Survey of London: Schools

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Of Schooles and other houses of Learning.
IN the raigne of king Stephen, and of Henry the second saith Fitzstephen, there were in Lon
, thrée principall Churches: which had fa
mous Schooles,
Famous Schooles of philosophie by priuiledge in London.
either by priuiledge and aunci
ent dignitie, or by fauour of some particular per
sons, as of Doctors which were accounted no
table and renowned for knowledge in Philosophie. And there were other inferior Schooles also. Upon Festiuall daies the Maisters made solemne meetinges
Solemne mee
tinges and dis
puting of schollers Logi
cally and De
in the Churches, where their Schollers disputed Logically and demonstratiuely, as he termeth it: some bringing Enthimems, other perfect Sillogismes, some disputed for shew, others to trace out the truth: cunning Sophi
sters were thought braue Schollers, when they flowed with wordes: Others vsed Fallaxes: Rethoritians spake aptly to per
swade, obseruing the precepts of arte, and omitting nothing that might serue their purpose: the boies of diuers Schooles
Grammar schooles and schollers their exercises.
did cap, or potte 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 faultes of others, though suppressing their names, moued thereby, much laughter among their Auditors: hitherto out of Fitzstephen for Schooles and Schollers, and for their exercises in the Citie, in his dayes, Sithence the which time, as to me it seemeth, by the increase of Colledges and Studients in the Uniuersities of Oxforde and

Of Schooles and other houses of Learning.
Cambridge, the frequenting of Schooles and exercises of Schol
lers in the Citie as had beene accustomed hath much decreased.
The three principall Churches, which had these famous Schooles by priuiledges must needes be at the Cathedrall Church of S. Paule for one, seeing that by a generall Councell holden in the yeare of Christ, 1.176. at Rome, in the Patriarchie of Lata
, it was decreede that euery Cathedrall Church should haue his Schoolemaister to teach poore Schollers
euery cathedral Church had his schoole for poore schollers
and others as had beene accustomed, and that no man shoulde take any reward for licence to teach. The second as most ancient may seeme to haue been the Monasterie of S. Peter at VVestminster, whereof Iu
(Abbote of Crowland in the raign of William the Con
writeth thus:) I Iugulphus an humble seruant of God borne of English parentes, in the most beutifull Citie of London, for to attaine to learning, was first put to VVest
Free schoole at VVestminster, in the raigne of Edward the Confessor.
and after to study at Oxforde, &c. And writing in praise of Queene Edgitha, wife to Edwarde the Confessor, I haue seene her, saith hee, often when being but a boy, I came to see my father dwelling in the Kinges courte, and of
ten comming from Schoole, when I met her, she would oppose me, touching my learning, and lesson, & falling from Gram
mar to Logicke, wherein she had some knowledge, she would subtilly conclude an argument with mee, and by her hande
maiden giue me 3. or 4. peeces of money, and send me vnto the Palace where I should receiue some victuals, and then be dismissed
The third Schoole seemeth to haue beene at the Monasterie of S. Sauiour at Barmondsey in Southwark: for other Priories, as of S. Iohn by Smithfielde, S. Bartlemew, in Smithfielde. S. Marie Ouery in Southwarke, and that of the Holy Trinity by Aldgate, were all of later foundation, and the Friories, Collea
ges, and Hospitals in this Citie, were raised since them, in the raignes of Henry the 3, Edward the 1. 2. and 3. &c. Al which hou
ses had their Schooles, though not so famous as these first named.
But touching Schooles more lately aduanced in this Citie, I reade, that king Henry the fift hauing suppressed the Priories
Priories alliens suppressed.
aliens whereof some⎮were aboute London, namely one Hospitall,

Of Schooles and other houses of Learning.
called Our Lady of Rounciuall by Charing Crosse: one other Hospitall in Oldbourne: one other without Cripplegate: and the fourth without Aldersgate, besides other that are now worn out of memorie and whilest there is no monument remayning more then Rounciuall conuerted to a brotherhoode which continued till the raign of Henry the 8. or Edward the 6. this I say, and o
ther their schools being broken vp and ceased: king Henry the sixt in the 24. of his raigne, by patent, appointed that there should be in London, Grammar schooles, besides S. Paules, at S. Martins
Henry the sixt appointed Grammar Schooles.
Le Grand, S. Marie Le Bow, in Cheap, S. Dunstons in the west and S. Anthonies. And in the next yere to wit, 1394 1. the said king ordeyned by Parliament that foure other Grammar schools shold be erected, to wit in the parishes of S. Andrew in Oldborne,
Grammar schools appoin
ted by Parlia
Alhallowes the greate in Thames streete, S. Peters. v
pon Cornehill
, and in the Hospitall of S. Thomas of Acons in west Cheape, since the which time as diuers scholes by suppres
sing of religious houses (whereof they were members) in the raign of Henry the 8. haue been decayed, so again haue some others been newly erected, and founded for them: as namely Paules schoole,
Paules schoole new builded.
in place of an old ruined house was builded in most ample manner, and largely indowed, in the yeare 1512. by Iohn Collet Doctor of Diuinity Deane of Paules, for 153. poore mens children: for which there was ordeyned a Maister, Surmaister, or Usher, and a Chaplen. Againe in the yeare 1553. after the erection of Christes hospitall
Free schools in Christes Hos
in the late dissolued house of the Gray Friers, a great number of poore children being taken in a Schole was also ordaned there, at the Citizens charges. Also in the yere 1561. the Marchant Taylors
Free schole founded by the Marchant Taylors.
of London: founded one notable free Grammar Schoole, in the parish of S. Lawrence Poultney by Candleweeke streete, Richard Hils late maister of that Com
pany: hauing giuen 500.£. toward the purchase of an house, called the Mannar of the Rose, sometime the Duke of Buckinghams, wherin the School is kept. As for the meeting of the Schoolemai
sters, on festiuall daies, at festiuall churches, & the disputing of their Schollers
Scholers dispu
ted in S. Bartil
Logically &c. whereof I haue before spoken, the same was long since discontinued: But the arguing of the Schoole boyes aboute 1th principles of Grammar, hath beene conti
nued euen till our time: for I my selfe in my youth haue yearelie

Of Schooles and other houses of Learning.
seene on the Eue of S. Bartlemew the Apostle, the schollers of diuers Grammar schooles repaire vnto the Churchyard of S. Bartlemew, the Priorie in Smithfielde, where vpon a banke boorded aboute vnder a Tree, some one Scholler hath stepped vp, and there hath appoased and answered, till he were by some better Scholler ouercome and put down: and then the ouercomer, ta
king the place, did like as the first: and in the end the best apposars and answerers had rewards, which I obserued not, but it made both good Schoolemasters, and also good Schollers, diligently a
gainst suchtimes to prepare themselues for the obtayning of this garland. I remember there repayred to these exercises amongst o
thers the Maisters & Schollers of the free Schooles of S. Paules in London: of S. Peters at Westminster: of S. Thomas Acons Hospitall: and of S. Anthonies Hospitall: whereof the last na
med commonly presented the best schollers: and had the prize in those daies.
This Priorie of S. Bartlemew, being surrendred to H. the 8. those disputations of Schollers in that place surceased.
Disputation of Schollers in Christes Hospitall.
And was again (onely for a yere or twaine) in the raigne of Edward the 6. reuiued in the Cloystre of Christes Hospitall, where the best Schollers then stil of S. Anthonies schoole, howsoeuer the same be now fallen, both in number and estimation, were rewarded with bowes and arrowes of siluer giuen to them by Sir Martin Bowes Goldsmith: neuerthelesse howsoeuer the encourage
ment fayled, the children mindfull of the former vsage did for a long season disorderly in the open streetes, prouoke one an other with salue tu quoque, placet tibi mecum disputare, placet : and so proceeding from this to questions in Grammar, they vsually fel from that to blowes, many times in so great heapes that they trobled the streets, & passengers, so that finally they wer restrained.
Of latter time, in the yeare of Christ, 1582. there was founded a publike lecture in Chirurgerie to bee reade in the Colledge of Phisitions,
Lecture in Chirurgery
in Knight-riders streete, and to begin in the yeare 1584. on the 6. of May: and so to be continued for euer twice in euery weeke, on wednesday and Friday, by the honora
ble Baron, Iohn Lorde Lombley and the learned Richarde Caldwell Doctor in Phisicke: the Reader whereof to bee Richarde Forster, Doctor of Phisicke during his life. Fur

Of Schooles and other houses of Learning.
thermore about the same time there was also begunne a Ma
thematicall lecture to be read in a fayre olde Chappell,
Mathematicall lecture read.
builded by Simon Eayre, within the Leaden hall: wherof a learned Citizen borne, named Thomas Hood was the first Reader. But this Chappell and other parts of that hall being imployed for stowage of goodes taken out of a great Spanish Caracke, the said Lecturs ceased any more to be read, and was then in the yeare 1588. read in the house of M. Thomas Smith in Grasse stréete, &c.
Last of all S. Thomas Gresham knight, Agent to the Quéens Highnesse, by his last wil and testament made in the yeare 1579. gaue the Royall Exchaunge, and all the buyldings thereunto ap
pertayning, that is to say, the one moytie to the Mayor and com
munaltie of London and their successors, vpon trust that they per
forme as shalbe declared: and the other moitie to the Mercers in like confidence. The Mayor and communaltie are to find foure to reade Lectures, of Diuinitie, Astronomie, Musicke, and Geo
metrie, within his dwelling house in Bishopsgate stréete, and to bestow the summe of 200,£. to wit 50.£>. the péece &c. The Mercers likewise are to find thrée Readers, that is in Ciuill law, Phisicke, and Rethorick within the same dwelling house, the sum of 150.l. to euery Reader 50.l. &c. Which gift hath béene since that time confirmed by Parliament, to take effect, and beginne after the decease of the Lady Anne Gresham, which happened in the yeare 1596. and so to continue for euer. Whereupon the Lecturers were accordingly chosen and appointed to haue begun their readinges in the moneth of Iune 1597. &c. which also they do at this time performe. Whose names be Anthonie Wootton for Diuinitie, Doctor Mathew Guin for Phisick, Doctor Henry Mountlow for the Ciuill lawe, Doctor Iohn Bull for Musicke, Breerewood for Astronomie, Henry Brigges for Geometrie, and Caleb VVillis for Rethoricke, to the great delight of many both learned and louers of learning. These Lectures are read dayly in the terme times, by euery one vpon his day, in the morning be
twixt 9. and 10. in Latine: in the afternoone betwixt 2: and 3. in English, saue that D. Bull is dispensed with to reade the Musicke Lecture in English onely vpon two seuerall dayes, Thursday and Saterday in the after noones, betwixt 3. and 4. of the clocke.


  1. Stow’s two dating methods do not correspond here. The year following the 24th year of Henry VI’s reign (I.e. his 25th year) should be between August 31, 1446 and August 30, 1447 (SM)

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MLA citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Schools. The Map of Early Modern London, edited by Janelle Jenstad, U of Victoria, 20 Jun. 2018,

Chicago citation

Stow, John, and William fitz Stephen. Survey of London: Schools. The Map of Early Modern London. Ed. Janelle Jenstad. Victoria: University of Victoria. Accessed June 20, 2018.

APA citation

Stow, J., & fitz Stephen, W. 2018. Survey of London: Schools. In J. Jenstad (Ed), The Map of Early Modern London. Victoria: University of Victoria. Retrieved from

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Provider: University of Victoria
Database: The Map of Early Modern London
Content: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

A1  - Stow, John
A1  - fitz Stephen, William
ED  - Jenstad, Janelle
T1  - Survey of London: Schools
T2  - The Map of Early Modern London
PY  - 2018
DA  - 2018/06/20
CY  - Victoria
PB  - University of Victoria
LA  - English
UR  -
UR  -
ER  - 


RT Web Page
SR Electronic(1)
A1 Stow, John
A1 fitz Stephen, William
A6 Jenstad, Janelle
T1 Survey of London: Schools
T2 The Map of Early Modern London
WP 2018
FD 2018/06/20
RD 2018/06/20
PP Victoria
PB University of Victoria
LA English
OL English

TEI citation

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