The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


St. Paul's School.


This eminent institution was founded and endowed by Dr. John Colet, dean of , on the site of a more ancient seminary, that had been subordinate to the cathedral establishment; and was of the , celebrated by Fitz-Stephen, as of ancient dignity and privilege. Dugdale mentions a charter of the time of Henry the , by which the bishop Richard de Belmeis, granted to

Hugh, the schoolmaster, and his successor in that employment, the habitation of Durandus, at the corner of the turret, [that is the clochier, or bell-tower,] where William, dean of

St. Paul's

had placed him, by his the said bishop's command; together with the custody of the library belonging to the church.

Henry, a canon of , who had been educated under the said Hugh, succeeded, and besides the house he had given to him by the said bishop,

a meadow at Fulham, with the tithes of Ilings and Madeley,

to augment the revenues of the school; a further augmenation was made by bishop Nigel, in the reign of Richard the , who gave

unto this school all the tithes arising from his demesnes at Fulham and Horsete.

The appointments were made by the chancellor of , but the dean and chapter only had authority to give possession to the master; who was to be sober, honest, and learned; and a teacher not only of grammar, but of virtue,

Eis non solum grammatices, sed etiam virtutis magister?

In the course of ages this school fell to decay, but at what particular period is not known with certainty.

The present foundation was commenced in the year , and completed about years afterwards, by dean Colet, whose piety induced him to consecrate it to the honour of the child Jesus, (

Christ Jesu in pueritia

,) and

his blessed mother Mary!

This benevolent prelate was the eldest son of sir Henry Colet, knt. mercer, and twice lord mayor of London, and dame Christian, his wife; and notwithstanding the numerous progeny of his parents, who had children, sons, and daughters, he proved the only survivor. He was born in St. Anthony's parish, in this city,


in the year , and is supposed to have been taught the rudiments of learning in the school attached to his parochial church. In , he was sent to the University of Oxford, where he continued about years, and made great progress in logic, philology, and the mathematics. He then travelled into France and Italy, and in consequence of some successful disputations, conducted agreeably to the scholastic regimen of those times, became, in foreign universities, exceedingly admired for his learning and talents. After his return from the continent, he obtained various promotions in the church, and having commenced doctor of divinity, about the year , was soon afterwards preferred to the deanery of , by Henry the , whose favour he had obtained, and who, whatever were his faults, was not inattentive to the promotion of men of talents. It was impossible, remarks a contemporary writer,

that in the then clerical state of the metropolis, the monarch could have made a better choice. Learned, benevolent, pious, exemplary in the performance of his duty, and equally so for the regularity of his life, the people, who daily experienced his munificence, idolized the dean; consequently his death,

which was occasioned by a consumption, after an imperfect recovery from the sweating sickness,

was a subject of general lamentation.

He died on the , in which year the disease just named, raged in England with uncommon violence.

Whilst Dr. Colet was at Oxford, he became acquainted with the learned Erasmus, and to the arguments employed by these friends against the subtle distinctions of the old school-men, and to the boldness with which they canvassed the abuses of the Catholic hierarchy, the Reformation was much indebted for its advancement; so much so indeed, that the bishop and vicars of his own church, would gladly have consigned the dean to

the stake and martyrdom,

if his enlightened and powerful friends, combined with the undeviating regularity of his own conduct had not preserved him. In a summary, that has been given of his character, he is stated to have been

the complete [Christian] philosopher, and capable of the most rigid self-denial, a conqueror of himself, another Socrates: though inclined by nature to love, luxury, somnolency, fond of wine and levity, avaricious and high-spirited, he yet mastered all those propensities through a mental conviction of the pernicious consequences attending their indulgence, so effectually, that he was chaste, abstemious, an early riser, temperate, grave, generous, and meek, even to the bearing of reproof from his own servant.

He was buried in , under a monument erected by himself, in the south aisle of the choir.

