City of London Livery Companies Commission. Report; Volume 4. Originally published by Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1884.
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OUNDLE, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE. Sir Wm. Laxton's Charities.
That they consider some further improvements practicable, but in consequence of the shortness of the notice no suggestions of improvement could be sufficiently matured to be presented to the Charity Commissioners so soon as Monday next.
That, therefore, they would feel obliged to the Charity Commissioners if they would allow them another opportunity at some early period for presenting such suggestions as they may find themselves enabled to decide upon.
As preliminary to my answers to the questions contained in your letter of the 18th instant relative to the Witney Free Grammar School, it will be convenient to state that the school, founded about 1660, was intended to be free to 30 boys, natives of the town of Witney, the poorer applicants having priority of admission to the foundation.
In 1805 the Governors, exercising a power vested in them, limited the number of free scholars to 10, who were to be boys born in Witney, of parents not assessed to the maintenance of the poor, and ordered that a fee of 1l. 6s. per quarter should be paid by other scholars on the foundation.
The improvement of the Blue Coat School in this place, the rise of national schools, and more recently of a Wesleyan school have entirely absorbed the class contemplated in the revised statute, and the school has practically ceased to be free to any—I mean in the sense of "gratis"—by right, though I have from time to time remitted the fees in the case of a few, sons of widows in reduced circumstances.
This seems to me to have a three-fold bearing, and I accordingly beg to inform you,—a, that the schoolroom, master's house, and premises generally are, through the liberality of the Governors, kept in excellent repair; b, that the endowment being a rentcharge of 63l. per annum, is regularly paid half yearly and applied to its intended uses. If the question refer to the suitable payment of the masters, I have only to state that the salary of the head master is 30l. per annum, nearly the whole of which is paid for rates and taxes incident to the mastership; and that of the usher and writing master com bined is 25l., sums which, as I need scarcely observe, represented in 1660 a considerably larger amount than they do now; c, that the routine of school work is carried on regularly from 9 to 12 o'clock every morning, and in the afternoon from 2 to 4 or 5, according to the season of the year.
During nearly 20 years the average attendance of day scholars has been 15 or 16, and since 1854, when the usher or second master began taking boarders in connexion with the grammar school, the number receiving education in the school has been about 30, never more than 33 nor less than 28 or 27. At the present time the number is 30, viz., 14 day boys and 16 boarders; of these 12 are under 12 years of age, 15 are 12 and under 14 years of age, and three are between 14 and 15 years of age. Boys are not admitted earlier than 7 years old, and very few have remained beyond 15.
On my appointment to the mastership I took upon myself the responsibility of introducing an extended course adapted to the requirements of the town and the age, and from time to time slight additions have been made.
To give efficiency to the plan, I engaged in 1845 a young man who, after being a pupil of mine, had been kindly sent by the then Rector of Witney to the Oxford Diocesan training school for teachers to fit him for school work. I am pleased to say that the good opinion I then formed of his moral qualities, varied abilities and singular aptitude and taste for teaching has been confirmed by 18 years experience. The course pursued in the school comprises religious and moral instruction, Latin and Greek, the first book of Euclid, algebra, &c., history, English grammar, geography, general English literature, writing in its usual varieties, arithmetic, bookkeeping, linear drawing and mapping, and land surveying, with practice out of doors. Much attention is paid to reading and spelling with rules, to analyzing, parsing, and transposing works as Milton and Cowper, to dictation, to information on common subjects, by carefully reading and the next day writing from memory; to the proper style of letter and note writing, both commercial and social. A French and drawing master comes twice a week to teach such boys as wish to have lessons, and drilling is regularly practised under the direction of the sergeant of the R. O. Volunteers. Such are the subjects, means, and appliances for instruction open to all the scholars in this school. You will not expect that all boys go through the whole course. Very few have learned Greek—only a few, fcom time to time, Euclid, or algebra, or land surveying, or French and drawing under the Oxford master; but all learn Latin aud go through the rest of the above-mentioned course. I have only to add on this point that reviewing and examinations are frequent, and that discipline and diligence in studies are sought to be maintained by moral persuasion and vigilance, any other means being exceptions to the rule, few and far between.
