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Index to Stow's original Survey of London written in 1598


“In the reign of King Stephen and of Henry II.,” saith Fitzstephen, “there were in London three principal churches, which had famous schools, either by privilege and ancient dignity, or by favour of some particular persons, as of doctors which were accounted notable and renowned for knowledge in philosophy. And there were other inferior schools also. Upon festival days the masters made solemn meetings in the churches, where their scholars disputed logically and demonstratively; some bringing enthimems, other perfect syllogisms; some disputed for shew, other to trace out the truth; cunning sophisters were thought brave scholars when they flowed with words; others used fallacies; rhetoricians spake aptly to persuade, observing the precepts of art, and omitting nothing that might serve their purpose: the boys of diverse schools did cap or pot verses, and contended of the principles of grammar; there were some which on the other side with epigrams and rymes, nipping and quipping their fellowes, and the faults of others, though suppressing their names, moved thereby much laughter among their auditors.” Hitherto Fitzstephen, for schools and scholars, and for their exercises in the city in his days; sithence the which time, as to me it seemeth, by the increase of colleges and students in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the frequenting of schools, and exercises of scholars in the city, as had been accustomed, hath much decreased.

The three principal churches which had these famous schools by privileges, must needs be the cathedral church of St. Paul for one; seeing that by a general council, holden in the year of Christ 1176, at Rome, in the patriarchy of Laterane, it was decreed, that every cathedral church should have his schoolmaster to teach poor scholars, and others as had been accustomed, and that no man should take any reward for license to[67] teach. The second, as most ancient, may seem to have been the monastery of St. Peter’s at Westminster, whereof Ingulphus, Abbot of Crowland, in the reign of William the Conqueror, writeth thus:—“I, Ingulphus, an humble servant of God, born of English parents, in the most beautiful city of London, for to attain to learning, was first put to Westminster, and after to study of Oxford,” etc. And writing in praise of Queen Edgitha, wife to Edward the Confessor: “I have seen her,” saith he, “often when being a boy, I came to see my father dwelling in the king’s court, and often coming from school, when I met her, she would oppose me, touching my learning and lesson; and falling from grammar to logic, wherein she had some knowledge, she would subtilly conclude an argument with me, and by her handmaiden give me three or four pieces of money, and send me unto the palace where I should receive some victuals, and then be dismissed.”

The third school seemeth to have been in the monastery of St. Saviour, at Bermondsey in Southwark; for other priories, as of St. John by Smithfield, St. Bartholomew in Smithfield, St. Mary Overie in Southwark, and that of the Holy Trinity by Aldgate, were all of later foundation, and the friaries, colleges, and hospitals, in this city, were raised since them in the reigns of Henry III., Edward I., II., and III., etc. All which houses had their schools, though not so famous as these first named.

But touching schools more lately advanced in this city, I read, that King Henry V., having suppressed the priories aliens, whereof some were about London; namely, one hospital, called Our Lady of Rouncivall, by Charing Cross; one other hospital in Oldborne; one other without Cripplegate; and the fourth without Aldersgate; besides other that are now worn out of memory, and whereof there is no monument remaining more than Rouncivall, converted to a brotherhood, which continued till the reign of Henry VIII. or Edward VI. This, I say, and other their schools being broken up and ceased, King Henry VI., in the 24th of his reign, by patent, appointed, that there should be in London grammar schools, besides St. Paul’s, at St. Martin’s le Grand, St. Mary le Bow in Cheap, St. Dunstan’s in the west, and St. Anthony’s. And in the next year, to wit, 1447, the said king ordained by parliament that four other grammar schools should be erected, to wit, in the parishes of St. Andrew in Oldborne, Allhallowes the Great in Thames street, St. Peter’s upon Cornhill, and in the hospital of St. Thomas of Acons in West Cheap; since the which time as divers schools, by sup[68]pressing of religious houses, whereof they were members, in the reign of Henry VIII., have been decayed, so again have some others been newly erected, and founded for them; as namely Paul’s school, in place of an old ruined house, was built in most ample manner, and largely endowed, in the year 1512, by John Collet, Doctor of Divinity, Dean of Paul’s, for one hundred and fifty-three poor men’s children, for which there was ordained a master, surmaster, or usher, and a chaplain. Again, in the year 1553, after the erection of Christ’s hospital, in the late dissolved house of the Gray Friars, a great number of poor children being taken in, a school was also ordained there at the citizen’s charges. Also, in the year 1561, the Merchant Taylors of London founded one notable free grammar school, in the parish of St. Laurence Poultney by Candleweeke street, Richard Hils, late master of that company, having given five hundred pounds towards the purchase of a house, called the Mannor of the Rose, sometime the Duke of Buckingham’s, wherein the school is kept. As for the meeting of the schoolmasters on festival days, at festival churches, and the disputing of their scholars logically, etc., whereof I have before spoken, the same was long since discontinued; but the arguing of the schoolboys about the principles of grammar hath been continued even till our time; for I myself, in my youth, have yearly seen, on the eve of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, the scholars of divers grammar schools repair unto the churchyard of St. Bartholomew, the priory in Smithfield, where upon a bank boarded about under a tree, some one scholar hath stepped up, and there hath opposed and answered, till he were by some better scholar overcome and put down; and then the overcomer taking the place, did like as the first; and in the end the best opposers and answerers had rewards, which I observed not but it made both good schoolmasters, and also good scholars, diligently against such times to prepare themselves for the obtaining of this garland. I remember there repaired to these exercises, amongst others, the masters and scholars of the free schools of St. Paul’s in London, of St. Peter’s at Westminster, of St. Thomas Acon’s hospital, and of St. Anthonie’s hospital; whereof the last-named commonly presented the best scholars, and had the prize in those days.

This priory of St. Bartholomew being surrendered to Henry VIII., those disputations of scholars in that place surceased; and was again, only for a year or twain, in the reign of Edward VI., revived in the cloister of Christ’s hospital, where the best[69] scholars, then still of St. Anthonie’s school,[89] were rewarded with bows and arrows of silver, given to them by Sir Martin Bowes, goldsmith. Nevertheless, however the encouragement failed, the scholars of Paul’s, meeting with them of St. Anthonie’s, would call them Anthonie pigs, and they again would call the other pigeons of Paul’s, because many pigeons were bred in St. Paul’s church, and St. Anthonie was always figured with a pig following him; and mindful of the former usage, did for a long season disorderly in the open street provoke one another with, Salve tu quoque, placet tibi mecum disputare? Placet. And so proceeding from this to questions in grammar, they usually fell from words to blows with their satchels full of books, many times in great heaps, that they troubled the streets and passengers; so that finally they were restrained with the decay of St. Anthonie’s school. Out of this school have sprung divers famous persons, whereof although time hath buried the names of many, yet in mine own remembrance may be numbered these following:—Sir Thomas More, knight, lord chancellor of England, Dr. Nicholas Heath, sometime Bishop of Rochester, after of Worcester, and lastly Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England; Doctor John Whitgift, Bishop of Worcester, and after Archbishop of Canterbury, etc.

Of later time, in the year of Christ 1582, there was founded a public lecture in chirurgerie, to be read in the College of Physicians in Knight riders street, to begin in the year 1584, on the sixth of May, and so to be continued for ever, twice every week, on Wednesday and Friday, by the honourable Baron, John Lord Lombley, and the learned Richard Caldwell, doctor in physic, the reader whereof to be Richard Forster, doctor of physic, during his life.

Furthermore, about the same time there was also begun a mathematical lecture, to be read in a fair old chapel, built by Simon Eayre, within the Leaden hall; whereof a learned citizen born, named Thomas Hood, was the first reader. But this chapel, and other parts of that hall, being employed for stowage of goods taken out of a great Spanish caracke, the said lecture ceased any more to be read, and was then in the year 1588 read in the house of master Thomas Smith in Grasse street, etc.

Last of all, Sir Thomas Gresham, knight, agent to the queen’s highness, by his last will and testament made in the year 1579,[70] gave the Royal Exchange, and all the buildings thereunto appertaining; that is to say, the one moiety to the mayor and commonalty of London and their successors, upon trust that they perform as shall be declared; and the other moiety to the mercers in like confidence. The mayor and commonalty are to find four to read lectures of divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, within his dwelling-house in Bishopsgate street, and to bestow the sum of two hundred pounds; to wit, fifty pounds the piece, etc. The mercers likewise are to find three readers, that is, in civil law, physic, and rhetoric, within the same dwelling-house, the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds; to every reader, fifty pounds, etc.: which gift hath been since that time confirmed by parliament, to take effect and begin after the decease of the Lady Anne Gresham, which happened in the year 1596, and so to continue for ever. Whereupon the lecturers were accordingly chosen and appointed to have begun their readings in the month of June, 1597; whose names were, Anthony Wootton, for divinity; Doctor Mathew Guin, for physic; Doctor Henry Mountlow, for the civil law; Doctor John Bull, for music; Beerewood, for astronomy; Henry Brigges, for geometry; and Caleb Willis, for rhetoric. These lectures are read daily, Sundays excepted, in the term times, by every one upon his day, in the morning betwixt nine and ten, in Latin; in the afternoon, betwixt two and three, in English; save that Dr. Bull is dispensed with to read the music lecture in English only upon two several days, Thursday and Saturday, in the afternoons, betwixt three and four of the clock.