In the

Life of dean Colet,

by Dr. Knight, is a translation from a Latin letter, written by Erasmus to Justin Jonas, in which is the following curious account of the foundation of school. Speaking of the dean, Erasmus says:--

Upon the death of his father, when, by right of inheritance he

was possessed of a good sum of money; lest the keeping of it should corrupt his mind, and turn it too much toward the world, he laid out a great part of it in building a new school in the church-yard of

St. Paul's

, dedicated to the child Jesus: a magnificent fabric; to which he added


dwelling houses for the


several masters: and to them he allotted ample salaries, that they might teach a certain number of boys, free, and for the sake of charity. He divided the school into


apartments. The


, viz. the porch and entrance, is for catechumens, or the children to be instructed in the principles of religion; where no child is to be admitted but what can read and write. The


apartment is for the lower boys, to be taught by the


master or usher; the


for the upper forms, under the head master: which


parts of the school are divided by a curtain, to be drawn at pleasure. Over the master's chair is an image of the child Jesus, of admirable work, in the gesture of teaching: whom all the boys, going and coming, salute with a short hymn: and there is a representation of God the Father, saying

Hear ye him;

these words being written at my suggestion. The


, or last apartment, is a little chapel for divine service. The school has no corners, or hiding places; nothing like a cell or closet. The boys have their distinct forms, or benches,


above another. Every form holds


; and he that is head, or captain of each form, has a little kind of desk by way of pre-eminence. They are not to admit all boys of course; but to choose them in according to their parts and capacities. The wise and sagacious founder saw that the greatest hopes and happiness of the commonwealth were in the training up children to good letters, and true religion, for which purpose he laid out an immense sum of money; and-after he had finished all, 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.

In framing the statutes for the government and regulation of his school, Dr. Colet was exceedingly particular. He prefaced his instructions, by stating his ardent wish that the children should be brought up

in good manners and literature;

and declares that he had built a school for boys, to be taught free in the same; and ordained there a master, a sub-master, and a chaplain, with sufficient and perpetual stipends, ever to endure, and set patrons, defenders, governors, and rulers of the same school, the honest and faithful fellowship of the mercers of London.

In the statutes, the dean defines the qualifications, &c. of the


masters, and directs that they shall

be learned in pure Greek and Latin; and shall neither hold benefice with cure,

lectured, nor professorship, that no impediment might divert their attention from the duties of the school: that the salary of the high master should be per week, with a gown annually of nobles value, and that upon his demise, the sub-master, whose stipend was to be a year, with a gown as before, should be chosen to succeed in preference to any other candidate: that the chaplain shall be an honest virtuous priest, and

help to teach in the school.

He then directs, that

children of all nations and countries, indifferently, should be taught, to the number of

one hundred and fifty-three


that number having been fixed on in allusion to the fish taken by St. Peter.

The master to admit these children as they offered, but


to see that they can say the catechism, and also read and write competently; and to pay


for writing their name, which money the poor scholar that swept the school was to have. Thrice a day, viz. morning, noon, and evening, prostrate, to say the prayers contained in a table at the school. No tallow candles, but only wax to be used, no meat, drink, or bottles, to be brought; nor no breakfasts nor drinkings in the time of learning. That they have no remedies, (that is play days begged) under penalty of

twenty shillings

from the high master, except the king, and archbishop, or a bishop, present in his own person, desired it. The children every Childermas day go to Paul's church, and hear the child-bishop sermon, and after to be at the high mass, and each offer a penny to the child-bishop; and with them the masters and surveyors of the school. In general processions, when warned, they shall go




together, soberly; and not sing out, but say devoutly


psalms with the litany. That if any child admitted here, go to any other school to learn there, such child for no man's suit be again received into the school. That


scholar shall preside on every form, and that the teaching commence at


in the morning, continue till


, re-commence at


, and terminate for the day, at


; with prayers at morning, noon, and evening. The children to be taught always in good literature, both Latin and Greek, and good authors, such as have the very Roman eloquence joined with wisdom; especially Christian authors, that wrote their wisdom with clean and chaste Latin, either in verse or prose.

The direction of the institution is vested in the mercer's company, who are directed to choose persons annually, as

surveyors of the school,

who are to receive the rents arising from the endowments, pay the salaries, &c. All the affairs relating to the estates are desired to be managed by the surveyors. The dean then says with emphatic laconicism,

let not the lands of the school but by the space of



and solemnly charges the company

to guard and promote the foundation for ever, to the utmost of their ability, as they fear the just vengeance of the Deity for

neglecting it, and to make such other regulations, as time and circumstances might render necessary, with the advice and assistance of good-lettered and learned men.

The book concludes with the ordinary charges paid out yearly, viz.