In respect to the number of the scholars, considering that the school was intended for 30 boys in a town of which the population is about 3,000, and that the average attendance of boys during many years has scarcely exceeded the half of the specified number, the state of the school appears to be unsatisfactory; yet, in fairness to the establishment and all connected with it, and to enable others to form a correct opinion on this point, I beg leave to state a fact which materially modifies the above admission. After careful inquiry from time to time, I have found that all the boys of this town whose parents have been able to pay the fees have in their day been scholars in this school, with very rare exceptions, and these, for the most part, being boys who have been admitted to establishments possessing great advantages, as Christ's Hospital, Marlboro College, the Benevolent Medical School at Epsom. At the present time the day boys and boarders together amount to 30, as before stated, 14 of the former, 16 of the latter. Strange as it may seem and scarcely credible, I believe, that with the exception of three or four at other schools out of the town, these 14 day boys comprise all the sons (old enough to go to boys' schools) of the inhabitants of this town who can afford to pay the fees. It seems more surprising when it is known that the fees alluded to, including all charges for books, stationery, and drilling rarely amount to more than 6l. per annum. Few, therefore, as the boys from the town are in comparison of what the population would lead anyone to expect, and short as they fall of the wishes of those more immediately concerned, they appear to be all which under the circumstances of the case can be looked for. And so, except as not satisfying wishes, I hardly see how the condition of the school, even in this point, can be described as unsatisfactory. There has been during all the years of my acquaintance with this town a scarcity of boys, I mean of the sons of professional men and upper tradesmen, but the small fry is, I perceive, on the increase, and there is therefore a fair probability that in time they will be gathered in the school net as they come to the proper size and age, and the number in attendance be larger than it is now or has been for time past.
A scheme was framed under the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, and approved by Her Majesty in Council on 24th March, 1873, for the conversion to education of divers non-educational charities therein mentioned, and for the establishment of schools to be called the Grocers' Company's Schools.
By an Order of the Board of 16th July 1873, the Governing Body of the Schools were authorised to sell and release unto the Company for their own use and benefit the entire beneficial interest belonging to the Charities in certain messuages, rent-charges, and hereditaments.
As to Clause 26.—That the stipend of the Head Master should be fixed at 100l. per annum, and that he should also receive a further payment of 1l. yearly for each boy attending the said schools up to the number of 400, and of 10s. yearly for each such boy above that number.
As to Clause 29.—That the following words, viz., "except with the written permission of the Governors, which in special cases may be given with the recommendation of the Head Master," should be inserted at the termination and form part of this clause.
Endowed Schools Commission.
Part I.—General Objects of the Scheme, the School Fund, and the Governing Body.
3. The Endowed Schools Commissioners, with the consent of the Master, Wardens, and Commonalty of the Mystery of Grocers of the City of London, herein-after referred to as "the Company," in pursuance of the 30th section of the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, hereby declare that it is desirable to apply for the advancement of education, the whole of the rentcharges, hereditaments, and sums of money in that behalf specified in Schedules A., B., and C. hereunto annexed, subject as to the hereditaments specified in Schedule B. to such of the charges specified in Schedule D. as affect the same respectively.
4. Upon this Scheme coming into operation, all trusts and directions contained in any Act of Parliament, Letters Patent, Statute, Deed, or Instrument, relating to the said rentcharges, hereditaments, and sums of money specified in Schedules A., B., and C. respectively, shall be repealed and abrogated as if the same were hereby enumerated for that purpose, and the said rentcharges, hereditaments, and sums of money shall be held by the Company upon trust for the Governing Body herein-after constituted for the purpose of this Scheme as herein-after provided.
