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XIII. THE PUBLIC OR FOUNDATION SCHOOLS OF ENGLAND.
In place of an article for which we have gathered material in our reading, we subjoin some valuable extracts and statistics from a paper “On the Foundation Schools of England,” read before the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, in 1857, by Rev. John Day Collis, M. A., head-master of Bromsgrove School, which we shall follow up with interesting and instructive notes from Timbs? “Sketches of the Progress of Education in England."
"Where is it that our rising legislators receive their first lesson in cheerful obedience to lawful authority—and I may add, in jealous watchfulness against the excess of lawful authority, or against the growth of tyranny—but in our public schools ? Where do they so surely learn 10 curb their tongues, control their angry passions, conquer their temptation to selfishness, overcome the fear of each other, and learn to speak out boldly in defence of the weak, or in the cause of truth? Where do they acquire habits of self-reliance and manly independence? Where do they learn that submission to lawful discipline is perfect freedom, and that law is a kind though (when they kick against it) a stern master ? Where do they learn first to govern themselves, and then to govern others, and so become trained for the onerous duties of magistrates, legislators, instructors of others, as at our public schools? Where do they learn gradually the use of money, the use of time, the responsibility of strength, (mental or bodily,) the responsibility of influence, the necessity for long-sustained and well-regulated exertion? Where do they acquire habits of industry, habits of thoughtfulness, habits of close application, as in the scholastic contests of their boyhood ?
Where can be joined such a thorough freedom of play for all that is in a boy of good and noble as in our public schools? Where such a judicious mixture of liberty and restraint? Where is a boy so thrown upon his own good principle and firmness, and yet protected from the rougher and coarser forms of temptation, as in the guarded, and yet free, atmosphere of a public school? When we look at these noble and distinguishing institutions of our country, can we wonder at the Duke of Wellington's watching the boys of Eton in their playing-fields, and thinking that it was there Waterloo was won—that such training as there exists, and has existed for centuries, matures the heroic and manly temper of Englishmen into stern fulfillment of duty, stern defence of the injured and the weak, stern repression of the unjust aggressions of other nations.
Can we wonder at the large share Montalembert gives to the public school-life of English boys in the acknowledged superiority of England ?
Can there be a more striking contrast than that which exists between the cramped and confined and constantly-watched training of a foreign school-boy, and the free and healthy play of life and vigor and self-reliance in an English school-boy? Where such results are visible and undeniable, there must be some potent influence at work, to have first established and then maintained it in such vigor for so long a time.
To what can we attribute this traditional training of all our public men, our legislators, our clergy, our barristers and judges, our physicians, our county magistrates, our country gentlemen, but to the fact of the strong impress which our school education—with its wholesome mixture of frecdom and restraint, of lessons and games, of internal self-government under the authority of a responsible head-has stamped upon successive generations of Englishmen?
Of the importance which has ever been attached in England to such traditional training we can have no stronger proof than in the great number and variety of our Foundation Schools. Until one looks closely into the matter, it would scarcely be believed how rich England is in such institutions, and their number is hardly more surprising than their inherent vitality. Years pass on--generations die out, dynasties change, revolutions are accomplished—but, through lapse of time, and change of circumstance, here last these wondrous schools of England: one, like Wantage, claiming, with every appearance of truth, Alfred for its founder; others founded but as yesterday, and gaining success just so far as they keep up with the main traditional type of grammatical training. While so much changes around, "these most English institutions in England," as they have been called by the “ Times” in a recent review of that racy school-book, “ Tom Brown's School-Days,” “these most English institutions in England ” have shown a tenacity of life and a vivaciousness such as could only have resulted from the wise system on which they are conducted, as well as from the wise forethought that founded and endowed them.
A few statistics as to the dates and numbers of our grammar schools may be interesting.
Of course both the invention of printing and the breaking up of the Greek empire, on the capture of Constantinople by the Turks, in 1453, and the consequent spread of the culture of the Greek language in the south and west of Europe, had an immense effect upon education, amongst other ways, in stimulating the foundation of schools; but far beyond these two causes in efficacy must we place the Reformation, with its attendant breaking up of the monastic system. The dissolution of the monasteries gave both an incitement to the foundation of free grammar schools, in order to supply the place of the monastic schools which were thereby broken up, and furnished large pecuniary means for their endowment.
Of schools whose date is ascertained, and which were antecedent to the foundation of Eton College, in the reign of Henry VI., there are but eight-Derby, Huntingdon, Newbury, Ashburton, Wisbeach, Hereford,
Wotton-under-Edge, Sevenoaks, and Winchester College, the date of which is 1387. (Richard II.)
In the reign of Henry VI., Eton was founded, in 1441, and three others, Ewelme and Towcester and the City of London, (revived in 1834.) In the reign of Edward IV., four; Edward V., none; Richard III., only one, and that not due to the king, but to William of Wainfleet, the founder of Magdalen College, Oxford.
In the reign of Henry VII., the tide in favor of the foundation of grammar schools begins to set in rapidly, and goes on with steady increase till the reign of James II., when it as rapidly begins to ebb; and in the reign of William IV. I can find but one, and in the reign of the present queen also but one grammar school, of the old type, and calling itself a grammar school, founded.
In the reign of Henry VII., twelve schools were founded; including those of Reading, Wimborne Minster, and Bridgnorth.
In the reign of Henry VIII., no less than forty-nine were founded ; including Manchester, Taunton, Barkhampstead, and Warwick, and the cathedral schools attached to St. Paul's, London, Bristol, Worcester, Ely, Durham, Peterborough, Canterbury, Rochester, Chester, Gloucester, Coventry, and Carlisle.
In the reign of Edward VI., short though it was, the prudent forethought of Cranmer procured or gave the stimulus to the erection of no less than forty-four schools; including those of Norwich, Lichfield, Sherborne, Bury St. Edmunds, Sudbury, Macclesfield, Shrewsbury, Bedford, Birmingham, Leeds, Ludlow, St. Alban's Bath, Southampton, Gigleswick, my own school at Bromsgrove, and, beyond all others in the substantial aid it has given to thousands of parents in the feeding, clothing, and educating of their children, at Christ's Hospital, London.
In the reign of Mary, twelve schools were founded; including those of Ripon and Repton.
Queen Elizabeth carried on vigorously and effectively the educational movement begun by her father, and continued by her brother. Long though her reign was, yet equally long is the list of schools founded during the years she held sway. No less than 115 date from her reign; and among them, Westminster, (1560) Merchant Taylor's, (1561,) Guernsey, (1563) Ipswich, (1565,) Richmond, (1567,) Rugby, (1567,) Cheltenham, (1578,) St. Bee's, (1583,) and Uppingham, (1584;) all now effective and flourishing schools, doing large work in the education of this day.
In the reign of James I., forty-eight were founded; including Charterhouse, (1611,) and Dulwich, (1618,) and others of less note.
The disturbances of the reign of Charles I. had their effect in preventing the foundation of schools. Only twenty-eight date from his time, none of any remarkable note at the present day.
In the interval between the death of Charles I. and the Restoration, sixteen were founded.
In the reign of Charles II., thirty-six.
In the reign of William and Mary, seven.
In 1842, Southampton Diocesan School; and so ends the list, which,
There can be no doubt that hundreds of schools existed in the monasteries, and fell with them. This fact will account for the few schools which can date before the Reformation. The desire to supply their place will account for the vast outburst of educational foundation which marks that great epoch. The spoils of the monasteries no doubt, in many schools, especially those of royal foundation, supplied the endowment for the new institutions.
With regard to the future, a long reflection on the subject suggests to the mind the desirableness,
1. Of having (besides the great public schools) from two to six thoroughly good grammar schools in each county, so as to place a thoroughly sound classical education, of a high stamp, within the reach of all who require it.
2. The improvement of the smaller endowed schools, so as to afford a good practical middle-class education for the majority, who do not go to the universities; the head-master might teach the few classical pupils wholly, the other master or masters give a good English education, of an enlarged and improved kind, with the elements of Latin, mathematics, and, if required, French.
