes, and are put out apprentices by subscription. of the and most liberal of these subscribers was Mrs. Green, who gave per annum forever, commencing about the year , and to build a school.

Henry VII.'s almshouses in the Little , for poor watermen and their wives, who receive and fourpence each couple, and a purple gown every year; and at the burial of a duke, a marquis, or their ladies, in the abbey, and sixpence; and for that of an earl, baron, or their ladies, and sixpence.

In the midst of the numerous charitable foundations which are congregated in this neighbourhood, stood the , for the correction of the disorderly. There was nothing in the building to merit a description; but the internal regulations were very excellent, and received the unqualified approbation of the benevolent Howard. This prison was taken down in , and a new and enlarged edifice is in course of erection.

Tothill-fields was at time a place of considerable importance, but is now sunk into comparative insignificance. In the year , John Mansel, priest and king's counsel, invited Henry III. and his queen, the king of Scotland and his queen, prince Edward, and a great number of the nobility, knights, the bishop of London, and several of the citizens, to a grand entertainment in his house, which stood in this part of the city of . The number of guests is stated to have been so great, that the mansion was too small for their reception, and he was compelled to provide tents and pavilions. messes of meat were insufficient for the company.

Certain houses which stood apart from the rest were appointed, during the great plague as pest-houses. They are still standing.

In these fields, as they are still called, was held an annual fair for pleasure; and here, during the civil wars in the reign of Charles the , was erected of the forts which surrounded the metropolis: it consisted of a battery and breast-work.

The fair in Tothill-fields was called St.-Magdalen's, and was

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granted by Henry III. to the abbot and canons of , anno .

is the continuation of , bearing to the left. It was formerly called , on account of the number of French refugees, who settled here on the revocation of the edict of Nantz by Louis XIV. It had its present name in honour of the duke of York.

The street called is at the west end of , from the abbey, and the east end of already mentioned. In this place, or rather on the south side of Little , stands a chapel of ease to . It was called the New Chapel formerly, but is now known by the appellation of

 
 
Footnotes:

[] Lyson's Middlesex, vol. ii. p. 192.

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 Title Page
 Dedication
CHAPTER I: Site, local divisions, and government of the City of Westminster; history of the Abbey; Coronation Ceremonies; and lists of the Abbots and Deans
CHAPTER II: Westminster Abbey, and Description of the Tombs and Monuments
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of St. Margaret's Parish
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of St. John's Parish, Westminster
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields, Westminster
CHAPTER VI: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. James, Westminster
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Anne, Westminster
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Mary-le-strand
CHAPTER X: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. Clement Danes
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of the parish of st. George, Hanover Square
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of the Precinct of the Savoy
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of the Inns of Court
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of the Precincts of the Charter-house and Ely Place, and the Liberty of the Rolls
 CHAPTER XV: Historical Notices of the Borough of Southwark
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of the Parish of St. Olave, Southwark
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of the parish of St. John, Southwark
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of the parish of St. Thomas, Southwark
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topogrpahy of the parish of St. George's, Southwark
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of St. Saviour's Parish
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of the parist of Christ-church in the County of Surrey
 CHAPTER XXII: A List of the Principal Books, &c that have been published in Illustration of the Antiquities, History, Topography, and other subjects treated of in this Work
 Addenda et Corrigienda
 Postscript