BOOTLE (HYCEMOOR) GRAMMAR SCHOOL
MR. C. I. ELTON’S REPORT
This school was founded by Mr Henry Singleton in 1713, for the instruction in grammar of the children of Bootle and several townships in Corney and Whitbeck. The income arises from land let by the trustees from time to time. It averages about £20 8s. per annum1, which amount is paid to the master. The site is good and the schoolroom itself, perhaps, sufficiently large for the children who attend. There is, however, no separate place for teaching sewing and knitting to girls. The accounts are audited by the trustees at very irregular intervals. There has not been a full meeting while the present master has been in the school, i.e., for nearly three years. The trustees are nine in number, being for the most part farmers and yeomen in the neighbourhood. The present incumbent of Bootle is on the list, but does not interfere with the school in any way, and as a consequence of this, the master is perfectly independent in practice. The schoolroom is very badly furnished with old desks and broken tables; and there is a great lack of maps and books. It is possible that the trustees will now do something to remedy this state of things, and it would be well if in future they would visit the school more regularly. The children are not in a satisfactory state at present. A great many of them were very dirty, and I could not discover that any of them had profited much by the master’s instruction. Some of the elder girls were doing sums in practice, but they knew very little about it. So I got very few correct answers to easy questions in vulgar and decimal fractions. Some of the children, however, could work out a sum in reduction or long division. The writing was pretty good throughout the school, and the reading tolerable. Altogether, the results of my inspection of this school was unsatisfactory. Not having for many years been used as a grammar school, it might have been useful to have it placed under Government Inspection. There is, however, a very widely spread opinion in the county that the village children learn more from a “grammar master” of the old type, than from the certificated masters and pupil teachers. The prejudice disappears in general when the trustees have once put the school under inspection. Very often, however, such trustees only are chosen as are unlikely to agree to any such change, and thus the clergyman and neighbouring gentry are excluded from the management of the school, which in time they cease to assist. The schools have changed in many respects of late years, and the “grammar masters” are no longer required to teach the classics to the sons of farmers and yeomen preparing for the Church or the profession of a schoolmaster. The prejudice in their favour still remains, and the farmers wish their sons to have a chance of learning French, Latin, and Greek if they should demand it. In practice this is never demanded, except in the case of Latin grammar and Delectus.2 There is no reason why this school should not become a very useful institution. The master receives £20 8s. from the endowment, a house over the schoolroom, and about £45 per annum from the children’s quarter-pence. Only six free scholars from Bootle are nominated by the trustees. There is another school in Bootle, endowed by the founder, Captain Shaw, R.N., with a sum of £290, the interest to [be] applied primarily to repairs, and any surplus to be paid to the master. The present master was appointed by a minority of the trustees, and therefore the rectors of Bootle and Corney and the vicar of Whitbeck refuse to pay the money to him. He is indemnified by the trustee, who has several times procured his nomination to this school as a place of retirement to which the master has on several occasions returned when leaving other situations. There is a great deal of ill-feeling on the matter. The discipline of the school is often in the most disordered state, if I am rightly informed. At the time of my visit the master had control over the children, who were mostly very young. This school was founded chiefly to secure religious instruction for the children of the parishioners. It will never be likely to prosper until the trustees settle the present dispute, and ascertain and enforce their rights of nomination the master and controlling the discipline of the school.
DIGEST OF INFORMATION
(Ch. Com. Rep. iii. 26, A.D. 1820)
Foundation and Endowment. – School founded by Mr. Singleton, who in 1713 gave to the trustees the sum of £200 for the perpetual maintenance of the master. Further endowed by others with small sums to be laid out at interest by the trustees.
School Property. Income £20 8s. Building fair. Master has dwelling rooms in the schoolhouse.
Objects of Trust. For the perpetual maintenance of a master to teach a free school for the benefit and education of the parish of Bootle and of the townships of Middleton Place in Corney parish and Anaside in Whitbeck parish. According to the terms of a later bequest the estates of Low Kinmont and Whitestones were to be free of the school. The trustees now admit six children from Bootle gratis, and from the places named at a low rate. The master may make his own terms with children from other parishes.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. None specified.
Government and Master. - Governed by nine local trustees, who appoint and dismiss master, and have power to make rules. Vacancies filled by election of surviving trustees.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1864.
General Character. - Mixed elementary school.
Masters. One master, whose income is £20 8s. from endowment, and about £45 from school fees. [Reduced to about £25 by establishment of a mistress’ school in the village, 1867]
Day Scholars. - There are about 30 boys and girls, mostly very young.
Boarders. - None.
Instruction, Discipline, etc. No knowledge required on admission. No examinations. Small playground adjoining, but school is situated in open country.
LIST OF TRUSTEES, ETC. (1867)
Joseph Hope (trained in Edinburgh)
Paul Haslam transcribed the original document, converted to HTML by Steve Bulman.
Paul has an interest in education in the county, and further historical documents may follow in due course.
1. In the original text money is shown as e.g. 4l, i.e. 4 librum, or £4. To avoid confusion, I've regularised all of these as £.
2. For a note on Delectus, see Plumbland School.
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman