Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
INSTITUTIONS FOR EDUCATION.
ROYAL FREE GRAMMAR-SCHOOL.
The Head School, as it is now called, or "hye school," as it seems to have been termed at the time of its establishment, owes its first foundation to a munificent chief magistrate, Thomas Horsley, who was mayor of Newcastle in the years 1525 and 1533, and who devised certain property for that purpose under the superintendence of the corporation. The school was originally situated on the north-east side of St. Nicholas' Church-yard. (fn. 1) The generous founder is meritoriously particular in his description of the person proper to be appointed to so responsible a situation. He is directed to be "an able and sufficient priest, or master (master of arts), profoundly learned, and instructed in the knowledge of grammar; and that he is to keep a public grammar-school for the free erudition and instruction of all scholars, not only of those inhabiting the town, but of those resorting to it." (fn. 2) In augmentation of the original endowment, it appears, that a stipend of four marks was agreed to be paid by the corporation for ever. At the visitation of the bishop of Durham, February 1, 1577, Humphrey Grey and Thomas Boswell, schoolmasters (probably of Horsley's school), occur. Humphrey Grey was buried July 8, 1594; and, December 27, 1596, Cuthbert Ogle, grammar schoolmaster, occurs. Mr. Francis Burras, the last master, resigned on the re-foundation of this school in 1599.
The monasteries being the only respectable and permanent establishments for education in the kingdom, excepting a few of royal or episcopal foundation, when these had become extinct, the want was grievous and alarming. In order to remedy this evil, and strengthen the establishment of the Protestant religion, queen Elizabeth founded several grammar-schools: and Horsley's school was converted into a royal foundation, by a clause in the charter granted by her majesty to Newcastle upon Tyne, in the 42d year of her reign. This clause was suggested by the following considerations:—"Moreover, we, often revolving in our mind how much advantage would arise to the commonwealth of England, over which Almighty God hath been pleased to place us, that youth should be well grounded from their tenderest years in the rudiments of the true religion, and instructed in learning and good manners, we, &c. ordain, constitute, and appoint, &c. one free grammar-school, which shall be called the Free Grammar-school of Queen Elizabeth in Newcastle upon Tyne." The master and scholars of this school are to be a body corporate in law, with perpetual succession, to have a common seal—a legal capacity of purchasing and holding lands, &c. to themselves, and successors, in fee simple, or for term of years, provided they exceed not the annual value of forty pounds, are not held of the crown in chief, or by military service, notwithstanding the act of mortmain. The governing part of the corporation of Newcastle, of whom the mayor and six aldermen to be seven, are appointed the patrons of this school, with the power of electing "one honest, learned, and discreet man, to be the first and modern master of the said school, and one other honest, learned, and discreet man, to be the first and modern under-master of the said school," (fn. 3) whose offices are held under their pleasure, and are to be filled up by them on every removal or vacancy by death.
Instead of erecting buildings for the use of this new establishment, as appears to have been intended by the charter, the corporation of Newcastle, to whom belonged the presentation of a master to the ancient Hospital of St. Mary the Virgin in Westgate Street, appropriated the existing buildings of the hospital to the purposes of the school. Many of these buildings remain to this day, and retain the venerable appearance of a college. The chapel of the hospital was converted into a school: and the dormitory and other parts of the building. which formed a quadrangle on the south, were altered into houses and apartments for the head-master and under-masters of the school.
Robert Fowberry, A. M. appointed in the year 1600. (fn. 4)
Amor Oxley was master about the year 1637. (fn. 5)
Nicholas Augur succeeded in 1645; resigned, on account of ill health, Feb. 27, 1647. (fn. 6)
George Ritschel appointed August 29, 1648. (fn. 7)
Richard Garthwaite, A. M. appointed about Christmas, 1669. (fn. 8)
Thomas Rudd, A. M. occurs as master in 1699. (fn. 9)
James Jurin, A. M. appointed January 23, 1710. (fn. 10)
Edmund Lodge, clerk, succeeded Jurin, September 26, 1715. (fn. 11)
Richard Dawes, A. M. appointed July 10, 1738. (fn. 12)
Hugh Moises, A. M. was appointed in October, 1749. (fn. 13)
USHERS, OR SUB-MASTERS.