6. Provided always, that religious opinions, or attendance or non-attendance at any particular form of religious worship, shall not in any way affect the qualification of any person for being one of the Governing Body.
7. The Governing Body shall forthwith apply to the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales for an order authorising the sale and release to the Company of the entire beneficial interest free from incumbrances in the said rentcharges and hereditaments specified in Schedules A. and B. respectively, subject only as to the said hereditaments specified in Schedule B. to such of the charges specified in Schedule D. as affect the said hereditaments, and to the tenancies subsisting therein respectively.
8. The Company shall within three months after the date of the order of the Charity Commissioners authorising the said sale and release, pay to the Governing Body the price for the said rentcharges and hereditaments, subject as aforesaid, which shall be accepted as sufficient by the Charity Commissioners, and also the amount of the capital sums specified in Schedule C., together with such further sum not exceeding 10,000l. of their own free gift as shall make up the aggregate amount of 30,000l. to be called "The School Fund."
9. Full accounts of the receipts and expenditure of the School Fund shall be kept and audited annually, and submitted to the Charity Commissioners in the form set out in Schedule E., unless the Charity Commissioners shall prescribe some other form.
Part II.—The Schools and their Management.
10. The Schools established under this Scheme shall be in a single building or otherwise as the Court shall determine. They shall be conducted on some suitable site or sites to be chosen by the Court within three miles of the City of London, or, with the consent of the Endowed Schools Commissioner, at a further distance therefrom. They shall be adapted for Day Scholars, amounting if possible to not less than 500. And a residence for a Head Master may, if the Court shall so determine, be added.
13. The Boys' Schools shall be under the direction of one man, called the Head Master, unless the Court thinks it better to carry them on in two distinct buildings and to appoint a Head Master for each.
14. The Head Master shall be appointed by the Court. The circumstance that a candidate for the appointment is not and does not intend to be in Holy Orders shall not affect his qualification. In order to obtain the best candidates the Court shall for a sufficient time before making any appointment give public notice of the vacancy, and invite competition by advertisements in newspapers or other methods, as they may judge best calculated to secure the object.
16. For urgent cause the Court may, by resolution passed at a meeting duly convened as a special one for that purpose, declare that a Head Master ought to be dismissed from his office, and in that case they may appoint another special meeting to be held within not less than a week of the former one, and may then by a similar resolution wholly and finally dismiss him. And the Court assembled at the first of such meetings may, if they think fit, at once suspend a Head Master from his office until the second meeting. Full notice and opportunity of defence at both meetings shall be given to the Head Master affected by such resolution.
17. Every Head Master, previously to entering into office, shall be required to sign a declaration to be entered in the Minute Book of the Court, or book to be kept for that purpose, in the following form:—
"I, declare that I will always, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties of Head Master of the Grocers Company's School at during my tenure of the office, and that if I am removed by the Court, I will acquiesce in such removal, and will thereupon relinquish all claim to the mastership, and its future emoluments, and will deliver up to the Court. or as they direct, possession of all the property then in my possession or occupation as such Head Master as aforesaid."
18. Every Head Master shall reside in the dwellinghouse (if any) assigned for his residence. He shall have the occupation and use of such house and of any other property of the School Fund, or of the Company of which he becomes possessed in respect of his official character and duties and not as tenant, and shall if removed from his office, deliver up possession of such house and other property to the Court, or as they direct. He shall not, except with the permission of the Court, permit any person to occupy such house or any part thereof.
19. Every Head Master shall give his personal attention to the duties of his School, and during his tenure of office he shall not accept or hold any benefice having the cure of souls, or any office or appointment, which in the opinion of the Court may interfere with the proper performance of his duties as Head Master.
20. No Head Master or Assistant Master shall in respect of the School work, receive, or demand from any boy in any School administered under this Scheme, or from any person whomsoever on behalf of any such boy, any gratuity, fee, or payment, except such payments as are prescribed or authorised by this Scheme, or by the Court.
21. Within the limits fixed by this Scheme, the Court shall prescribe the general subjects of instruction, the relative prominence and value to be assigned to each group of subjects, the division of the year into school time aud vacation, the payments by the scholars, and the holidays to be given. They shall take general supervision of the sanitary condition of the School buildings and arrangements. They shall determine what number of Assistant Masters ought to be employed. They shall every year assign the amount which they think proper to be paid out of the income of the School Fund, for the purpose of maintaining Assistant Masters and a proper plant and apparatus for carrying on the instruction given in the School.
22. Before making any regulations as to any School under the last preceding clause, the Court shall consult the Head Master thereof, if there be one, in such a manner as to give him full opportunity for the expression of his views.
23. Subject to the rules prescribed by or under the authority of this Scheme the Head Master shall have under his control the choice of books, the method of teaching, the arrangement of classes and School hours, and generally the whole internal organisation, management, and discipline of his School; provided that if he expel a boy from his School, he shall forthwith make a full report of the case to the Court.
24. The Head Master shall have the sole power of appointing and dismissing all Assistant Masters in his School, and shall determine in what proportions the sum assigned by the Court for the maintenance of Assistant Masters and of plant and apparatus ought to be divided among the various persons and objects for the aggregate of whom it is assigned. And the Court shall pay the same accordingly, either through the hands of the Head Master, or directly, as they think best.
25. The Head Master may from time to time submit proposals to the Court for making or altering regulations as to any matter within his province relative to his School, and the Court shall consider such proposals and decide upon them.
26. The Head Master shall receive a fixed stipend of 200l. a year, He shall also receive payment according to the number of boys in the School; that is to say, such sum calculated on such a scale, uniform or graduated, as may be agreed upon between him and the Court, being not less than 1l. yearly for each boy. These payments shall be made terminally, and shall not be made for any boy who has not belonged to the School for the whole term.
27. All boys, except as herein-after provided, shall pay such entrance and tuition fees as the Court shall fix from time to time, provided that no such entrance fee thall exceed 1l., and that no tuition fee shall be less than 3l. or more than 5l. No extra of any kind shall be allowed without the sanction of the Court.
28. All payments for entrance and tuition fees in each School shall be made in advance to the Head Master thereof, or to such other person as the Court shall from time to time determine, and shall be accounted for by the person receiving them to the Court, and shall be treated by the Court as part of the general income of the School Fund.
29. No boy shall be admitted into the School unless he has attained the age of seven years and is under the age of 12. No boy shall remain in the School after the expiration of the term in which he attains the age of 15 years.
30. The Head Master shall, with the sanction of the Court, make regulations for the withdrawal of boys from his School in cases where from idleness or incapacity to profit by the studies of the plaec, they have fallen materially below the standard of position and attainment proper for their age.
31. Subject to the provisions established by or under the authority of this Scheme, the Schools and all advantages of the Schools shall be open to all boys who are of good character, and of sufficient bodily health.
32. Applications for admission shall be made to the Head Master, or to some other person named by the Court, according to a printed form to be approved of by the Court, and delivered to all applicants.
33. The Head Master or other person named by the Court shall keep a register of applications showing the date at which every application is made for the admission of a boy, the date of his admission, withdrawal, or rejection, the cause of rejection, and the age of a boy at the date of the application.
34. Every applicant for admission shall be examined by or under the direction of the Head Master, who shall appoint convenient times for that purpose and give reasonable notice to the parents of those boys whose turn is arriving. No boy shall be admitted except on the terms of undergoing such examination and being found fit for admission. Those who are so found fit shall, if there is room for them, be admitted in order according to the dates of their application, but it shall be competent to the Court to direct that if there is not room their priority shall be determined by Competive Examination, and boys nominated by the Court or by any member of the Court, shall in all cases have priority of admission on passing the usual examination.
