Chapter VII

Changes and Reforms



IN THE SPRING of 1815 Mr. Whiteley died, and at Christmas Mr. Swaine resigned in return for a grant of 400 guineas. The Committee thus got a free hand, and set to work to reorganize the School in accordance with the principles laid down in Lord Eldon's judgment. The moving spirit appears to have been an “old boy”—the Rev. John Sheepshanks, then incumbent of Trinity Church, to whom also we are mainly indebted for the Brief History, the publication of which was sanctioned by the Committee in 1820. One of the reasons of its compilation was to show that the governors had spared no pains “to procure for the inhabitants of this large and populous borough every advantage which the classical educations of their sons, conducted by the best masters and according to what appeared the best plans, could possibly bestow.” For the realization of this ideal much was due to the fact that on 17 May 1815 Mr. Sheepshanks undertook “the care of the Free School,” and acted as Master till Christmas, receiving for his services a grant of £350. As a rule the Governors of a school have only an indirect knowledge of what goes on in it, and it must have been of great value to the Committee to have one of their own body obtaining a practical knowledge of the reforms that were needed.

ONE OF THE FIRST things taken in hand was the improvement of the buildings. A sub-committee was appointed to consider how the School might be “better lighted and more equably warmed in winter;” and in July 1815 it was resolved “that the under-drawing of the School, the fitting up the fireplace with a stove, the repairing or renewing the floor . . . be proceeded in without delay.” Coal henceforth was to be purchased by the Committee, and a salary of £10 10s. “allowed to the Schoolkeeper in order that the School and Library may be daily and sufficiently swept and kept clean.” During the repairs the Upper School was taught in the Library, while “the Usher and his boys”, were removed to a warehouse in Hunslet Lane lent by Mr. John Blayds. The Brief History says that the whole interior appearance of the schoolhouse was altered: the roof underdrawn, the desks and seats removed, and the floor covered with tables, surrounded by moveable benches. The building seems also to have been enlarged, and its exterior improved, and an “ample addition” was made to the playground. A clock too was ordered to be purchased. These alterations, costing rather over £1,000, were completed by 1833.

IMPORTANT CHANGES also were made in the organization of the School. On 5 July 1815 the Committee, finding that the Orders had been “greatly neglected and transgressed,” resolved to revise and enforce them. The changes made were considerable, and as the Orders of 1815 formed the basis of the organization of the School till 1898, I have thought it best to give them here with the modifications made in them during this period.

1. The hours of attendance at the School shall be for the Scholars from March 1 to November 1 as follows—from 6-30 a.m. until 8, again from 9 until 12, and from 2 to 5 in each afternoon when there is no Holyday. During the remainder of the year the Scholars shall attend from 8-30 till 10 and from 10-30 till 12-30 on each morning, also from 2 till 4-30 when there is no Holyday. Both Master and Usher shall be present at the opening of the school on each day, and shall be allowed one quarter of an hour beyond the time appointed for the Scholars at each subsequent assembling of the Scholars on each day.

In 1819 the hours were altered to—
Apr. 1 to Oct. 1—7-9: 10-12: 2-4.
Oct. 1 to Apr. 1—8-9: 10-12: 2-4.

2. The names of the boys shall be called over by appointed monitors in the Upper and Lower Schools at each of the times of meeting specified in the last Rule: lists of absentees shall be made and delivered to each master by the monitor of his own School as soon as he comes in; such lists to be preserved for the inspection of the Committee when called for and to be produced at the Public Examinations of the Scholars hereafter appointed.

In 1820 the school bell was ordered to be rung “for 5 minutes previous to the commencement of each hour of attendance.”

3. The afternoons of Wednesday and Saturday in each week shall be regular Holydays; one whole day in each month may be granted in addition to these by the Master at his option; the other vacations of the School to consist of 3 weeks at Christmas, 5 weeks at Midsummer, 4 days including Good Friday at Easter, 2 days at Whitsuntide, on the 30th day of January, the 29th day of May, the 5th day of November, the King's Accession, and both days of Leeds Fair. On Ash Wednesday and each remaining Wednesday in Lent there shall be holyday after one lesson, the boys being expected to attend Divine Service at the Parish Church.

In 1820 the King's Birthday was added; the lesson on Ash Wednesday was omitted, as well as the clause as to the other Wednesdays in Lent; the winter vacation also was to begin on the Friday in the week before Christmas and the summer vacation at the end of the examination, and the weeks of each vacation were to be reckoned from the Monday after breaking up.

In 1830 January, June, July, and December were excluded from the months in which the Master might give a holiday.

For occasional holidays the custom (c.1850) was for the boys to get a Governor to intercede for them with the Master.

On exceptional occasions special holidays have been granted, e.g.

In 1838 Lord John Russell wrote that “he has laid before the Queen the letter of the Scholars of the Leeds Free Grammar School soliciting Her Majesty to be graciously pleased to command the addition of one week [in honour of the Coronation] to their annual vacation and I am to acquaint you that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to comply with the solicitation of the Scholars.”

On the Queen's marriage the boys apparently made a similar request, for in 1840 the Committee disapproved of the Scholars sending an address with regard to a holiday to the Queen without the knowledge of the Master or the Trustees. The holiday was granted however.

In 1841 a week was granted for the birth of an heir to the throne. The Scholars petitioned for this with the consent of the School sub-committee, and the Queen expressed her wish that it should be granted, “if there appeared to be no objection.”

In 1844 a week was given at the Queen's request in honour of the birth of Prince Alfred.

In 1856 a week was granted at the request of the Bishop of Ripon, who had “superintended the distribution of prizes” in June.

In 1864 a week was granted on the occasion of Leeds being made an assize town.

In 1874 four days were added to the Whitsuntide holidays owing to the chairman of the Committee becoming Bishop of Ely.

The Coronations of Edward vii in 1902 and of George v. in 1911 were recognized by a week's holiday in each case.

4. The Master or Usher shall read some portion of the Common Prayer every morning immediately after his coming into School and again in the evening before the Scholars are dismissed: no exercises shall be required of the boys on Friday evening and the whole of Friday afternoon shall be devoted to religious instruction.

In 1816 Monday morning was substituted for Friday afternoon, and the clause as to the exercises was dropped. In 1820 the first 2 lessons on Monday were allotted to “religious instruction according to the doctrines of the Established Church and on the plan instituted in the national schools.”

5. The series of books taught in the School shall be appointed by the Headmaster with the consent and approbation of the Committee: each boy when received by him from the Lower School or otherwise admitted into the Upper School shall have been completely instructed in Latin prosody, shall have read so much of Latin poetry as to make with facility nonsense Latin verses, and shall have learnt thoroughly and by heart the Greek Grammar. Such editions only of any author shall be read in the School as are pointed out by the Headmaster, and neither he nor the Usher shall sell or receive any profit from books sold to the boys of the School.

In 1820 this was cut down to—“such editions only of a book shall be admitted into the School as are directed by the Headmaster,” but a syllabus of work was added.

6. The Public Examination of the boys shall be had in each year immediately previous to the commencement of the Christmas and Midsummer vacations, the former of these to continue for not less than 2 days or less than 6 hours in each day, to be conducted under the superintendence of a person appointed by the Committee, when prizes may be given to such boys as are deemed to merit them by the Headmaster and the Committee, and the progress of each class be registered in a book kept for that purpose; the fitness of any boys in the Lower School to be admitted into the Upper School shall also be determined at each public examination.

In 1820 it was ordered that the Summer examination alone should be by an external examiner; that it should begin on the Monday nearest to—in 1830 before—June 21; that it should last not less than 4 days of 5 hours each; that the masters should be requested to attend during its continuance; that they should send in 6 weeks before an account of work done during the previous half year; that the examiner's questions, opinions, and classification of the boys should be recorded; that the prizes should be awarded by the examiner and their value fixed by him with the help of the masters; that these prizes should then be proclaimed in the School and distributed on its next re-opening by the vicar in the presence of the Governors—the first mention of the modern Speech Day; that the registers of lessons, exercises, and behaviour should then also be produced, and “such censures past and such sentences of admonition and expulsion delivered as the proper discipline of the School might require.” The books in which exercises of merit were recorded were to be offered for the inspection of the Governors at the commencement of the two vacations, and at Christmas the Master was “recommended” to hold a public examination of the School.

