The Free Grammar School at East Retford was founded by King Edward the Sixth, by his Letters Patent under the Great Seal, bearing date the 9th of December, in the Fifth year of his reign, 1552, for the education and instruction of Boys and Youths in Grammar,—to be called "The Free Grammar School of King Edward the Sixth,"—and to consist of one Master or Governor, and one Under-Master, to be continued for ever.
And for the support of the School, His Majesty granted all that Chantry of Sutton in Loundale, within the Parish of Lound, —and all that late Chantry of Tuxford, and estates at Kyrton, or elsewhere,—and also all the late Chantry of Annesley, with it's rights, in Kirkby in Ashfield, Morton, Annesley, and Bleasby, —all in the County of Nottingham, and then of the clear yearly value of £15..5..3¼,—to be holden by the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Town of East Retford, and their Successors for ever, as of the Manor of East Greenwich, by Fealty as in Free Socage for all rents, services, and demands whatsoever.
The Bailiffs and Burgesses, and their Successors, to have power to nominate and appoint a Master, and Under-Master of the School, as often as the same shall be vacant.
And they were empowered, with the advice of the Archbishop of York, for the time being, from time to time to make fit and wholesome Statutes in writing for the government of the School and it's possessions, to be inviolably observed.
And to receive and purchase any other lands, not exceeding the clear yearly value of £20. Sterling.
All the rents, and profits of the premises " shall be laid out and expended for the maintenance of the School, and of the Master and Under-Master, or for other things concerning the same."
The interests of the School having been formerly much neglected, it is not possible, at the present period, to identify out of the Estates belonging to the Corporation, what particular premises form a part of the Endowment of the School.
Time out of mind the Corporation have been possessed of and in the uninterrupted receipt of the rents and profits of the Estates which they now hold,—and, it is said, that in a Suit in Equity, which, many years since, was instituted by the then Masters of the School, against the Corporation, for the purpose chiefly of ascertaining what specific property formed the whole, or any part of the Endowment of the School, the Masters then wholly failed in their object;—and it was not in the result deemed adviseable to disturb the Corporation in the enjoyment of any of their Estates.
Indeed the fact is, that in many of the places named in the Endowment, in which property is stated to be situate, no trace can at this day be discovered that either the School, or the Corporation, was ever possessed of any such property.
Some years since, The Revd. Mr. Haughton, Rector of Ordsall, left seven acres of land in that Parish, for the use of the School; the rent of which is received by the Corporation, and it is considered, that it forms part of the Salaries paid to the Masters.
The following is a Copy of The Statutes made by The Bailiffs and Burgesses, and subscribed by Robert Archbishop of York, on the 30th of April, 1552,—
" first, We the Bailiffs and Burgesses aforesaid, by the advice of the said Most Reverend Father in God Robert Archbishop of York, do ordain and establish by these presents, that the Usher of the said School, for the time being, shall teach such Lower Forms and young Scholars in the same as shall be to him appointed by the School-master of the said School for the time being, and shall be obedient to the said Schoolmaster in all things honest and lawful concerning the said School; and if any controversie happen between the aforesaid Schoolmaster and Usher, the same to be pacified and ordered by the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said Town, and their Successors for the time being.
There is an excellent commentary about these School Statutes in A.D.Ground's "A History of King Edward VI Grammar School Retford",
pages 27-42. Well worth reading.
Also, we ordain and establish by the authority and advice abovesaid, that the Schoolmaster and Usher of the said School, and their Successors, shall command and compell their Scholars to come and hear Divine Service in the Parish Church of the said Town of East Retford every Sunday and Holiday, and that those
Scholars which be apt and meet for the same, do help in the Quire to maintain the said Divine Service there.
And furthermore the said Schoolmaster or Usher shall cause one of their said Scholars every Sunday to read the Catechism in English openly and distinctly in the body of the said Parish Church of East Retford, between the Morning Prayer and the Communion, as well for their own instruction as for the instruction of other young Children in the said Parish
And also, that the said Schoolmaster and Usher every workday before they begin to teach their said Scholars in the Morning, and also immediately when they have licence to depart at night, shall cause the same Scholars to say or sing in the said School-house one Psalm of David's Psalter, such as the said Schoolmaster shall think most convenient to be appointed for that purpose, with this Prayer following every Morning,—
" O Most merciful God and giver of all understanding which, at the invocation of the faithfull, hast ever given things necessary for the setting forth of thy Glory, as the examples of all ages recordeth, and for because nothing is more needfull than Wisdom and Understanding we therefore congregate in this place to learn the same, most humbly beseech thee, O Eternal Father, so to illuminate our Wits and Understandings, that we may have our whole affection upon Wisdom in these years of our Infancy. And furthermore may ever after receive, love, and embrace the same, and accordingly to the precepts thereof may direct all our acts, and last of all that the true Wisdom of God may so shine in all our living, as may be to the Glory and Praise of him from whom all Wisdom cometh. Grant this we beseech thee, O God, for the love of thy most dearly beloved son Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. So be it."
And also this other Prayer next ensuing every Evening,—
" Lighten our darkness we beseech thee, O Lord, and by thy great Mercys defend us from all perils and dangers of this night, for the love of thy only Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen."
And also, that the said Schoolmaster and Usher shall not teach any thing to their said Scholars, which is contrary to God's most Holy word his commandments, or that may provoke the said Scholars to vice or evil manners.
And we ordain and establish, by the advice and authority aforesaid, that the said Schoolmaster and Usher, or one of them, to every Form of Scholars within the said Grammar School shall teach these Books and Authors in order hereafter following, that is to say, The said Schoolmaster or Usher shall diligently teach and read unto their Scholars of the First Form within the said Grammar School, the figures and characters of letters
to join, write, sound and pronounce the same plainly and perfectly. And immediately to learn the inflection of Nouns and Verbs, which, if it be done with diligence, a good and apt nature in one year may attain a perfect reading, pronouncing, and declining of Nouns and Verbs, and the more prone natures may spare some part of the year to hear the explication of Tullie's Epistles written ad Terrentiam Uxorem or Tyronem Libertum for the familiar phrase in the same, out of which the Scholars must be commanded to write certain Latin words and repeat the same in the Morning next after past.— Item, in the Second Form after usual repetition of the inflection of Nouns and Verbs, which is attained in the first form, a more full explication of the Eight Parts of reason, with the Syntaxis or Construction must be shewed, and the other hours of reading may be spent in the Colloquia Erasmi, and some harder Epistles of Tully which must be dissolved and discussed verbatim, and the reason of every Construction shewed, the exercise of the Form, is to turn sentences from English to Latin, and e diverse now is attained your analogy of Nouns and Verb with precepts, orations conjunct, and that no Scholar over one month do continue in the said School without books requisite for his Form, unless he do daily write his own Lessons. And further we ordain, that in this Form be taught the Scriptures both the Old and New Testament, Salust, Salern, and Justinian's Institutes, if the Schoolmaster and Usher be seen in the same.—Item, the said Schoolmaster or Usher shall read and teach unto the Third Form of Scholars within the said Grammar School, the King's Majesty's Latin Grammar, Virgil, Ovid, and Tully's Epistles, Copia Erasmi verborum et rerum, or so many of the said Authors as the said Schoolmaster shall think convenient for the capacity and profit of his Scholars, and every day to give unto his said Scholars one English to be made into Latin. And also that the Scholars of this Form, and likewise of the Second and First Form so many as shall be conveniently able thereof, shall every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, being work-days, first in the Morning say over one of the Eight parts of Speech like as the manner and fashion is of all Grammar Schools, and upon Friday Sum es fui, with his compounds, as shall seem to the Schoolmaster convenient, and to repeat upon Saturday, or upon the Friday if Saturday chance to be a Holliday, such things as they have learned in the same week before.—Item, the said Schoolmaster or Usher shall teach to the Fourth Form of Scholars within the said Grammar School, to know the breves and longs and make verses, and they of this Form shall write every week some Epistle in Latin, and give it to the said Master
or Usher at the end of the Week. And also the said Master shall teach the Scholars of this Form the Greek Grammar, and also the Hebrew Grammar, if he be expert in the same, and some Greek authors so far as his learning and convenient time will serve thereunto.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority aforesaid, that the Schoolmaster and Usher of the said School every work-day betwixt the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady and St. Michael the Archangel do their diligence to be in the said School and begin to teach at Six of the Clock in the Morning, and so to continue unto Eight of the clock, and then the Scholars to go to breakfast, and to come again before Nine of the clock, and then remain unto half an hour to Twelve, and then to go to dinner, and to come again before One of the clock, and then to continue until half an hour before Four, and then to go to their Drinking, and to come to the School again before Four at Afternoon strictly, and so to continue to Six of the clock at night,— And every work-day, betwixt the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel and the Annunciation of Our Lady, to begin at Seven of the clock in the Morning, and so to continue unto half an hour before Noon, —and then to begin again at One of the clock, and so to continue until Five of the clock at night. All which times, we will and ordain, that the Schoolmaster shall be present in the School and also the Usher, and shall not use of custom to absent or withdraw themselves from their said Scholars at times abovesaid, but only for honest, necessary, and reasonable causes.
Also we ordain and establish, by the order and advice above said, that the Schoolmaster and Usher of the said School shall not absent themselves upon the Sunday or Holliday from Divine Service in the said Parish Church of East Retford, without a lawful or convenient cause.
And if the said Schoolmaster or Usher shall be determined of their minds at any time to depart from the said office, then be minding to depart shall give warning to the Bailiffs of the said Town of East Retford, for the time being, openly in the said Parish Church by the space of Six months at the least next and immediately before his departure from the said service, and in the mean season after such warning given, to do their duty diligently in his office, or else to lose so much of his duty or salary as he ought to have for the said six months.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that neither the said Schoolmaster nor Usher shall absent themselves forth of the said Town of East Retford from their said School over the space of Three days in any one Quarter of
the year, except it be by special licence of the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said Town of East Retford.
And that they give not remedy to their Scholars over one day in the week.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that if the Master or Usher of the said School, by occasion of infirmity or other lawful impediment be so letted that they cannot teach their said Scholars, that the said Schoolmaster or Usher, during the time of his infirmity or lawful impediment, shall substitute, leave, and depute in his place, one honest and well learned person to supply the office of the said Schoolmaster or Usher within the said Grammar School diligently, during the time of the infirmity or other lawful impediment.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that if the Schoolmaster or Usher be a common Drunkard, or shall be remiss or negligent in teaching the Scholars of the said School, or have or use any evil or notable crime, offence, or condition, that then Three several monitions shall be to him given by the Bailiffs and Burgesses or Six of them at least of the said Town, to leave and amend the said fault or offence; and betwixt every of the said monitions to be at least Ffteen days, and if the said Schoolmaster or Usher, after such monitions to him given, do not amend such his default or offence, then he to be expelled forth of his rooms and office by the said Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said Town of East Retford for the time being, and another to be chosen into his rooms and place.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that the Schoolmaster and Usher of the said School, and their Successors, shall have for their School-house one certain House appointed and set forth by the said Bailiffs and Burgesses within the said Town of East Retford, which House shall have in the East end thereof Two chambers, which Two chambers we do will and appoint that the Schoolmaster of the said School shall have and occupy for his lodging and his books, —and one other Chamber in the West end of the said Schoolhouse, which we ordain and appoint to the Usher of the said School for his lodging and books. And where there is one Orchard and Garden belonging to the said School-house, we will and ordain the Schoolmaster of the said School to have two parts of the profits of the said Orchard and Garden, and the Usher to have the other third part of the profits of the same Orchard and Garden. And that the Bailiffs and Burgesses aforesaid, and their
Successors, shall repair, maintain and uphold of their own proper costs and charges all the edifices, houses, and buildings now standing and builded, or hereafter to be builded of and upon any part or parcel of ground belonging to the said School, together with the pavement and common gate adjoining to the said School-house, as often as need shall require.
We ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said Town of East Retford shall provide for the said Schoolmaster and Usher within one year next and immediately following the date hereof, Two sufficient and honest Mansions and Houses, that is to say, for either of them One, within the said Town of East Retford for them to inhabit and dwell in, without any rent paying by the said Schoolmaster and Usher.
Also when Our Sovereign Lord the King hath given and granted to his said School of East Retford, lands, tenements, and other hereditaments to the value of £15. and odd money; and also hath given and granted licence to the Bailiffs and Burgesses of East Retford aforesaid to purchase to and for the use of the said School so much more lands and tenements as shall amount to the yearly value of £20. over and beside the said .£15. and odd money, like and by our said Sovereign Lord the King's Letters Patents more at large doth appear,—
We, therefore, the said Bailiffs and Burgesses, by the authority and advice aforesaid, do ordain and establish that the Schoolmaster of the said School, and his Successors, shall have and receive of the Bailiffs and Burgesses above named for his Salary £10. yearly, the last day of May and the last of November by equal portions,—and the Usher, and his Successors, £5. yearly in like manner at the days aforesaid.
And, as it shall happen the lands hereafter to be increased by virtue of the said licence, and by diligence of the above named Bailiffs and Burgesses, so the wages and salary of the Schoolmaster and Usher to be increased as shall be seen convenient from time to time by the Bailiffs and Burgesses of East Retford aforesaid.
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice above said, that every Schoolmaster and Usher of the said School, before their admission, shall be sworn upon The Holy Bible before the Archbishop of York for the time being, or his lawful Deputy or Deputies, and openly speak and recite this Oath hereafter following,—
" I, A. B., being elected and named as Master or Instructor of the King's Majesty's Free Grammar School of East Retford, in the County of Nottingham, from this present time so long as
I shall be Master of the said School, shall not receive nor take any annual Service or yearly Salary, Stipend, or Wages of any person or persons which shall or may be hurtful, prejudicial, or hindrance unto the Godly bringing up or virtuous instructing of the Scholars of the said School,—and furthermore, I shall not fraudulently, maliciously, nor wittingly of my part neglect or break any Ordinance or Statute of the said School lawfully set forth and made, so far as to me doth appertain. But shall inviolately observe and keep them, and every one of them, as near as God shall give me grace, as God help and the Holycontents of this Book."
And then the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the Town of East Retford for the time being, or Six of them at least, shall put the said Schoolmaster or Usher in possession of his said office or room, by delivering the hesp of the School-house door in his hand, saying these words,—
" Sir, Ye are chosen to be School-master, or Usher, of this School, to teach Scholars hither resorting, not only Grammar and other virtuous Doctrine but also good Manners, according to the intent of the most excellent and virtuous Prince King Edward the Sixth, Founder of the same,—
" Whereupon we assure this to you a room of perpetual continuance, upon your good demeanour and duty to be done within this Grammar School."
Also we ordain and establish, by the authority and advice aforesaid, that all the Statutes and Ordinances herein contained, shall be well and truly observed and kept both on the behalf of the said Schoolmaster, Usher, and Scholars, and shall be read openly within the said Grammar School every Quarter of the year once."
There are very good Houses provided by The Corporation for the Two Masters; and the School is attached to the House of the Head Master.
Both those Houses, besides the School, have within a few years past been newly built at the expense of the Corporation, by whom they are sustained and kept in repair.
The School is open for boys of the Town of East Retford indefinitely, free of expense: And generally about 30 or 40 attend.
The Eton Grammars are used; and the system of Education is Latin, Greek, English, Writing, and Arithmetic.
The present Head Master is, The Revd. William Mould, whose Salary is £80. per annum.
The present Usher is, Mr. William Parker, whose Salary is £30. per annum.
Neither the Master, nor Usher, have any Private Pupils in their Houses. Many of the Families send their sons to distant " Boarding Schools " for education.