36. The parent or guardian of or person liable to maintain or having the actual custody of any scholar may claim, by notice in writing addressed to the Head Master of the School, the exemption of such scholar from attending prayer or religious worship, or from any lesson or series of lessons on a religious subject, and such scholar shall be exempted accordingly, and a scholar shall not by reason of any exemption from attending prayer or religious worship or from any lesson or series of lessons on a religious subject, be deprived of any advantage or emolument in his School or out of the School Fund to which he would otherwise have been entitled. If any teacher in the course of other lessons at which any such scholar is in accordance with the ordinary rules of his School present, teaches systematically and persistently any particular religious doctrine, from the teaching of which any exemption has been claimed, as in this clause before provided, the Court shall, on complaint made in writing to them by the parent, guardian, or person liable to maintain or having the actual custody of such scholar, hear the complaint, and inquire into the circumstances, and if the complaint is judged to be reasonable, make all proper provisions for remedying the matter complained of.
37. The Court and the Head Master shall, each within their own departments, as herein-before defined, and, subject to the provisions of this Scheme, make proper regulations for the religious instruction to be given in the School.
Reading and Spelling.
The Elements of Algebra and Geometry.
Geography, Political and Physical.
Some Branch or Branches of Physical Science.
One or more of the following Languages,—Latin, French, German.
English Grammar and Composition.
39. The boys in each School shall be instructed in the foregoing subjects according to the arrangements made by the Head Master. The Court may also provide for lessons being given by competent teachers in Navigation, Land Surveying, or Agricultural Chemistry, to every boy who is sufficiently advanced to profit by such instruction, but not so as to interfere with the arrangements made by the Head Master for the conduct of the School business.
40. There shall be once at least in every year an examination of the scholars by an Examiner or Examiners appointed for that purpose by the Court, and paid by them, but otherwise unconnected with the School. The Examiners shall report to the Court on the proficiency of the scholars in each School, and on the state of the School as regards instruction and discipline, as shown by the results of the examination and with special regard to the elementary subjects. The Court shall communicate the reports to the Head Master.
41. The Head Master shall make an Annual Report to the Court on the general condition of his School, the details of his entrance examinations, and any special occurrences which have happened in his School during the past year. He also may mention the names of any boys who in his judgment are worthy of praise or substantial reward, having regard both to proficiency and conduct.
42. By way of exhibitions tenable at the School, the Court shall grant exemptions from the payment of tuition fees for such periods and on such conditions as the Court shall think fit. Such exemptions shall be given as the reward of merit only, and shall be assigned —in the case of candidates for admission, on the result of the examination provided for in clause 34—in the case of boys already attending a School, on the Reports of the Examiners and Head Master, and no exemption shall be granted to any boy if the Head Master reports that he is rendered undeserving of it by ill-conduct. The Court may, under the above conditions, exempt boys from the payment of the whole, or of one half of the tuition fee, but such exemption shall in every case be liable to forfeiture in the event of misconduct or failure to maintain a reasonable standard of proficiency. The boys so exempted shall, if children of freemen of the Company, be called and ranked as Grocers Scholars, and in all other cases as Foundation Scholars, and the degrees of exemption shall be further distinguished if the Court think fit. Not more than 10 per cent. of the boys shall be wholly exempt, and no further exemptions shall be allowed, when such exemptions, total and partial, reach the proportion of one in every five boys in the School. In providing such exemptions, the Court shall arrange that one-third shall be competed for, in the first instance, by children of freemen of the Company, and none of this class shall be thrown open to all comers until the Head Master has reported that there are not enough of such children who, on examination, prove worthy to take them. Subject to this preference, the emoluments of the Endowment shall be freely and openly competed for.
44. The Court may also give at their discretion, for competition by all scholars, one or more Exhibitions of 25l. a year, each tenable for three years, either in a School of higher scale, or by way of starting or outset in life, under such regulations as the Court shall in each case direct.
45. The Exhibitions established under this scheme shall be tenable only for the purposes of education, or gaining a start in some profession or calling. If the holder is guilty of misconduct or idleness, or wilfully ceases to pursue his education, it shall be competent to the Court to determine the Exhibition.
46. The Court may, if they think fit, agree with any Head Master that in consideration of an annual contribution by him of a fixed sum of money, the Court shall annually add to it another fixed sum, and that the whole shall be invested and accumulate for his benefit, and shall be given to him in the way of Pension or Superannuation Fund, on retirement after 20 years' service, or in the event of permanent disability by illness; and that in the event of dismissal or resignation before the expiration of 20 years, the fund produced by his own contribution shall be returned.
47. If and when the Court decide upon the establishment of a School for Girls, they may conduct it upon the general principles, mutatis mutandis, herein before laid down for the Boys' Schools; or they may apply for a fresh Scheme to the Charity Commissioners.
48. If there is any residue of income, the Court may employ it in increasing the stipend of any Head Master, or the Fund applicable to the payment of Assistant Masters and School plant or apparatus, in improving the accommodation of the School buildings, in aiding the games of the Scholars, or generally in promoting the spirit and efficiency of the Schools. Whatever they do not think fit to spend in these ways, they shall, on passing the yearly accounts, state as Unapplied Surplus, and shall deposit it in a Bank, and if the sums so deposited rise to 300l., they shall invest the same in Government Stock, in the name of the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds, to the general credit of the Trust.
49. Nothing contained in this Scheme shall prejudice any lawful claim against the Trust funds; and the Trustees who have acted up to the date of this Scheme shall have the same right to indemnity out of the Trust funds against the consequences of all acts done by them in the execution of their Trusts, as they would have had supposing this Scheme had not been passed.
50. The Court may receive any additional donations or endowments for the general purposes of the Schools. They may also receive donations or endowments for any special objects directed by the donors, provided that such objects are certified by the Charity Commissioners to be for the general benefit of the Schools, and not calculated to give privileges to any boy on any other ground than that of merit, and not otherwise inconsistent with, or calculated to impede, the due working of the provisions of this Scheme.
51. If any doubt or question arises among the Court as to the proper construction or application of any of the provisions of this Scheme, the Court may apply to the Charity Commissioners for their opinion and advice thereon, which opinion and advice when given shall be binding on the Court.
52. The Charity Commissioners may from time to time, in the exercise of their ordinary jurisdiction, frame Schemes for the alteration of any provisions of this Scheme or otherwise for the government or regulation of the Trust, provided that such Schemes be not inconsistent with the first part of this Scheme, or with anything contained in the Endowed Schools Act, 1869.
53. This Scheme shall be printed and a copy given to every person who shall become a Governor of the Trust, and to every Master, or Assistant Master, and Teacher appointed to the School, and sold at a reasonable price to any person who may wish to buy one.
Two freehold houses, Nos. 29 and 30, Old Jewry, in the City of London, held by the Company upon the trusts of the will of Thomas Knolles, or Knowles, dated 12th July 1432, for a free and perpetual alms for the support and relief of the poor of the Company.
A freehold house, No. 23, Walbrook, devised to the Company by the before-mentioned will of John Wardall, to the intent that the Company should pay yearly the sums mentioned in the first part of Schedule D.
The rectory and tithes of Forden, in the county of Montgomery, and a fee farm rent of 27l. per annum out of the rectory of St. Austell, in the county of Cornwall, conveyed under the directions of the will and codicil of Lady Middleton before-mentioned, to the Company, to be by them disposed as follows:—
The whole of the fixed charges, except those specified in the 2nd part of Schedule D., and the charge in favour of Christ's Hospital, which has since been redeemed by the Company, are already included in Schedule A.
|Gifts for loans||3,450||0||0|
|Gifts under the will of Gilbert Keat before-mentioned, for the Company's poor||50||0||0|
|To the churchwardens of St. Botolph, Billingsgate||4||0||0|
|To the churchwardens of East Greenwich||6||10||0|
|To the parish of West Ham||5||0||0|
|To the minister of Forden||30||0||0|