COCKERMOUTH SCHOOL (BRIGHAM)
Mr C. I. Elton's Report
This school had been closed for the summer holidays when I visited Cockermouth, the particulars of enquiry and other forms having accidentally been sent to another school in the village of Brigham. The present master has recently been appointed by the Earl of Lonsdale, who is the patron and sole governor of the school. The endowment is small, but an addition of £101 has been made voluntarily for many years by the Earl of Lonsdale as impropriator. Some small payments are also made by the churchwardens to the master of the grammar school, which have amounted to about £15 in the last three years. The school had sunk very low when the present master was appointed, and the yard or playground had been appropriated by the inhabitants of the neighbouring cottages. He has, however, begun to raise it in the estimation of the town people, and it will doubtless with proper care be again of importance. There [are]few boys at present in the school, but the numbers are increasing. The scale of charges has been altered since the return of school fees was made in 1864. They are now 15Is.I2 per quarter for “reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English grammar, and history” for boys under 12 years of age. For boys above that age, instruction in the classics as well as in the subjects above-named is given for one guinea per quarter. French, music, and drawing are “extra” subjects. Boys from a distance may be lodged in the town with persons approved by the master. The cost of such lodgings with board is estimated by him at 8s. per week. The master may take boarders, but at present has no house, none being attached to the school. The school buildings are very old and weatherbeaten, but are sufficiently comfortable inside. There is hardly any playground. This ought to be a good school, supplying the wants of all the middle class in Cockermouth and the neighbourhood, but there are great difficulties in the master’s way at present; the endowment is most trifling, and there are no trustees to help the school and to interest the townspeople in its welfare. A body of trustees should be chosen out of the magistrates and landowners of the neighbourhood, who should control the management of the school, and assist in the appointment and dismissal of the masters. In 1821, according to the report of the Charity Commissioners, nearly 90 boys were instructed in rudimentary subjects, “and many of them in French, mathematics, and classics.” Since that time the school gradually declined in public estimation, but no one came forward to prevent its decay. The other school in the township of Brigham is in a bad condition. The schoolroom is old, ill ventilated and dilapidated, and the whole system of carrying on the school requires alteration.
DIGEST OF INFORMATION
(Ch. Com. Rep. v.48 A.D. 1828)
Foundation and Endowment. - Founded in 1676, as appears from the following inscription: - “Has aedes pulchras cum postera viderit aetas. Et Lowry et Tubman sit grata utrique Richardo. Ultimo cujus habet subscriptum linea nomen. Hujus erat primus gymnasiarcha scholae Gavenus Noble, 1676.”3
Whether Richard Lowry and Richard Tubman endowed the school, or whether, as stated in Burn’s and Nicholson’s History of Cumberland, it was founded by Philip, Lord Wharton and others, is uncertain.
School Property. – £10, paid by Earl of Lonsdale as lay impropriator. About £4 annual interest on small bequests and charges on houses in Cockermouth. A strip of land at present unproductive. Some parts of old endowment lost.
Schoolhouse very old, and requiring repair.
Objects of Trust. – Education of children of Cockermouth and Embleton on small payment.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. – Described as a grammar school in 1719.
Government and Masters.- The Earl of Lonsdale is patron, and appoints the master, in whom the management of the school is vested.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1867.
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. Probably 15s. per quarter was meant.
3. Not being a Latin scholar, I would appreciate a translation from someone who is.
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman