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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VII. Cavalier and Puritan.

XIV. English Grammar Schools.

§ 14. Charterhouse.


In the fabric which had been the house of another suppressed religious order, the same that traced back its origin to the Grande Chartreuse in southern France, Charterhouse began its existence in 1611. Its founder, Thomas Sutton, a native of Lincoln, was a successful government official, whose views had been enlarged by travel, who was conversant with several modern languages and who had also gained considerable military experience as an officer in the regular forces under Elizabeth. But his chief aim, throughout life, was the acquisition of wealth; and, at the age of fifty, he further augmented what was already a large fortune by marriage with a wealthy widow. His wife, however, bore him no children; and, having settled in London, he formed the resolve of devoting his vast means (he was supposed to be the wealthiest commoner in England) to the foundation of a hospital and free school within the precincts of an ancient mansion, which, since the dissolution of the Carthusian order, had been the residence of successive members of the nobility, and was now purchased by Sutton from Thomas, earl of Suffolk, for [char]13,000. The premises of Howard house, as it had before been designated, included, not only “divers courts, a wilderness, orchards, walks and gardens,” but, also, certain “mesuages” adjoining, and, consequently, afforded ample accommodation for both hospital and school. The orders relating to the latter—first promulgated in 1627—are noteworthy as marking a distinctive advance in the conception of the public school. It was required, with respect to each of the forty scholars on the foundation, that he should come “sufficiently provided with good apparel,” that he should be of “modest and mannerly behaviour,” “be orderly and seasonably dieted, cleanly and wholesomely lodged.” None was to be admitted under the age of ten or above fourteen. The masters were not only enjoined to be “moderate in correction,” but, also, “to observe the nature and ingeny [sic] of their scholars and instruct them accordingly.” Latin prayers and collects were to usher in, and to end, the studies of each day; while the upper form were to be provided with Greek Testaments for their use in chapel.   19
  Other foundations, standing in close connection with the capital, were those of St. Saviour’s in Southwark (1562) and St. Olave’s (1570), both of which represented the voluntary principle, as originating in the spontaneous action of the inhabitants and being designed for the free education of sons of parishioners exclusively. That of Stratford-le-Bow (1617) was founded for the parishes of Startford, Bow and Bromley-St.-Leonard, by Sir John Jolles, to afford instruction in “grammar and Latin.” “Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift in Dulwich” (1619), instituted along with certain almshouses, was opened with a formal ceremony, at which lord chancellor Bacon presided. Few similar foundations, however, have offered a more melancholy example of the frustration of the designs of the founder. It was not until 1858 that the existing college was established by act of parliament, and put in possession of ample revenues which, for more than two centuries, had been misappropriated.   20

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  Christ’s Hospital John Harvard  
 
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