The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
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
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,
to augment the revenues of the school; a further augmenation was made by bishop Nigel, in the reign of Richard the , who gave
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,
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, (
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, |
which was occasioned by a consumption, after an imperfect recovery from the sweating sickness,
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
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
He was buried in , under a monument erected by himself, in the south aisle of the choir.
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:--
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
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 |
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
He then directs, that
that number having been fixed on in allusion to the fish taken by St. Peter.
The direction of the institution is vested in the mercer's company, who are directed to choose persons annually, as
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,
and solemnly charges the company
The book concludes with the ordinary charges paid out yearly, viz.
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
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 |
, over the entrance. Over the throne of the high master were the words,
, 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
in like manner, he continues
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
died . John Milton, the immortal author of
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
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.