James Ferne, clerk, appointed April 17, 1710. (fn. 14)
John Wibbersley, A. M. appointed June 26, 1749. (fn. 15)
Anthony Munton, A. M. succeeded January 2, 1752. (fn. 16)
Jeffrey Clarkson, L. L. B. appointed June 18, 1755. (fn. 17)
John King, A. M. succeeded February 6, 1760. (fn. 18)
William Hall, A. M. appointed December 15, 1766. (fn. 19)
George Carr, A. M. succeeded September 26, 1726. (fn. 20)
Weaver Walter, A. M. succeeded December 15, 1766. (fn. 21)
The impropriated, or great tithes of Bolam parish, in Northumberland, belong to this school. By the charter of incorporation, the master and scholars may have a common seal; but there is none at present, nor does it appear that any former master used one, as the estate has been and is managed entirely by the corporation of the town. (fn. 22)
To cherish this admirable institution, Lord Crewe devised, by his will, that out of the rents and profits of his estates in the counties of Northumberland and Durham, the sum of £20 yearly should be paid to each of the twelve exhibitioners of Lincoln College, in the university of Oxford, "which I have already named and appointed, or which I shall hereafter name or appoint—and to each and every of twelve exhibitioners to be elected and chosen after my decease, as herein after mentioned, who shall be under graduate commoners in Lincoln College aforesaid, and who are or shall be natives of the diocese of Durham—And for want of such natives, of Northallertonshire or Howdenshire in the county of York or of Leicestershire, and particularly of the parish of Newbold Verdon, or of the diocese of Oxford whereof I was formerly bishop, or of the county of Northampton in which county I was born.— And my will is and I do hereby direct that such exhibitioner or exhibitioners by me already named and appointed, or to be by me hereafter named and appointed, or upon any other vacancy or vacancies whatsoever, shall be from time to time and at all times for ever after my decease elected and chosen by the rectors and fellows of Lincoln College aforesaid for the time being or by the major part of them, and to enjoy the said exhibitions or annual payments for eight years, if they shall respectively so long continue resident in the college aforesaid, and no longer, unless they have leave from the rector of the college aforesaid for the time being to be absent, which I desire he will not grant but upon reasonable cause. And I do hereby direct that as often as any vacancy or vacancies shall happen of such exhibitioner or exhibitioners, others shall be elected in their room within three months, in manner as aforesaid."
Dr. Hartwell, by his will, devised £20 per annum, to be divided into two exhibitions of £10 each, towards the maintenance of two scholars, to be sent to either of the universities, out of the schools of Durham and Newcastle. The exhibitions are to continue for four years, with a year of grace, to take a degree, if the trustees (the dean and chapter of Durham) think fit, and are to be paid out of the rents of his estate of Fishburn.
Michael Smith, D. D. rector of Freckenham, in the county of Suffolk, who died on the 6th of May, 1773, bequeathed to Emanuel College, in Cambridge, the sum of £800; one half of the interest of which is to go to the reparation of the chapel and college, and the other half to the maintenance of a scholar, either from the school of Durham, or that of Newcastle upon Tyne. This exhibition has already been claimed and enjoyed by scholars from Newcastle school. Dr. Smith was the son of a Mr. Smith, alderman of the city of Durham, and nephew of Cuthbert Smith, Esq. alderman of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The following is the preface to an order of the common council of Newcastle, dated 28th July, 1637:—"Whereas there is usually paid out of the revenewes of this towne, to five schollers being freemen's sonnes goeing from this schoole to either of the universityes of this kingdome, the some of £5 a peece for seaven yeares, for their better encouragement and education." (fn. 23) The order proceeds to appoint Richard and Cuthbert Stote, the sons of Edward Stote, a free merchant, to the first vacancies. This donation was discontinued by an order dated 30th September, 1736, but was revived 18th June, 1778. Nothing is now paid by the corporation for this purpose. "Highly distinguished," observes Brand, "as this body is for every other species of munificence and charity, it appears extremely deficient in making no handsome provision, out of its ample and increasing revenues, to encourage the laudable ambition of the scholar of fortune."
This school has obtained a very high and just celebrity from the respectability and attainments of its teachers, and the distinguished characters it has produced. (fn. 24) Under the able superintendence of the venerable and Reverend Hugh Moises, it rose to the acme of classical fame, and eminently contributed to diffuse a taste for the liberal arts and sciences throughout this northern district. After this respected master had retired, it slowly but gradually declined, until at last its entire desertion seemed to be at hand. In 1820, only nine scholars attended this school; whereas some of the old scholars recollect when 133 were at it. Such an alarming falling off induced Archi bald Reed, Esq. during his mayoralty in that year, to request that the stewards of the incorporated companies would appoint a committee, to enquire into the causes of this decay. The stewards accordingly appointed Messrs. George Brumell, George Anderson, and John Taylor, as a committee, to carry the laudable views of his wor ship into effect. This committee examined the boys who then attended the school, and then reported that no blame could be attached to the master. In consequence of this report, the subject was abandoned at that time.