7. The control of the School shall be absolutely vested in the Headmaster when present and in the Usher during his absence; it is recommended however to both to have monitors in their several Schools, which monitors shall be deemed responsible to their several masters for the conduct of the boys committed to their care. The monitors of the Lower School as well as his own monitors may be punished by the Headmaster for any neglect or misconduct, whilst the monitors of the Upper School are to be punished by him on complaint made by the Usher of misconduct in the absence of the Headmaster.

Only the first clause was retained in 1820.

8. The personal correction of any boy in the School is allowed to the Headmaster and of the boys in the Lower School to the Usher. To neither master however is permitted the striking of the boys over the hands or head with cane, ruler, or like improper instrument. It is also strongly recommended to both masters to adopt more lenient methods of correction except in very particular cases; the present discipline of the national schools have [sic] clearly proved that good order is best preserved and the literary progress and emulation of the boys best excited by deprivations and punishments of a more lenient nature.

In 1820 the “personal correction of the boys” was confined to the Headmaster.

9. Neither master is to employ the boys of the School immediately belonging to the other master in the teaching or government of his classes, and it is expected that the instruction of his own boys be principally conducted by each master in person. No hired assistant is to be admitted into either School except with the leave and approbation of the Committee, and in applying for such leave the intended term of such assistant's services as also the compensation to be made for them are to be explicitly stated and sanctioned by the Committee.

This was omitted in 1820.

10. Both the Headmaster and Usher shall be bona fide resident during the schooldays, the Master in the house now provided for him, and the Usher in the township of Leeds and at a convenient distance from the School until a house be provided for him also: and if either Master or Usher shall be non-resident or absent from the School for more than 14 schooldays in any one year without the leave of the Committee first had and obtained in writing (unless in case of sickness or other accident) the place and office of such Master or Usher to be ipso facto vacant.

11. The Headmaster of the School for the time being shall deliver to the President of the Committee twice in every year, viz. at the commencement of the vacations at Midsummer and Christmas, a list of such Scholars as shall then be really learning at the School in order that such lists may be offered to the inspection of the Committee at their next and every subsequent meeting.

12. The admission of boys to become Scholars of the School shall be limited to the Monday in each week immediately after the end of the vacations of Midsummer and Christmas and to the first Mondays in the two months of April and October. Examinations shall be had of the boys requesting admissions on each of the days so appointed, and no boy shall be admitted who is not able to read English fluently, to spell it correctly, and to write legibly, so as to be perfectly and properly capable of commencing instruction in the Latin Language.

In 1820 the Mondays in April and October were omitted, 8 was fixed as the minimum age, and the subjects for admission were not specified, but an account was to be furnished to the Headmaster of “such previous classical education” as the boy had received. In 1830 no boy who had completed his 16th year was to be admitted without special leave. It may be mentioned that in 1831 four boys aged 17 were admitted on condition that they did not “apply for the exhibition of the School.”

13. Neither the Master nor Usher of the said School shall hereafter accept any ecclesiastical preferment during their respective continuance in their several offices without the consent of the major part of the Committee first had and obtained. And in case the said Master or Usher shall at any time hereafter accept any such ecclesiastical preferment without such consent as aforesaid the office of such Master and Usher shall upon his induction into or licence or other institution to such ecclesiastical preferment be ipso facto vacant and void, And the said Committee shall thereupon proceed to elect another Master or Usher as the case may be, And if it shall be in the case of the Master the Committee shall or may recover in ejectment or otherwise as they shall be advised the Schoolhouse and School or other premises which at that time may happen to be in the possession or occupation of the said Master.

In 1830 the words “or undertake any permanent clerical duties” were added.

14. No presents to be received by either Master or Usher for the teaching of boys whose parents or guardians are resident within the borough of Leeds.

On 20 Jan. 1819 the “Freedom of the School” was at last defined, for it was resolved “that it is the opinion of this Committee that the Grammar School was intended as well by the original founder as by the Inhabitants of Leeds who complied with the condition of his Foundation for the use and benefit of boys natives of or sons of residents in the Parish and Borough of Leeds only and . . . that the Committee declare the School free for such boys only,” and the resolution was embodied in the Orders of 1820. Another resolution of the same date allowed the instruction of foreigners “so long as such instruction is ... no ways detrimental to the complete and free instruction of the Scholars for whom the Institution was originally built and intended,” and fixed as their annual fees £6 6s. (Forms i. & ii.), £10 10s. (iii. iv. & v.), £12 12s. (vi. & vii). This also was embodied in the Orders of 1820, but £8 8s. was fixed as the fee in Forms i. ii. iii. & iv, and £12 12s. in v. vi. & vii. Permission was also given in 1820 for “the receiving of boarders into the houses of the masters provided these be taught in the School.”

In 1830 the foreigners were limited to 20, viz 10 in the Upper School and 10 in the Lower, and there was added, “The Master shall use every precaution in his power to prevent boys not free of the School from coming into competition with the free boys for the Exhibition belonging to the School.”

15 & 16 will be found in the section dealing with the Library.

17. The School Yard both in its present and improved state (if its extent should hereafter be increased) is to be considered as for the use of the boys only. No animal belonging to Master or Usher is to be admitted therein Neither are the boys to be employed by either Master or Usher otherwise than in the duties of their school instruction.

Omitted in 1820. It looks as though the masters, like “Mr. Squeers,” had been wont to employ the boys in manual tasks for their own benefit, and to use the yard for their own live stock.

To these Orders we may add two resolutions passed on 8 March 1820, viz.

(a) The two masters to wear their academic gowns.
(b) If a Scholar is removed without notice no son of the same parents to be received without special leave.

And also an Order of 1830, that the Governors before each vacation would hold a visitation of the School at which the Master must send in a written report as to the state of the School and especially the conduct of the boys and the observance of the rules by the under-masters and scholars and offer suggestions. The sub-committee might visit the School when they pleased and deal with matters requiring immediate attention.

From these orders, together with other information to be gleaned from the Brief History, the examiners' reports the “Life of J. D. Heaton,” and an article (written, I believe, by Dr. Atkinson, the venerable Master of Clare) in the “Leodiensian” of 1895, we can at last get some idea of the work done in the School.

THE RULES as to holidays, hours, admission, and foreigners, are laid down in the Orders and need not be recapitulated here. The number of boys in 1816, was 99, in 1817, 68, in 1823 80, in 1826 72, in 1830 97. They were divided into 7 Forms, and these in 1819 were grouped in three “schools”—the Upper School (forms vii, vi. v.), Middle School (iv. & iii), and Lower School (ii. & i). The Upper School occupied the north end of the schoolroom, the Middle School the south, and the Lower School the centre. The classification was part of the work of the examiner, and great care was taken not to promote a boy until he was fit. Hence the upper forms were usually small and the lower ones often large.

EACH “SCHOOL” was in charge of a master. The Headmaster (as he now began to be called) ruled the Upper School, the Usher the Middle School, and the Third Master or “assistant”—first appointed in 1819 and removable at pleasure—the Lower School. In each “school” the master in charge taught all subjects to the boys who were in it.

These subjects in 1820 were four, for to divinity and classics were added mathematics—for which the boys (!) petitioned in 1817—on the ground that it was “essential to the profitable-commencement of a scholar's academical studies that he should have been previously taught the elements of mathematical science,” and also English, which, “as auxiliary to the classical instruction,” was introduced at the recommendation of the Master. In 1822 the examiner noted that “a knowledge of the English language [was] studiously inculcated in every scholar,” but Dr. Heaton did not remember its being taught in the Middle School in 1830. Some ancient history, geography, etc., were also taught, for among the rules compiled by the Headmaster and “put into the hands of every boy in the Upper School” we find—“Prepare to answer questions as to person, time, place, number, weight, measure, proper names, customs and manners.” For other subjects Dr. Heaton said that “most gentlemen's sons had some private tuition.” Of the way in which the classics were taught a description is given in the Brief History. It was based on the method of teaching boys by boys, introduced—or re-introduced —by Dr. Bell, the founder of the National Society.

“The lessons learnt in the school are confined to grammar and construing. The scholars of each form sit round their proper table, having their slates placed before them, and being under the direction of the monitor and sub-monitor, who sit at the top and bottom of the table and are those two boys in each form who had the highest amount of marks of merit for their labours of the preceding week.

