A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1957.
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Ancient educational institutions are not numerous in Wiltshire. At the time when the ecclesiastical and social changes of the 16th century were altering the basis of education in England, only three towns in the county secured any of the confiscated ecclesiastical revenues for the establishment of a grammar school, and only two of such schools survived. Personal foundations added four more grammar schools and a girls' school in the next two centuries. Wiltshire was fairly lavishly supplied with the private schools, of many sizes and qualities, characteristic of the years between 1660 and the mid-19th century; from the later 18th century they were common in the small towns, especially where nonconformity was strong. (fn. 1)
A considerable number of benefactors established in villages and town parishes the small and very elementary schools which first attempted to provide education for poor children. When the attempt reached the dimensions of a crusade, organized in the Sunday school movement, the British and Foreign Schools Society (1810) and the National Society (1811), Wiltshire clergy and landowners were as zealous in the work as those of other counties. The educational reconnaissances conducted by Brougham's Committee in 1819 and again by Newcastle's Royal Commission (1868) revealed a provision in this county not far from adequate in quantity, though its quality varied widely. Five of the 48 endowed schools listed—Bradford-on-Avon, Downton, Trowbridge, Westbury Boys' British, Wilton—were teaching middle school subjects. (fn. 2)
In the modern era the story of Wiltshire education is divided by the sharp differentiation between the county as a whole and the borough of Swindon: since the advent of the G.W.R. created a new Swindon, their educational problems and policy have differed as widely as their circumstances.
As the rapidly extending field of education has been increasingly occupied by public enterprise, nothing has more strongly marked the process in Wiltshire than the excellent relations among all concerned in it; progress and consolidation have followed patience and good sense on one side and confidence on the other. An advisory committee has since 1919 expressed this relationship; it comprises nine members of the education authority and thirteen representatives of teachers' associations. Three individual contributions in the early years of public administration of education call for special mention. They are those of William Pullinger, director of education 1903–31; R. F. Curry (d. 1906), H.M. Inspector, 'sympathetic friend of the teachers and schollars, wise counsellor... generous helper of the handicapped', (fn. 3) in whose memory Wiltshire teachers raised the Curry Trust Fund for medical aid to needy children; and Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice (1846–1935; cr. Baron Fitzmaurice of Leigh, 1906), who devoted to the cause of education in the county for many years not only material gifts but the mind of a distinguished scholar and the experience of a statesman.
The establishment of a grammar school in Salisbury Close (1540) (fn. 4) only slightly preceded those built upon the chantry revenues after 1548. Of the three places which then secured schools, (fn. 5) Bradford and Trowbridge had theirs taken away by letters patent of Elizabeth I on 10 May 1569, because these 'upland towns' had 'small resort of gentlemen and merchants'. (fn. 6) Their united grant, £26 1s. 8d., was transferred to Salisbury for the salary of a master and usher; the mayor and his brethren undertook to provide school premises, houses, and any extra salary needed, and were given the right to appoint the two teachers. The school moved in 1641 to a house in Castle Street, thereafter inhabited by the master or the usher. From 1743 until 1856 the master was also invariably lecturer at St. Thomas's Church, the corporation thus conveniently adding £20 a year to his income. (fn. 7) The Brougham Committee reported the school, under the name of St. Thomas, as having no pupils; (fn. 8) this may apply only to foundation scholars, who Carlisle says seldom exceeded three, but he speaks of other day boys and boarders. (fn. 9) Two successive masters, in 1801 and 1804, had been translated from the city grammar school to that in the Close. Some leading citizens tried to give their school a fresh start in 1865, but their plan for two schools—upper and lower—failed because the ratepayers protested against the expenditure it would entail. Instead, a new master was appointed who was to start his own school in a better house; the trustees added the rent of the old one to his Elizabethan salary and nominated certain free pupils. (fn. 10) Apparently the experiment failed: twenty years later, Salisbury was lamenting its lack of a free grammar school.
Two younger foundations in the county also failed to survive in 19th-century competition. Rose's school, founded in 1677 by Charles II's gardener, who had been a poor boy himself, was to be a free grammar school for twenty boys of Amesbury parish. By 1868 the teaching was only elementary and the scholars Very ignorant'; the master was also postmaster. The Commissioners failed to persuade the trustees to fulfil Rose's purpose better, (fn. 11) and in 1899 the school closed. A similar fate befell the school founded by Richard Jones's executors in Wootton Bassett. His will, dated 17 August 1688, left £300 for any charitable purpose they saw fit. In 1696 they formed a trust to establish therewith in Wootton Bassett a free grammar school for boys, under 'a fit, competent and idonious person'. The description does not fit the master whose 40 years' deterioration reduced the school by 1861 to vanishing-point. (fn. 12) The Charity Commissioners sanctioned the allocation of its fund to the National School.
If Wiltshire had few public grammar schools until recent times, it had an increasing number of private schools. Although their distribution was unsystematic and their quality varied, they were for 200 years the chief educational force in the county; and in some cases, as at Trowbridge, Marlborough, Bradford, and Devizes, the modern secondary schools built partly upon their foundations. Calamy mentions four ejected clergy who taught schools in Wiltshire: (fn. 13) William Hughes, whose large boarding-school flourished in Marlborough for 25 years; Henry Dent in Ramsbury; Nathaniel Webb in Bromham; and William Gough in Warminster, who in 1664 moved to Erlestoke. Occasionally a clergyman or minister tutor got into history in association with a famous pupil: such were Robert Latymer, or Latimer, at Leigh Delamere, who taught Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and John Aubrey the antiquarian (1626–97); the Revd. J. L. Fenner whose school Thomas Lawrence attended in 1781, and the Revd. Robert Kilvert under whom Augustus J. C. Hare spent 'long days of uninstructive labour in the close hot schoolroom' at Hardenhuish rectory in 1843–6. (fn. 14) Cobbett visited at Pewsey the school of his friend Strong, a keen gardener who used the boys' games of football as a means of spreading dung over his field. (fn. 15) The account-books (1802–41) (fn. 16) of the school kept at Ramsbury by the Revd. Edward Meyrick show pupils drawn from county families, from London, Ireland, and the Indian service.
Salisbury was especially prolific in the socially select schools of the 18th century, of which Mrs. Voysey's was a specimen. (fn. 17) Thomas Moore and Anne Deer, competing in 1714 in boasting of their pupils' wealth, (fn. 18) had their counterpart in the later strife of Joseph Corfe and Robert Parry as music teachers (1780) (fn. 19) and of John Corfe and John Bailey as dancing masters (1769). (fn. 20) Of a more sober tone were the middle-class schools clustering in the small market-towns from the later 18th century. In Long Street, Devizes, sixteen of the houses have held private schools; here and at Salisbury were private grammar schools in the 19th century. In the whole county, in 1880 the number of private schools was ninety. (fn. 21)
The records of such schools are too incomplete and capricious to justify any generalization except that each was individual. The clear impression some have left is due to a striking personality: at Amesbury, the schools taught by Henry Browne, his son and daughter from about 1822 centred, like his life, in the study of Stonehenge; (fn. 22) Miss Charlotte Kerr, who had been at Louis XVIII's court, was famous in Devizes for the teaching of deportment and French; (fn. 23) Dr. R. W. Biggs, one of the most successful teachers of that town, inculcated diligence and discipline by a system of book-keeping in which five-shilling units of work were balanced against 'fines' for offences, and a £5 credit earned a school holiday. (fn. 24)
In a class of its own is St. Mary's School, Calne, founded in 1873 as a girls' middle school by Canon Duncan, Vicar of Calne. It had an endowment of £1, 700 (fn. 25) when in 1902 its governors applied for its recognition as a secondary school, or for the new county school for girls to take over its premises. Both proposals were rejected. (fn. 26) Instead, St. Mary's has become one of the most notable independent girls' schools in the country. In a sense, it is a daughter house of the Godolphin School, for it was mainly re-created in the Godolphin spirit by Miss E. M. Matthews, headmistress from 1915 to 1945.
More fortuitously placed and as various in quality were the free schools for the education of the poor, endowed before this purpose became a general concern. An undated 'Account of Wiltshire', probably about 1727, (fn. 27) names 31 of these; in 1868 there were 48, 35 dating from before 1800. They ranged from 4 or 6 pupils (Bishopstone) to 50 at Potterne and Salisbury, and 86 at Devizes—'a great School'. (fn. 28) Some of these accumulated legacies: Chippenham, Bradford, and Malmesbury were thus fortunate; Wilton was particularly lavishly endowed. An unusual type of benefactor was the Bear Club, originating with frequenters of the famous hostelry in Devizes: in 1757 they resolved to spend their fines and entrance fees in educating, clothing, and apprenticing poor boys. By Maynard's gift in 1777 a schoolhouse in Maryport Street was provided for the boys (16). (fn. 29) The clothing was a uniform, worn in the first year on Sundays only The school observed the careful rules instituted in 1775 until its end in 1874, and it was proposed that the £600 then in hand should be paid to the borough council for technical education. Most of the 18th-century endowments were similarly absorbed into the public educational system at various dates, sometimes in relief of the parish rates, or for nominating certain free scholars at the board schools.
Schools under the auspices of the British and Foreign Schools Society were founded at Warminster, Melksham, Devizes, Ashton Keynes, Bradford, Calne, and Trowbridge within the society's first 25 years. (fn. 30) Corsham and Swindon soon followed. Some of these rose to more than 100 pupils; in 1829, Melksham with 310 and Calne with 215 boys were the largest. The reports of the society's inspectors reveal that the schools at Corsham, Calne, and Bowood benefited by the active support of great landowners; the school at Trowbridge, by a 'very spirited and efficient' master, who in two years had his boys working at square roots, English grammar and geography, and was creating a change in 'an entirely ignorant populace'. Westbury, on the other hand, was 'deplorable'; at Devizes the ladies would not have girls taught to write, and at Warminster the committee objected to questions designed to test understanding of passages read. (fn. 31)
Much more numerous were the Church of England schools established between 1811 and 1870, by parishes independently or under the Salisbury diocesan society for education founded by Bishop Denison. The report of Brougham's Committee shows that in Wiltshire there were 11 week-day and 9 Sunday schools 'on the new plan', and 102 dame schools; but 109 parishes were still without any but a Sunday school, and 69 had not even that. (fn. 32) Some places, for instance Corsham and Cricklade, retain inscribed records of endowed schools which had already in 1819 ceased to exist. The poor children of 72 parishes were said to be sufficiently provided for; 13 parishes wanted no school, but in 148 the poor were eager to have one. In North Wraxall, Great Somerford, Bishopstone, Little Hinton, Fisherton Delamere, Heytesbury, Crudwell, Christian Malford, North Bradley, and Holt, child employment made a school useless. Frequently the report records individual enterprise on the children's behalf: in 18 parishes the clergyman was responsible for it, in 13 places a local landowner, in 18 another benefactor, sometimes anonymous. Twenty-three week-day schools were maintained by subscriptions; this includes those affiliated to the National Society. In 1846–7 it was estimated that in Wiltshire one in 13½ of the population attended school. (fn. 33)
When government inspection began, the reports on Wiltshire schools often revealed a very low standard of attainment: in one place, only 5 of the 120 pupils could read a verse in the Gospels, and only 7 had reached compound rules in arithmetic. Agricultural interruptions and inefficient teachers were often the trouble; also, few boys stayed at school after they were 10 years old. By the 1850's, certain schools habitually earned good reports: these were Calne middle school, Corsham Boys', Downton, Castle Combe, Warminster, Wilton, and Trowbridge. Bradford reached this grade suddenly under the stimulus of a new vicar. In many cases the comment occurs, 'This school owes everything to the vicar of the parish.' It was truest of all at West Ashton, which drew children from miles around, some lodging in the village to go to school. 'The principle is to make the school as much as possible like what a home for children ought to be.' The clergyman lived in the school as much as possible, opened his house to the children after school hours 'and his heart always'. (fn. 34)
A valuable picture of the state of elementary education in Wiltshire in the mid-19th century is given in the return prepared by the Revd. W. Warburton, H.M.I., to a House of Commons order in 1859. (fn. 35) Details of attendance, staffing, buildings, equipment, and curriculum are given for every school open to inspection, usually with inspectorial comments on teachers, pupils, and management. There were 140 day schools liable to inspection and 428 others, but most of this second group were dame schools, often very small. Protestant dissenters' day schools numbered 67; Roman Catholic, 2; endowed schools, 68; and parish union schools, 15. Pupil teachers were the most numerous category of staff, followed by teachers without recognized qualification; there were only 75 certificated teachers in the county. The inspector's general comments stress on the debit side the poor conditions in most dame schools; and for the assets, the support of the wealthy landowners. His list of twelve benefactors is headed by the Marquess of Lansdowne, who entirely maintained three schools and aided others; and the Marquess of Ailesbury, who gave £40 a year to each of six schools and lesser grants to others. Mrs. Poulett Scrope not only founded an efficient school at Castle Combe, but herself taught a night school of men and boys three times a week through the winter.
Statistics of existing elementary school accommodation were required by the Committee of the Privy Council in 1872 as a preparation for implementing the 1870 Education Act. These returns (fn. 36) show only 16 Wiltshire parishes having no school, besides 64 where the school fell short of government standards of efficiency, and 53 where extension was needed. On the other hand, 140 places already met all the government requirements, and they included all the towns except Salisbury, Swindon and Trowbridge.
The first school boards in the county were formed at Salisbury and Box in 1871 and 13 more had appeared by 1880. Six of these had to be formed compulsorily. Seven further boards were created by 1902, of which 4 were formed compulsorily because of the inadequacy or closure of existing schools. (fn. 37)
The last two decades of the century were marked by a steadily increasing demand for scientific and technical education. When the county technical education committee was first formed in 1891 there were almost no science classes in the county and no laboratories for chemistry or physics. (fn. 38) Only at Swindon, where the school board cooperated with the New Swindon Mechanics' Institute in the work, and at Salisbury School of Art was there technical teaching within the meaning of the Acts of 1889 and 1891. The attendance at such classes rose from 500 in 1891 to 17,664 in 1901. (fn. 39)
Symptomatic of this educational period was the College of Agriculture at Downton, founded in 1879, the second in England. It flourished under Professor Wrightson (late of Cirencester), specializing in Hampshire Down sheep, experimenting with flax and sorghum crops and soil chemistry; the discovery of the agricultural value of basic slag is attributed to it. Several times enlarged, it had to be rebuilt after the destruction of all the new buildings by fire in 1891. (fn. 40) The agricultural committee established by the county council in 1892 concentrated on itinerant 'schools' of butter-making, cheesemaking, and farriery, later adding bee-culture and poultry-keeping. This practice gradually lapsed, though an advisory service was maintained and agricultural demonstrations arranged. The acquisition of the Farm Institute at Lackham in 1950, after it had served its original purpose of training ex-servicemen, was the most important step in the post-war expansion of agricultural education.
Another legacy of the Second World War was the residential Adcroft School of Building at Trowbridge, a continuation of the School of Building evacuated thither from Hammersmith. This, the Lackham Farm Institute and the residential college at Urchfont Manor were items in a comprehensive plan for the development of Further Education after 1945. A special officer was allocated to this branch, and in two years (1946–8) the number of students rose from 5,679 in 492 classes, to 8,108 in 710 classes. In 1948 the county was divided into areas in which, as far as possible, every place was within 50 minutes' available transport from a central town; in four central towns an area college of Further Education was to be set, to be supplemented by six other local colleges for less specialized work as required. The area colleges at Chippenham and Salisbury were established in 1947 and 1948; at Swindon the college was already 50 years old; at Trowbridge existing technical institutions provided a nucleus. By 1951 the Salisbury college had 4 branches in its region, and the North Wilts. area, 6; there were also Further Education institutes in 24 other places. By far the biggest age-group of students was the adult. The practice of day-release, peculiarly difficult in a county where small-scale businesses predominate, was also developing: the 216 students released in 1947 had increased to 944. (fn. 41)
When the county council, by the Education Act of 1902, had to provide for secondary education, existing institutions were utilized and developed at Bradford-on-Avon, Calne, Chippenham, Dauntsey's School, Devizes, Malmesbury, Marlborough, Salisbury, and Trowbridge. Secondary schools also recognized at Westbury and Warminster (fn. 42) were short-lived, though the Warminster one lasted until 1931. At Calne, West Lavington, and Marlborough the reconstruction on old foundations is described elsewhere. (fn. 43) At Bradford, Chippenham, and Malmesbury, the county secondary school grew out of a day school recently established by the local technical education committee. That at Bradford, dating from 1896, started its new phase in 1902 with 60 pupils, incorporating a girls' private school. Its present name, the Fitzmaurice Grammar School, justly commemorates the lifelong benefactions and support of Lord Fitzmaurice, chairman of the governors from 1904 to 1935, who left the school an endowment of £10,000. By 1952 it numbered 188 pupils. (fn. 44) At Chippenham, the technical and secondary schools were also closely associated from the start. In 1900 they were concentrated in one building; the secondary school after absorbing a private grammar school had 70 pupils. The virtual founder of the county day school at Malmesbury was Mr. Alexander Cameron, formerly science teacher for the 'technical' classes; he became its first headmaster (1896–1920). Under the new regime it was made co-educational (1902), and in 1903 moved to a building of its own, opening with 45 pupils. Pupilteacher classes in this rural centre outlived the others in Wiltshire, ending in 1920; and the school had an agricultural bias. Expansion after the First World War led to the purchase in 1921 of adjoining premises, raising the accommodation to 160 pupils. (fn. 45)
At Devizes and Trowbridge, private grammar schools preceded the county secondary schools. One established by a joint-stock company of Devizes residents in 1859 came to grief in 1871, (fn. 46) and the title passed to the school carried on by two generations of the Pugh family from 1873 to 1917. Meanwhile, in response to a petition, the education committee had opened a co-educational secondary school in 1906. Mr. Pugh's premises, bought by the county council in 1919 for a continuation school, served instead as an extension of the secondary school; but further growth soon made this over-crowded, and a new grammar school building was part of the plan for using the Southbroom estate purchased for educational purposes in 1926. In Trowbridge, too, the first grammar school (c. 1860–6), begun and endowed by the Revd. F. H. Wilkinson, failed. A boys' high school was founded in 1884 under the auspices of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference, prospered and moved in 1890 to new buildings in Wingfield Road. It catered especially for 'boys of average ability' and its academic work reached matriculation standard. In 1897 a day secondary school for boys was begun by the local technical education committee. Under the new county regime, girls were admitted in 1902. In 1912 the boys' high school was bought, and its name and premises passed to the boys from the county school. This left the girls' section occupying the Victoria Institute until in 1932 they moved to new and larger premises as the girls' high school. (fn. 47)
Wiltshire's efforts for secondary education occasioned the comment of an inspector in 1902, 'It is in the purely rural counties that educational progress has been most marked.' (fn. 48) In elementary education, the task of supplying so rural an area was greater. Opposition on both religious and party political grounds to the state provision of schools was especially strong in the election campaign of 1898. Where, as late as 1937, 233 of the 302 elementary school departments in the county were non-provided, (fn. 49) the co-operation of managers and the support of public opinion were essential. A 1937 summary of the position (fn. 50) classifies the elementary schools by size, showing the largest group (129) to be those with under 50 pupils; only 77 schools had over 100. This reveals the problem of sparse population. The allocation of travelling grants to pupil teachers in the county schools was commended as 'pioneer work' by the Board's organizing inspector in 1903. (fn. 51) Similar grants, lodging allowances and the loan of bicycles were early used to give children from outlying districts access to the secondary schools.
Another almost perpetual difficulty was that stated by the school medical officer in a report on school hygiene: (fn. 52) 'The long period required for negotiations and to afford time for relative improvements [to buildings] makes it impossible... to do justice to the efforts of the Sub-Committee to raise the standard of... school premises.'
Rural conditions also made it difficult to secure fully qualified teachers. In March 1918 the county was employing 223 without qualification. (fn. 53) No more were appointed after 1934, but in 1938 there were still 102 in the schools. Certificated teachers had gradually increased to 559. (fn. 54)
The provision of day continuation schools under the Fisher Education Act was taken up with some vigour by the Wiltshire Education committee. Before government action suspended the whole scheme sine die in December 1920, 38 of the proposed 54 schools had been planned, sites for 15 had been decided upon and the purchase of 7 completed. (fn. 55) The scheme led to the first instances of the division of senior from junior elementary schools, later made national policy by the Hadow Report. The Hadow reorganization was not completed in Wiltshire before 1939; (fn. 56) a review of progress in 1929 refers to 'schemes... abandoned owing to the attitude of the Managers of non-provided schools or for other reasons'. (fn. 57)
With the outbreak of war in 1939 came the evacuation of 10,327 children from East and West Ham and Portsmouth into Wiltshire. One hundred and twenty-five schools had to be found improvised premises; the other children were absorbed into Wiltshire schools. The Children's Convalescent Home at Marlborough was a valuable centre for training those who could not be billeted. (fn. 58) Two hundred and sixty-four evacuated children remained in December 1945. (fn. 59)
The 1944 Education Act resulted in the formation of the following secondary modern schools under the county authority: Calne, Chippenham, Devizes (Southbroom), Downton, Durrington, Marlborough, Mere, Salisbury (Highbury Avenue), Tidworth Down, Trowbridge (Nelson Haden), Upper Stratton, Warminster (The Avenue), Westbury, Wroughton (Burderop). Voluntary bodies have also established secondary modern schools at Bradford (Trinity), Salisbury (St. Edmund's for girls and St. Thomas's for boys), Warminster (Sambourne) and Wilton.
The history of education in Swindon is almost entirely that of the years since 1841, when the G.W.R. began to make it a modern industrial town, 'coherent and rather isolated' (fn. 60) in a very rural county. From its arrival 'the active co-operation of the G.W.R. company has contributed materially to the development of education in general and of technical education in particular'. (fn. 61) The unsectarian school which the company opened in 1845 in New Swindon for the children of its employees gave an education superior to any other then available in the town; and the lectures and classes of the Mechanics' Institution were the root of subsequent technical instruction and miscellaneous evening classes.
Nevertheless, when the first school board was elected on 10 November 1877, the only provision for the 4,343 children in its charge was in the parochial schools (1764) in Old Swindon, Holy Rood Roman Catholic school (1862) and the G.W.R. schools. This left a deficiency of 1,196 places. (fn. 62) From that time for nearly 50 years, the Swindon school board and education committee were engaged in a strenuous and unrelenting race to overtake the ever-mounting population graph, always two or three stages ahead, By 1889, 4,500 places were available, but already the school population had leapt to 5,300. (fn. 63) It was impossible to enforce the attendance by-laws fully, for the presence of even 88 per cent, of those registered over-crowded the schools. (fn. 64) In the years 1891–5 the town's population increased by another 25 per cent.; but the percentage increase in rateable value was only half that of school children, (fn. 65) so costs were also an acute problem, for voluntary schools could only take one in ten. Before the end of the century, interest on building loans equalled over a third of the education rate. (fn. 66)
From its origin the Swindon education authority strove after quality as strenuously as it had to strive for quantity. The earliest reports of government inspectors published (fn. 67) placed only one school below the 'good' class; by October 1894, all were graded as 'excellent', and 14 of the 19 departments were exempted from annual inspection. (fn. 68) In 1892 the level of exemption from school was raised from standard V to standard VI because so many children qualified early; (fn. 69) in 1898 it was raised to standard VII, (fn. 70) while rural Wiltshire still found difficulty in attaining a standard V level of exemption. In 1891 a boys' higher grade school was opened and in 1898 a similar girls' school. Central classes for pupil teachers were instituted in 1894, and from 1897 their study hours were gradually increased to half time, (fn. 71) with the result that in the years 1898– 1902 there were no failures in the Queen's Scholarship examinations and First Classes numbered 55 to 65 per cent, of candidates. (fn. 72) The committee early began to raise the standard of its school staffs by increasing the proportion of certificated teachers: it reached 92 per cent, by 1909, (fn. 73) and soon afterwards ceased to appoint any less qualified.
The technical education committee formed to administer the 1889 and 1891 Acts on the subject took over in 1892 the science and art classes of the Mechanics' Institution at the same time as its night schools passed to the school board. The institution was then spending £3,500 a year in education, and circulating a library of nearly 17,000 volumes. (fn. 74) It continued to stimulate education by such acts as the gift of many annual prizes and the organization of university extension lectures. A new technical school, opened in 1896, admitted girls in 1899 and became after 1902 a secondary school, later known as the College. Swindon's later secondary schools are: Euclid Street (1919), a development of a higher grade elementary school; the Commonweal Secondary School (1927); and the Headlands, whose building was delayed by war restrictions until 1952, although the site for it was purchased in 1935. Before secondary school fees were abolished, in 1933 all the places in these schools were opened to competitive examination, and fees were remitted according to a scale fixed in proportion to income. Further education was given a great impetus in the borough by the W. G. Little Fund (1932), yielding about £1,700 a year to be spent in 'ordinary' and post-secondary scholarships for Swindon children, or in the maintenance of scholars; its grants could be used for technological studies and research. (fn. 75)
Developments after the First World War included one of the few day continuation schools which came to birth (1920), but it could not overcome the handicap of noncompulsion and closed at the end of 1922. (fn. 76) The G.W.R. provided annually 30 day studentships in engineering to be held at the College, and in 1932 increased the number to 48.
Physical culture of schoolchildren gained much from voluntary help: the G.W.R. lent swimming teachers (1904) and the use of its baths; the Rugby club lent its ground to the secondary school (1925); the corporation reserved sites in its recreation grounds for the use of children during school hours (1926); elementary school cricket improved rapidly after Swindon cricket club allowed the use of some of its pitches (1930); the cultivation of games and sports in the elementary schools owed almost everything for years to the voluntary work of the School Sports and Athletic Association, formed in 1912 and still active.
Reorganization under the 1944 Act deprived Swindon in law of a great deal of the autonomy it had enjoyed since 1902 and used so vigorously; but wide powers were still exercised in 1953 by the borough (the one excepted area in the county) under a scheme of divisional administration.
The Cathedral School, Salisbury
The claim that Salisbury's Cathedral School was founded in 1314 (fn. 77) rests upon the fact that it is the choristers' school, and in that year Edward II confirmed the grant by Bishop Simon of Ghent of rents from premises in Salisbury to be applied for the sustenance of fourteen choir boys of the cathedral and a master to teach them grammar. (fn. 78) This endowment was followed in 1322 by a grant of the advowson of Preshute (fn. 79) by Bishop Roger Mortival and later by 100s. annual rent from West Hanney church (Berks.). (fn. 80) This gift was part of Bishop Mortival's attempt to save the boys from beggary and its moral risks; he appointed a canon of the cathedral as their custos and ordained that the boys should live together in a house in the north-western corner of the Close (fn. 81) with a master fit to train them in letters and morals. (fn. 82) There were three people charged with the choristers' upbringing: the custos, not necessarily in close contact with them; their 'instructor in music'; and the sub-magister for their general education. Of these, the most constant influence upon them was their music teacher's, inescapable whatever other education they escaped. By 1347 master and boys had moved to another house in the Close in Bishop's Walk where they lived until 1559. It is uncertain when the boys began to attend the chancellor's grammar school; they were there from 1448 until 1469 at least. (fn. 83)
This grammar school in the Close, of which the choristers were the nucleus, after various changes of name (fn. 84) survives as the Cathedral School. It seems to have been re-established in 1540, after 65 years during which no grammar school in Salisbury is recorded. The revival was apparently due to Dr. Thomas Benet, (fn. 85) precentor and custos of the choristers, to whom he bequeathed 'a good milch cow'. His cousin Christopher Benet, master of the school in 1554, moved in 1559 into Braybroke House in the Close, with which the school was associated for nearly 400 years to come.
Dr. Benet's initiative was timely, for during half the century the choristers were subjected to organists more exciting than edifying: Thomas Smythe, deposed from teaching them by Bishop Jewel in 1568 for multiple offences, including shouting at his enemy during divine service; and the famous musician John Farrant, master of the choristers from 1571 until he fled from Salisbury in 1592 to escape the penalty for a murderous attack on the dean.
Such explosions and scandals varied the monotony of neglect from which the choristers and their school suffered recurrently. Their medieval benefactors were rare, and the endowment was inadequate in 16th-century conditions; financial difficulties were never satisfactorily overcome until the 18th century. As for education, at a visitation in 1593 the canons did not even know whether the choristers attended school. Their music instruction suffered because the teacher, Richard Fuller, was also organist and a lay vicar. Four years after John Bartlett was appointed as a separate teacher, he was indicted for his 'ill carriadge towards' the boys, who often did not know their music and were so ill fed, ragged, and dirty that friends took them home. Thus about 1620 the choristers became day boys and remained so for the next 250 years. Complaints of neglect continued; Laud's Visitors were told by the chapter in 1634: 'The Choristers have not been well ordered.' For a time they vanished altogether, during a wrangle over the possession of their house. As for their grammar master Arthur Warwick, neither Archbishop Laud nor the chapter could induce him to attend to his business, nor could 'dismissal' dislodge him: he retained his office and revenues until his death (1651), while a deputy was paid to do his work.
During the Interregnum the choir seems to have been disbanded. A new start was made at the Restoration with seven boys in the choir. The grammar school under the rule of Edward Hardwick (1673–1706), a vicar choral, and his successor Richard Hele (1706–56) enjoyed palmy days. A school of 150 boys, preparing its scholars for the universities and producing men of national distinction, (fn. 86) was indeed a transformation.
The school's finances improved after the death of a defaulting tenant of the Preshute lands in 1711. Thomas Naish, Clerk of the Works, a good friend to the boys, supervised the rebuilding of the house, notable for its beautiful hall in early 18th-century style. In 1724 the chapter even allocated part of a sum invested in land at Tilshead for the choristers' maintenance. There were now ten of them, and probationers could be selected. Under the Revd. Edward Butt (1769–80) and Dr. John Skinner (1780–1801), a vicar choral, the choristers were no longer the raison d'être of the school. Significantly called 'the Revd. Mr. Butt's school for young gentlemen', it relied on its boarders to finance the education demanded by that age of elegance—university scholarships in classics, 'proper Masters' for French and drawing, dancing classes with genteel balls, theatre and concert visits. This school declined rapidly with the ancien régime which produced it and its counterparts in the close. The choristers were neglected in the intensified rivalry for the more lucrative private pupils. The incurable slackness of the Revd. John Greenly (1813–46), who lived all his life on the distinction of having been wounded at Trafalgar, hastened the decline.
Miss Maria Hackett, the champion of the cathedral choristers of England, (fn. 87) found the Salisbury boys 'remarkable for their musical proficiency and correct deportment', and noted that they were also taught Latin, Greek and 'the three R's'. (fn. 88) Nevertheless, their financial prospects suffered from the revolutionary changes of the time. The chapter showed much concern for the boys, but its decree forbidding the master of the grammar school to take boarders obstructed both financial and educational adjustment. It frustrated Canon Hamilton's (fn. 89) desire to develop the school's efficiency, and caused two successive headmasters to resign. Instead, economies were practised to the suicidal point of selecting a headmaster whose academic qualification was matriculation (1874), and the savings were used to increase the number of choristers to sixteen. Only when Canon Swayne resigned in despair the office of custos (1881) was the headmaster's salary abruptly raised from £30 6s. 8d. (fn. 90) to £250.
A new life began for the boys of the school in 1869, with the opening to them of a world of culture and delights in the homes of two great bishops of Salisbury, George Moberly (1869–85) and John Wordsworth (1885–1910), and later, those of Miss Edith Moberly and others. They were not patrons but friends, who gave the boys a share in their family life. Fortunately, too, the school secured two headmasters with insight and means to solve its problem: Canon E. E. Dorling (1890–1900), whose prospectus described it as 'a good preparatory school'; and Canon A. G. Robertson (1900–30), who by throwing all his own resources of mind, body, and estate into the school achieved results which at length convinced the chapter that this school was the setting economically and educationally necessary to the welfare of their choristers. It would also give the boys an avenue to other schools when superannuated. The chapter in 1930 accepted this solution: (fn. 91) the Cathedral School is a preparatory school, in which the choristers may be regarded as foundation scholars.
Under Mr. E. L. Griffiths (1933) the school increased to 90, and in 1947 it moved into yet more historic quarters in the old Bishop's Palace. No setting could be more appropriate to the distinctive element in the school's history. It is the sixteen choristers whose calling gives it its special character, growing out of hours spent daily in the service of the cathedral and in the intensive study of an inexhaustible art.
It was on 10 March 1542 that Alderman William Dauntsey (fn. 92) made the will to which Dauntsey's School owes its origin. William came of a West Lavington offshoot of the Trowbridge branch of the family; as a fourth son, he had made a career for himself in London, where in 1504 he became a member of the Mercers' Company. His will assigned his London property to that company, directing his executors to 'cause... a house for a School to be kept in and 8 chambers to be edifyed and builded' in West Lavington. His brother Ambrose was to appoint 'one apt and convenient person to teach gramer in the Schole house' at a yearly stipend of £10. (fn. 93) The school house was built in West Lavington in 1553.
The next news of the alderman's bequest is a suit brought against the Mercers' Company in 1635 by Sir John Danvers, husband of the heiress of the Dauntseys. Its result was a Chancery order to the company to pay £60 yearly to the master and the seven poor persons inhabiting the 'chambers'. The division of the money was not prescribed. Payment was continued until 1801, when the Mercers raised the master's salary by £30. The Schools Inquiry Commission reckoned the company's annual expenditure on the school at £247, plus rates, taxes, and repairs. (fn. 94)
The school's financial security was perhaps its undoing. The Brougham Commissioners reported in 1834 that there was no demand for the classics: the scholars were only taught 'the three R's'. (fn. 95) Both the Schools Inquiry Commission (1868) and a 'Committee of Investigation' formed by local residents in 1878 tell a tale of slackness and degeneration. (fn. 96) The master, appointed in 1832, received from the Mercers a stipend of £120, with extras amounting to £60, his house, rates, and taxes. He left all the teaching except religious knowledge to his assistant and one of the senior boys, aged 12. He had been appointed by the owner of the Dauntsey estate with the admonition that school work should interfere as little as possible with agriculture. He so far concurred that the average leaving age was 9¼ the school's opening was regulated by the claims of the farming year; attendance in October was 28 per cent. Such a school merely hindered the provision of an efficient one. (fn. 97)
The result of this condemnation was the scheme of administration approved by the Privy Council on 6 February 1892. There had been some hesitation as to the form the revived school should take. The plan adopted was suggested by Joseph Chamberlain, who himself opened the new building on 7 May 1895. With the assent of the Mercers, it was to be an agricultural school in connexion with the elementary school. The Mercers' Company retained the right to nominate 8 of the 23 governors. The old school house was sold, and on a new site a school was erected for 50 boarders and 50 day boys. After the first 18 months, there came difficulties and declining numbers. Dauntsey's School seemed to miss the mark through aiming at two targets—organized science and agriculture. As an agricultural school it received partly adverse reports in 1897 and 1898 from the Board of Agriculture. (fn. 98) In 1904 its transfer to the Board of Education seemed to imply a decision in favour of a secondary school.
Dauntsey's School had, however, fallen into a vicious circle, in which decline in numbers followed lack of confidence, and in turn led to poverty, which made it impossible to pay for well qualified staff and left the school where this cycle began. The steadfast support of Lord Fitzmaurice, in counsel and gifts, (fn. 99) did not suffice to break this. It was broken when Mr. G. W. Olive came from Oundle as head in 1919. Governors and parents, realizing his certainty of aim, soon co-operated by willingly accepting big financial risks and increased fees. In 1921 the vicechairman, S. W. Farmer, began with the provision of new farm buildings and workshops a munificent series of benefactions still maintained by his trustees. 'Had there been no Farmer benefactions', Mr. Olive writes, 'there would have been no Dauntsey's School as it stands today.' (fn. 100) An education committee formed in December 1922 to consider measures for reform included Sir John Russell, H. G. Wells, and F. S. Marvin as well as selected governors. (fn. 101) The Board of Education's approval of the school (1921) marked a stage of advance. Dauntsey's retained its agriculture course, with practical training on its small mixed farm, but the title 'Agricultural' was dropped when it became a public school in 1930.
The history of the modern Dauntsey's School could be written in statistics of academic successes, from 1921 when a single school certificate with five credits was an achievement, to 1951 when 130 of the 300 boys were doing sixth-form work and open scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge were regularly matched by corresponding successes in the armed services and professions. The statistics might record material expansion—the purchase of the Manor estate in 1929 for the junior school; the Farmer biological laboratory; the hall with its two stages, also given by the Farmer trustees; the gymnasium supplied partly by friends and parents in 1935 and supplemented by a school-made miniature stadium; in 1938 the botanical garden, under the directorship of Mr. E. M. Marsden-Jones, F.L.S.; the library block of 1940, soon housing 4,000 books. These are major items in an almost annual list of extensions or adaptations. To them may be added the boys' own contribution: dining-tables and benches, bedsteads and lockers, sheds and workshops, playing-fields and stadium and cricket scoringboard, stage equipment, and library catalogue, all have been made by the boys themselves.
But statistical treatment would in this case fail to be historical. The heart of the matter lies in an abundant vitality creating a multitude of spontaneous activities, and turning difficulties and deficiencies into opportunities for resourcefulness, co-operation, and achievement.
Marlborough Grammar School
When the dissolution of the chantries in 1548 deprived Marlborough of the Hospital of St. John and the Jesus services in the town's two churches, the burgesses petitioned for the hospital to be converted into a 'Free-scole for the inducement of youth'. In response, letters patent were issued on 18 October 1550 establishing a grammar school at Marlborough. (fn. 102) The mayor and burgesses were given power to make ordinances for its government, but the master was to be appointed by the head of the Seymour family, hereditary wardens of Savernake Forest. (fn. 103) Both these associations proved permanent: the town council, although losing its right of control by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, is still represented on the governing body; and the Marquess of Ailesbury is an hereditary governor because his predecessor in 1676 married the Duke of Somerset's heiress.
In 1578 the old hospital first used as the school had to be pulled down and new premises built, combining schoolroom, dormitories, and master's house. These served until 1790, in spite of multiplied numbers.
There are still in the possession of the school certain Latin and Greek texts and school books published between 1559 and 1652. (fn. 104) That it remained a classical school is confirmed by the institution of the annual Latin oration made before the mayor's house by a scholar after his election; the custom was sustained from 1611 to 1798, except for a short lapse (1631–78).
Possibly politics contributed to difficulties between the town council and the master which led to two dismissals, in 1633 and 1678, for 'misdemeanors'. (fn. 105) Thereafter the corporation enacted meticulous rules for the master's attendance, sent a 'surveyor' monthly to see that he was diligent, and heard the appeal of any boy against his placing in class. Curriculum, holidays, even a ban on bathing in the river, were fixed by the town council. (fn. 106) Not until 1711 did Dr. John Hildrop emancipate his office; then his ten-year struggle against the corporation for arrears of salary gave him financial redress and left him ruler of his school.
Meanwhile it had received a stimulus to learning, in the foundation of scholarships tenable at Brasenose College, Oxford, and St. John's College, Cambridge. By the will of Sarah, Duchess of Somerset, (fn. 107) these were to be open in turn to Manchester and Marlborough Grammar Schools and Hereford Cathedral School. At least from the early 17th century, paying pupils had been admitted to the school, and this bequest drew promising boys to Marlborough as boarders. The Somerset scholars were sometimes residents and sometimes outsiders. After lapsing in 1875, the Somerset exhibitions and scholarships at the two colleges have since 1942 again been awarded to the three schools, on rather different conditions.
Since 1703 Marlborough Grammar School has always had graduate masters, with one exception. (fn. 108) From Dr. John Hildrop's time and through the reigns of the Revd. William Stone (1733–50), the Revd. Thomas Meyler senior (1750–74) and the Revd. Joseph Edwards (1774–1808), the school maintained a high level of scholarship and sent its pupils out into the professions, especially the church.
The first two headmasters of the 19th century, the Revd. J. T. Lawes (1809–28) and the Revd. Thomas Meyler, junior (1828–52), upheld Marlborough's reputation for classical scholarship, although the former is more remembered for his appearance before the Court of King's Bench in 1815, charged with having knocked a pupil insensible. It is hard to reconcile this with the lasting friendship of his Warminster pupil Thomas Arnold for Lawes. (fn. 109) Under Thomas Meyler, grandson of a former master, the school reached a hey-day; but there appeared signs of changing times, not only in the first organized cricket matches, but in a petition of Marlborough residents that their school might become a 'commercial' one to fit boys for 'superior trade'. (fn. 110) The Lord Chancellor refused thus to divert the endowment, so such subjects as English and arithmetic had to be paid for.
The early life of Marlborough College was too precarious and turbulent for it to appear to menace its older neighbour. In fact, when Lord Bruce in 1853 proposed an amalgamation, with the classical side at the college and the English or modern side at the grammar school, the town refused to tie its royal free school to 'the bankrupt institution in the Bath Road'. (fn. 111) The proposal was renewed in 1870 by the Revd. F. H. Bond, headmaster of the school (1853–76) and former college Master. It was again rejected, though relations during his reign were close and friendly.
When F. H. Bond resigned, the grammar school was closed for 2½ years (1876–9), for the Charity Commissioners to reconsider Marlborough's demand for a commercial school. Their scheme (29 June 1878) transferred the appointment of the headmaster to the governors, and empowered them to grant free tuition to 10 per cent, of the pupils if Marlborough residents. Both classical and modern curricula were provided. (fn. 112)
This attempt at a dual-purpose school failed. Local opinion now preferred a technical school, and after 1891 most of the school premises were let to the technical education committee for its classes. The grammar school dwindled to six boys in a single room; lessons and discipline were intermittent. The end came peacefully when the headmaster resigned in 1899.
Six years later the school began a new life as a co-educational secondary school in a new building for 80 pupils, unfortunately on the same restricted site. The school proved vigorous and expansive: by 1938 it had touched the 300 mark, (fn. 113) but it had no more room except a playing-field (1924) and two classrooms (1932). War and subsequent restrictions prevented any building on the new site bought in 1936. The rising proportion of country pupils did, however, lead to the school's most distinctive contribution to modern education in Wiltshire, namely, the successful establishment of a co-educational boarding-house in Wye House (1947). On its 400th anniversary, one of its governors, Mr. Chamberlain of Ramsbury, endowed the school's future by a gift of shares valued at £5,000, the income to be devoted to purposes not covered by public grants.
The Bentley School, Calne
John Bentley of Richmond, Surrey, made a will on 29 September 1660 in which he devised an undivided sixth of a field called 'Ficketts' adjoining Lincoln's Inn, together with a rent-charge of £12 a year on another part of the field, the two sums to be used for the establishment of 'a free English School'. (fn. 114) There is no evidence to connect John Bentley with Calne or to explain the choice of that distant Wiltshire town for the establishment of his school in 1664. The only clue is that the name of one of his three trustees, William Penniger, (fn. 115) may be a version of an old Calne name, Pinniger. In 1665 a house and garden in the Green were bought, which became the home of the school and its master until 1833.
Within twenty years the school was transformed into a classical grammar school by a decree of the Commissioners of Charitable Uses (1683), ordering the teaching of Latin as well as English subjects. This intervention followed a petition from 42 Calne inhabitants to the Crown, to ratify the trustees' dismissal of a 'loose, negligent and idle' master, James Webb. (fn. 116) The transformation was confirmed by Sir Francis Bridgman's gift in 1734 of two exhibitions to the Queen's College, Oxford; in view of these, the trustees directed that at least seven boys should be taught Latin and Greek.
Meanwhile the endowment had suffered a serious deterioration. The land in Lincoln's Inn was sold in 1690 for £1,200; (fn. 117) only four of the six trustees participated in the transaction, and this irregularity, followed by the investment of part of the price in a mortgage and the complications introduced by a bankruptcy, landed the trustees in a Chancery suit (1727) which was not finally settled until 1742. (fn. 118) They emerged with sufficient capital to procure two annuities of £50 a year on lands in the Chippenham district. There was also an investment of £300 in Consols, realized in 1833 to provide a new school and master's house.
By 1836 it was found that the income, in changing economic conditions, was too small to secure an able master, and the trustees therefore decided, in spite of the protests of the town council, to charge fees. Elementary education the national school already supplied adequately; whereas if fees were charged, Calne boys could still have the chance of the Bridgman exhibitions and a fuller English education. (fn. 119) The effort seems to have failed, for the Brougham Commissioners reported in 1834 that Bentley's had not been a classical school for some years; no Bridgman Exhibition had been claimed for 30 years. (fn. 120) Complaints had been made about the school, but nothing done, on account of the age and past services of the master. (fn. 121) Apparently patience was soon rewarded, for H.M. Inspector's reports of 1846 and 1847 commend the teaching, even with the comment: 'Intelligence well cultivated.' (fn. 122)
In 1861 the government grant to the school ceased because the fees were high enough to disqualify for it. The Schools Inquiry Commission (1868) revealed a tenacious but rather disheartening struggle: the teaching was 'good as far as it goes', but a programme including book-keeping, Euclid, and surveying drew only 41 boys, aged 8 to 14. (fn. 123)
Towards the end of the century, the Charity Commissioners tried to modernize Bentley's School by reorganizing it and offering at a low fee commercial and science subjects for boys of 8 to 16 years; a visiting master would teach chemistry and drawing; a modern language and 'principles of agriculture' were also in the plan. Here was the modern secondary school in embryo, and in 1901 it was readily amalgamated with the technical institute as the Calne County School. The most revolutionary change involved was the admission of girls. Calne preferred dual education, (fn. 124) and at first (1903) the girls' department was conducted separately in another house in the Green. When a new building was erected in 1909 the school became co-educational.
The reconstruction did not meet the needs of growing numbers and of the variety of a modern curriculum. By 1934 it was clear that advanced courses must be provided if the school were to escape from a dangerous mid-way suspension between higher elementary and grammar school. Space and money had therefore to be found; the confined site of the school was a difficulty, and the enhanced modern value of Ficketts field would have been useful. The new headmaster, Mr. M. S. Gotch, built up the sixth form work in both arts and science with such facilities as were available, using various rented quarters in the town. Under the 1944 Education Act the school was given voluntary controlled status, and a site at Wessington was bought by the county council in 1946 for a new school building and a boarding house, not yet (1952) erected.
The wheel has turned full circle: Bentley's foundation, once more a free school, reverted in 1947 to its historic name as the Bentley Grammar School. Sir Francis Bridgman's gift has long been lost, but his purpose too is fulfilled in the regular succession of boys and girls of Calne passing from the Bentley School to the universities.
Lord Weymouth's Grammar School, Warminster
'To the glory of God and the advancement of Religion and Learning this School was built and endowed by Thomas Lord Viscount Weymouth Anno Domini MDCCVIL' So reads the inscription over the entrance to a dignified building in the classical Queen Anne style on the outskirts of Warminster, the town which may be regarded as the capital of the Longleat estates. There is a strong tradition (fn. 125) that the foundation was suggested by Bishop Ken, who was living in retirement at Longleat about that time. The most valuable gift with which Lord Weymouth endowed his school was the beautiful stone house in the style of the Wren period (fn. 126) where the school and its headmaster still live (1952). A block of classrooms, laboratories, and the other working accommodation needed by a 20th-century grammar school has been added without spoiling the original house and garden. The rest of the endowment was an annual rent-charge of £30 a year; in return for this and the occupancy of the building the headmaster is under obligation to instruct the boys of Warminster, Longbridge Deverill, and Monkton Deverill in the principles of the Church of England and 'such proper and useful learning as shall be most suitable to their ages and conditions'. (fn. 127)
The appointment of the headmaster is in the hands of 'the owner of Longleat House' for ever, and until 1864 it was always given to a clerk in holy orders. Several in succession in the late 18th and early 19th centuries were scholars of good standing, and the association between the mastership of Warminster and the Wykehamist foundations was so persistent at that time that it provokes historical curiosity. (fn. 128) Two Wykehamist sons of a master at Winchester College, the Revd. Thomas and the Revd. George Isaac Huntingford (later, D.D.), were in succession masters of Lord Weymouth's School (1777–87, 1787–9), and the second of these returned to Winchester as warden in 1789 before he became Bishop of Gloucester. He had been succeeded at Warminster by another fellow of New College, Oxford: the Revd. Henry Dison (or Dyson) Gabell. Henry Gabell went on to Winchester College as second master in 1793 and became its headmaster in 1810. (fn. 129) There followed him at Warminster the Griffith dynasty: Dr. John Griffith, another Wykehamist, was succeeded first by his second son, the Revd. R. C. Griffith (1816), and then (1820) by the eldest, the Revd. C. T. Griffith. It was during Dr. John's reign that Lord Weymouth's School had its most famous pupil, Thomas Arnold, who was a boarder there from 1803 until he passed on to Winchester in 1807 at the age of eleven. At Warminster, then, the future headmaster of Rugby had his first experience of a boarding-school; and for years after, he corresponded with its usher, the Revd. J. T. Lawes, who moved to Marlborough as master of its grammar school in 1809. (fn. 130) Both the Griffith sons were fellows of Wadham College, and the elder one received the D.D. degree during his tenure at Warminster.
Like other country grammar schools in the 19th century, Lord Weymouth's suffered changing fortunes. No foundation deed or statute was known to exist to anchor it to the founder's intention. (fn. 131) Records are insufficient to show whether its vicissitudes were due to general social and educational conditions or to personal and accidental factors. Dr. C. T. Griffith's high reputation as a teacher both of classics and of physical science 'copiously illustrated by interesting experiments' survived when the Schools Inquiry Commission reported, 28 years after he had retired. (fn. 132) Somehow his successors fell into financial difficulties, and the school sank 'almost to zero'. (fn. 133)
The Marquess of Bath rescued it by the appointment in 1864 of the first lay headmaster, Dr. Charles Alcock. The patron had thought to give the school a new lease of life by varying the classical boardingschool tradition to meet the needs of the middle-class parents of the time and district; fees therefore were kept low for day boys, and French and mathematics were as much emphasized as classics. Dr. Alcock's sound teaching and forceful personality established a reputation in the district and beyond; his energy and versatility became almost a legend during his 30 years' tenure. His impetus carried the school through the period of adaptation to a changing educational system when many of its type faltered or fell. After another perilous phase, when Lord Weymouth's became almost entirely a day school, Mr. I. P. Macdonald was appointed headmaster in 1940. The school recovered its vitality and character, and in ten years more than doubled its numbers, with boarders once more preponderating and fardrawn.
There are certain peculiarities in the form of Lord Weymouth's foundation. His descendant the Marquess of Bath is ipso facto patron of the school and chairman of its council; the right of appointing the headmaster, however, lies with him not personally but as owner of Longleat, and there is no corresponding power of dismissal. The headmaster's office is a freehold for life: before the 1884 Reform Act, it gave him a vote in the counties of Wiltshire and Hereford. (fn. 134) His only obligation in return is that quoted above, which is set out in the deed of appointment. Hence the history of Lord Weymouth's School, more than most old foundations, is that of its headmasters.
The Godolphin School, Salisbury
According to the will (fn. 135) of Elizabeth Godolphin (1663–1726), daughter of Francis Godolphin of Coulston, and founder of the school which bears her name, her husband Charles Godolphin (1651–1720) (fn. 136) was her collaborator in her educational plans. Their memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey also describes the foundation of the school as 'by him designed, and by her completed'. Certain phrases in Elizabeth's will, however, suggest that the idea of the school was hers first: 'A scheme was drawn up at my desire by my said Husband... a particular institution of Charity proposed by me.' Elizabeth's uncle Sir William Godolphin (fn. 137) was ajso involved, perhaps unwittingly. It was the money she had received from her uncle's personal estate which formed the nucleus of the trust fund for the foundation of the school. Sir William's legacy realized £3,359; this, Elizabeth made up to £5,000, but even so, the number of scholars had to be reduced to eight instead of the twelve originally planned. A codicil shows that the capital was actually invested by the testatrix in lands at Glastonbury before her death.
The foundation of a school for the free education of 'young orphan gentlewomen... whose fortunes do not exceed £400 (fn. 138) bespeaks an unusually quick perception of the needs of a class perhaps too near to most benefactors to attract their attention. The same understanding of the girls' situation prescribed a wider curriculum than was then usual: they were to be taught 'to Dance work Read write cast account and the business of Housewifry'. Elizabeth Godolphin's directions laid strong emphasis on the religious basis of education; it was her original intention to make the Dean and Chapter of Salisbury her trustees, but they declined the office. A 'wise and discreet person' was to be appointed to visit the school monthly or oftener, to report on pupils and governess.
For nearly 60 years after Elizabeth Godolphin's will was proved, her trustees did nothing about it except to receive the rents of the Glastonbury estates. A not entirely reliable local history (fn. 139) attributes the ending of this inaction to a critical letter from Glastonbury published in the Salisbury Journal on 20 May 1781. The appointment of a new receiver was ordered; but not until 30 April 1783 (fn. 140) was a decree of Chancery made which cleared the way for the establishment of the school.
The school was opened on 9 August 1784 in Rosemary Lane adjoining the Close. The heirs of Elizabeth's nephew William had the right to nominate both scholars and mistress. They appointed as the first 'wise and prudent governess' Miss Gifford, assistant at Mrs. Ivie's school in the Close. She was allowed to take as fee-payers twelve other young gentlewomen of Church of England parentage. Hatcher alleges that the estates of the trust were still neglected until about 1831; possibly this belief lies behind the report of the Brougham Commissioners in 1833, (fn. 141) that they 'found no reason to impute wilful blame'. Between 1815 and 1833 the curriculum had been extended; the interpretation of 'Housewifry' taught the girls 'to provide for themselves in the best manner and make the best appearance small means would allow'. Dancing had come to be taught 'not ... directly', but by watching the lessons of the private pupils and practising with them.
In 1836 the school, then under Miss Bazeley (1832–54), moved from Arundel House (fn. 142) in the close to the King's House, where it remained until about 1847, (fn. 143) when in consequence of an outbreak of cholera Miss Bazeley leased a house on Milford Hill and thus transferred the school to its present site. Upon Miss Bazeley's resignation, the governors had misgivings about retaining the lease of so expensive a house, but the strong evidence that the move had been an economy in doctors' bills prevailed. So the school remained in close touch at once with the city and with the wide horizons and windy skies which have been an exhilarating influence in its life. Less predictable was the scope which Milford Hill provided for the expansion which came in the later 19th century.
After the rigid efficiency of the era in which girls' education consisted largely of memorizing and rules of behaviour, a new life began to stir with the return of Miss M. T. Andrews, a former pupil of the school, as headmistress in 1875. There were then eleven pupils, but almost at once the practice began of entering candidates for the local examinations of Oxford and Cambridge, the School of Art and the Royal Academy of Music. Visits to concerts, Shakespearean performances, university extension lectures, preluded a wider age.
Numerical expansion accompanied the further invigoration of the school by one of the headmistresses of genius whom that almost-pioneer generation produced from cultured homes. Miss M. A. Douglas began her reign (1890–1920) with 23 girls and saw the school grow to 230. From the first, with the close collaboration of her sister, she framed the school on the house system in a literal sense. To the school house built in 1867 Miss Douglas added suitable adjacent houses, buying or renting them herself as need and opportunity arose. When she retired, she handed over to the governors, furnished, all the houses that she owned. The governors followed her lead, until now the Godolphin School and its properties occupy most of the hill-top. The principle is maintained that the 'house' should be a real household within the school; for instance, each girl dines in her own house.
Under Miss Douglas and the young staff aged 20 to 29 who came with her, school life overflowed into the myriad activities typical of the 20th-century school. French had for long been intensively cultivated—'We looked upon Racine's plays as quite frivolous reading', says a pupil of 1854–8; (fn. 144) now came German, mathematics, a wide variety of crafts including book-binding and carpentry, cookery and laundry. A museum was begun, and a periodical art exhibition. Cricket, started in 1892, was followed by hockey and swimming. In 1897 the invitation to girls' schools to join in the social service started in Camberwell met a ready response from the Godolphin School; the Union of Girls' Schools for Social Service, into which this mission soon developed, became an important part of the life of the school, to which many past pupils have given active help, two of them as organizing secretaries of the executive.
Expansion led to additions to the school buildings and grounds. The building which is now the nucleus of the school, containing hall and library, was opened on 1 October 1891; to it were added another floor, the studio wing and the museum; the sanatorium was first built in 1895; a separate gymnasium dates from the 1920's; a fine science block, the Ash building, was opened in 1936. Several acres of playing fields were acquired near the main building in 1906 and 1924. Gardens for the girls had been a feature of the school since the 1890's. The open-air swimming-bath, completed in 1927, was given by Old Girls, parents, and friends.
In its modern phase the Godolphin School faithfully observes, mutatis mutandis, the original purpose of its founder. The foundation scholars must still be 'orphan gentlewomen who are of Church of England parentage' (fn. 145) and are in financial need. It is still 'assumed that all the girls are in process of becoming useful members of the community, capable of earning their own living'; (fn. 146) and although this requires an education more complex than the foundress could imagine, it is still rooted in the religious faith which she held essential. A high proportion of Old Godolphins seek careers of usefulness. Complementary to the school's conscious loyalty to tradition are the freedom and informality which pervaded it from a time when these qualities had not yet been generally accepted as educational virtues. In form and spirit alike, the Godolphin School of the 20th century bears the stamp of its 'second founder', Miss M. A. Douglas.
The Diocesan training college, Salisbury
Salisbury Diocesan Training College for schoolmistresses was one of the earliest established. In 1840 the dioceses of Salisbury and Winchester decided to maintain between them two training colleges, one for men at Winchester and one for women at Salisbury. This was opened in January 1841 with one student, under the 'lady superintendent' Mrs. Duncan, who impressively combined all the responsibilities of the establishment. (fn. 147) Numbers soon increased to capacity (30).
The pioneer days were not easy. The conception of teaching as a vocation requiring professional training had to struggle against the idea that it was a last resort for the unqualified. Inspectors protested against the recommendation of physically unfit candidates. (fn. 148) Strenuous work at college was needed to make up for the scantiness of the average girl's education: at the first inspectors' examination (1847) no student in arithmetic had got beyond Practice and the 'rule of three'. Of 23 candidates in 1849, only 9 gained certificates, the highest reaching the bottom of class II. (fn. 149) Improvement was largely due to the efforts of Mrs. Duncan and Canon W. K. Hamilton, who from November 1841 until he became bishop in 1854 was the devoted 'clerical superintendent' and friend of the college. The arrival of the first Queen's Scholars in 1853 brought better scholastic material: in 1856 and again in 1893 Salisbury headed the certificate examination percentages. Its practical results had been commended by inspectors in the schools from the first. (fn. 150) Teaching practice occupied only 70 college hours a year until 1857, when it was increased to 170 hours; but nearly all students had four or five years' experience before entering. Those arriving straight from school (fn. 151) did double practice. A model 'village' school established in 1852 was closed in 1863, and thereafter schools in the city were used for practice.
The asceticism of the pioneer days was in part a contemporary form of character training, and probably in part designed (as at Battersea and in its continental models) to bring the teacher into touch with her pupils' circumstances. Food was scanty and monotonous, and 'industrial work' heavy, the students doing all the domestic work except cooking. The annual oral examination by one of the cathedral clergy was 'a red letter day in our calendar'. (fn. 152)
Removals and extensions were usually made in response to inspectorial suggestions, reflecting the educational changes of the time. So in 1851 the college moved from 'Mr. Brodrick's house' in the Close to the King's House (fn. 153) and the sub-chantry, still the nucleus of its buildings. Here 60 students were received. Extra dormitories completed in 1873 accommodated 20 more, to meet the great demand created by the Forster Education Act of 1870. The occupation of Audley, the house adjoining the King's House, was due to Canon E. Steward, appointed first principal in 1890; he let it to the college for extra living accommodation and a cookery school. Five years later, the next house was also rented. In 1899 the largest building extensions yet undertaken, including the chapel, dining-hall, science rooms, recreation and drill room, brought the capacity up to 100 students.
This indicates that growth was not only in numbers but in the variety and freedom of more advanced education. Although students could still prepare for the Queen's Scholarship examination at college simultaneously with the teacher's certificate, the standard of entry rose rapidly after 1876, when competition for admission became keen. The curriculum widened; 'industrial work' was 'rendered less laborious'; (fn. 154) moderation replaced the early austerity; special inspectors stimulated the study of music and art. Successive reorganizations of staff to meet these changes had begun with the division of Mrs. Duncan's functions in 1863, separating tuition from domestic administration. Canon Steward's appointment as principal, after ten years as chaplain and lecturer, was a formal incident in a lifelong work; an exceptionally able teacher himself, he was not only an administrator of the college but an invaluable tutor. When he retired in 1913 he was succeeded by the vice-principal, Miss Barbara Forth. Appointed as 'head governess' in 1890, Miss Forth remained one of the oustanding makers of Salisbury College until her first title had become a quaint anachronism.
Another influx of students followed the opening of the college to nonconformists in 1903. This was met by the purchase of Barnard's Cross, a house in St. Ann Street which was filled with 60 students and worked as a largely self-contained unit; gradually it was incorporated with the mother house, and finally closed in 1937. Meanwhile the old deanery with its beautiful garden had been added to the King's House in 1926. After the Second World War, a further increase of numbers (to nearly 200) necessitated more building; the residential block of studybedrooms and common rooms, on a site north of the existing college, aroused considerable aesthetic argument by introducing a more modern design into the architecture of the close.
In 1928 the organization of the certificate examination was transferred from the Board of Education to joint boards of the universities and training colleges. Salisbury responded appreciatively to Reading University's generous interpretation of this new relationship, and the rapprochement extended much beyond the business of examination. However, in the formation of institutes of education which followed the Macnair Report of 1944, Salisbury Training College, necessarily influenced by the associations of Wiltshire, became a member of the University of Bristol's Institute formed in 1947. The institute form of organization involved a virtually complete freedom of course and policy.
The college remains in close association with the cathedral of which it was born and by which it has been nurtured; this has been the fixed point in a history whose mutations illustrate almost the whole story of our national primary education for a century.
It took barely a generation for the name and influence of Marlborough College to become known throughout the English-speaking lands. (fn. 155) This comparatively young school has an historic setting associated with almost every epoch of Wiltshire history. Conspicuous in the midst of its buildings is the Mound, where a prehistoric earthwork was followed by a Norman castle which became, with some short intermissions, part of the Queen Mother's dower (1262–1369). (fn. 156) The castle, whose ruined fortifications were apparently not restored after their decay in the 15th century, had by the next century passed by marriage to the Seymour family, of whom came the mother and the Protector of Edward VI. The school itself began in the Castle Inn or Hotel, which before it became a famous coaching-house had been the residence originally built for Frances, Countess of Hertford, early in the 18th century. About 1841, when the railway began to undermine the trade of the inn, a group of gentlemen led by the Revd. Charles Plater, Rector of Newchurch, Kent, had formed a committee to start a school, mainly for the sons of clergy, which would give a classical education at low cost. One of the number, the Revd. G. H. Bowers, Rector of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, was taking holiday duty at Preshute Church in 1840–1, and a contemporary report (fn. 157) attributes to this the choice of the Castle Inn and an adjacent smaller house for the undertaking.
The new school was almost killed in infancy by over-rapid growth. The 200 boys, aged from 8 to 16 years, who arrived on 23 August 1843 had increased to 500 by 1848. The Revd. Matthew Wilkinson, the first Master, was a scholar who had been a lecturer at Clare College, Cambridge, and head of Kensington Grammar School; most of his staff were also well qualified academically. But the educational problem they faced was well-nigh unprecedented: to transform into a public school so large and miscellaneous an assortment of boys, brought together with no common educational experience or tradition.
Two-thirds of the first entry were clergymen's sons, and in accordance with the founders' purpose these paid a reduced fee. Maintenance and tuition had to be met out of fees; and the collegiate plan of boarding, which was a distinctive feature of Marlborough from the first, debarred the five assistant masters from eking out their salaries by boarding fees. Governors subscribed at least £50, and life governors, £100; but this revenue was non-recurrent and unpredictable. It dropped rapidly from £5,800 in 1845 to £2,000 in 1847 and £150 in 1848. The rate of expansion demanded abnormally heavy capital expenditure: the buildings of A House, B House, Upper School, new kitchens and dining-hall swallowed up all the governors' donations, as well as a loan of £10,000 (1844) and two of £15,000 (1846– 7). (fn. 158) The assumption of the name 'College' with the grant of a royal charter in 1845, the consecration of the first college chapel in 1848, the gift of books by Mr. F. A. McGeachy which in the same year started the Adderley library, all indicated advance but not yet consolidation. Academic success was not lacking: although the average age of the boys was far below that of a modern public school, by 1850 the college had 35 members at the universities, 7 of them holding open scholarships; and some of its great names belong to this early generation. (fn. 159)
A new council was instituted, with almost equal numbers of clergy and laity under the chairmanship of the bishop of the diocese; but like its predecessor it was financially inexperienced. It still tried to do too much too cheaply, and its policy was supported by the current belief in the educational value of austerity. The revenue from school fines of Star Chamber severity—for instance, 84 weeks' pocketmoney for carving a desk—was utilized for prizes and, it was reported, for the levelling of the first cricket ground. Far more serious was the 'almost chronic hunger' (fn. 160) which was the persistent memory of the early generations and must have been one factor provoking the turbulence which culminated in the famous 'rebellion'. This began with a four-days' strike in October 1851, followed by a week of tumult in which some school property was destroyed. 'Anarchy', says Bradley on contemporary evidence, 'reigned everywhere throughout the week'; (fn. 161) its reverberations, in spite of a few expulsions, more fines and of course canings, ended only with the term. In the new year the Master, the Revd. Matthew Wilkinson, resigned.
Perhaps in reminiscence this rebellion has been over-dramatized, but there is no doubt that it proved a turning-point. Only by heroic efforts on the part of all concerned was the point rounded, and not until 1867 was the financial position secure. Bondholders' interest was reduced; fees were raised; masters renounced nearly all their salaries. It was during this period when the existence of the college seemed precarious—although a temporary fall in numbers, to 340 in 1855, had compensating advantages—that the citizens of Marlborough rejected Lord Bruce's proposal for its amalgamation with their ancient grammar school. (fn. 162) The college owed its revival and invigoration most of all to the new spirit infused by its staff under the leadership of two great Masters, the Revd. G. E. L. Cotton (1852–8) (fn. 163) and the Revd. G. G. Bradley (1858–70), (fn. 164) both from Rugby. Self-discipline was inculcated without destroying Marlborough's characteristic freedom. The sixth form was invested with responsibility as well as privilege; the house system was introduced, and the juniors separated in A House. The natural history society, destined to become 'by far the most active and important natural history society possessed by any school in England', (fn. 165) was founded in 1864 on the initiative of some sixth form boys. Gradually, more organized games took the place of the wilder exploits of the first generations in field and forest and stream. Cricket, with the appointment of a professional coach in 1853 and the institution of the annual match against Rugby in 1855, became an integral part of school life. Football gradually evolved from its primitive incoherence along Rugbeian lines; during the 1870's Marlborough produced thirteen internationals, and the Marlborough Nomads club shared in the foundation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. In the same decade, hockey was introduced as a Lent term game (1874). In 1859 and again in 1862, both Balliol scholarships went to Marlborough. The Schools Inquiry Commission found in 1867 that its record in university scholarships far surpassed that of all other schools except Rugby. (fn. 166)
Meanwhile problems of health and increasing numbers led to the acquisition of Preshute House as a boarding-house (1861), the first of the seven 'outhouses' which complemented with their greater homeliness the completely communal life of 'Upper School'. Living conditions were gradually mollified, partly under' the influence of enlightened school doctors of whom Dr. Fergus (1849–86) was the notable pioneer, and partly no doubt in accordance with contemporary standards.
The colony of buildings which testify to the continuous expansion of the college since 1870 are too numerous for brief mention; they marked particularly the reigns of the Revd. G. C. Bell (1876– 1903), (fn. 167) Dr. Cyril Norwood (1916–25), (fn. 168) and Mr. G. C. Turner (1926–39). (fn. 169) Marlborough owed much in this respect to the benefactions of Herbert Leaf and the collective and individual generosity of Old Marlburians. Among the additions of the period were the Bradleian, the first science rooms and the museum block (1883), the Jubilee buildings (1892– 3), the memorial reading room (1900), Field House and bridge (1911), the music school and buildings due to the gifts of Herbert Leaf (1922), and the memorial hall (1925). Chief of such landmarks is the chapel dedicated in 1886, where the present and historical unity of the college is expressed. This unity is active, too, in the Marlburian Club founded in 1884, a more comprehensive society of Old Marlburians than the Nomads Football and Cricket Clubs which had preceded it in 1868 and 1873. Generations met, too, in the social work undertaken by the Marlborough Mission in Tottenham from 1882. There the college helped to provide St. Mary's Church and its subsidiary buildings and paid a clergyman's stipend, while Old Marlburians gave personal service. Since 1919, this work has been replaced by the institution of the Marlborough-Swindon Club, in whose annual camp senior Marlborough boys meet 50 to 100 young industrial workers from Swindon.
Although the 'modern school' dates from 1854, and scientific studies had been introduced by Dr. W. F. Farrar (Master in 1871–6) under the inspiration of Huxley, by 1917 there were still only three science masters in a school of 740 boys, and science, as an extra, was fitted in at irregular times. (fn. 170) All the Masters of the 20th century (fn. 171) contributed to an equalization of values and a better balance, not only in organization and direction but in school opinion, in which science and the fine arts receive their due meed as well as the classics. One step in this direction was taken by Mr. (later Sir) Frank Fletcher, when he abandoned the custom of keeping the select company of 'Scholars' in a separate house. The development of specialist work in higher school certificate examinations also helped towards an equilibrium.
Marlborough like other public schools was inevitably deeply affected by the wars of the 20th century. Although not notably an army school, its honours lists recorded seven V.C.s by the end of the Boer War. Three others were added during the First World War, in which 700 Marlburians were killed. To the O.T.C.'s increased activities there was added in 1915 the organization and conduct of a training course for officers of the new army. In 1939–44 the college met the problems of evacuation in a reception area, sharing its premises with the City of London School whose boys were billeted in the town. The two schools worked independently and both benefited by the experience. Marlborough's war memorial fund, designed to give free education to sons and daughters of Old Marlburians killed or disabled in the Second World War, began with a gift of £50,000 from the parent of one of these.
The number of distinguished Marlburians, by any definition of the adjective, makes enumeration impossible and selection invidious, especially in view of the great diversity of their careers. It was perhaps illustrated by an event of 12 March 1948, when the college was visited not only by the King and Queen but by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, the last three all Old Marlburians.
Marlborough's historians all recognize in the college an individuality discernible even in the crudities of its first decade. 'Freedom', 'vigour', 'simplicity' are the words which constantly recur as they attempt to analyse this quality. (fn. 172) With equal unanimity they trace its origin in part to the large proportion of boys coming from homes where 'a background of some culture and some religion' (fn. 173) counts for more than wealth; in part, to the setting of the school in a region of downs and forest over which the boys have liberty to range for miles in every direction; and in part, to the statesmanship of a notable succession of Masters.
Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury
Mrs. Dora Robertson speaks of Bishop Wordsworth's as 'the historical and spiritual successor to the Chancellor's School' in the Close. (fn. 174) Inasmuch as both are the expression of the care of the Church for the training of the young in 'true religion and sound learning', they are certainly in the same spiritual succession, although there is no formal or corporate continuity of descent.
When John Wordsworth became Bishop of Salisbury in 1885, the city had good private schools, but its grammar school had 'died of inanition' and that in the Close was almost confined to the choristers. (fn. 175) The dire need for more educational opportunities made an urgent appeal to a man for whom education was a part of religion. The bishop bought from the dean and chapter land adjoining the palace, and undertook the building of a higher grade school for boys. Without waiting for its completion, he installed the first 45 boys in the palace itself under a young headmaster, Reuben Bracher, and the school was opened there on 13 January 1890. Four months later its own building was dedicated and occupied.
The peculiar advantages and problems of Bishop Wordsworth's School (fn. 176) derived largely from this origin. The advantages were spiritual and immediate: the school was founded by a scholar of wide and deep culture, for whom the value of 'the tone and spirit of the old public schools' (fn. 177) was as much an article of educational faith as the importance of religion: I should like', he once said, 'to found a school which shall be equal to the greatest and best of our public schools.' (fn. 178) The boys of Bishop Wordsworth's had the advantage of familiar personal contact with this man; he would take part in their lessons, toboggan with them, or lead a party on a walking tour. He was one of their most vivid recollections.
The difficulties inherent in the origin of Bishop Wordsworth's School were material and cumulative. Fees were deliberately kept uneconomically low. Besides the initial cost of £3,000, a continual deficit on working had to be made up by private donations, mainly by the bishop, Canon Myers, and a handful of other friends. In 1898 the bishop created the educational trust which gave to the diocesan board of finance the custody of the school buildings and certain property in Exeter Street whose income was to go to the school. As the numbers grew, the problem of the school's restricted site became as acute as the financial one. A boarding-house in Exeter Street was purchased in 1893 for the headmaster and 30 boys; carpentry and smith's work were established in adapted out-buildings of the palace.
With sound educational and financial insight, the bishop associated his school with the national system of public education. From 1892, an organized science school worked in the same building under the same head. After the 1902 Education Act, these two organizations were fused into a co-educational grammar school with a preparatory department and courses leading to university entrance. Every widening of the door to higher education brought more pupils to Bishop Wordsworth's School. A hundred of the girls were housed at the art school in New Street, where they were rather isolated from the main stream of school life; and the girls' use of the 4 acres of playing-field had to be restricted. Everything possible had to be sacrificed—boarding-house, preparatory class, studio—for more classrooms. Only when the girls in 1927 were removed to form the new South Wilts. Secondary School for Girls was there relief from the pressure on space.
This change reduced from 550 (fn. 179) to 320 the population problem which the headmaster bequeathed to his successor in 1928. That successor, Mr. F. C. Happold (later LL.D.), was already well known in the educational world for the vigour and originality of his mind, and he addressed himself at once to the task of enlarging the school in every sense except the numerical. A proposal that the local education authority should make it a maintained secondary school was discarded, as there was no guarantee that the school would keep its special character. Dr. Happold therefore turned to the steadfast friends of Bishop Wordsworth's School: the gift of £1,400 from the Wordsworth Trust, £500 from Canon Myers and many lesser donations made possible the acquisition of a hall with a stage, a studio, biology laboratory, and other additions. Playing-fields of 12 acres were supplied by the education committee. The acute need for further extension was one reason why Bishop Wordsworth's became a voluntary controlled school under the Act of 1944. The instrument and articles of government (1948), securing to it its historic continuity and distinctive character, created something unique in English education, namely, a school combining the voluntary controlled status with that of a public school. Its association with Salisbury Cathedral remained strong: it was the dean and chapter who alleviated the school's housing problem by offering to the governors a lease of No. 11, The Close, well fitted by its position, associations and dignity to the character of the school. The upper school moved there in 1947, and extensions including a dining-hall were provided on land adjacent to the original site, leased by the dean and chapter at a nominal rent.
Dr. Happold had not waited for buildings and space before beginning to enlarge the scope of the school, especially by developing the aesthetic training and the love of creative craftsmanship to which its setting invites. Special scholarships in increasing numbers matched university awards. The Bishop's Players, founded in 1928, have ranged from Aristophanes and medieval miracle plays to the moderns. (fn. 180) The winning of vocal and instrumental scholarships to the Royal Schools of Music has become an annual occurrence, (fn. 181) often leading to higher musical distinctions. To the service of the school's own chapel the best of its craftsmanship and musicianship have been given.
When Bishop Wordsworth's School, by Dr. Happold's admission to the Headmasters' Conference in 1936, received recognition as a public school, its founder's ambition was realized, for in this new phase of existence it remained even more freely accessible to the city and district than the school he knew, (fn. 182) providing still an education rooted in religion and strongly individual in its growth.
The Wilts. County Textile School
The Wilts. County Textile School was established in 1891 in an old mill in Court Street, Trowbridge, for 'the training of all persons... engaged in the cloth manufacturing industry'; (fn. 183) in 1940 it moved to premises in Castle Street. It has certain unique features in its relation of the needs of modern technical education to local conditions which retain something of the character of an. earlier economic age.
The first plan included branch schools in Bradford, Westbury, and 'elsewhere'. (fn. 184) The managing committee therefore included representatives of these towns, and of Chippenham, Warminster, and Melksham, but from some of these sub-centres the industry was soon to disappear. Classes were held for a time at Westbury and Frome by the instructor from Trowbridge; at Bradford they were discontinued in 1902. Students from Westbury, Frome, and Bath now (1952) come to the school at Trowbridge. Day classes were instituted in 1902, and after a slow start these began to grow, until by 1940 there were about 130 day students, with 60 in evening classes. Most of the day students took part-time courses; about half came from senior elementary schools for short courses in spinning and weaving and for these the Textile School's responsibility ceased in 1940 with the reorganization of the Victoria Technical Institute. Students were prepared for the examinations of the City and Guilds of London Institute in yarn manufacture and cloth manufacture, including the engineering associated therewith.
The Wilts. Textile School has the advantage of a localized industry in comparatively small units which have not outgrown the human relationships of a family business. Without waiting for official day-release schemes, the manufacturers paid the fees for selected employees and released them with pay for two half-days a week, on the understanding that they would also devote some of their own time to the study. The employers took a personal interest in these students. In addition to scholarships awarded by the local education authority, the manufacturers provide one to enable promising men to go on to university or technical college for more advanced training. With the reorganization of Further Education in the area in 1951, the Textile School came under the control of an advisory committee on which the workers and employers are represented. The school maintains its special character, its intimate contact with the people of all grades whom it serves.
Urchfont Manor, a typical manor house of the William-and-Mary period, was opened by the Wiltshire County Council in 1947 as a centre for residential adult education, 'to provide a period of learning, reading and discussion for those who would like the chance of it'. (fn. 185) The students range from those with no previous experience of the kind to university graduates; about half have been in contact with some adult education organization.
The college provided for about 20 residents at a time courses varying from a week-end to a fortnight. The longer courses preponderated in the first year, but shorter courses were needed by students more tied to their work. The first warden, Mr. Guy Hunter, personally contributed about a third of the lectures; and of the expert visiting lecturers in great variety, about one in four was a university teacher. An extra-mural tutor of Bristol University was appointed part-time deputy warden in 1949, and his successor became full-time tutor of the college in 1950.
As such a college was a novelty, its first task was to explain itself and win the co-operation necessary to overcome the practical difficulties of attendance. The support of industrial firms was most helpful: in increasing numbers they sent groups of employees on paid leave, paying their fees for courses likely to be helpful in their work. The army and air force also repeatedly sent students. Fees were deliberately kept low, and six neighbouring county education authorities paid a per capita grant for students from their area. Although Wiltshire residents were given priority, students came from as far as 100 miles away; and as it became clear that the service of the college was regional, several neighbouring education authorities undertook to contribute to its cost in proportion to the number of students from their area.
The activities of the college have from the outset been various and changeable. Some have been related to a professional interest: for instance, people concerned with different aspects of a particular question of social welfare or local government pooled their experience and discussed it with experts. In increasing numbers, men and women in commerce and industry studied the background of their work, its human problems, or its relation to wider economic and social conditions. Cultural courses ranged from archaeology to philosophy, from ballet to international politics. At first the demand in this field was chiefly for politics, economics, and social studies; by 1951 it was turning more to art, literature, and local studies. A representative advisory panel, which soon branched into educational, industrial, and agricultural sections, was formed in 1949 to make suggestions for the programmes. The background of all this multifarious activity, with the coming and going of short-term residents, is the influence of two permanent factors, the staff and the Manor itself