Chapter IV

Establishment of the School



THAT THE FEOFFEES were well chosen is shown by the fact that in a very few years the master, the building and the endowment were provided, and the School was in active operation. How all this was done it would be very interesting to know, but for a long time our information is most defective. All that we have to go upon is Thomas Wilson's transcripts, the Inquisitions of 1620 and 1661 on which the Pious Use Trust was based, a Table of Benefactions set up in the Parish Church in 1712 by “William Cookson Esq; Mayor of Leedes,” a few statements in Thoresby's works, a “Brief History of the Free Grammar School” published in 1822, and some stray facts scattered about in wills, biographies, college records, etc. With regard then to what is said in this chapter it must be remembered that the facts are meagre, the evidence for them scanty, and the meaning of them not always easy to understand. For the sake of clearness I have classified them under heads.


OF THE EARLY GOVERNORS, with the exception of the original Feoffees, we know nothing until the control of the School was vested in the Committee of Pious Uses.

In 1600 an Act was passed “to redress the misemployment of lands, goods, stocks of money, hereafter given to Charitable Uses,” and in 1619 a Commission was appointed to inquire into the use made of such funds in the West Riding. The Return to the Commission states that on 28 April 1620 an Inquisition was taken at Wakefield, and on 14 May 1621 it was decreed that Alexander Cooke (vicar), Ralph Hopton, Seth Skelton, William Baynton, Samuel Casson, John Harrison, Ralph Cooke, Richard Sykes, Benjamin Wade, William Marshall, elder, John Shaw, Matthew Cowper, and John Watson—all, except the vicar and Messrs Baynton, Shaw, Cowper and Watson, being members of the first Corporation— “shall be and be taken named and accounted the sole and peculiar Committee of Charitable Uses within the borough of Leeds.” They had power to appoint 4 of their number to receive and pay out the rents, and these were to render account annually to the whole Committee. Vacancies were to be filled by cooptation, and if not filled within 40 days the nomination was to pass to the vicar, who was always to be a member. Power was also given to displace members who should wish to resign, or removed from Leeds, or appeared unworthy. Leases of lands were not to be given for more than 21 years. The documents were to be kept in a chest in the Parish Church. The charities falling under the control of the Committee were gifts and bequests for (a) the repair of highways: (b) the maintenance of the School: (c) the use of the poor.

In 1661 another Inquisition was taken, and on 30 May 1663 a new decree was issued ratifying that of 1621 but raising the number of members to 15. Power also was given to apportion funds given to more than one object, and

“touching and concerning the well guidance and government of the Free School and of all the lands tenements rent issues and profits thereof and of the Masters and Scholars It is ordered adjudged and decreed that from henceforth for ever for any crime neglect or other cause reasonable it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Committees or the greater number of them from time to time by writing under their hands and seals to elect a Master or Usher for the said Free School, which said Master shall evermore be a Graduate in one of the Universities of this Kingdom, and displace and put out the then Master or Usher and to constitute place and appoint in manner aforesaid one other person or more persons qualified as above and who shall and may from thenceforth have hold exercise and enjoy the said Free School as lawful Master and Usher thereof to all intents and purposes as he or they had been present Master before the making of this our Decree. And that the said Committees or the Major part of them shall from time to time have full power and authority to make such laws and orders for the well-guiding and government of the said Free School as to them or the Major part of them shall seem most meet and expedient.”

The Committee appointed by this decree were the vicar, Benjamin Wade, William Marshall, Henry Skelton, William Curtis, Samuel Foxcroft, Marmaduke Hicks, Michael Hutchinson, Edward Atkinson, Godfrey Lawson, John Killingbeck, Robert Ross, Christopher Wilkinson, George Banister, John Barker, and by them and their coopted successors the School was governed till 1898.


ONE OF THE MOST important functions of the Governors was to look after the estates of the School. These were acquired partly by gift, partly by purchase, and it is by no means easy to find out which were given and which were bought. It seems indeed that in more than one case persons have been improperly credited with being donors. The statement that so and so surrendered lands for the use of the School does not necessarily imply that he gave them. They might have been purchased from him, or it might merely be a case of the survivor of one body of trustees transferring copyhold property to a fresh body. It is moreover very doubtful how much confidence can be put in the statements in the Table of Benefactions and in the Brief History, for both of these were long subsequent to the events which they record and we cannot test the evidence on which they were based. So far as date is concerned the Inquisitions of 1620 and 1661 are much more valuable, but in these too we have only the results and not the evidence, and in the case of the later one my impression is that the investigation was not very thorough.

The following summary gives the facts so far as I have been able to disentangle them, but it must be clearly understood that on more than one point the evidence is defective, and the results therefore must be regarded as merely tentative.


I am inclined to think that there are only three persons who can with any certainty be described as donors of land to the School—William Sheafield, William Ermystead, and John Harrison.

(A) SHEAFIELD'S BEQUEST consisted of

(a) land—specified in the will as two closes beyond Shipscar Bridge, bringing in a rental of £2.6.8. per annum.

The Inquisition of 1620 calls it “four closes of land meadow and pasture lying near Shipscar Bridge containing by estimation eight acres and one rood.... and . . . one rood of land being in one close near Shipscar Bridge leading to the said 4 closes.”

The Table of Benefactions [1712] calls them “two Closes near Shipscar-Bridge containing eight Acres and a Rood and one Close leading thereto containing a Rood.”

The Brief History [1822] says, “two closes lying beyond Sheepscar-bridge together with a small field and garden leading to the same . . . The estate at Sheepscar contained about fourteen acres . . . The small field and garden...contained”

(b) houses—specified in the will as 7 tenements bringing in a rental of £2.3.10 per annum.

The Inquisition of 1620 calls them 9 messuages. The Table and Brief History describe them as houses in Vicar Lane.

The total annual value of Sheafield's bequest is stated in the Schedule attached to Ermystead's gift to be £4.13.4. In the Inquisition of 1620 they are said to produce £6 (?) “or thereupon.” In the Table of 1712 the land is said to produce £19, the houses £5.2.6.

In connection with the Sheafield bequests a curious problem arises. The Report of the Inquisition of 1661, which does not mention William Sheafield at all, says that “there are several closes of land given to the Charitable Uses of the Free School of Leedes... lying beyond Shipscar Bridge . . . demised among other things by the laste Will and Testament of Sir Thomas Sheffield,” and also that “Sir Thomas Sheffield by his last Will and Testament did among other things give and bequeath several houses in the Marsh Lane . . . the rents thereof to go to the Maintenance of the Free School of Leedes.” The Table of 1712 too, after mentioning the purchase in 1585 of certain houses in the Calls, adds—“which with some Houses in Cal-lane given by Sir Tho. Sheffield do now yield the Rent of £29. 7s. 0d.”

The puzzle is who this Sir Thomas Sheffield was. There is a will of 1509 by which a Thomas Sheffield left to his son Thomas “cotagium de vasto domini regis situatum in March layne,” and we know that William Sheafield appointed his brother Thomas executor of his will; but we hear of no Thomas Sheffield to whom the title “Sir” was applied, nor have I been able to find any will in which these bequests are mentioned, and as to the bequests the Inquisition and the Table do not quite agree. Moreover lands beyond Shipscar Bridge were undoubtedly left by William Sheafield to the School, and it seems certain that some houses in the Calls district were bought in 1564 and in Marsh Lane in 1601. Is it possible that “Sir Thomas” is a mistake for “Sir William”—the Inquisition after all was a hundred years later than the latter's date—and that the houses in Marsh Lane and Call Lane have been erroneously attributed to the Sheafield bequest, or is the clue to be found in the discrepancies between the different accounts of the Shipscar lands?

(B) “SIR” WILLIAM ERMYSTEAD was, like Sheafield, a clergyman. In his deed of gift he is described as “clericus unus Capellanorum Domnae nostrae Mariae nuper [?] Reginae Angliae.” He seems to have been the same person as William Armested who was appointed rector of Adel in 1536. He is said also to have been vicar of Birstal, Master of the Temple, and Canon of S. Paul's. In 1548 he founded—or refounded—Skipton Grammar School, and in 1556 Birstal Grammar School, so it may be inferred that he was a man of some wealth and a lover of education. His name is variously spelt—Ermystead, Ermstead, Ernested, Armystead, Armested. On 20 Aug. 1555 he granted to Christopher Hopton and others certain closes and “omnia messuagia terra tenementa boscos subboscos communia et alia hereditamenta” which he had apparently bought in 1554 for £133.6.8., in “Lofthouse Gawthorpe et Gawthorpe Park et in Wike” out of lands once belonging to Synnyngthwaite Priory. To this grant is added a Schedule in English declaring that it was his will that the feoffees should

“bestow and ymploye the issues and proffitts renewing and comeing of the premisses towards the finding of one Prieste sufficientlie learned to teache a Free Gramer Schole within the Towne of Leeds in the Countie of Yorke for ever for all such as shall repaire thereunto without takeing of any money more or lesse for teaching of the said children or schollers saveing of one pennie of everie Scholler to enter his name in the Mayster's booke yf the Scholler have a pennie and yf not to enter and continue freelie withoute any paieing, whiche said prieste and his successors by the Grace of God and by my will and mynde saie Masse three daies in everie weeke in the Parish Church of Leeds aforesaid that is to witt the Mundaie the Wedensdaie and Fridaie from the Feaste of the Annunciation of our Ladie unto the Feaste of St. Michael tharkangell at Six of the Clock in the Morning and from the Feaste of St. Michaell the arkangell to the Feast of thannunciation of our Lady at Serven of the clock in the morning if seekeness or other cause reasonable do not lett the same, whiche said prieste and his successors according to my mynde and entent shall retayne take and have by the sufferment of the said feoffes their heires and assignes thissues and profitts of the said messuages lands and tenements with other the premisses being to the yearly value of tower Marks [£2.13.4.] by his owne hands to entents and purposes aforesaid.”

The Schedule then goes on to state—

“to the which landes and tenements there be other landes and tenements of the yearly rent of fower pounds thirteen shillings and fower pence which were given by Syr William Sheafield Clerk and also other landes and tenementes of the yearlie value of Fower pounds thirteen shillings and fower pence which were purchased and given by the Inhabitants and parishioners of Leedes aforesaid. And also the reversion of other lands and tenements lying in Barwick in Elmet after the death of Joane Townley widdow to the yearly value of Ten shillings which was given by the said Joane Townley and appointed to be annexed used and bestowed to the intents and purposes.”

The Inquisition of 1620 does not mention the Wike lands: that of 1661 mentions “a messuage a barn and about Fourteen Acres of land belonging to the Free School.” The Table says they were then leased for £7.

Of the Townley reversion I can find no other mention, nor that the Barwick land was ever held by the School.

(C) JOHN HARRISON'S GIFT will be referred to under “The School House.”

The benefactions for the Library, for scholarships and exhibitions, and for prizes will be dealt with later.

Of monetary gifts for unspecified purposes I can find little record. In a “Table of Writeings in the old Church Chist” there is mentioned under the date “15 Nov. 3 Car [i ?]” a copy of the will of William Ffoules, Gent, bequeathing inter alia £50 to the Free Grammar School.


Ermystead's Schedule states that in 1555 the School possessed in addition to Sheafield's bequest “landes and tenementes . . . purchased and given by the inhabitants and parishioners” to the value of £4.13.4 per annum. How the money for these was raised we do not know. It may have been by a rate, but of this there is no evidence: more probably it was by a voluntary subscription. The Brief History appears to be referring to a later period when it says that “the means of making such purchases were partly afforded by subscriptions and partly by fines taken from the tenants for the granting of leases.” The lands alluded to were apparently property belonging to “Ricardus Banke, Generosus, et Blizabeth uxor ejus” who in 1554 surrendered.

(A) On 13 May—“unam clausuram vocatm Cawles continent. per estimationem tres acras cum omnibus edificiis desuper edificat. cum suis pertinentiis in Leeds Kirgaite . . . et duo Cottag. cum suis pertinentiis in Holbeck” to Christopher Hopton and others. In the transfer of these lands to new trustees in 1584 they were stated to be “ad opus et usum et sustentationem Liberae Gram-maticae Scholae in Leedes.”

