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A History of Giggleswick School by Bell

And at Eton and Westminster the same rule applied


The

discretionary power of the Master with regard to the discipline of the School appears to be greatly limited. He is bidden appoint two prepositors, he is even advised as to some particular occasions on which he shall correct the scholars. But these regulations probably only codify existing custom, and in practice, no doubt, the Master would find himself almost entirely free from control. Nevertheless such regulations were not without their danger.

[Illustration: Decoration]

[Illustration: Decoration]

CHAPTER III.

Schools and their Teaching in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.

From the fifteenth century at least the local Grammar School was the normal place of education for all classes but the highest. In 1410 an action for trespass was brought by two masters of Gloucester Grammar School against a third master, who had set up an unlicensed school in the town and "whereas they used to take forty pence or two shillings a quarter, they now only took twelve pence," and therefore they claimed damages. In the course of the argument the Chief Justice declared that "if a man retains a Master in his house to teach his children, he damages the common Master of the town, but yet he will have no action."

Instances such as this tend to shew

that it was the exception for boys to be taught either at home by a private tutor or under a man other than the Public Schoolmaster.

In England, Schools, from the first, that is from their introduction together with Christianity, had been exclusively ecclesiastical institutions and were under ecclesiastical authority and regulation. In 1215 the Fourth Lateran Council had said that there should be a Schoolmaster in every Cathedral, and that he should be licensed by the Bishop. In 1290 at Canterbury the Master had even the power of excommunicating his Scholars. At a later date many chantry priests by the founder's direction, a few voluntarily undertook the task of teaching. In 1547 they were compelled to do so by a law, which after a year was rendered nugatory by the confiscation of Chantries. In 1558 Elizabeth ordained that every Schoolmaster and Teacher should take the oath, not only of Supremacy but also of Allegiance. Even after the Reformation they had still to get the Bishop's license and this continued till the reign of Victoria, save for a brief period during the Commonwealth, when County Committees and Major-Generals took the responsibility.

The curriculum in Schools at the beginning of the sixteenth century consisted of what was called the Trivium, Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. The Quadrivium or Music, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy, was relegated to the Universities and only pursued by very few. In 1535 Henry VIII wished "laten, greken, and hebrewe to be by my people applied and larned." Latin was not in those days a mere method of training the youthful mind, it was much more a practically useful piece of knowledge. It was a standard of communication and a storehouse of phrases. It was taught in the most approved fashion, as a language to be spoken to fit them, as Brinsley says, "if they shall go beyond the seas, as gentlemen who go to travel. Factors for merchants and the like."

Almost every boy learned his Latin out of the same book. Lily's Grammar was ordered to supplant all others in 1540. The smallest local Grammar Schools had much the same text-books and probably as good scholars as Eton or Winchester or Westminster. The Master and Scholars must not talk any language other than Latin, Greek or Hebrew according to the Giggleswick Statutes, and at Eton and Westminster the same rule applied; at those Schools any boy discovered talking English was punished with the name of Custos, a title which involved various unpleasant duties.


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