In a grammar lesson each boy in his turn reads one word of a sentence, and all of them copy upon their slates what is read, until the period is finished; this period is then continued to be read from the slates in like manner until every boy is able to repeat it; the subsequent periods are so learnt until the whole lesson is finished. In a construing lesson the words of each period are read, parsed, and construed according to the same plan, the lexicon also is consulted, notes are read, maps are inspected, and other explanatory books referred to, at the discretion of the monitor, and the English of each period is thus written down on every boy's slate. The construing is now repeated from their slates, each boy taking as few words together as possible, until the whole form is considered to be perfect: the books are then shut, the monitor dictates the English, and the other boys give the corresponding words in Latin or Greek; this also is repeated until the whole form is deemed perfect in the re-translation of the period; and the lesson thus learnt by periods is said in the same manner to the proper master. The boys are allowed no books when saying a verse lesson, whether Latin or Greek, but repeat, construe, and parse it wholly from memory. Along with every new lesson is said that which preceded it from the same author, so that every construing lesson is twice said, and the latter time after a considerable interval.

It is thus impossible for any one boy in the school to be idle for a single moment, or to neglect the learning of each lesson perfectly, without the knowledge of his whole form and the notice of his monitor.”

The last sentence is rather optimistic, but it is manifest that there was a real attempt to secure thoroughness, and that attention was paid to subject matter as well as to language. The best incentive to work the Committee thought was “emulation”—an effective though not entirely an ideal motive. This was fostered in many ways. There were the positions of monitor and sub-monitor to be won. Great stress was laid on marks “weekly added up and proclaimed in the school.” Above all there was the examination, and the classification of the boys according to its results.

THE EXAMINATION by an external examiner was an innovation of which the Committee were very proud, and they attached immense importance to it. It was first held at Christmas 1816. The Rev. George Beckett was the examiner, and the vicar and Mr. Sheepshanks assisted him. It lasted 3 days. Prizes to the value of £3. 9s. 0d. were awarded in the Lower School and of £6. 12s. 0d. in the Upper School. £10 was for many years the regular sum voted for prizes. Five boys were expelled for absence, one for “fully corroborating in his examination the complaints of the Usher concerning his conduct.” The questions and the report were “pasted in a portfolio as the first and excellent example of a plan by which the Committee hope and expect materially to aid its masters in raising the Leeds Grammar School to a distinguished rank both of reputation and utility.” In 1817 four boys were to be commended by the vicar. In 1822 the members of the Committee were urged to attend at the Prize Giving, “when censures also on undeserving boys will be proclaimed.”

The examination certainly gave a stimulus to the work, and a fair amount of information to the Governors, but it had its defects, as we shall see later; and when examiners were largely chosen from young men their suggestions could hardly have been of much use to the masters. Examiners however were not always easy to get. The work was hard, especially at first, when the examiner seems to have taken over the control of the whole School, and it looks as if he sometimes found the boys more than he could manage—hence perhaps the Order that the masters should be present. The pay too was not great. The usual fee was £21. Later, when there were two examiners, one received £2I and the other £10. 10s. 0d. In 1867 they got £15. 15s. each. In 1873 each of three examiners received £15. 15s., and one (for German) £5. 5s. At first they were often selected from recent “old boys,” but after 1837 they were for the most part strangers to the School, and some of them men of considerable eminence, e.g. W. Linwood (1847), R. Shillito (1849), C. R. Kennedy (1850), J. Llewelyn Davies (1854 & 1856), J. W. Blakesley (1855), H. M. Butler (1859).

The early examiners had a high conception of their office. They did not hesitate to mention faults, whether of knowledge or of teaching or of organization. In 1822 the examiner complains that boys deficient in writing and spelling had been admitted, and that several who set a bad example had been allowed to remain. In 1823 the Lower School was censured for lack of emulation, but in 1824 we read that many of them had shaken off their inertness and that some “exhibit quite as much ardour as can be expected from boys still labouring 'mid the asperities of literature before its beauties have opened to their view.” In 1826 the examiner said no boys were fit to be moved into the Upper School. In 1830 two boys in Form vi and two in Form v were charged with copying.

