CARLISLE HIGH SCHOOL
MR. C. I. ELTON’S REPORT
The High School of Carlisle is said to have existed from very ancient times. According to a school register preserved among the chapter records, it was founded in A.D. 686, restored by William Rufus, and amply endowed at various times while under the management of the Priors of Carlisle.
Henry VIII made it “an essential and primary part” of Carlisle Cathedral as now constituted, and appointed a salary for a master “learned in Greek and Latin,” whose duty should be to teach “pueros quoscunque grammaticam discendi gratia ad scholam nostrum confluentes.”
The statutory stipend was £8 17s. 4d.1, since raised by the chapter to £29. Besides this, it seems that the masters had a right to a house and to maintenance at the common table. On the abolition of the common table they should have received a yearly sum in compensation, increasing with the price of provisions, but this appears to have been hitherto neglected, probably because the mastership was privately endowed by Bishop Smith with an estate of 160 acres, producing about £160 per annum. A house in the precincts was allotted to the master some years ago, but it is small and not adapted for boarders; it is occupied by one of the lower masters.
The school has never taken its proper place at the head of the other grammar schools in Cumberland; but the importance of the city of Carlisle, the poverty of many of the clergy in the neighbourhood, and the existence of a class of yeomen who can afford a liberal education for their sons, render it in all respects desirable that the efficiency of this school should be increased.
With large reformed grammar schools at Carlisle and St. Bees, connected with district schools throughout the county, Cumberland might again become one of the best educated counties, notwithstanding the thinness of the population and the comparative poverty of many districts in it.
There are certain faults in the present administration of the High school to which the Cathedral Commissioners some years ago called attention.
The chief defect is due to the fact that there is no class of “King’s scholars,” and no provision for the education and maintenance of any class of foundationers.
There are two exhibitions2 of £60 for the sons of clergymen in this diocese proceeding to Queen’s College, Oxford; these have been occasionally used, but great difficulty is felt in keeping up a succession of proper candidates. The school requires the foundation of several scholarships and exhibitions, tenable in the school as well as at the universities. It has also been suggested by a former head master and recommended by the Cathedral Commissioners that the choristers, now educated in the English or commercial department, should be admitted to the upper or classical department as foundationers, receiving at least two years’ education free of expense.
The salary of the head master, with the additional income from Bishop Smith’s estate, is quite insufficient. He has to pay lower masters and to incur other expenses, which make him entirely dependent on the profits of his boarding house. This is a very well conducted establishment, where great care is taken of the health and discipline of the boarders; it is probable therefore that their number will increase, but it is found by experience that the usefulness of a grammar school depends on the number of the day boys, and in general decreases as the class of boarders becomes important and predominant.
A statement respecting the ancient endowment of the school was forwarded to me, and is appended to this report.
Some increase of the head master’s income might fairly be made under the terms of the statutes, which provide for his maintenance with the other ministers of the Cathedral.
The school is divided into departments, classical and commercial or “English,” the pupils of the classical school having the benefit of instruction in mathematics and “English subjects” in the modern department.
The discipline of the school is very good, and the rules for its management compiled by the Dean and Chapter in 1852 leave little to be desired, except an alteration of the arrangement by which the head master provides a staff of assistant masters out of his insufficient salary.
At the time of my visit the school was under examination by an examiner from Oxford, the Rev. J. R. Magrath, to whose kindness I was indebted for a perusal of the answers to his papers. The classical work did not appear to me to be of a high order, the answers in grammar and the Latin composition being below the standard desirable for a school of this size. It must, however, be remembered that the boys at present in the sixth-form are mostly very young. Those who were examined by me had a good acquaintance with the work of the past half year, and translated some difficult passages with accuracy. Some of the younger boys translated from Virgil and Euripides very well, and the youngest passed a good examination in grammar. The study of history appeared to me to be somewhat neglected. In arithmetic and mathematics the whole school did very well, the boys of all ages appearing to take a great interest in their work. The questions in arithmetic and algebra set by me were answered with rapidity and with hardly any mistakes.
The choristers are treated in all respects in the same manner as the pupils who pay school-fees. Inasmuch, however, as their musical work must be some impediment to their progress in the school, it is to be desired that they should have an opportunity of receiving gratuitous education after their engagement as choristers is over, in the manner proposed by the Cathedral Commissioners.
The claims of the Cathedral School of Carlisle (otherwise called the King’s School, or the High School,) to a share of the surplus cathedral property now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
The statement that the High School at Carlisle was founded by King Henry VIII is not quite correct. The foundation is of much more remote antiquity.
We learn from Simon of Durham’s history that about the year 685 Egfrid, the Saxon King of Northumbria, gave to Saint Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarn, Caerluil, with the region fifteen miles around, who founded a religious community there, and for the advancement of divine service instituted schools.
Carlisle, destroyed by the Danes in the ninth century, lay desolate till 1092, when William Rufus restored it, and founded a monastery of Augustine Monks, and with it a school.
One of the monks presided in the school, and had the title of “Rector Scholarum Karlioli.”
There was a specific and separate endowment attached to the school, independent of the common monastic property. This is shown by ecclesiastical taxation of Pope Nicholas in the year 1291, wherein appeared the following entries: -
These endowments of portions in the churches of Stanwix and Dalston are considerable. £20 6s. 8d. per annum in the year 1291 may represent an income equal to £500 at the present day. In fact it appears from the taxation that the endowment of the school was not 120 shillings short of the annual value of the two vicarages of Dalston and Stanwix.
At the suppression of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the dean and chapter were constituted in place of the prior and monks; and it is clear that the school survived, and was not founded by that king; that it was an establishment attached to the church of Carlisle, and as much a charge upon the ecclesiastical body which then succeeded as it had been upon the suppressed monastery. Accordingly we find that Henry VIII in his statutes for the government of the dean and chapter treats of it as an existing institution. “We will and ordain that by the dean and chapter or (in the dean’s absence) by the vice-dean and chapter, one be chosen learned in Latin and Greek, of good fame and pious life, imbued with the faculty of teaching, who may cultivate and adorn with piety and good literature the boys whatsoever frequenting our school for the sake of learning grammar.” And the person thus directed to be chosen is termed “Informator puerorum,” and has a stipend of £8 17s 4d. assigned to him, payable yearly out of the revenues of the dean and chapter.
There is reason to suppose that the stipend of £8 17s. 4d. was meant as an additional endowment, and that the masters enjoyed the ancient endowments also, or an equivalent.
At what period they ceased to enjoy the portions in Stanwix and Dalston it cannot now be ascertained. It is presumed that those are merged into the common funds of the dean and chapter.
In 1702, Bishop Smith by his will left a legacy of £500 for the benefit of the school. With this money, on the 21st of January 1719-20, an estate at Farmonby in the parish of Addingham, then of the yearly value of £22 10s.0d., was purchased from Captain Morris, and conveyed to the dean and chapter.
This is the estate now stated to be worth £129 per annum.
there would seem to be a yearly revenue of above £600 clearly distinguishable as belonging to the school.
DIGEST OF INFORMATION
(Cath. Com. Rep. Appendix, p.107.)
Foundation and Endowment. – By Cathedral Statutes of Henry VIII in 1546 as part of Carlisle Cathedral.
Statutary salary of head master, £8 17s. 4d. Addition by dean and chapter, £20, stated to be for admission of choristers into the school. Estate devised for head master by Bishop Smith in 1700, worth yearly £160 per annum.
School Property. – Rental of head master’s estate, £160 gross, £158 net. Payment from dean and chapter £29. Residence for head master rent free. Not used by him.
Preference to two exhibitions founded by Bishop of Rochester in 1794 of £65 a year each for 5 years at Queen’s College, Oxford. Exhibitioners to the sons of clergy in this diocese.
Objects of Trust. - Maintenance of grammar school as part of Carlisle Cathedral, for education of all boys willing to learn grammar in literature and piety.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. – Grammar (statutes). In classical department, instruction best suited to prepare young men for universities. In modern department, no classical instruction. (Rules 1852).
Government and Masters. – The dean and chapter govern the school as part of the cathedral foundation. They choose a head master, who is to be M.A. of Oxford or Cambridge, in priest’s orders, learned in Greek or Latin, of pious life, and well skilled in teaching. He is by statutes bound to observe rules laid down by dean and chapter, and by rules prohibited from holding ecclesiastical preferment or cure of souls.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1864
General Character. – Classical, with an English or modern department. In age of scholars, second grade.
Masters. – Head master allowed to take boarders. Income from endowment £189. Second master, appointed by head master, receives about £160. English master from £80 to £100, with a house rent free. Fourth master £50, with residence. English master may take boarders. Modern languages are taught by a foreigner, and drawing by the master of the Government School of Art in Carlisle.
Day Scholars. – 10 choristers taught gratuitously, 50 day boys [66 in 1867], sons of clergy and professional men and higher tradesmen, of whom 35 are under 14 years old from Carlisle or immediate neighbourhood, pay £7 7s. 0d., under age of 12, £8 8s. 0d. above that age, for general school work. Boys in English School £6 0s. 0d., for general school work. French (extra) £2 2s. 0d. German (extra) £1 1s. 0d. Drawing (extra) £2 2s. 0d. Do not attend on Sunday.
Boarders. – 12 in head master’s house [26 in 1867]. New boarding house to be opened by English master. Four meals a day. Terms for board and tuition, entering school above 14 years old, £63; entering above 10 years old, £52 10s 0d.; under 10 years old, £47 5s. 0d.; washing, £4; school bills: highest, £83; average, £68; lowest, £57. French, German, drawing, extras; same rate as day boys. Drilling (extra for whole school), 10s. Cubical contents of bedrooms, 830 feet per boy, Hours 7½ a.m., 9 or 10 p.m.3, according to age.
Instruction, Discipline, etc. – On admission, reading and writing required.
School classified (in upper department) chiefly by classics. Other subjects influence promotion. School course modified in both departments to suit boys’ subsequent career. Religious instruction by head master. School work begins and ends with prayers from Liturgy. Boarders have lessons on Sundays and attend cathedral.
Promotion by marks and annual examination; examiners appointed by dean and chapter. Prizes for English and classical composition, verse and prose, for Scripture knowledge, classics, mathematics, modern languages, drawing, writing, reading aloud, good conduct, and progress in class during half year.
Punishments: corporal, by head or second master; impositions by all masters.
Playground, very small, 100 feet square. Head master rents field, and boys a cricket ground. Gymnastic apparatus provided. Drilling and sword experience by a drill sergeant.
School time, 40 weeks per annum, 30 hours per week.
In last five years about three boys have gone to universities, and four to a public school. [One pupil in residence at university in May 1867.]
LIST OF TRUSTEES
Trustees: The Dean and Chapter of Carlisle.
Head Master: Rev. T. C. Durham, M.A.
TABLE. A. – PROFESSION, ETC OF PARENTS.
N.B. – The ten highest and ten lowest boys in the School order are taken as samples of the whole.
All from Carlisle except one who comes in by train from a distance of 8 miles.
TABLE C. – DISTINCTIONS.
LIST OF DISTINCTIONS within the last TEN Years by boys of the School (a) at the Universities; (b) at the competitive examinations for the Civil, Military, and East India Services; or (c) elsewhere.
No possibility of making this return accurately, as no records have been kept.
Foundation Scholarships have been gained at other Schools by boys from this school, who have subsequently distinguished themselves at the Universities.
Some who have gone direct from this school have also done well both at English and Scotch Universities.
But since, in the arrangements between the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Dean and Chapter of Carlisle, our claims as a portion of the Cathedral establishment were not considered, there is now no fund from which we can look for encouragement for our clever boys, who consequently go elsewhere to seek the Foundation Scholarships which we ought to have to offer them here. And I venture to suggest that a portion of the surplus of Cathedral funds now in the hands of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners might rightly be made applicable to the purpose of founding such scholarships. (Statement by Head Master.)
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 £.
3. A.M. must be meant here, surely?
Paul has also transcribed the curriculum used in 1864, with lots of information relating to class sizes, text books used, etc, as a spreadsheet.
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman