Institutions for Education: Charity schools

Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.

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Eneas Mackenzie, 'Institutions for Education: Charity schools', Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827), pp. 445-451. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

Eneas Mackenzie. "Institutions for Education: Charity schools", in Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827) 445-451. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

Mackenzie, Eneas. "Institutions for Education: Charity schools", Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead, (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827). 445-451. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


This school was founded by Mrs. Eleanor Allan, of Newcastle, who, by deed of gift, dated February 20, 1705, assigned for its support a farmhold and tenant-right in Wallsend parish. The farm, which is held of the dean and chapter of Durham, contains 131 acres; and, at that period, the rental was £61, 19s. 5d. yearly. This lady died January 21, 1708; and in the following year, the school was opened by the trustees in trust for 40 boys and 20 girls, belonging to this parish and to St. John's. At the same time, the parishioners entered into an annual subscription to clothe the scholars. In 1723, Gilbert Campel, innholder, left by will £20, and Samuel Nicholas, organist, £10, the interest of which sums was to be for the benefit of this school. Mrs. Chisholm, relict of the Rev. Mr. Chisholm of Wooler, also paid the corporation of Newcastle £500, directing the interest to be applied to the same purpose. Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers, of Newcastle, by will, dated December 15, 1733, bequeathed to this school £50; and John Hewit, or Huet, (fn. 1) goldsmith, of the same place, by will, dated September 9, 1738, left to this school £250, for which the corporation engaged to pay four per cent. John Fenwick. of Newcastle. Esq. likewise gave £50 to the corporation of the town on May 20, 1774. for the annual payment of 20s. on Midsummer-day to the Charity-school of St. Nicholas, and 20s. on Christmas-day to the prisoners in the towns jail. The late Aubone Surtees. of Newcastle, Esq. also gave £50. the interest of which was directed to be paid for the use of this school. (fn. 2) There is also paid annually towards its support a rent-charge of £20, left by a Mr. Blenkinsop, upon premises at the Foot of the Side, Newcastle, at present occupied by Messrs. Vickers. grocers.

The trustees of this school are. the mayor and vicar of Newcastle, the lecturer of St. Nicholas', and the morning preachers of All Saints', St. Andrew's, and St. John's, for the time being. The foundation has been extended so as to educate and clothe 40 boys and 40 girls. The boys are admitted at 8 years of age, and may continue until they are 14 years old. being taught whatever useful branch of education they can learn in that time. Each boy receives, at Midsummer, a dark grey coat, waistcoat, and cap, a pair of leather breeches, and two shirts and bands: with two pair of stockings and shoes in the year. On going to trade, or sea, they are paid 40s. each by the trustees, and also a Bible and Prayer Book, with the Whole Duty of Man. The girls receive annually a dark brown gown and petticoat, with two shifts, caps, aprons, and tippets, and two pairs of shoes and stockings. On becoming apprentices, or going into service, they receive 20s. each, and the same books as the boys. In 1786, the trustees built new school-rooms, and dwelling-rooms for the master and mistress, in the Manor Chare, on a scite of ground in All Saints parish, given by the corporation for that purpose.

St. Nicholas" enlarged Charity-school.

When Shute, the late Lord Bishop of Durham, had attained the 50th year of his prelacy, the clergy of his diocese resolved to erect some useful and durable monument in commemoration of the event. As his lordship had always been a warm patron of institutions for the education of the children of the poor, it was finally agreed to build a large school-house in this populous town, which might be denominated " The Clergy Jubilee School."The corporation, with their usual munificence, gave, for a building scite and play-grounds, part of the King's Dykes, on the east side of the Carliol Croft. They also granted sufficient ground at each end for building a dwelling-house for the master, and another for the mistress of the school, and gave 100 guineas to P. G. Ellison, Esq. for a slip of ground to add to the breadth of the scite. The building of this school-house was commenced under the direction of Mr. Dobson, architect, in July, 1819, and finished in August, 1820. It cost about £2300, and is a plain, unornamented. stone building, without even an inscription to explain the cause and purposes of its erection. (fn. 3) The lower school-room, which is 80 feet long and 40 feet broad, is so high as to occasion a very inconvenient echo; and the upper, or girls' school, being unceiled, is necessarily exposed to too great a variety of temperature. After being thus imperfectly finished, the building stood unoccupied and useless, as the funds were not sufficient to carry the original purpose of the subscribers into effect. At length, the late vicar of Newcastle, with the concurrence of the other trustees, under legal advice, removed the girls and boys of the old established free school of St. Nicholas' parish into this building; the master and mistress having been previously taught Dr. Bell's improved plan of education. Thus the benefits of the school were extended so as include the whole town. The trustees of the school pay to the trustees of the building a nominal yearly rent of 2s. 6d.; but the latter have no control over, or connexion with, the former. The school trustees expended about £300 in furniture, &c. and paid £50 for an additional flue.

The new school was opened on the 1st of October, 1821. Each scholar pays one penny per week, except orphans, or the children of widows. (fn. 4) There are no reports of this school published; but the number of boys on the books, November 16, 1826, was 425, of whom 32 were reported absent, and 14 sick. In looking over the books for the last two years, it appears that about 400 scholars on an average attend, and which are as many as the school-room can accommodate. They are taught, according to Dr. Bell's system, with some modifications, Reading, Spelling, Writing, Arithmetic, and some of the boys in the first class learn Book-keeping, the elements of Geometry, and Mensuration. (fn. 5) About 250 scholars are at present learning to write on paper. The master, Mr. Thomas Charlton, deserves great credit for the attention, skill, and ability with which he discharges the arduous duties of his office. The teachers, who are mostly boys belonging to the free school, are instructed by the master in the mornings and evenings. The vacancies in the old foundation are filled up by the trustees from a list of boys whom the master and teachers select, half-yearly, at May and at Christmas, for their good behaviour, rapid progress, and regular attendance at school and at church. All the boys appear remarkably healthy and clean; and, in warm weather, a hair-dresser attends every week to cut their hair, and also occasionally in winter.

The girls, who occupy the room above the boys' school-room, are instructed by Mrs. Baxter. The attendance of girls at school is usually very irregular. At the date mentioned above, there were 134 scholars on the books in this school, of whom 3 were reported sick, and 30 absent. They are taught Writing and Arithmetic by the mistress. Both branches of this school are visited by the trustees alternately every week.

The master's salary of this school is £80 a year, with a house and fire, which, considering his services, is certainly not too much. The mistress has £40 a year, with a house and fire. The revenues of this school fluctuate, for at present the rent of the farm at Wallsend varies according to the average price of corn. Last year, the rent amounted to £260. To this may be added the interest of £1000 in the town's hutch, £40; the interest of £330 in the funds, £17, 10s.; the premises in the Side, £20; Fenwick and Surtees' money yields £3, 10s.; say 330 pennies for boys for 46 weeks, £63, 5s.; pennies from the girls, and work done by them, £20; total, £424, 5s. From this, which is an approximation to the real revenue, must be deducted a heavy sum (above £80 per annum), paid every fourth year to the dean and chapter of Durham, for the renewal of the lease of the Wallsend farm; besides expenses for farm-buildings and repairs,


This school was founded by voluntary subscription in 1709, for 41 boys and 17 girls; the former to be taught Reading, Writing, and Accounts, and the latter to read, knit, and sew. The annual sermons for its benefit, during the first 24 years, produced an average sum of £20, 14s. The corporation gave a convenient plot of ground in the artillery-grounds in the Manors, whereon the school-room and master's dwelling-house were built. (fn. 6)

Since that time, this institution has been extended so as to admit 40 boys and 40 girls. The boys receive annually a blue coat, waistcoat, and cap, one pair of leather breeches, two shirts and bands, and two pair of shoes and stockings. They are taught as far as they can be learned before the completion of their fourteenth year, and, when bound apprentices, are presented with 40s. a Bible and Prayer Book, with a Whole Duty of Man. Each girl receives yearly a blue gown and petticoat, with two caps, tippets, and aprons, and two pair of shoes and stockings. On leaving school, they are presented with 20s. and the books mentioned above. Their school-room is in a house near the entrance to the Surgeons' Hall; and they have been, since January 1, 1821, under the able superintendanee of Miss Johnson, who succeeded her mother. Her father, Mr. Hugh Johnson, was master of the boys' school above 40 years. At his death, in September, 1807, he was succeeded by Mr. Ralph Dees, who had been master of St, Nicholas' school 22 years. The salary offered in the advertisement at that time was £50 per annum, with a free house and coals. The girls, who are pleasingly clean, neat, and orderly, are taught Writing and Accounts by the respectable master of the boys' school, who has had the honour of educating many boys that afterwards became clever and industrious men.


This school was founded by Sir William Blackett, Bart. who died December 2, 1705, and left to this parish £1000; one-third of the profits of which to be appropriated to the teaching of 30 boys, one-third to binding apprentices to trades, and onethird to poor householders. This legacy was never paid; but Sir William's heirs pay 6 per cent, per annum on the amount, two-thirds of which, or £40, is paid to the trustees of the school. Sir William Blackett, the son of the founder, began, in 1719, to clothe the boys; and by will, dated August 14, 1728, made a permanent endowment for this purpose. Each scholar, at Christmas, receives a green coat and cap, a waistcoat, a pair of leather breeches, two shirts and bands, and three pair of shoes and stockings, which altogether cost above £80. There are now 34 boys educated and clothed, three being paid for out of the interest of a legacy of £50, left by Mr. John Hewit in 1738, and one from the profits of £50, given by Aubone Surtees, Esq. The school is governed by the vicar of Newcastle and the church-wardens of St. Andrew's parish, who, with the approbation of the heir of the founder, have the appointment of the master, whose salary is only £25 per annum. He has a free dwelling-house, and annually receives a gratuity of £5. The school-house, for which a nominal rent is paid to the corporation, is situated behind the west end of High Friar Street, and opposite to the town-wall. The present master is Mr. James Cook. He succeeded Mr. T. M. Richardson, who kept this school from the death of his father, who was the master many years. The boys, on going to trade, receive the same presents as those belonging to the schools before mentioned.

A stone built up in front of a house, near the bottom of the east side of Percy Street, bears the following inscription:—"This School-house was built by the voluntary Contributions of the Promoters of a Charity-school for Girls belonging to this Parish, instituted in the Year 1792." The house, which is freehold, contains a large, airy school-room, with convenient dwelling-rooms for the mistress, &c. Adjoining is a good yard. This establishment was very spiritedly commenced by the ladies of the parish, assisted by the late Rev. N. Ellison and the Rev. William Haigh, and consisted of 40 girls, who were educated, and each supplied annually with a green gown and petticoat, two caps, tippets, aprons, shifts, and two pair of shoes and stockings; and amongst those who left school every year, the three most deserving received 40s. to purchase clothes, and a present of books. The subscriptions having gradually fallen off, the school has dwindled down to 15 scholars. A sermon is occasionally preached for its support. Mrs. Beeney, who was chosen mistress when the school was first formed, receives a salary of £20 per annum, arising from funds amounting to £536, part of which are held by the corporation, and the remainder are vested in the navy 5 per cents. She has also the profit of the work done by the girls. They are taught Writing and Accounts by the master of the boys' school.


This school was endowed in 1705, for the education of 44 poor boys, by Mr. John Ord, who gave to its support the Great Magdalen Close, or the Mill Close, held by lease of the master and brethren of St. Mary's Hospital, at the annual rent of £4. The Close, at the time, left a clear income to the school of £21. Mrs. Margaret Allgood, widow, also left by will, dated July 15, 1707, £100 to this school; the interest to be paid annually. There is likewise an annual subscription for its support, and an anniversary sermon for its benefit was formerly preached on the Sunday after the feast of St. John. The school is governed by the heir of the founder, Mr. Ord (who was unknown till after his death); the mayor and vicar of Newcastle; the forenoon lecturers of All Saints', St. John's, and St. Andrew's; or any five of them.

They have the chusing of the master. The boys are supplied with shoes and stockings at Christmas and Midsummer; and, at the latter season, with a blue coat, cap, and waistcoat, a pair of leather breeches, and shirts and bands. When bound apprentices, they receive 40s. and the books given by the other parochial charities. The schoolroom and master's rooms, which are situated in Cross Street, belong to the corporation.

The Great Magdalen, or Mill Close, which extends from the premises of David Cram, Esq. in Ellison Place, to the termination of Ridley Place, and contains 11 acres 34 perches, is now subject to the yearly rent of £28. It is let by the trustees of the school to Robert Ormston, Esq. Dr. Steavenson, and Aubone Surtees, Esq. who pay £24 each yearly, leaving a surplus to the school of £44; besides £10 paid by Mr. Ormston for two cottages in Vine Lane. Formerly, 14 free incorporated companies subscribed £1 each to this school, which entitled each company to recommend one boy; but since the alteration in the value of money, a subscription of £3 annually has been made the qualification for the exercise of this privilege, in consequence of which, 9 companies withdrew their subscriptions. From these circumstances, the school at present consists of only 20 boys.


This school, it appears, was first erected by the corporation in the year 1682, when the chapel was rebuilt, and since that time has been kept in repair and partly supported out of the town's revenues. The mayor is styled governor of the school; and the governor of the Hoastmen's Company, assistant governor. The curate and lecturer of All Saints' for the time being, and four other gentlemen, are visitors and trustees; any three of whom constitute a committee, competent to visit, to make rules, &c. subject to the approbation of the mayor.

About 100 children at present attend this school. They are taught Reading for 8d. per month, and Writing and Arithmetic for 1s. 2d. per month. Mr. Thomas Nicholson, the Writing-master, receives from the corporation £20 annually, and for other duties and expenses £20, 2s. Mr. Robert Bolam, the usher, receives for salary, house-rent, coals, and teaching psalmody, £16, 16s. per annum. The discipline of the school has been recently improved by the introduction of some parts of Dr. Bell's system of education.


  • 1. This Huet is said to have been a near relation to the famous Huet, bishop of Auranches, in France: he amassed a considerable fortune, most of which he left to his natural daughter, Mary, late wife of Francis Johnson, M. D. of Newcastle. Dr. Johnson died before the 22d of August, 1771.—Brand, vol. i. p. 276.
  • 2. Alderman Surtees presented, in December, 1790, to the common council £200, the interest of which is to be applied annually in support of the Charity-schools of the four parishes in Newcastle, in equal proportions.
  • 3. The bust of the benevolent and venerable bishop in whose honour this school was built, and which was intended to ornament the boys' school-room, has been suffered to remain to this day, covered with dust, in the box in which it was received! The trustees of the building are, the archdeacon of Durham and of Northumberland, and the vicar of Newcastle.
  • 4. This is an excellent regulation. The boys attending the Royal Jubilee School, and the girls of the Royal Improved School, are educated gratuitously. This must tend to blunt the delicate pride of both parents and children, to familiarize the mind to dependence on charitable institutions, and to prepare it for the degradation of pauperism. The demanding a small weekly sum from the parents is evidently gratifying to their feelings; for although this school be at some distance from a populous neighbourhood, though the roads to it be broken and miry, though there are very few amusing movements in the school, and though the scholars are not cheered by the approbation of a variety of patrons and visitors, yet the opportunities for admission are now always seized with eagerness.
  • 5. It is surprising that no directions have been written for teaching the grammatical construction of the English language in schools conducted according to the improved modes of education. This is the most obvious defect in these systems, and might very easily be remedied.
  • 6.
    Benefactions to All Saints' Charity-schools.
    A.D. £ s d
    1709 Anonymous, by Rev. Charles Ward 3 3 0
    1710 Corporation, towards Gallery in ch. 15 0 0
    George Whinfield, Esq, alderman, legacy, yearly 3 16 0
    1712 Anonymous, by Rev. Charles Ward 2 9 0
    1713 Mr. Thomas Champion, shipwright 20 0 0
    Mr. William Harrison, hoastman 20 0 0
    1714. Madam Elizabeth Rogers 50 0 0
    Mr. Thomas Wass, merchant 5 0 0
    Mr. Michael Bland, Merchat 2 7 0
    1715. Mr. Atkinson, Esq. alderman, yearly 4 15 0
    Mrs. Sarah Marors 2 0 0
    1716. William Ramsay, Esq. legacy 50 0 0
    Mrs. Barbara Nichols 10 0 0
    1717. Mr. Thos.Elliott, pandon, merch. 100 0 0
    From Stockholm and yarmouth, by Mr. James Dawson 11 0 0
    Anonumous 50 0 0
    1718. Mr. Sam, Green. lomdon, merch. 100 0 0
    1719. Mr. Richard Burdus, notary punlic 10 0 0
    1720. captain James Taylao 50 0 0
    Mrs. ramesy's legacy 25 0 0
    Mrs. Marg. Harrison our-rent, ann. 1 0 0
    1721. Mr. James clay's legacy 5 2 0
    Mr. Peregrine Tyzack;s legacy 5 0 0
    Anoynmous 20 0 0
    1722. Mrs. Mary Lane 5 0 0
    Mrs. Christian Bulman 20 0 0
    1724. Mrs. Mry Jackson. 5 0 0
    1729. Mr. joseph Colpitts 20 0 0
    1730. Mrs. Isabel Reed, relict of Ralph Reed, Esq. 50 0 0
    Stephen Coulson, Esq. 50 0 0
    Mr. Thomas Bates 50 0 0
    1730. Mr. William Rapier 10 0 0
    1732. Mr. John Simpson 50 0 0
    Mr. Charles Atkinson 50 0 0
    1734. Henry Reay, Esq. 50 0 0
    Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers 50 0 0
    1739. Mr. John Huett 250 0 0
    1740. Mr. Edward Harle 50 0 0
    1743. Mr. Richard Johnson 50 0 0
    Dr. Robert Thomlinson, in lieu of Miss Reed's legacy 50 0 0
    Mr. Henry Waters 30 0 0
    1755. Mr. John Mills 30 0 0
    1760. Mr. Richard Wilson 20 0 0
    John Rogers, Esq. 400 0 0
    1771. Captain Colville 40 0 0
    1775. Mrs. Julia Browell 40 0 0
    1783. Mrs. Priscilla Atlee 200 0 0
    1785. John Simpson, Esq. 50 0 0
    1786. Mrs. 'Elizabeth Baker 200 0 0
    1790. Aubone Surtees, Esq. 50 0 0
    1791. Mr. Paul Henzell's legacy 50 0 0
    1805. Samuel Lawton, Esq. 18 8 0
    1817. Mrs. Skerrett 10 0 0
    1818. Anonymous, by Richard Jones, Esq. 5 0 0
    1824. Miss Mary Jackson 5 0 0
    Rich. Jones, Esq. £100 to each school 200 0 0
    1825. Anonymous 6 6 0
    1826. Anonymous 10 0 0
    £2410 4 0