The Inquisition of 1620 only mentions the transfer in 1584, and the Table says:

“An. 1585 The Calls (at that Time three Acres) Cal-lane and Cal-brow Houses were purchased for the School.

An. 1587 two Houses in Holbeck were bought for the same Use.”

(B) On 15 May—“unum Messuagium et unam Bovatam terrae arabilis prati et pasturae cum suis pertin. in Halton” to Christopher Hopton, Laurence Rawson, etc.

The Inquisition of 1620 says that on 21 Apr. 1596 Laurence Rawson conveyed “one messuage one barn and one oxgang of land with the appurtenances within the Town Fields of Halton with one deyne in the fields aforesaid” to Laurence Martin etc. “to the sustentation reparation and free use of the Grammar School in Leedes.”

The Inquisition of 1661 defines this land more precisely: “there is one messuage and one barn with the appurtenances in Hawton On[e] Garth containing one acre of land One close called the Ox Close containing Eight acres of land with the appurtenances in Gilsikefield Two acres and an half of land in Cross Field in a close there called the Haggs One other acre of land in a Field there called the Garth End Field One piece of ground called the Deane containing Two acres One acre and a half in a close called the Intack in the said Field One other half acre of land in Halton Ings in all containing Two and twenty acres .... which said several closes and lands were given to the reparation and maintenance of the Free School of Leedes . . . All of which are of the clear yearly value of Six pounds ten shillings.”

The Table says, “Anno 1596 Lawr. Rawson gave a Farm in Halton.”

The Brief History calls it “enclosed and unenclosed lands” of c.29 acres.

THE BANKE LANDS added to Sheafield's bequest and Ermystead's gift would make up the endowment stipulated in the Founder's will, but other property was subsequently acquired for the' Inquisition of 1620 reported that

(A) on 12 APR. 1579 Richard Simpson etc. “did take of the late Queen Elizth.”

(a) “one tenement or chapel called New Chapel containing by estimation 44 yards in length and in bredth 36 yards together with one orchard and one garden and one decayed cottage with the appurtenances lying at the Head Row Leedes between the lane leading betwixt Leedes and Shipscar Bridge on the west and a lane leading towards North-hall Bridge on the south.”

The Table says it was purchased “An. 1580.” Thoresby thinks it was the Chantry of Our Lady. The Brief History says it was at the head of Lady Lane.

(b) “one other tenement or chapel called the Chapel at the Bridge End.”

This was “at the North-end of the great Stone-Bridge.” Thoresby says of it: “That this Edifice was an ancient Chapel before the Reformation . . . is evident from the Register of the Parish Church; but whether it is a Chantry or one of those Oratories that the Piety of our Ancestors frequently built near the Ferries over Rivers I cannot yet learn.” In the “Table of writeings in the old Church Chist” it is called the “Chappell of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” and one of the “writeings” was a Bill of Sale of it on 15 Sept. 1551.

(c) “two cottages”—24 yds. by 18 yds—“at the North End of the Bridge of Leedes betwixt the Street called Briggate on the north and the Water of Ayre on the south and one garden adjoining on the east part of Leedes Bridge.”

(d) “one cottage in Leedes Briggate”—10 yds by 7 yds.

(e) “one pair of tentures near Picksmall Goit”—28 yds by 7 yds.

(f) “one cottage at the side of the Churchyard”—24 yds by 6 yds.

A note adds “pulled down in 1819 to widen the Street and an estate at Wellhouses Bank given in lieu by the Town.” The Brief History speaks of 4 cottages “adjoining to the churchyard and an estate situate at the 'Bank' in Leeds and consisting of 'houses shops and yards.'”

(g) “one cottage with a garden in Marsh Lane”—50 yds by 20 yds.

(h) “two other cottages”—40 ells by 20 yds.

(i) “one cottage and one rood of land lying at Hill House Banks.”

(j) “three cottages and three gardens and one half acre of land lying at the West end of the Town.”

All these were taken “to the use of the School and the King's Highways in Leedes,” but which were allotted to the former is not stated.

(B) ON 15 MARCH 1601 Laurence Rawson “did convey three cottages scituate and being in Marsh Lane ... to Samuel Casson etc. to the use sustentation maintenance and reparation and government as well of the Free Grammar School of Leedes as of a Master Usher and Scholars of the said School.for ever.”

The problem of the Marsh Lane property I have not been able to solve. This may or may not have been a gift by Laurence Rawson. The Brief History says—“several houses in Marsh-lane were given to the School or more probably purchased .... to which others were added and surrendered by Lawrence Rawson A.D. 1628.” The Table under “An. 1580” states, “about the same Time several Houses in the Marsh Lane were by several Persons given to the School,” and under “Anno 1596,” after mentioning— incorrectly, I think—that “Lawr. Rawson gave a Farm in Halton,” it adds “the same Person gave Houses in Marsh-lane.” The case is further complicated by the declaration of the Inquisition of 1661 that the rents of several houses in Marsh Lane were given “to the maintenance of the Free School” by the will of the mysterious “Sir Thomas Sheffield.”

(C) ON 22 APR. 1609 the following “premisses were purchased with the moneys belonging to the Free Grammar School of Leedes” and surrendered by William Robinson to Christ. Danby, etc. viz.

(a) a “third part of three several cottages or tenements with the appurts. in Great Woodhouse Carr.”

(b) a “third part of the lands tenements closes and hereditaments with their appurtenances and one acre and a half of meadow with all the edifices thereupon builded lying on the south part of one little River called Shipscarr Becke near Buslinthorp.”

(c) a “third part of one close called Goldsmith Close lying in the fields of Leedes Woodhouse lying in a certain place called Well Lands.”

(d) “the moiety of one little butt lying near Lindley Nook in Lindley one Close called High Thorn lying in Leedes Woodhouse and Woodhouse Carr only excepted.”

With regard to these Woodhouse lands there, seems to be some discrepancy in the records, if they all refer to the same property.

The Inquisition of 1661 says—“there is certain lands containing about Eleven acres and two dwelling houses .... lying and being in Leedes Woodhouse which about Forty years since was of the yearly value of Sixteen pounds per annum and were then so letten which was devised by Will towards the maintenance of the Free School in Leeds.”

The Table under “An. 1621” states, “Two Farms in Woodhouse were purchased for the School”: their rental was £16.1.8. The Brief History mentions “two small farms at Nether Green near Woodhouse consisting of one farm-house, four cottages and about eleven acres of' land” as “purchased A.D. 1621.”

ROGER ASCHAM, a contemporary of Sheafield, says that “northern men were partial in doing more good and giving more lands to the furtherance of learning than any other countrymen in those days did,” and so far as Leeds is concerned, there is a good deal of truth in his words, for, though we have only mentioned three donors by name, much of the property purchased was probably acquired by the money given by unnamed citizens. The money in any case was wisely spent for the estates steadily increased in value, so that the School was able to be carried on as a Free School for nearly three hundred years.


BY SHEAFIELD'S WILL a house had to be provided for the School within four years of his death. This was undoubtedly done, but where it was no record remains to tell us. Possibly it was in the Calls where property was acquired in 1554; or the School may have been held in the Chapel at the Bridge End, where subsequently elementary subjects were taught with the permission, if not under the direction, of the Governors; or it may have been in the New Chapel. It is true that neither of these Chapels appears to have been purchased till 1579; but after the dissolution of the chantries they were very possibly unoccupied, and in the Inquisition of 1620 it is clearly stated that the New Chapel was at that time used for the Grammar School, though there is no evidence at all for the theory put forward in the Brief History that this was the Chapel in which Sheafield officiated.

In 1624 however, to quote Thoresby's words, “the famous Mr. Harrison removed it ... to a pleasant Field of his own which he surrounded with a substantial Wall and then in the midst of the Quadrangle built the present Fabrick of the School.” Mr. Harrison was of course the well-known benefactor—“the Wonder of his own and Pattern of succeeding Ages.” He was apparently a Feoffee of the School, and in 1623 was appointed one of the original members of the Committee of Pious Uses. It is noteworthy however that in his will [1653], after stating

“Whereas I have of my own charge and upon my own land erected and builded one new house now used and employed [as] a grammar school and walled the yard thereunto belonging with a stone wall as the same abutteth upon the land of Henry Rhodes upon the north and upon my own land upon south east and west my mind and will is that the same shall be for a Master and an Usher to teach Scholars in for ever,”

he vested the property not in the Committee but in special trustees. Possibly the Committee was then controlled by men whose political views he disliked. In 1661 however the house and its site seem to have been incorporated with the rest of the School estate. The Schoolhouse stood between the present Grand Theatre and Vicar Lane—then the main road to Harrogate. It was on the very outskirts of the town, and two fields separated it from the Almshouses and S.John's church. Nearly opposite was the Workhouse, destined at a later period to become the Charity School. The site, according to the Brief History, was about half an acre in extent, and “the school house was made in all respects sufficiently handsome and convenient according to the fashion of the times, which included not however the comforts of a fireplace or of a boarded floor.” It was really one large room, with a roof “much and deservedly admired.”


OF THE MASTERS subsequent to 1624 lists are extant, but before that date the only name of which we can be certain is that of William Hargraves.

“Wm. Hargraves scholemaster of Leeds” is mentioned as witness to the will of Robert Killingbecke of Chapel Allerton in 1573, and “William Hargraves scolem'“ as witness, with “Ric. Sympson,” to that of Elizabeth wife of Thomas Casson in 1576. He is associated here with names familiar to us from the list of Feoffees, and a similar association suggests that he may be the son named William mentioned in the will [1545] of Agnes Hargrave, to which Edward Callbeck and James Sikes were witnesses. In a will too of 1546, to which Thos. Hardwike, Richarde Boythe, Edw. Caldbecke, were witnesses, John Reyme leaves 20/. to “William Hargrave and Elisabeth my daughter.” William Hargraves also appears on the jury concerned with the Survey of the Manor in 1612. Whether all these notices refer to the same person is doubtful, but the registers of Caius College, Cambridge show that the Master at Leeds, at any rate from 1574 to 1617, was named Hargraves. It may be assumed from the terms of Ermystead's grant that he was in priest's orders.

IN 1624 THE MASTER was Dr. Samuel Pullen, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam. In Speight's “Upper Wharfedale” p. 141 it is stated that he was the son of the Rev. William Pulleyn, rector of Ripley, who married the daughter of George Sheffield of Bothams, Fewston—was this any connection of William Sheafield? Dr. Pullen's wife was the daughter of the Rev. Alexander Cooke, vicar of Leeds 1614-1632.

He was succeeded, apparently in 1630, by his brother, Joshua Pullen.

The next Master was John Garnet, M.A., whom Mr. Leach thinks to have been a graduate [B.A. 1642] of Queen's College, Oxford. He also thinks that Thoresby was wrong in putting the date of his appointment at 1651, because the register of S.John's College, Cambridge, mentions the admission in 1647 of “John, son of Edward Saunderson currier of Sheffield, bred at Leeds under Mr. Garnett.” Might not this however have been the Rev. Robert Garnett, under whom Thoresby was educated? Whether the Master was in any way connected with him or with John Garnet, M.A., who married the daughter of the first incumbent of S. John's and died in 1695, I cannot say.

He was succeeded in 1662 by Michael Gilberts of Christ's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1661, M.A. 1665.

FOR THE FACT THAT, at any rate in the seventeenth century, the Master was assisted by an Usher, John Harrison is our main witness. In his will [1653] he bequeaths the Schoolhouse for the use of “a Master and an Usher,” and he also left £10 “to Mr. Smith late Usher of the Free School in Leedes.” Moreover in a letter to Baron Thorpe he states that “the Trustees intend to allow an annual stipend of £50 to the headmaster and half that sum to the under master, and to provide with such part of the remaining income as could be spared other schoolmasters to teach boys whom the school- house cannot contain.” The last clause may perhaps have something to do with the Reading School in the Bridge End Chapel and the grant to the schoolmaster at Woodhouse, to which we shall refer later. In the decree of 1663 both a Master and an Usher are contemplated, and from 1667 the list of Ushers is continuous.


THAT THE SCHOOL was in active operation soon after Sheafield's death is clear.

Considering the names of the testators it is not unreasonable to suppose that it is alluded to in the wills of “William Calbecke of Catbeiston par. Leeds yeoman,” who in 1570 left to his son John “the occupation of the term till his brother Thomas Calbecke attain the age of 16 years so that he kepe the said Thomas at school till he attain that age” and of Sibell Sykes, widow of Richard Sykes of Kirkgate, who in 1576 left twenty nobles [£4] “to my brethren John and Thomas Reame to the education of my youngest children.” In the registers of colleges at Cambridge however there is evidence about which there can be no doubt. On 20 Oct. 1580 Michael, son of Thomas Wentworth of Armley, and grandson apparently of Christopher Hopton, was admitted pensioner at Caius College after having been six years at the School; and at the same college we find as sizars Robert Butterfielde [1598], Christopher Lawrence [1617], and William Douglas [1630]. Four successive vicars of Leeds at this period are claimed as scholars of the School—Robert Cooke, “the most noted disputant of his time,” admitted to B.N.C., Oxford, in 1567; his brother Alexander, “a good and learned man . . . but a great Calvinist,” admitted to B.N.C., Oxford 1581; Henry Robinson, who lost the vicarage for his Royalist proclivities; and Peter Saxton, his Puritan successor. Other Puritan divines educated at the School were Elkanah Wales and Thomas Hawksworth, the ejected incumbents of Pudsey and Hunslet, and, noteworthy for his benefactions to our Library, Joseph Hill, apparently the first Leeds boy to become fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, who, after being pastor of the English church at Middleburg, refused a bishopric offered him by Charles ii, and died a minister at Rotterdam in 1707.

Three other names may be mentioned—Henry Watkinson, Chancellor and Vicar General to four archbishops of York; Henry Styles, Vice-Provost of Trinity College and Judge of the Admiralty Court at Dublin; and Ralph Thoresby, the Topographer, about whose connexion with the School however there is some doubt. From his own statement he received part at any rate of his education from “the Reverend Mr. Robert Garnet M.A. of Christ's Col. Cambridge” at “a private Grammar School at the North-end of the great Stone-Bridge.” This must refer to the Chapel bought by the Feoffees in 1579 and used in 1694, and very possibly earlier, as a Reading School. It is conceivable that the Chapel served as a kind of preparatory school for teaching elementary subjects and that Thoresby may have gone on from it to the Grammar School, but of this there is no record. Still the tradition that he was a pupil at the School is one of long standing, and he seems to speak as one closely connected with it when in his account of the Library he says “among the Benefactors we glory in such great Names as” . . . etc. The point I fear must be left doubtful.

BEFORE 1817 indeed all our evidence as to pupils has to be derived from indirect sources, for we have no lists of boys earlier than that date. From the registers of two colleges at Cambridge a good many names have been recovered; and the number might probably be largely increased if an investigation were made of the registers of other colleges at Cambridge and also at Oxford. From those which are known however three things are clear.

(1) That the School drew boys from Spofforth, Kippax, Kirkstall, Armley, Selby, Sheffield, etc.

(2) That the parents of the boys differed widely in social position. Some belonged to the landed gentry, others were clergymen, one was a weaver, another a clothier, another “of middling fortune,” another a merchant, and so on.

(3) That the School was obviously fulfilling the functions of a Grammar School, and, though there are no statutes of the Founder prescribing its scope or curriculum, it is certain from the wording of the documents and from its subsequent history that it was intended to be a Grammar School in the full sense of the term, and that the subjects taught in it were those ordinarily taught in such schools. It is equally clear that it was a Free School, but nothing is told us as to whether the “freedom” was in any way limited or whether there were foreigners' fees and entrance fees. The Ermystead grant seems to show that the latter might be charged to a certain extent and at a later time foreigners and boarders did undoubtedly exist, as also a custom of receiving presents from pupils and their parents, but whether this was the case from the beginning we do not know.


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