The declination of this once-flourishing institution may partly be attributed to the confined system of education formerly pursued; for, since the great extension of commerce, navigation, and manufactures, the learning of Greek and Latin has gra dually fallen into disuse; and a knowledge of the modern languages, and of the sciences connected with trade and the arts, have generally become the favourite objects of study. Perhaps, also, the great age of the writing master, and a misunderstanding which unfortunately took place between the head and the sub-master, may have contributed to injure this school. On September 6, 1794, the Rev. E. Moises requested the Rev. M. Manners to "stay the usual hours in the school;" when the latter insisted that he always punctually performed his duty, and accused Mr. Moises of "improper absences, irregularity, and uncertainty." The dispute was brought before the mayor and common council on September 27, in the same year, when Mr. Manners resigned.
Mr. Moises' great classical acquirements were generally known and admired, and it was also admitted that he had "taken great pains to form a general plan for the studies of the boys;" yet the burgesses were persuaded that some powerful causes had contributed to the decay of the Grammar-school. Accordingly, Mr John Brown, secretary to the stewards, called the attention of the magistrates to this subject at the Michaelmas Guild in 1822. The suggestion being well received, the early in the following year, appointed a deputation, consisting of Messrs. Crawhall, Brumell, and Stephenson, who waited upon Robert Bell, Esq. mayor, and the common council, to urge the necessity of some immediate and effective measures being adopted, to restore the school to its former usefulness. The mayor and council shewed equal anxiety to effect so desirable an object, and requested the deputation to lay before them, at an early period, the plan they wished to be adopted. The stewards of the incorporated companies, in consequence of this invitation, chose a committee to execute this duty, consisting of Messrs. George Brumell, W. W. Spence, James Guthrie, Jacob Sopwith, Edward Storey, and their secretary, John Brown. On visiting the school, this committee was received with every mark of respect by the head master and usher, who afforded them all the information in their power. The committee immediately reported, in substance, "that Mr. Moises' classical school should remain unaltered; also that conducted by Mr. Scott, wherein Grammar, Geography, &c. are taught; that a master be appointed to teach the higher branches of the Mathematics; and that a new writing-master be engaged, or an assistant for the present one, or that he retire on a pension on account of his long and valuable services." This report was presented to the mayor by Mr. Brumell; when his worship promised to lay it before the common council, and to give it his most cordial support.
On receiving the report, the common council ordered great additions and alterations to be made in the schools; and so promptly was the work executed, that the following advertisement issued from the Mayor's Chamber on March 3, 1823:—
"The Free Grammar-school of Queen Elizabeth, Newcastle upon Tyne.—The alterations in the Free Grammar-school being nearly completed, the School will reopen on Monday, the 17th instant; when, according to the extended plan of education to be adopted in future, in addition to the Greek and Latin languages, English Grammar, History, Geography, &c. as well as Writing, Arithmetic, and the Mathematics, will be taught by the second and third masters. Boys to be received into the school in future must be of the age of eight years at least, able to read and write with tolerable facility, and also have some knowledge of the rules of Simple Arithmetic. The head master will attend at his house, in the Spital, a few minutes before 9 o'clock each Monday morning, to receive and examine such boys as apply for admission.
"The terms on which boys are instructed are as follows, viz. a payment of 5s. each, per quarter, is required from the sons of Free Burgesses of Newcastle, and a payment of 15s. each, per quarter, from the sons of other persons, such payments being divided equally between the second and third masters; and likewise a payment of 2s. each, per quarter, from all boys instructed by the third master, whether the sons of Freemen or not, in consideration of his supplying them with pens and ink.
"The lower Writing-school, to which Mr. Lowes has been appointed in the place of Mr. Askew, will continue open as usual: the English Language is now taught in this school, as well as Writing and Arithmetic; and boys under 8 years of age are admissible." (fn. 25)
Thus, by the improved scheme of education adopted in this school, to Greek and Latin were added those other branches of learning which are usually considered essential parts of a liberal education, viz. English Literature, Writing, Arithmetic, the Mathematics, Geography, and the Use of the Globes; and nothing seems now wanting to render the plan complete, but the occasional attendance of a French and German master. It is, indeed, surprising that the corporation has never thought of enabling youth to acquire a knowledge of languages, so peculiarly useful in this maritime and commercial town. The beneficial effects of the change made were soon apparent. The school rapidly increased; and at the present time (October, 1826), nearly 80 scholars attend the Grammar-school. The corporation pays to the Rev. E. Moises, head master of this school, an annual salary of £150; to the Rev. R. H. Scott, usher, £120; to Mr. J. Weir, the Mathematical teacher, £100; (fn. 26) and to Mr. James Lowes, the Writing-master, £50. This is exclusive of the quarterage payments of the scholars, which is divided as before stated.
A viro venerabili Thoma Horsley
Regnente Henrico octavo fundatam,
Ab illustrissima Elizabetha
Auctoritate regia insignitam,
Pro solita munificentia reficiendam curabant
Veri patroni major & commune concilium
A. D. 1782.
Edvardo Mosley, majore,
Georgio Colpitts, vicecomite."