Nor were they slow to praise. Of the Upper School during this period they have little but good to say, and in 1822 special stress was laid on the fact that Greek Composition was “cultivated to an extent rarely practised at the present day in any school whatever.” That the teaching was good we have other evidence to show. In 1820 the Committee congratulated Mr. Walker on the very great improvement since he came. The Charities Report described the School as “very ably and satisfactorily conducted.” The academical distinctions won were brilliant—the Person prize at Cambridge twice, the Chancellor's medal once, 1 “double first,” 9 classical “firsts,” 7 mathematical “firsts,” 1 first class in law, and 7 fellowships. Among the boys several became well known in after life, e.g. J. H. Hill, recorder of Pontefract; G. Dixon, M.P.; C. W. Cope, R.A.; J. Hawkshaw, F.R.S. the engineer of the Severn Tunnel, knighted in 1873; W. H. Brookfield—Tennyson's “Old Brooks”—chaplain to the Queen and Whitehall preacher, and R. Hall, recorder of Doncaster and M.P. for Leeds (1857). All these, I believe, were pupils of Mr. Walker, but for some of them the credit must be shared with Mr. Richards and Dr. Holmes, to say nothing of the other masters by whom they were taught. It is time then to consider who constituted the teaching staff during these years.

ON 25 AUGUST 1815 the Rev. George Pierce Richards, formerly scholar of Eton and fellow of King's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1809, M.A. 1812, was elected, though he did not enter on office till 24 January 1816,

“in the confident and recorded hope and expectation that you will faithfully discharge herein the important Duties of its Master, uniting with your Brethren in this parish under your and their proper and immediate Head its Vicar in the furthering and supporting of every purpose that may promise to promote sound learning and religious education.”

Nothing is said about his salary: if it was double that of the Usher he would receive £500 per annum.

The “Juvenile Magazine” of 1819 speaks well of Mr. Richards—“He was strict without harshness; he combined with the dignity of the master all the love of a parent. . . It will be long ere his dear image is effaced from our minds—” but on 22 April 1818 he resigned the post. The Committee described his teaching as able, and said that the School made “great and continued improvement” under him. Subsequently he was rector of Sampford Courtenay, where he died in 1859.

ON 24 JUNE 1818 the Rev. George Walker, late fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, 8th wrangler and B.A. 1814, M.A. 1817, was elected Master. The Rev. R. V. Taylor, in his “Biographia Leodiensis,” describes him as a man not of shining talents but of solid and perspicacious judgment, coupled with high principles, sound and extensive learning, and great power of communicating knowledge; evangelical in his views, a good speaker, a writer on English literature, arithmetic, and Latin grammar; and a prominent supporter of the Leeds Library and the Mechanics' Institute. Again nothing is stated as to the salary of the Master, but from 1820 £10 was added to it “to provide him with a gown,” and gratuities of £200 in 1822 and £500 in 1827 were voted to him. After his death in 1830 Mrs. Walker received £400 and Miss Walker £200.

His relations with the Committee, who evidently thought very highly of him, were most harmonious. With Mr. W. C. Wollaston however, who succeeded Mr. Swaine as Usher on 23 Dec. 1815, this was by no means the case. He was a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, and became B.A. (11th Senior Optime) in 1816 and M.A. in 1819. According to the advertisement his salary was to be £250, but he received, also, at any rate from 1819, £30 for a house, and from 1820 £10 for a gown, together with gratuities of £250 in 1827 and £300 in 1830, and £100 for his services during the vacancy in the post of Master. His wife was the daughter of the vicar.

It is not easy to find out what kind of man he really was. In 1818 the Committee said of his teaching that in several respects it claimed their “unqualified and increasing recommendation,” and Dr. Atkinson (?) states that he owed much to his care and encouragement. “He took the greatest possible pains with boys who strove to get on. If boys would be lazy however he used to leave them very much to their own devices, only taking care that they did not disturb the others.” It is certain however that he was detested by some of his pupils. Dr. Heaton styles him a “tyrant of the classroom,” and gives some lurid illustrations of his “free and indiscriminate use of the stick,” and in 1818 and 1823 the Committee severely censured him for his harsh and unreasonable punishments. Life however was rougher then, and boys were accustomed to, and possibly only amenable to, harsher methods than would now be thought fit. Even Mr. Walker, who was regarded as a kindly master, invariably, we are told, laid his birch rod on his desk beside the Prayer-Book at the commencement of school.

Mr. Wollaston was also reproved for unpunctuality and frequent absence, and what especially annoyed the Committee was his habit of going out with the foxhounds. This in 1835 they stigmatised as “conduct totally inconsistent with the character of a Clergyman and a Schoolmaster and calculated to diminish the confidence of parents,” and admonished him in consequence.

Another point of friction was the Order as to preferment. Mr. Walker, we are told, was “officiating minister” at Trinity Church, Leeds, and rector of Papworth-Everard in Cambridgeshire, and in 1825 Mr. Wollaston asked leave to hold “the church now erecting in Meadow Lane” along with his mastership. This the Committee would not allow, but in 1828 permitted him to hold “for a short time” the living of Aslackton in Lincolnshire, provided it would not interfere with his school duties. Dr. Holmes in 1845 said that Mr. Wollaston was for a time incumbent of S. Mary's Leeds and that the Committee allowed him to hold the living of Dereham, but in the latter case residence was necessary, and this caused him to resign his mastership in 1841.

One thing at any rate may be set down to his credit. In 1838 he pointed out to the Committee that there were great flaws in the examination system. Luck, he said, had much to do with success or failure, and the results were by no means infallible. The examiners too were not sufficiently in touch with the masters, nor did they attend to the particulars furnished to them, while the need to send these in so long before seriously hampered the teaching. The questions also were often worded so as to be unintelligible to boys, and the examination was too much on paper. Examiners, he thought, should be experienced teachers. Lower forms should be examined orally. Term work should be taken into account. The masters should have a share in the examination. Not merely should prizes be given to the best boys but also “visible tokens” to all who rose above mediocrity. Some of his suggestions were adopted, but the criticism, I fear, is in many respects as true now as it was then.

FOR THE THIRD Master, when the post was instituted in 1819, a salary of £60 was fixed; and in 1826 it was resolved that “young persons”— for the Third Master then seems as a rule to have been a promising boy at the school—engaged in this capacity should contract to stay for 6 years and that half the salary should be retained and paid over in a lump sum at the end. They were regarded in fact much as apprentices.

There were 3 holders of the post in this period, viz.

1819. Henry Atkinson.
1823. “Mr. Urquhart”—probably George Urquhart, who was a boy in the School in 1820, won a Milner scholarship in 1826, and became 16th wrangler and fellow of Magdalene College. He examined the School in 1830 and died in 1865.
1826. Matthew Wilkinson, a boy in the School, who went to Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1831, and won a first class in the Classical Tripos in 1835. He examined the School in 1836, and became fellow of Clare, principal of Huddersfield Proprietary School, and the first Headmaster of Marlborough. He died in 1870. It may be noted that in 1831 he was warned by the Committee to exercise more discretion in his punishments.

Besides these mention is made of a “Mr. Spence” who was temporarily employed as Third Master in 1830 during Mr. Walker's illness, when, according to custom, the existing masters each moved up one place.



This is given in full in the Brief History, but as it refers to books long obsolete a summary will suffice.

Divinity, Latin & Mathematics were taught to all Forms. Greek began in iii, Latin verses in iii, Greek verses in v.

In Latin Ovid was the first author read (in iii), then Nepos (in iv).

In Greek Homer seems to have been the first author read (in v). In vi & vii the classical authors read were much the same as in the highest Forms now.

As to divinity, the catechism, collects, epistles, and gospels were learnt and the Bible was read. The Greek Testament was studied in vi & vii, & Paley's “Evidences” in vii.

In mathematics the syllabus was:

Form i. First 3 rules of arithmetic in integral & decimal numbers.
Form ii & iii. Multiplication & division of integral & decimal numbers.
Form iv. Reduction. Rule of Three. Vulgar fractions.
Form v. Involution & evolution.
Form vi & vii. Elements of Euclid & algebra with plane and spherical trigonometry.

English grammar was learnt in i & ii.


Quick Links -
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7
Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Postscript Assistant Masters since 1854

Back to
A C PRICE - opening page

Back to
Home Page