To the high master at 13s. 4d. per week34134
To the middle master 26 marks1768
To the priest800
Their liveries400
The supervisors and surveyors400
For visiting of lands400
The clerk034
The master warden050
The steward020
To bailiffs020
The costs of the dinner168
The officer of the mercery, renter of the school100
For his gown130
There resteth to the reparations, suits, casualties, and all the other charges extraordinary3863 1/2
 11483 1/2

To all this John Colet subscribed his hand thus:

The following is the account of the expenditure in , flee of extras, &c. from the report on public charities. The commissioners observe, that

it is obvious, that the present large and improving revenue, under a somewhat more economical system of management, would be adequate to the production of a far more extensive benefit than the mere instruction in classical learning of



Quit rents9194
Masters salaries and allowances1,513134
Salaries and gratuities to the clerk of the company, 121l.; accountannt, 40l.; beadles, 10l.17100
Receivers poundage145910 1/2
Rev. Dr. Roberts, late high master (annuity)1,00000
Courts and committees287140
Taxes, rates, etc12074
Insurance of the school and masters houses, and different parts of the school property158183
Apposition dinner22990
Law and agency129198
Mrs. Wood. widow of the late sur-master (pension)6000
Literary prizes as rewards to the scholars40130
Books for St. Paul's school library4904
Small payments to the company's officers, directed   
by the statutes1034
Examiners at the apposition52100
Senior scholar (a present going to college)31100
Porter boy200
High masters bill of disbursements (for firing and wax lights in the library, cleaning the school, theses and tickets for the apposition, &c.)40170
Francis Goode (a present of books to a scholar who had distinguished himself at the university)2500
Marking out Arbour-field at Stepey21135
Felling timber in Bucks42184
Sundry petty disbursements74103
 5,261139 1/2

The annual rental of the tenements and lands (which lie chiefly in Buckinghamshire,) given by the munificent founder for the support of his school, amounted at th e period, of foundation to th e sum of and according to Dr. Knight, the dean estimated that when the yearly expenses of the school were defrayed, there would be an overplus of Since then, the revenues have experienced a vast increase, through the progressive augmentation in the value of property. Various subsequent donations have also been added to the original endowments; and independently of all other advantages, there are no fewer than exhibitions belonging to this seminary. The most valuable exhibition is given to the captain of the school, who leaves it annually at Easter; this is not confined to any particular college, and is tenable with any collegiate preferment, excepting a fellowship; it amounts to per annum, for years, and for each of the succeeding years.

The school described by Erasmus was consumed by the fire of London, in , and the late edifice was erected between that period and the year , at the charge of the mercers' company, under the particular direction of Robert Ware, esq. the warden. Though a singular building, it was not an unhandsome ; it formed a parallellogram, extending north and south, and consisted of a centre, which was properly the school, and wings; the north wing being appropriated to the use of the head master, and the south wing to the master; these wings, which included a number of convenient and elegant apartments, were of brick, with


stone facings, window-frames, cornices, &c. and rose to nearly twice the height of the school; the latter was all of stone, and had a projecting centre, terminated by a pediment, in the tympan of which was a shield charged with the arms of the founder; and over the apex a statue designed to represent Learning. Along the whole run a cornice and ballustrade, crowned with busts and vases; and below the cornice these words, . large windows raised to a considerable height from the ground, admitted the light into the school: those below the pediment were square-headed, the others semi-circular, and the spaces between the latter were ornamented with sculptures in relief. The school-room was a spacious apartment, having the motto

Doce, disce, aut discede

, over the entrance. Over the throne of the high master were the words,

Itendas animum studiis et rebus honestis

, and above his seat was an animated bust of dean Colet, in statuary marble, copied (with the attitude improved) by the late Mr. Banks, from a more ancient . Another bust in white marble on the left of the chair, represented the late highly respected master, Mr. George Thicknesse; this was executed with the proceeds of a voluntary subscription made by his grateful pupils. The scholars are now taught by masters and assistants; the high master, besides his residence at the school, has the ancient house of dean Colet, at Stepney, attached to his situation as preceptor.

The present edifice has a front in Church-yard, and another in the . The principal facade is built with Bath stone. In the centre is a portico of considerable projection in stories. The lower consists of square pedestals, rusticated, and sustaining an architrave and frieze, the latter inscribed, .

The story is composed of columns of the Corinthian order, from the temple of the Sybils, sustaining an entablature, the frieze enriched with festoons of foliage hanging from the horns of bulls skulls, and the whole surmounted by a pediment. At the back of the portico on the ground floor, are columns of the Doric order, the intercolumniations filled with screens of trellis work in iron, the ground floor being intended for a play ground; in the story are lofty windows, corresponding with the intercolumniations, a circular cupola, lighted by lateral windows, rises above the roof at the back of the portico; the remainder of the design is made in height into stories, the lower story rusticated and containing entrances and windows, and the upper stories having also windows: an entablature continued from the portico and a blocking course completes the elevation; each extremity of the front is marked by a slight projection, decorated with half columns between antae, the entablature breaking over these portions. The back part in the , is built of brick, with stone dressings; it is made into a centre with wings; the lower story of the


entre, like the opposite front is open, and has similar screens, the upper story has windows, as in the other side, and the elevation is finished with a pediment; the side windows are in the usual style of dwelling houses. The interior of the school is handsomely fitted up. On each side are tier of seats and forms, and in the centre are desks for the masters. Above each of the doors of entrance is . The ceiling is carved and pannelled, and in the centre is a large but handsome flower. At the north end of the school is the bust of dean Colet mentioned before. The architect of the present edifice was Geo. Smith, esq.

The school is divided into classes, or forms; on the lowest of which the children are taught the rudiments of languages, and are thence advanced according to their proficiency to the other forms, till they reach the , or highest. At this period, they are generally good grammarians and orators, and well instructed in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and sometimes in the Oriental languages. The most proficient scholars are those sent to the University, under the exhibitions before-mentioned, which are of different values from to , and , or upwards, annually. Soon after Easter, every year, a grand examination is made, which occupies days, on the last of which the seniors of the class make recitations in Greek, Latin, English, &c. previous to their entrance into some college. A small library is attached to the school, which has been principally formed with books presented by the different gentlemen educated here. Though the worthy dean lived only years after he had commenced this foundation, he had the pleasure of seeing his establishment flourish in such a considerable degree, that the great sir Thomas More, in a letter which he sent to him, compared the school

to the wooden horse of Troy, out of which the Grecians issued to surprise the city;

in like manner, he continues

out of this your school, many have come that have subverted and overthrown all ignorance and rudeness.

Among the eminent men who received their education in this school, were sir Anthony Denny, privy counsellor to Henry VIII. Sir William Paget, lord Beaudesert, privy counsellor to successive princes, died . Sir Edward North, lord North, privy counsellor to successive princes, died . John Leland, the eminent antiquary. William Whitaker, D. D. regius professor of divinity in Cambridge, the champion for the Protestant religion against cardinal Bellarmine. William Camden, author of the


William Burton, the Leicestershire antiquary, and author of a

Commentary on Antonius's Itinerary,

died . John Milton, the immortal author of

Paradise Lost.

Sir Charles Scarborough, the erudite physician, and anatomist. Samuel Pepys, esq. secretary to the Admiralty, , and collector of the Pepysian library, Cambridge. Benjamin Calamy, D. D. vicar of St. Lawrence Jewry. Dr. Richard Meggot, dean of Winchester, and canon of

Windsor, . Sir Thomas Davies, lord mayor of London, whose knowledge was so universal, that he was able to converse with foreign ambassadors, in their several languages. Humphrey Gower, D. D. master of College, and Margaret professor of divinity in Cambridge, died . Robert Nelson, esq. the pious author of the Companion to the Festivals and Fasts. Dr. Thomas Tooke, the famous master of the grammar school at Bishop's Stortford, where he died in . Charles, duke of Manchester, died . John, duke of Marlborough, the great general. Dr. George Hooper, bishop of Bath and Wells. Dr. Samuel Bradford, bishop of Bristol. Dr. John Long, bishop of Norwich. The right hon. Spencer Compton, speaker of the . Thomas Bentley, LL.D. of Trinity College, Cambridge, the celebrated critic. James, earl of Derby. Roger Gale, esq. rev. Charles Gale, Samuel Gale, esq. all eminent antiquaries. Rev. Dr. Gregg, master of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Rev. James Johnson, LL. D. chancellor of Ely. Algernon, earl of Montrath. Charles, earl of Orrery, the enlightened philosopher. Rev. John Strype, editor of Stow's History of London, and other valuable works in English history. Dr. Edmund Halley, the great astronomer. Sir Frederic Thesiger. Admiral, sir Thomas Trowbridge, of the lords of the Admiralty (the brave associate of Nelson) who is supposed to have been lost at sea. Thomas Taylor, esq. the platonic philosopher.

The high master of school was the famous grammarian William Lilly, partly editor of the

Latin Grammar,

which goes by his name; he died in . His successors, with little exception, have been all men of great talents and acquirements.


[] Dug. Hist. St. Paul's. pp. 9, 10.

[] Mal. Lond. vol. ii. p. 185.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward