The foundation, maintenance and management of a free grammar school in South Lancashire, 1520-1842

Percival, Eric (1989). The foundation, maintenance and management of a free grammar school in South Lancashire, 1520-1842. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis is a study of educational administration as exemplified by the foundation and maintenance of a free grammar school in Warrington, by Sir Thomas Boteler, 15th Lord of the Manor of Warrington, by his will (1520), its foundation (1526) and its governance up to 1842, ie to the onset of state intervention in the provision of education in the 19th century. The foundation's regulations established a basic administrative structure of a patron, a body of feoffees, and a schoolmaster.

By the end of the 16th century, as a result of despoliation, the School was brought to a "ruinous" state, so that a decree from the Duchy Court of Lancaster (1607-10) was required to ensure its revival. In the 17th century, the feoffees failed to carry out the Duchy Court's injunctions concerning the management of the School's finances which were thenceforward assumed by the masters. This practice resulted in constant tension between masters and feoffees which continued until 1807 when the School's usefulness had so declined that some Warrington citizens, concerned that the foundation's terms were no longer being complied with, gave information from which a bill was filed in Chancery to rectify the maladministration of the Charity. This resulted in a judgement in 1814 which, in 1820, led to a series of rules which were an updating of the foundation's provisions, their most important reform being a revival of the responsibilities of the feoffees/trustees and an insistence on their accountability and documentation. The tension continued between the trustees and the schoolmaster, resulting in the resignation of the incumbent.

Overall, the work is a study of the nature and origins of the problems encountered in making and maintaining schools and of the tensions arising from interested parties and wielders of influence who operate therein.

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