3. The enlarging of the curriculum of learning in all schools, by introducing such a system of instruction in history, geography, and mod. ern languages, combined with classics, as Dr. Arnold had the boldness to originate at Rugby, and which in twenty years has pervaded all the best schools in the kingdom. The necessity for a modern department has increased of late with the increase of competitive examinations for the public service, the army, India, &c.
4. The charity commissioners ought to be armed with peremptory powers (to be cheaply applied) for modifying ancient foundations; not destroying their old character, but adding many new features, called for by the lapse of time and change of circumstances.
5. And, in modifying the endowments, care should be taken to arrange them so that both master and pupil shall be stimulated to exertion thereby, and no pensioning of laziness and inefficiency allowed. To effect this, there is nothing so good as the foundation of scholarships or exhibitions.
6. There ought to be some means of necessitating the retirement, and providing for the support, of superannuated masters of schools.”
We give below, mainly from Timbs' “School Days of Eminent Ven,” brief accounts of the principal Endowed Grammar Schools, which enjoy more par.' tic'rlarly the reputation of being the Public Schools of England.
WILLIAM OP WYKEHAY AND WINCHESTER COLLEGE. Winchester Grammar or Collegiate School, was founded by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, in 1373, as a preparatory school to the College which he, about the same time, began to build at Oxford, known as New College,- the two, embracing a perfect course of education from the elements of letters through the whole circle of the sciences. The generous founder was born in the village of Wykcham, in Hampshire, in 1324. By the liberality of Sir Nicholas Uvedale, governor of Winchester Castle, the boy Wykeham was sent to “the Great Grammar-school in Winchester," originally an institution for education founded before the Conquest. Uvedale next presented Wykeham to Edward III. for his skill in architecture. In the short space of four years he was promoted through civil and ecclesiastical grades, to be Bishop of Winchester and Lord High Chancellor. He had already commenced the building of New College at Oxford; and in the following year, with the view of taking the early cducation of youth out of the hands of the monks, “it was his admirable thought to raise a nursery school, preparatory to his co-operating with a higher course in his college; and thus to raise the standard of education in the country, to that stamp and character which has ever since (through his institution and the copies which were drawn from it,) distinguished the English gentlemen amongst the families of Europe.” Thus arose Winchester College, the scholars of which are designated to this day Wykehamists. The novelty and merit of the plan were imitated by Chicheley,* at All Souls, Oxford: Henry VI. at Cambridge; and Waynflete at Magdalene. “Twenty years before his bives were built (1373), Wykeham had gathered his swarming bees under temporary roofs, with masters and statutes; which with parental solicitude he watched, altered, and amended from time to time, by his daily experience. So long before his colleges were built was his institution effective.” Wykeham died in 1404, at the age of eighty years, with the respect and admiration and gratitude of all; and like the spirit which he had ever sought throughout his amiable life, “length of days were in his right hand, and in his left riches and honor.” He is buried in Winchester Cathedral: “beneath the spot where the schoolboy prayed, the honoured prelate sleeps.”—(Walcott.)
Wykeham's College buildings stand immediately adjoining the main street of Winchester, a city of kindred quiet. The Middle Gate Tower has under three canopied niches, the Angelic Salutation, and the Founder in prayer. This gateway leads to a truly noble quadrangle of Wykeham's architecture. On the left side is the dining-hall, with an oaken roof finely carved with the busts of kings and prelates; and in the centre is a louvre, through which the smoke ascended in old times, when the scholars gathered found the hearth to sing and listen to the tales of the chroniclers. Here also plays were acted in the days of the Tu. dors; the boy-bishop custom was observed as at Eton; and monarchs, prelates, and nobles have been feasted. On the south side of the quadrangle is the chapel, with an oaken roof of fan tracery; the large window, forty feet in height, is
* Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, was a Wykehamist ; as was apparently Wayntlete, who certainly was master of Wykeham's school in 1429.