Skip to main content

John Cole (c. 1467-1536) and the Origins of Education in Faversham



nicholas orme

In 1526 John Cole, subdean of the Chapel Royal and a former warden of All Souls College (Oxford), was party to an agreement to found a grammar school in Faversham, endowed by himself.1 The school came into existence and continued until it was involved in the dissolution of Faversham Abbey in 1538, lost its endowment, and eventually closed. It was revived in 1576 by a royal charter of Elizabeth I, who returned some of its original lands for the purpose, and now exists as Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School. Many of the essential facts of the school’s history during its first half century were set out in print by G.G. Culmer, William Telfer, and A.F. Munden between 1955 and 1972.2 The purpose of revisiting the subject is to give a more thorough account of the founder John Cole, to make more evidence known about the early years of his school up to 1540, and to place both founder and school within the wider history of education in England during the early sixteenth century.

Early Education in Faversham

Evidence about schools in medieval and early Tudor England is usually difficult to find. There was no national system of licensing or recording them, and even in those places where an authority – bishop, monastery, nobleman, or town council – claimed the right to control a local school, the records of appointments of masters and of the supervision of their work are usually infrequent.3 Roughly speaking, there were two levels of education up to the Reformation and indeed long afterwards. At an elementary level, children (boys and some girls) learnt to read and, in the case of boys, to sing Latin texts to plainsong. Such learning could be gained at home from literate parents or other adults, or could be acquired for small fees from some clergy, parish clerks, or lay people teaching in their own houses. Elementary education was probably widespread by about the thirteenth century, but attracted little attention. The authorities considered it too humble to regulate or supervise, and its location in places meant primarily for other purposes means that it has not left records even in the form of buildings known as schools. Faversham probably had such elementary teaching from the date just proposed. The only overt trace of it yet found is the requirement in a document of 1506 that one or both of the two parish clerks of Faversham should ‘teach children to read and sing in the choir and to do service in the church, as of old time hath been accustomed, they taking for their teaching as belongeth thereto’.4 This indicates the teaching of some boys in the church for money, partly to help with the worship of the church and to act as servers at mass. It is unlikely that this was the only source of elementary education in Faversham. As we shall see, Cole’s grammar school did not admit boys unless they had already learnt to read, and such teaching must therefore have been easily available in the town.

Learning to read was done in Latin. The alphabet, of course, is Latin, and the first texts that children learnt up to the 1530s were normally the basic Latin prayers of the Paternoster, Ave Maria, and Apostles’ Creed, followed by Latin psalms and other prayers. At this stage the Latin was pronounced and sometimes sung as plainsong but not understood, although once a child had learnt to read Latin letters the skill could be transferred to reading English. By the early sixteenth century elementary schools may have begun to use simple religious texts in that language as well. To understand Latin and learn to read, write, and speak it involved attending a grammar school, and this was restricted to boys of the more prosperous classes between the ages of about ten and eighteen. Grammar schools in the modern sense of free-standing schools, taught by professional schoolmasters and open to anyone willing to pay their fees, are first recorded in England in about 1100 and were already spreading into market towns by the later twelfth century. Again their appearance in records is unpredictable, and there must have been many more than we know of. In Kent, Dover and Maidstone had such schools by the thirteenth century, as did south-eastern towns like Battle, Guildford, and Lewes, so it is quite possible that this was the case at Faversham.5

The earliest reference to a grammar school there, however, does not occur until 1420 when we hear of Master Laurence Barry ‘ruling the grammar school (regens scolas grammaticales) in the town of Faversham’.6 He carried out research to show that a papal grant of indulgences to pilgrims visiting Canterbury applied whenever the jubilee of St Thomas was held, which happened every fifty years including 1420, and he posted a notice to that effect on the door of the hospital at Ospringe nearby.7 ‘Master’ may denote a university master of arts but sometimes indicated only someone of apparent seniority and learning. ‘Ruling the school’ is an allusion to the term ‘rector of the school’ (rector scolarum). This was a common term for a grammar schoolmaster in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and means no more than that. Barry may have operated a private venture of his own, or have been the incumbent of a recognised school: perhaps one subject to the control of a local authority (the abbey is more likely than the town) which would formally appoint him, give him a monopoly of local teaching, and provide him with a building to teach in. Telfer suggested that the school was held in the crypt of the parish church, but this is unconvincing.8 Fifteenth-century grammar schools were usually housed in large rooms oblong in shape, modelled on the halls of large houses, and often attached to a dwelling for the schoolmaster.9

Religious houses were also places where Latin was studied. Monasteries like Faversham Abbey admitted a small group of novices at long intervals: youths who were typically in their mid teens. They were likely to have studied some Latin previously in a public grammar school. Their training as novices centred on learning the daily services by heart as well as the monastic rule and the history of the house, although further Latin teaching might be given if necessary. The Faversham novices must have been few in number – there were only fourteen monks in 1511 and again in 153410 – but larger monasteries often maintained an additional group of boys, nowadays known as ‘almonry boys’. These were generally relatives of monks or children of important people connected with the house, who did minor duties in the church such as serving the monks at private masses, in return for board and lodging in the almonry on the edge of the monastic precinct. Their education was provided either by an internal schoolmaster (not a monk) or at a nearby school for the public. No such boys have yet been identified at Faversham, however.11 If there were any, one would expect them to have been mentioned in the document of 1526, yet to be discussed, that set up a new grammar school in the abbey, because that document refers to the novices as being able to access the school. The abbey’s involvement in teaching grammar therefore remains uncertain.

The Career of John Cole

All pupils at school in Faversham before 1526 would have been charged fees, except for the novices and any almonry boys in the abbey. John Cole changed this by setting up a grammar school in which the teaching was free. Cole, whose name was also spelt as Coole, was born in about 1467,12 the son of a small landowner at Ewell in Faversham parish. His father died during Cole’s youth and his mother remarried Robert or John Martyn, also of Ewell, whose estate Cole inherited in 1510.13 Thomas Cole, who became a London merchant and is mentioned in John’s draft will, was probably another member of the family and very likely his brother.

The family was prosperous enough to send John to a grammar school, perhaps in Faversham, and then to study the arts course at Oxford. In 1488 Cole was elected to a fellowship at All Souls College which specialised in supporting students of arts and of civil (Roman) law.14 Candidates for its fellowships were required to have studied for three years in the university before they were appointed, which suggests that Cole arrived at Oxford in 1485 with sufficient family wealth to maintain him there in the first instance.15 He held his fellowship until 1497, graduating as ba (probably in 1489) and ma (probably in 1492), and receiving ordination as subdeacon, deacon, and almost certainly priest in Salisbury diocese in 1493. ma graduates were expected to teach for two years and Cole may have spent his final years at All Souls giving lectures in the arts course or beginning the study of theology, although he never got as far as taking a degree in the latter subject.

Members of All Souls were obliged to quit their fellowships within a year of being promoted to a Church benefice worth more than £6 13s. 4d.16 Accordingly Cole gave up his post in the college in 1497 after his nomination by the crown, in March of that year, to the rectory of Saint-Blaise in the English territory around Calais in France.17 He kept this benefice for only two months, however, since in May he resigned it to accept appointment to the rectory of Merstham (Surrey), a moderately wealthy benefice worth just over £22 per annum.18 The Calais nomination might suggest Cole’s employment by Henry VII, but Merstham was certainly the gift of John Morton, cardinal archbishop of Canterbury and a leading figure at Henry’s court, and he may have engineered the award of Saint-Blaise. Morton was the ex-officio visitor or supervising authority at All Souls. Cole may have been brought to his attention there or spotted by him as a potential servant, and it is likely that Morton employed him in his household: most probably in his private chapel which was staffed by clergy and singers. We shall see that Cole knew John Holt, who was grammar master of the boys of Morton’s household in the mid or late 1490s, which is a further pointer to Cole’s presence there.

Morton died in 1500. It may be have been in consequence of this that Cole moved to be a priest in a much more important household chapel, the Chapel Royal, whose members provided daily worship for the king and travelled around with him. Cole’s duties would have been primarily liturgical but may have involved preaching in view of the collections of sermons among his recorded possessions. He was not a member of the Chapel in 1500, but was so by 23 February 1503, when he was present as its junior priest at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth of York.19 Cole remained in this post for most of the rest of his life and gradually rose in seniority, with the exception of the years from 1525 to 1528 when he returned to Oxford as warden of All Souls College. He was present as a Chapel priest at the funeral of Henry VII and the coronation of Henry VIII in 1509, the funeral of Prince Henry in 1511, and the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.20 From 1525 to 1528, as mentioned, Cole returned to All Souls, but in about the latter year he returned to the Chapel as subdean: the second in rank in the organisation and the first in terms of daily attendance at worship. He was probably subdean until his death in January 1536, in which case he was the recipient of a gift of £22 3s. 9d. made by Henry VIII in 1532 to ‘the subdean ... and his company’, evidently in approval of their work.21

His service was also rewarded with a series of royal grants of benefices, all of which could be held without being resident. In 1503 Henry VII gave him a canonry of Wells Cathedral with the prebend of Combe VIII,22 while Henry VIII added the free chapel of Hermitage (Dorset), which Cole occupied for only two years, and a forty-year lease of the manor of Huntingfield (Eastling par.), near Faversham, in 1515.23 In 1519 the same king made him dean or first prebendary of Pontesbury church (Shropshire),24 and followed this in 1528 with the valuable rectory of Towyn (Merioneth) worth over £60 per annum, which had been held by another priest of the Chapel, William Toft.25 Unfortunately Towyn was both distant and its possession disputed by two Welshmen. Cole engaged in litigation to gain possession but either withdrew or sold his right in favour of another Welsh cleric by resigning the benefice one year later.26

These benefices, and he had others, were not all held at the same time. Cole began with a single parish church: first Calais then Merstham. In 1503 he added the canonry of Wells, which was compatible under canon law. In 1507 he surrendered Merstham in favour of Bigbury (Devon) which was more valuable at £28, and acquired a second church, Stone-in-Oxney (Kent). The first of these came to him from Lord Willoughby de Broke and the second from St Augustine’s Abbey (Canterbury). Holding more than one parish should have required papal permission because it was not compatible with rules against pluralism, but there is no record of such permission being given. Pontesbury may have counted as a benefice without parochial responsibilities, and gave him a third possession which he kept until his death. Towyn, as we have seen, was held only briefly. Taking the benefices as a whole, it looks as though they may have given Cole a gross income of well over £50 by the 1530s, although he would have had to pay £10-£12 a year for curates to run his two parishes. When we add the earnings from his Chapel Royal post, which are uncertain but were probably generous, he is likely to have enjoyed a net income of £50 or £60 a year, which was wealthy by clerical standards and enabled him to buy the endowments and erect the buildings required for his school at Faversham.

Little more is known of Cole’s activities during his career, but in view of his endowment of the school it is worth noting that he had links with school and university education after leaving Oxford in 1497. At some date before 1504 he joined with John Holt in giving a copy of William Durand’s treatise on canon law, Speculum Judiciale, to All Souls College.27 Holt was a distinguished grammarian and schoolmaster of the new humanist kind who taught in Cardinal Morton’s household school, published an elementary Latin grammar, Lac Puerorum (‘Milk for Children’), and became the schoolmaster of Prince Henry (later Henry VIII) from about 1502 until Holt’s death two years later.28 Cole also had contact with Holt’s successor as Henry’s Latin teacher, William Hone, in so far that he bought from Hone a copy of Quintilian’s Institutiones Oratoriae in 1509: an important classical work on teaching children that helped to inform the educational ideas of the Renaissance.29 His name appears in another Renaissance schoolbook: Lorenzo Valla’s Elegantia Lingue Latine, an influential text on the study of classical Latin grammar, and he himself owned a glossary called Elegantia Terminorum based on Valla’s work.30 Finally his duties at the Chapel Royal involved him with the education of young people on at least four occasions. In 1512 he was made responsible for supervising a sum of £12 which the king allocated for the schooling of his second cousin, Reginald Pole, the future cardinal.31 And in 1530-1 he was entrusted three times with sums of £8 for the support of four unnamed scholars at Oxford.32

On 27 December 1532 Cole made a will, apparently because he was unwell although he later recovered.33 It provides some insights into his life at that time. He had a house at Greenwich, where he was attended by at least one servant, William Fosum. Greenwich was the site of a major royal palace where the staff of the Chapel Royal would have functioned while the king was there, and would have been attractive as a rural retreat when there were serious epidemics in London. In addition Cole held (presumably for rent) a room in the Carmelite Friary, south of Fleet Street in the suburb immediately south-west of the city, and not far from another palace, Westminster. Two London merchants and their families were given bequests in his will: Thomas Cole and John Shaw, both merchant taylors. His ‘poor kinsfolk’ were promised a legacy of 20 nobles of money. He planned to make donations to three religious institutions. To his only parochial benefice of Bigbury (Devon) he left a missal and chalice for future rectors, a breviary for the parish church, 40s. for its repair, and £4 for clothes for the poor of the parish. To All Souls College he gave a coconut cup and a commentary on the epistles and gospels, but the largest donation was made to Faversham Abbey. This included silver spoons, a pewter vessel, several pieces of wooden furniture, and eight printed books or manuscripts of theological works. He did not at this stage indicate a burial place, other than wherever he might die, and the text of the will looks provisional since it named no witnesses and appointed no executor, although it alluded to one and designated John Hall, another priest of the Chapel Royal, as overseer to supervise the executor.

This will was followed by a second, made on 3 January 1536 and attested by witnesses.34 It is brief and dominated by Faversham Abbey. Cole now requested burial in the ‘petty rood chapel’ of the monastery and asked for the celebration of a trental of masses there for his soul. The abbot, John Caslock alias Sheppey, was made the residuary legatee of all Cole’s property and the sole executor of the will; no other bequests were made. It appears that Cole had retired to Faversham at about Michaelmas 1535 and remained there for the rest of his life. He occupied a chamber in the abbey, and a monk named Robert Faversham is described in the will as his confessor. His death took place within a day or two after making this will, since it was stated two years later to have happened within the twelve days of Christmas which ended on 5 January.35 The new will was duly proved on 29 February in the prerogative court of the archbishop of Canterbury.

This led to a sequel. Thomas Cole, whom we have conjectured to be John’s brother, had been a beneficiary in the will of 1532. He contested the second will in the prerogative court, very likely on the grounds that John had not intended to change the first will, had not stated that he revoked it in the second will, and had meant the second will to be no more than a codicil to the first. Abbot Caslock evidently preferred agreement to litigation, and the proceedings ended with the commissary of the court, Richard Gwent, archdeacon of London, making a compromise ruling on a date that is not given in the document. He pronounced that the will produced by the abbot and what he called Thomas Cole’s ‘schedule’ should both have legal force. Presumably this meant that the abbot remained executor, with the obligation to pay all the legacies in the first will.

On 9 May 1536 an inventory of John’s goods was signed off by a group of Faversham worthies including the mayor and the vicar of the town church.36 It is arranged according to locations: the chamber in the abbey where John died, his lodgings in White Friars, and his house at Greenwich. The inventory shows that as well as having a chamber in White Friars, he owned goods in a room in the friary gate-house. At Greenwich, his house contained a hall (a principal all-purpose room), a study where he kept his books, a chamber next to the study (his private room), a chamber for his servant or servants, a further chamber next to the street, and other places. His possessions consisted of clothes, books, beds with bedclothes, household furniture and dishes, and some silver-gilt plate. He wore a gold ring on his finger and owned a silver cramp ring: a ring blessed by a monarch and believed to ward away cramp. The values of most of the goods were estimated, but those of the plate and some of the clothes were omitted, so that the total reckoning of Cole’s personal wealth at just over £29 probably falls short of the true amount by £10 or £20.

The only possessions requiring further attention are the books. These numbered 46 titles, presumably mostly separate volumes. The majority were Latin religious and theological works of a traditional nature: liturgical books, prayer books, moral works, commentaries on books of the Bible, and the well-known handbook for parish clergy by John de Burgo known as Pupilla Oculi. Sermons by well-known medieval preachers had a prominent place. There is an absence of works of classical Latin literature although, as we have seen, Cole owned a recent glossary of Latin words by Lorenzo Valla. He had also acquired at least four books that came out in the early sixteenth century. One was Erasmus’s Enchiridion Militis Christiani (‘The Handbook of a Christian Knight’), which included some criticisms of contemporary religious attitudes. Another was a work on contrition by Cole’s contemporary, the Italian Dominican friar Vivaldi, probably acquired after 1504, and a third a commentary on the psalms by the early Christian writer Arnobius Junior, apparently not available until after 1522. The fourth was Bishop John Fisher’s Confutation of Lutheran doctrines, published in 1523 and bringing Cole into contact with the controversies of the Reformation. The collection therefore indicates that the subdean was aware of new works on religious topics, but his views seem likely to have been conservative and Catholic rather than having much sympathy with the direction of the Church in England under Henry VIII in the 1530s.

The Endowment of Faversham School

Cole’s benefices and inventory show him to have been a wealthy man, and he evidently decided to apply some of his wealth to endow a grammar school in his native town, following the ethic of the day that charity should always begin at home. It is often impossible to discover why benefactors choose the causes that they support from the whole available range of such causes. In Cole’s day these included universities, religious houses, parish churches, chantries, hospitals, almshouses, poor relief, bridges, and roads as well as schools. Cole was probably aware of the refoundation of St Paul’s School (London) by the cathedral dean, John Colet, in 1508-12, because there are two or three resemblances between Colet’s arrangements for St Paul’s and those of Cole for Faversham.37 However about one hundred grammar schools had been endowed in England between the 1440s and the 1520s, mainly in market towns like Faversham. Cole was joining a well-known and widespread movement, rather than being inspired by St Paul’s alone.

Founding a grammar school involved a series of procedures. An endowment had to be found in the form of landed property or a large sum of money, and transferred for that purpose. If land was given, an application to the crown was needed for permission to grant it for religious intentions, since there was as yet no concept of charities as opposed to the Church. A local inquisition had to be held to find if the donation would be to the detriment of the crown and, if this was approved, a substantial fee was due in return for which the crown issued letters patent to sanction the grant. Cole apparently gained letters patent in 1520, allowing him to grant lands and tenements to Faversham Abbey valued at £14 per annum. The grant does not seem to be recorded on the patent rolls (the usual place of registration), but a warrant survives excusing him from the usual fee for the grant, no doubt because of his role as a royal servant.38 Then, having provided an endowment, a school founder needed to designate an authority to administer it, appoint and pay a schoolmaster, and maintain the school building. He or she usually also laid down some of the conditions under which the school should operate, through a charter of foundation or a set of statutes.

Cole issued neither a charter nor statutes, but set up his school by means of a tripartite indenture between himself, All Souls College, and Faversham Abbey.39 A similar arrangement was made in the case of Bruton grammar school (Somerset) in 1520, between its founders and three local monasteries.40 At both Bruton and Faversham, the endowed school was to be supervised by the neighbouring abbey, and the indentures sought to ensure that, when the founders had died, there would be at least one other consenting party to the arrangement which could hold the abbey to account if it failed to carry out the terms of the agreement. In Cole’s case, All Souls was the natural institution to choose for this purpose. It was his old college and the indenture establishing Faversham school was drawn up on 10 December 1526, during the three-year period in which he was there as its warden.

The indenture began by stating that it was intended for the profit of the brethren and novices of Faversham Abbey as well as for ‘all other children that be disposed to learn the science of grammar’. By fastening on the first of these groups, at least two historians have given the impression that the endowment was primarily for the novices, whereas it is clear from the indenture that the school was chiefly meant for local children, meaning boys, with the novices as onlookers on certain occasions. The document continued by describing the school endowment which consisted of lands inherited or purchased by Cole in the parishes of Faversham, Goodnestone nearby, and Leysdown on Sheppey. They totalled about 415 acres and their net annual value was agreed to be £14 10s. The lands were to be transferred to the abbot and monks of Faversham. In return the abbey covenanted that it would provide the master of the grammar school with a salary of £10 per annum, 20s. at Christmas for cloth for his gown, a chamber in the monastery, food and drink each day, and three cartloads of fuel every summer for his fire. This was a slightly better salary than usual, worth about £13 a year: more than the simple £10 that most grammar masters were paid in endowed schools at this time.

The school was to be held in a schoolroom built by Cole on the edge of the monastery, next to the almonry that housed activities relating to the outside world. Cole was also responsible for the schoolmaster’s chamber, doubtless in the same area. The schoolroom communicated with a second room to which the novices and monks of the abbey had access, so that they could listen while the master was teaching: probably when he was giving a formal lesson. Although the abbey was responsible for paying the master, his appointment was given to All Souls. This reflected a recent development in school management, by which some Oxford and Cambridge colleges were chosen to have the power of appointing masters. Earlier examples included King’s College (Cambridge) at Eton College, New College (Oxford) at Winchester College, Queen’s College (Oxford) at Childrey school (Berks.), and St John’s College (Cambridge) at Pocklington school (Yorks.).41 When a vacancy in the mastership occurred at Faversham, the abbot had to inform All Souls, and a committee of the college was to choose a new incumbent, the committee including the warden or his deputy, and six senior members of the college, four studying theology and two studying law. The abbot must then install the master within ten days.

The indenture gave some attention to the management of the school. The master was to examine every child who was presented for admission as to ‘whether he can say and read his matins, evensong, seven psalms, litany, dirige, and commendations’, in other words the major prayers contained in the common prayer book known as the ‘primer’ which was widely used as a private devotional text and for the teaching of children.42 Boys unable to do so were not to be admitted. Similar requirements are found in the statutes of St Paul’s and Bruton schools, and meant that the school restricted itself to the teaching of grammar.43 Entrants were expected to have learnt to read at home or at an elementary school, and Faversham was not intended, like some schools, to have a reading class alongside that of grammar. Any pupil found inapt for learning after one year could be removed if the abbot and schoolmaster agreed that this was the case. Those apt to learn, on the other hand, might stay as long as they wished. No pupil was to be absent for more than six days in any term unless he was sick or unless Faversham was beset by an outbreak of the pestilence (the plague), the sweating sickness, or other such diseases, in which case absence for a reasonable time was allowable. This reflected a concern in schools and universities during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries to protect young people from epidemics. Children and youths were often withdrawn from such institutions at such times, and the institutions might even close for the duration of the sickness.44

If a pupil stayed away beyond the allowed six days, he was to be regarded as ‘out of the school’ and had to be formally readmitted. On such readmission he had to pay an admission fee of 4d. which probably applied to all boys admitted, but is only mentioned at this point. The fee appears to have been modelled on the practice of St Paul’s where Colet laid down that a similar admission charge of 4d. should go to a poor scholar whose duty was to sweep the school and keep it clean.45 The money at Faversham was awarded less precisely to ‘such one as shall be deputed to keep clean the school’, but it is very likely that a poor scholar was meant in this case too. An absent boy could be readmitted twice, but not after that. Although teaching at the school was free, the ‘friends’ (i.e. families) of the boys were required to pay for their books and for other necessary things (implying pens, ink, and paper), and to provide candles – the latter being also required at St Paul’s.46 The boys in each form (meaning simply a bench) were to bring a candle in turn to light their form on dark mornings and evenings ‘so that they may see to read in their books and lose not their time’. Those who failed to take their turn in this way were threatened with removal. It follows that Cole’s school, like all such grammar schools of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was not for the truly poor. The teaching indeed was free and the master was strictly forbidden to ask for money or even to hint that he would like some. But boys who came to Tudor grammar schools needed parents with the horizons to seek education for them, the means to dispense with their labour, and the money to provide their incidental school expenses including a decent robe to wear in the schoolroom. Such parents belonged to the prosperous ranks of society: gentry, yeomen farmers, merchants, and substantial shopkeepers and artisans. Very few pupils would have come to school from the majority of the population, who were below this level socially and economically and would have needed much courage to join a community of their superiors.47

Cole’s indenture says little about the curriculum that the school was to follow. This is true of most school statutes and ordinances before the Reformation, including institutions as important as Winchester and Eton. Founders assumed that schools did what schools did, and most grammar schools were fairly uniform in this respect. The curriculum can be divided into two aspects: what was taught and how it was taught. With regard to the first of these, Cole himself had received an education typical of the later middle ages, in which Latin was studied according to the precepts of the late-Roman grammarian Priscian with a strong emphasis on linguistics rather than literature. No pagan classical authors were read, and the literature studied in the classroom consisted of Christian moral and religious poems, chiefly from the middle ages.48 In 1480 this began to change in England with the foundation of Magdalen College School (Oxford), which reintroduced the study of classical Roman authors like Cicero, Horace, Ovid, Terence, and Virgil, and remodelled the teaching of Latin grammar to follow the best practices of these authors.49 By the 1520s Cole would have lived for two or three decades alongside this new school curriculum, and his links with Quintilian’s and Valla’s works leave no reason to doubt that he intended his own school to follow the new ‘humanist’ kind of classical Latin. Anyone who wishes to know the likely details of the Faversham curriculum may find them in the timetables of Eton and Winchester in 1528-30 which, although they were larger and more prestigious schools, were taken as models at Cuckfield (Sussex) and Saffron Walden (Essex) where there were small town grammar schools of the Faversham kind.50

At the same time, in this first generation of English people who had experienced both the more religious curriculum of the later middle ages and the new ‘humanist’ classical one, there were some misgivings that religion was not getting sufficient attention. Colet, while accepting that Cicero, Terence, and Virgil wrote good Latin, wanted the pupils of St Paul’s also to study ancient Christian authors such as Lactantius and Prudentius, and their more recent successors Mantuan and Erasmus.51 His colleague John Dowman, who founded Pocklington School in 1514, criticised the comedies of Terence for their concern with ‘things lascivious and provoking to evil’ and recommended the medieval Christian writer Boethius, along with Cicero.52 There is an echo of this in Cole’s indenture. He laid down that every Saturday and before every major festival day, the schoolmaster should expound to his class one of the Latin hymns that were sung in the daily services in church, or one of the sequences that were sung at mass. The hymns and sequences had formed part of the Christian literature studied in schools in late-medieval England and this study survived into the early sixteenth century, demonstrated by a number of printed editions of them, evidently aimed at schools because they often have a picture of a classroom on the title page.53 Cole himself possessed a copy of the standard Exposition of the Hymns and Sequences. However in about 1530, these printed editions ceased to be produced, having probably been forced out of the curriculum because there were so many well-regarded pagan Latin authors to include. So in this respect Cole was at the end of a tradition: a last defender of a late-medieval reading practice that passed away even before he died.

With regard to how, as opposed to what, Latin was taught, there was more continuity between the later middle ages and the early sixteenth century. Boys learnt Latin from elementary grammars in English, ultimately derived from the work of Donatus in the mid fourth century but greatly developed in form. Having mastered these, they went on to more advanced grammars in Latin. They practised Latin composition by translating English sentences known as vulgaria into Latin (examples of these are recorded from Canterbury in c.1480),54 and at a higher level by writing wholly in that language. In the same way the master only spoke to them in English, or allowed them to speak it, in their early stages, and as they progressed the business of the school was wholly conducted in Latin with penalties for those who failed to comply. Cole’s indenture refers in passing to a couple of the procedures of a schoolroom. The master would deliver lectures on particular grammatical topics or authors, and the boys would take notes which involved them learning and practising handwriting. Another large part of a school day, which is not mentioned, was taken up by the boys composing sentences, prose passages, or verses in Latin, being called out to be examined on their work, and no doubt being tested on their knowledge of classical authors.

Grammar schoolrooms, as already mentioned, were generally oblong in shape.55 The master sat in a raised seat at the inner narrow end and his assistant, the usher, in a similar smaller seat at the outer end by the entrance door. ‘Usher’ (Latin hostiarius) means ‘doorkeeper’, and the usher supervised ingress and egress. The boys sat on long benches, known as forms, arranged down the long sides of the room and facing inwards. They read and wrote on their laps. By the 1520s it was common to divide the boys among the forms according to their abilities or the stages of their education. Different schools had five, six, or seven forms – a concept that is still with us. The adoption of this system at Faversham may perhaps be indicated by the order that each form should have its own candle in the dark seasons.

One further aspect of life in the Faversham schoolroom must be mentioned: this was the saying of Latin prayers twice every day. The requirement that children in an endowed school should say such prayers as an act of devotion to God and to intercede for the soul of the founder goes back to at least the mid fifteenth century.56 It may have become more important in the minds of school benefactors after the mid 1510s when, perhaps to secure better teachers, they stopped requiring schoolmasters to be priests who would say a daily mass in a church or chapel on their behalf. Cole’s stipulations were quite demanding. When school began in the morning, the boys had to kneel and say in Latin the psalm Deus misereatur, the Ave Maria, the Paternoster, some versicles and responses, a prayer for the king (Henry VIII), one for Cole and Abbot Caslock who were both described as founders of the school, and one for all Christians. In the afternoon they said the hymn to the Virgin Mary Salve Regina, the psalm De Profundis, the prayer for the founders, and the one for everybody. A newcomer here is the prayer for the king, which would not have been thought of in the fifteenth century and reflects the growing veneration of the monarchy that would enable Henry to carry out the Reformation in the 1530s.

Establishment, Extinction, and Resurrection

It is not stated when Cole’s school began to operate but the fact that he had built a schoolroom and master’s accommodation by 1526 suggests it was ready to start by that date and may have done so. If he appointed a schoolmaster at that time, we do not know the man’s name, and the first teacher to be recorded is John Tucker seven years later. On 22 April 1533 the warden of All Souls and the six senior figures required by the indenture informed the abbot of Faversham that they had appointed him to the schoolmastership, and asked the abbot to admit him.57 Tucker was a well-qualified choice. He had held a fellowship of Exeter College (Oxford) and had graduated as ba and ma. In 1525 he became a canon of Thomas Wolsey’s new Cardinal College (Oxford), and served as junior proctor of the university in that year, but after Wolsey’s fall and death in 1530, Cardinal College came to an end and was refounded in a different form by Henry VIII. Tucker was either out of a job or disenchanted with events, and therefore amenable to becoming a schoolmaster.58

He did not remain in post for long, however. On 4 January 1535 the college appointed William Clyfton to succeed him,59 and Tucker thereafter studied medicine, taking the degrees of and at Oxford in 1538. Clyfton was a Kentish man born in 1511 and consequently in his twenties when he became the schoolmaster. He had been an undergraduate of Corpus Christi College (Oxford), from whence he gained a fellowship at All Souls College in 1530, graduating as ba in 1531, and holding his fellowship until his school appointment.60 Clyfton must be the unnamed schoolmaster who wrote a report about the school to the college in 1538, which we shall encounter presently. In the report he recalled that in 1535, while he was working at Faversham, he met Cole and asked the founder if he would provide an endowment for an usher to assist in the school, this not having been included in the original scheme. The request was made when they were sitting together with the abbot, John Caslock, by the fire in the abbot’s chamber. Clyfton alleged that Cole said to him in Caslock’s hearing, ‘When I shall perceive the abbey to be in good surety and likelihood to continue, then will I make provision and an ordinance for an usher’, adding that he had plenty of money for the purpose. The scheme for an usher progressed to the extent that the abbot asked Richard Maycote, a local gentleman, to draw up an ordinance by which the usher would have a stipend of £4, an annual robe, and free board in the abbey. At Michaelmas 1535, a young man called William Payne, who had previously studied in the school, was made usher for the following term and granted free board with the expectation that he would hold the position when it was established. But Cole’s death soon after Christmas meant that the money for the endowment was never transferred, and the permanent post did not materialise.61

Two and half years later the Reformation reached the abbey, which surrendered to the king and was dissolved on 8 July 1538. The fate of the school itself was now in question. Some of its endowments were in the hands of the abbey, although they had not officially been added to the abbey’s possessions and did not appear among them in the great survey of religious properties made by the king’s officials in the year 1535.62 Others were held by the ex-abbot Caslock himself. These were three pieces of land at Hernhill, which Caslock had bought on Cole’s behalf in return for a legal document or ‘obligation’ of about 1526 by which Cole promised to pay Caslock £113 to cover their price and legal costs. Caslock now declared that he had never been paid by Cole, and that the lands in consequence were his. Soon after the abbey’s surrender, he sold two of the lands and made plans to dispose of the third.

This information comes from a document drawn up in the autumn of 1538 complaining about Caslock’s actions and evidently addressed to All Souls since it survives in the college archives.63 The document is not signed but it must be the work of Clyfton, since the author makes clear that he held the post of schoolmaster before Cole’s death in January 1536. Clyfton dissected the issue of Cole’s alleged non-payment of £113 to the abbot for the lands at Hernhill. He claimed to have investigated the matter carefully, even making a visit to interview Alard Ryppe, a servant who had looked after Cole’s chamber at the White Friars and handled his affairs in London. The obligation of Cole to Caslock, Clyfton pointed out, was twelve years old. How could Caslock have failed to ask for the outstanding sum? Cole had been living in Faversham for the last few months of his life, and he had plenty of money. He had told Clyfton that he could easily afford to endow the post of usher. Ryppe had sent £50 to him at Faversham on one occasion and £27 on another. Caslock had received at least £40 as Cole’s executor, plus a bond worth £48 that was owing to Cole. Clyfton reckoned that all Cole’s moneys and assets had been worth £185-190, far more than the £113 disputed by Caslock.

The report paints a poor picture of Caslock, and Telfer (who did not know about it) took a similar view of the abbot in his paper of 1965. It would be wise to remember, however, that we do not possess Caslock’s side of the story and that Cole regarded him well and made him co-founder of the school. Moreover after 1538 its future depended not on the abbot but on the crown, to which approaches were now made to save the school. The Faversham town authorities are said to have petitioned Henry VIII for its preservation,64 and it is likely that these were supported by All Souls College. The crown had established an administrative and judicial body, the Court of Augmentations, to handle legal and financial issues arising from the dissolution of the monasteries, and a plea was apparently made to the Court by Clyfton or on his behalf. At Michaelmas, 29 September 1540, the royal receiver of the confiscated monastic property in Kent paid Clyfton £5 10s. for half a year’s ‘pension or stipend’ as schoolmaster of Faversham. The payment was described as being made ‘by virtue of a warrant of the chancellor and council of the Court [of Augmentations],65 but there is no record of such an award in the registers of the Court.66

The status and history of this payment are not yet clear. Since the amount was equal to the schoolmaster’s former salary, he may have been envisaged as continuing to teach. Equally he may have been regarded as having a right to a pension as a former monastic employee rather than a right to a salary by virtue of the school foundation, in which case the payment would have concluded whenever he died or gave up being master. The school certainly ceased at some point and teaching stopped because it had to be revived later on, having presumably come to an end in 1540 or within the next few years. The master’s lodging and the schoolroom were also lost, since they were part of the monastic site which was sold by the crown. Faversham was not alone in suffering from the dissolution of the monasteries in this way. At least six other English grammar schools were in the same position through having been closely attached to religious houses. Of these, Bruton and Cirencester (Gloucs.) also collapsed while Evesham (Worcs.), Farnworth (Lancs.), Reading (Berks.), and Winchcombe (Gloucs.) survived, but as the crown had no clear policy about saving schools, their survival was due as much to chance and informal local support as through political or legal decisions.67

A promise of Edward VI’s government in 1547 to establish more grammar schools from the endowments of chantries led to the foundation of only a small number of institutions that did not include Faversham. It was not until 1576 that the town succeeded in eliciting a charter from the crown to re-establish the school as the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth in Faversham.68 The charter appointed the mayor and jurats of the town as the governors of the school, but All Souls College retained the appointment of the schoolmaster, and the college and the town were made jointly responsible for drawing up new statutes. The crown returned such lands of Cole’s endowment as it still possessed, but the original extent of about 415 acres had dwindled to about 100, and the schoolroom and the master’s lodging in the abbey were no longer available. It was left to a Faversham benefactor, William Saker, to provide a new site for the school, and the community itself to pay for erecting a fresh building.69 New statutes were duly drawn up in 1604, retaining some of the provisions of the 1526 indenture.70 Cole’s school was thus belatedly re-established, but the founder himself was less fortunate. If he was buried in the abbey as he wished, his grave was lost in the destruction that followed its closure. His school became known by the name of another person, a queen, and the Reformation ruled out the prayers he had asked for his soul. At least as historians, we can give him the credit he deserves.


John Cole’s Books

It is unusual to have a substantial list of an owner’s books in this period, making the evidence about Cole’s worth publishing. In the section that comes from the inventory of 1536, the material has been edited to omit the words ‘item’ and ‘price’, but the price valuations are included. The use of capitals follows modern practice, and abbreviations are expanded in italics. Identifications of the books are added to each entry in brackets; these should be regarded as provisional, given the complications of their bibliography.

(I) Miscellaneous records

1. William Durand, Speculum Judiciale cum additionibus Johannis Andreae et Baldi, printed Lyon, 1521 (All Souls College Library, cc.8.1.2).

2. Quintilian, Institutiones Oratoriae, printed Venice, 1471 (Emden, Biographical Register to A.D.1500, i, 461).

3. Lorenzo Valla, Elegantia Lingue Latine (All Souls College Library, MS 93, manu-script containing an inscription asking for prayers for his soul, but given to the college by Bishop James Goldwell: Watson, Descriptive Catalogue of MSS of All Souls, pp. 192-4).

(II) Books listed in the will of 1532

4. One masboke of vellam in prynte ... it is in the Whight Friers in London in my chamber.

(A printed missal, bequeathed to the rectory of Bigbury, Devon).

5. One portuos of vellam wretten in too partis ... in my stodye in my houce at Grenwiche.

(A manuscript breviary, bequeathed to the parish church of Bigbury, Devon).

6. Hamo super epistolas et evangelia wreten in perchement, 2nd folio: rei pater et filius.

(Haymo, bishop of Halberstadt, commentary on the epistles and gospels, bequeathed to All Souls College, Oxford).

7. Quinquagena Augustini in printe, 2nd folio: atque racionem.

(St Augustine, Prima Quinquageni: enarrationes in psalmos, a commentary on the first fifty psalms, printed by 1497. This and all the following titles in the will were bequeathed to Faversham Abbey).

8. Destructorium Viciorum in printe, 2nd folio: avarus multiplex.

(Alexander Carpenter, Destructorium Viciorum, printed by 1480; see also no. 19).

9. Vita Christi in printe, 2nd folio: tabula sequentem.

(Pseudo-Bonaventure, Meditationes Vitae Christi, printed by 1468).

10. Fasciculus Morum et Veritas Theologie in one boke of parchement wreten, 2nd folio: scio opera tua.

(Hendrik Boort, Fasciculus Morum, an anthology of moral verses, printed by c.1495. Veritas Theologie is found in several late-medieval manuscripts; see also no. 46).

11. Arnobius super psalterium in printe, 2nd folio: dabo eam.

(Arnobius Junior, Commentary on the Psalms, printed by 1522; see also no. 30).

12. Biblia nova cum figuris in printe, 2nd folio: in factum est.

(Printed Bible with woodcuts; see also no. 21).

13. Apralia [recte Moralia] Gregorii in printe, 2nd folio: epistolam beati.

(Gregory the Great, Moralia, an exegesis of the Book of Job, printed by 1471; see also no. 26).

14. Summa Angelica de Casibus Constituendis in printe, 2nd folio: absolucione.

(A part of Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, printed by 1493; see also no. 23).

(III) Books listed in the inventory of 1536

15. A psalter boke wrytten in perchemyn, 10s.

(A manuscript psalter on parchment).

16. A boke called Roffensis contra Lutherum, 2s.

(John Fisher, Assertionis Lutheranae Confutatio, printed 1523).

17. An antiphoner wrytten in perchemyn couered with lether, 10s.

(A manuscript antiphonal on parchment).

18. An antyphoner de sanctis wrytten in perchemyn couered with lether, 10s.

(A manuscript antiphonal on parchment containing material for saints’ days).

19. A boke called destructorium viciorum, 3s.

(Alexander Carpenter, Destructorium Viciorum; see also no. 8).

20. A boke called postilla fratris Nicholai de Lyra super genesi, exodum, leviticum, etc., 2s.

(Part of Nicholas de Lyra’s glossary, Postilla Litterales in Vetus et Novum Testamentum, on the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, etc., printed by 1471-2).

21. A boke called biblia cum figuris, 2s. 8d.

(A printed Bible with woodcuts; see also no. 12).

22. Postilla fratris Nicholai de Lyra super matheum, 20d.

(Part of Nicholas de Lyra, Postilla, on the Gospel of Matthew).

23. Summa Angelica, 20d.

(Part of Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica; see also no. 14).

24. Postilla fratris Nicholai de Lyra cum addicionibus Pauli episcopi, pergens replicum-que super libros Heisdrie, Nemie, etc., 16d.

(Part of Nicholas de Lyra, Postilla, with additions by Paul of Burgos, on the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.).

25. Sermones Roberti de licio, 15d.

(Roberto Caracciolo or da Lecce (de Licio), died 1495, author of eight volumes of sermons printed from 1471).

26. Moralia divi Gregorii, 16d.

(Gregory the Great, Moralia, an exegesis of the Book of Job; see also no. 13).

27. Registrum Willelmi Parisiensis, 16d.

(Probably a work by or ascribed to Guillaume d’Auvergne, known as Parisiensis).

28. Sermones discipulis [recte de epistolis] de tempore et de sanctis una cum promptuario exemplorum, 12d.

(Sermons on the epistles of the church year and of saints’ days with an index of examples).

29. Manuale insignis ad vsum ecclesie Sarum, 16d.

(A manual containing pastoral services such as baptism according to the usages of Salisbury Cathedral, printed by 1498).

30. Arnobius super psalmos David, 12d.

(Arnobius Junior, Commentary on the Psalms; see also no. 11).

31. Eligencia terminorum, 4d.

(Lorenzo Valla and others, Elegantia Terminorum, a Latin glossary, printed by 1490).

32. Exposicio oracionis dominice secundum Banaventuram, 8d.

(St Bonaventure, Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, printed by 1485).

33. Minimo tratus et aureum opus de veritate contricionis.

(The first two words are unclear: possibly alluding to De Maximo et Minimo Tractatus, Bologna, 1500. Giovanni Ludovico Vivaldi, Aureum Opus de Veritate Contritionis, printed by 1504).

34. Psalterium exposicio Petri de Harentall.

(Peter de Harentals, Collectarius super Librum Psalmorum, printed by 1480).

35. Compendium sacre theologie quod ascribit ad Johannem Jerson.

(A theological work by or ascribed to Jean Gerson).

36. Sermones Guillelmi Lugdunensis super epistolas de tempore.

(Part of Guillaume Peyraut, Sermones in Epistolas et Evangelia Dominicarum, printed by 1494).

37. Liber dans modum legendi.

(A work on reading or interpretation).

38. Abreviaturum in vtroque jure.

(A breviate or summary of canon and civil law).

39. Preceptorium fratris Nicholai de Lyra.

(A work of instruction by or ascribed to Nicholas of Lyra).

40. Enchiridion Militis Christiani.

(Erasmus, Enchiridion Militis Christiani, Christian advice for knights, printed from 1515).

41. Speculum Christianorum.

(John Watton or Wotton, more probably Thomas Garton, Speculum Christianorum, printed by 1495-500).

42. Sentencia Petri Lumbardi.

(Part or all of Peter Lombard, The Sentences, a commentary on the Bible, printed by 1481; see also no. 51).

43. Epistola Pauli.

(The epistles of St Paul).

44. Liber sermonum.

(A book of sermons).

45. Pupilla Oculi.

(John de Burgo, Pupilla Oculi, a handbook for parish clergy, printed by 1510).

46. Veritas theologie.

(A work found in several late-medieval manuscripts; see also no. 10).

47. Liber sermonum.

(A book of sermons).

48. Abstinencia beate Marie.

(A work on abstinence as practised by or in honour of the Virgin Mary).

49. Exposicio hympnorum et sequenciarum.

(An exposition of the hymns sung in daily services and the sequences sung at mass, printed by 1496).

50. Moralizasio ludendi ad skaccarios.

(Jacques de Cessoles, Liber de moribus... super ludo scaccorum, a philosophical and social treatise using chess as its framework, printed by c.1473, or a similar work).

51. Liber sentenciarum.

(By Peter Lombard; see also no. 42).

52. Evangelia in perchemyn.

(A manuscript of the gospels on parchment).

53. Nova poetria Galfridi de Vinozabulo.

(Geoffroi de Vinsauf, Poetria Nova, a thirteenth-century treatise on poetry in Latin verse, available only in manuscript in Cole’s lifetime).

54. Fassiculus temporum.

(Werner Rolevinck, Fasciculus Temporum, a history of the world, printed by 1474).

55. Exempla sacre scripture.

(Examples from holy scripture).

56. Postilla evangelliarum et epistolarum pro dominicis per totum annum.

(A glossary on the epistles and gospels set for Sundays throughout the year).

57. Gesta Romanorum.

(A medieval collection of moral tales, printed by 1474).

58. Portiforium wrytten in perchemyn lympned.

(A manuscript breviary on parchment with illuminations).

59. Portiforium novum in ij volumes printed.

(A new printed breviary in two volumes).

60. Psalterium cum matutinis and a boke of sermons; [total valuation of the above 28 items], 25s. 11d.

(A psalter with a matins book, and a book of sermons).


1 The author is grateful to Professor Robert Swanson for introducing him to the Faversham material at All Souls College (Oxford), to the College for facilitating access to the material, and to Drs Roger Bowers, Robert Higham, and David Lepine for generous help with the subsequent research.

2 G.G. Culmer, ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 47 (1955), 189-97; W. Telfer, Faversham Abbey and its Last Abbot, John Caslock, Faversham Papers, 2 (Faversham Society, 1965); A.F. Munden, Eight Centuries of Education in Faversham, Faversham Papers, 9 (Faversham Society, 1972), pp. 2-11.

3 Nicholas Orme, Medieval Schools (New Haven and London, 2006), pp. 189, 195-201.

4 F.F. Giraud, ‘On the Parish Clerks and Sexton of Faversham, AD 1506-1593’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 20 (1893), 203-10 at 205.

5 Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 189-95.

6 The Latin for ‘school’ is usually in the plural scole, so only one school is meant here.

7 Raymonde Foréville, Le Jubileé de Saint Thomas Becket du XIIIe au XVe siècle (1220-1470), pp. 135-7.

8 W. Telfer, ‘Faversham Schoolboy Sculptures’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 78 (1963), 118-24.

9 Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 135-41.

10 David Knowles and R.N. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses: England and Wales, 2nd ed. (London, 1971), p. 65.

11 Roger Bowers, ‘The Almonry Schools of the English Monasteries, c.1265-1540’, in Monasteries and Society in Medieval Britain, ed. Benjamin Thompson (Stamford, 1999), pp. 177-222 at 220-2.

12 Certainly not later than 1469, in view of his likely ordination of priest in 1493 for which one had to be aged twenty-four. He was probably studying at Oxford by at least 1485, very likely when he was about eighteen, indicating a birth date around 1467.

13 Munden, Eight Centuries of Education, p. 3.

14 On this and Cole’s career, see A.B. Emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500, 3 vols (Oxford, 1957-9), i, 461, and Andrew Ashbee et al., A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians 1485-1714, 2 vols (Aldershot, 1998), i, 269-70. The benefice of Inwardleigh (Devon) should be deleted from these accounts; it was held by one John Goolde, not Cole.

15 Statutes of the Colleges of Oxford, 3 vols (Oxford and London, 1853), i, All Souls p. 20.

16 Ibid., p. 67.

17 Calendars of Patent Rolls [hereafter CPR] (London, Public Record Office, 1891, in progress), 1494-1509, pp. 86, 107.

18 The Register of John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, ed. C. Harper-Bill, vol. i, Canterbury and York Society, 75 (1987), p. 161.

19 The National Archives, Kew [hereafter TNA], LC 2/1 ff. 4r, 68v; Records of English Court Music 1485-1714, ed. Andrew Ashbee, 9 vols (Aldershot, 1986-96), vii, 14, 19.

20 Records of English Court Music, ed. Ashbee, vii, 26-7, 33, 55; Calendar of Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII [hereafter Letters and Papers] (London, Public Record Office, 1864-1932), i part i, 18, 40, 382; iii part i, 245. William Telfer’s assertion that Cole was also a member of St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster, is based on a misreading of Cole’s will of 1532, and has no foundation.

21 British Library, Add. MS 20030, f. 104r, kindly communicated by Dr Bowers.

22 CPR 1494-1509, p. 343.

23 Letters and Papers, i part i, 488, 825; ii part i, 118.

24 Ibid., iii part i, 120. Cole is also said to have been appointed as a prebendary of Pontefract Castle at an unknown date (Records of English Court Music, ed. Ashbee, vii, 408), but was not in such a post in 1535 when names of the prebendaries survive. May this be a mistake for Pontesbury?

25 Letters and Papers, iv part iii, 2434

26 TNA, STAC 2/10; Letters and Papers, iv part iii, 2434.

27 All Souls College Library, Oxford, cc.8.1.2.

28 Nicholas Orme, ‘John Holt (d. 1504), Tudor Grammarian’, The Library, 6th series, 18 (1996), pp. 283-305.

29 Emden, Biographical Register to A.D. 1500, i, 461.

30 Andrew G. Watson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval Manuscripts of All Souls College, Oxford (Oxford, 1997), pp. 192-4; Appendix no. 31.

31 British Library, Add. MS 21481, f. 84r; Letters and Papers, ii part ii, 1455.

32 Records of English Court Music, ed. Ashbee, vii, 365, 367, 369.

33 TNA, PROB 11/25/479. The will of 1532 is included in the legal documentation along with the adjudication, registration and probate of the second will of 1536.

34 Ibid.

35 All Souls College Archives, CTM p. 218 no. 1.

36 TNA, PROB 2/294.

37 J.H. Lupton, A Life of John Colet, D.D., 2nd ed. (London, 1909), pp. 271-84, passages cited below.

38 TNA, E 101/417/2 no. 31; Records of English Court Music, ed. Ashbee, vii, 412.

39 It exists in two copies: Kent History and Library Centre, Maidstone, Fa/Q1, and All Souls College Archives, Wardens’ MS 1, ff. 131r-135v.

40 Nicholas Orme, Education in the West of England, 1066-1548 (Exeter, 1976), pp. 120-2.

41 Orme, Medieval Schools, p. 244.

42 See, for example, The Primer of Salisbury Use (London, R. Wyer, 1533): A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave, A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England ... 1475-1640 [hereafter STC] 2nd ed., rev. and enlarged by W.A. Jackson, F.S. Ferguson, and K.F. Pantzer, 3 vols (London: Bibliographical Society, 1967-91), no. 15983.

43 Lupton, Life of Colet, pp. 277, 285; Orme, Education in the West of England, p. 121.

44 Nicholas Orme, English School Exercises 1420-1530 (Toronto, 2013), pp. 382, 389-90, 411.

45 Lupton, Life of Colet, p. 277.

46 Ibid., p. 278.

47 On this subject, see Nicholas Orme, ‘For Richer, for Poorer? Free Education in England, c.1380-1530’, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 1 part 2 (2008), pp. 171-87.

48 Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 86-118.

49 Ibid., pp 118-25; Nicholas Orme, Education in Early Tudor England: Magdalen College Oxford and its School, 1480-1540 (Oxford, 1998, repr. 2003).

50 Victoria County History of Sussex, ed. W. Page, vol. ii (London, 1907), pp. 417-19 (Cuckfield), and Thomas Wright, ‘Rules of the Free School at Saffron Walden in Essex’, Archaeologia, 34 (1852), pp. 37-41.

51 Lupton, Life of Colet, p. 279.

52 Richard Butler, Nicholas Orme, and David Stather, The Foundation Documents of Pocklington School, Yorkshire (Pocklington, 2014), pp. 43-4.

53 STC nos 16110-16128.7.

54 Nicholas Orme, ‘School Exercises from Canterbury, c.1480’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 131 (2011), 111-27; idem, English School Exercises 1420-1530 (Toronto, 2013), pp. 237-56.

55 Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 135-41.

56 Orme, Education in the West of England, p. 161.

57 All Souls College Archives, Wardens’ MS 1, f. 135v.

58 Emden, Biographical Register of the University of Oxford A.D. 1501-1540, p. 578.

59 All Souls College Archives, Wardens’ MS 1, f. 137v.

60 Emden, Biographical Register 1501-1540, p. 124.

61 All Souls College Archives, CTM p. 218 no. 1.

62 Valor Ecclesiasticus tempore Henrici VIII auctoritate regia institutus, ed. J. Caley, 6 vols (London, Record Commission, 1810-24), i, 82-5.

63 All Souls College Archives, CTM p. 218 no. 1. See also Telfer, Faversham Abbey and its Last Abbot, pp. 11-16.

64 Edward Hasted, The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent (Canterbury, 1797-1801, repr. East Ardsley, 1972), vi, 355.

65 TNA, SC6/HEN VIII/1761.

66 TNA, E 315 (Decree and order books).

67 Orme, Medieval Schools, pp. 300-2.

68 CPR 1575-8, pp. 202-3.

69 On the new school building, see Culmer, ‘Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School’, pp. 189-97.

70 Summarised in Munden, Eight Centuries of Education, pp. 119-24.