Religion, and Education in Early Modern England: Archdeacon Robert Johnson and his Grammar Schools, 1575-1630

Harrod, Holly (2019). Religion, and Education in Early Modern England: Archdeacon Robert Johnson and his Grammar Schools, 1575-1630. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the relationship between puritanism and education in England in the period between 1560 and 1630. This is achieved via a detailed study of Robert Johnson, Archdeacon of Leicester and founder of Oakham and Uppingham Schools, and his network of puritan associates. The thesis explores the relationships established by Johnson during his time at Cambridge, as well as associations developed through family connections and his employment post-university. It also examines how these connections brought him into contact with influential members of Elizabeth I’s privy council, and enabled Johnson to be openly involved in puritan activities, within Rutland and the surrounding areas, throughout the 1570s, without any significant reprisals. Case studies on four grammar schools: Oakham, Uppingham, Oundle and Stamford, provide information on the founding and running of these schools, and how they were influenced by Johnson’s network. Additionally, the thesis contains an analysis of events at St John’s, Christ’s, Sidney Sussex and Emmanuel; the four Cambridge colleges associated with Johnson’s network. There is also an assessment of the links between the four grammar schools and the four colleges, most notably examining the progression of students from the schools to these particular colleges. There is an analysis of the broader religious and political context in which the network operated, as well as the impact of a changing attitude to charitable giving. Finally, the thesis explores the religious changes in England that took place with the appointment of John Whitgift as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583, and the impact of the death of Elizabeth I and the accession of James I in 1603.

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