Statutes, Constitutions, and Orders of the Grammar School

(1664 onwards..)

School rules, the first 28 of them were drawn up in 1664, with two more added in 1711 and 1720 respectively. These were displayed in a prominent part of the old school in Rodney Street.


   IMPRIMIS. - It is limited and ordayned that no person whatsoever shall be capable of being admitted to be principall or head-schoolemaster of the said Free Gramar Schoole, but such as have taken the degree of Master or Batchelor of Arts in one of the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, or some Protestant University elsewhere; or, if such cannot be procured, some undergraduate of the Universities aforesaid, or other sufficient well-qualified scholler, who is to be sober, discreet, and also well skilled and experienced in schoole learning and in the original languages, wherein they are to instruct their schollers. And to the end that they may be certaynly thus qualified, it is ordayned that, before the election of any master, his abilities aforesaid shall be tried by the Right Reverend Lord Bishop of Chester for the time being, or such other learned orthodox persons as the said Mayor of Wiggan for the time being and the greater number of feoffees shall desire or appoint; and being very well satisfied of his sufficiency and integrity, the said principal, or head-maister, shall first be and remayne six months upon tryall in the said schoole, and then upon further approbation shall be confirmed principal master of the said Grammar Schoole, under the hands of the said Mayor of Wigan for the time being and the greater number of the said feoffees, at which time the said master shall subscribe a bond of £100 that shall be submit to the rules and orders of the schoole, and quietly depart from and leave the possession of the said schoole when the said Mayor of Wigan and the greater number of feoffees shall require.

   SECONDLY. - It is ordayned that no person shall be capable of being admitted usher, or under-master, of the said Free School of Wigan but such as are of competent knowledge and learning, both in the Latin and Greek tongues, and so well qualified in school learning as may enable him to instruct the schollers in case of the head-master's absence; and that he shall be fit and capable, by reason of his learning and abilities, to be received and entertained in either of the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge, and the tryall hereof to be before the said Reverend Lord Bishop of Chester for the time being, or such other learned orthodox persons as the said Mayor of Wigan for the time being and the greater number of feoffees shall desire and appoint.

   THIRDLY. - It is ordayned that if any person or person so elected and appointed as master or usher shall be afterwards found insufficient or remissly negligent, or upon just occasion be detected of notorious licentiousness, such as comon swearing, whoring, drunkenness, a comon haunter of alehouses and taverns, or otherwise scandalous, or shall take upon him or them any other charge or imployment, to the hindrance of his or their performance of the duty of the said places that then they, the said Mayor for the time being and the greater number of the said feoffees, upon their own knowledge or assured evidence thereof, shall remove him or them, or either of them, found so obnoxious to good rule and government, and cease all further payments to him or them (save for the time he or they shall serve); and in their rooms elect and settle such other sufficient master and usher into the said places and imployments, qualified as before mentioned, as they, the said Mayor and feoffees, shall think fitt.

   FOURTHLY. - The schoolmaster and usher elected and appointed, as aforesaid, shall be constantly resident and attendant upon their trust; and if they be observed to be absent from the school at the times hereafter mentioned for his attendance, without the Mayor of Wigan's consent, and to neglect his due performance in the instructing and teaching of the schollers, so that upon complaint inquiry and examination it be found to be true by the said Mayor for the time being and the greater number of the feoffees; and thereupon the said master or usher being admonished, and no amendments imediatly follow, then the said Mayor and feoffees, upon three months' warning, shall remove them, and shall proceed to elect and settle other sufficient persons, qualified as before said, in their place and office; and if the master or usher at any time desire to depart for their preferment or otherways, they shall give three months' warning to the Mayor of Wigan, upon payne of forty shillings, to be deducted out of their wages, that the schoole may not be disapointed of constant teaching.

   FIFTHLY. - No schoolmaster or usher shall keep any alehouse or tavern, or house of gaming, or other unthriftiness or evil rule.

   SIXTHLY. - The schoolmaster and usher shall not be absent from the school at one and the same time, that so the schollers may not be neglected.

   SEVENTHLY. - It is ordayned that the schoolmaster for the time being shall have and receive the sum of thirty pounds per annum, and the usher ten pounds per annum, standing wages, to be paid quarterly, and the first payment to comence upon the twenty-ninth day of September next ensuing the date hereof.

   EIGHTHLY. - The master shall take special care of the library now belonging to the school, or that shall hereafter be brought for the school; to have a perfect catalogue of them written in a book to be fixed to the desk, there always to remain, of all such books as are or shall be brought together, with the names of the authors and editions, together with the numbers of the volumes of every the said books, with the names of any future donors; and shall be ready to give a true and perfect account of the said library when the said Mayor for the time being and the feoffees shall require it; and that none of the said books (upon any pretence whatsoever) shall be lent out or removed out of the said library at any time. And the master and usher for the time being shall from time to time appoint such or so many of the schollers as he or they know fitt to make use of the said library books, or so many of them as shall be usefull for their better profiting in their respective way of learning; and that none whosoever shall be suffered to write in, scratch on, or deface with pen or otherwise, any of the said books; and that once in a week, by the care and appointment of the master and usher, the dust shall be beaten and putt of the said books,, and the like care to be taken by them for the preservation and good usage of them the aforesaid books, as by experience they shall find best, or otherwise shall be advised.

   NINTHLY. - The master may grant part of a day, and no more, for recreation in a month, except it be by consent of the Mayor of Wigan for the time being, provided it not be on Friday (market day); and also each Thursday, in the afternoon, from three of the clock, in the summer half-year, and the whole Thursday afternoone in the winter half-year shall be a remedy for recreation; and for the winter half-year the school shall be continued, as now it is accustomed, till twelve of the clock.

   TENTHLY. - If the master or usher be visited and infected with any horrible, loathsome, or contagious disease, he shall be removed by the Mayor and ffeoffees for time being, with some charitable relief out of the revenue of the said school, to be extended towards him at the discretion of the said Mayor and feoffees, and another meet person chosen in his stead that shall be removed.

   ELEVEN. - The master or usher, upon the first meeting every morning, after a solemn prayer for God's blessing, shall cause a chapter to be read by any schollar he pleaseth to appoint; and before their departure in the evening they shall sing one of David's Psalms, or a part thereof, as the master or usher shall appoint, and then conclude with prayer and thanksgiving; and hereof the master and usher are injoyned to take care that these religious duties be duly and diligently performed and attended by the schollars as becometh such holy performances, to which end the master is to have a roll of all the schollars, which is to be orderly called over twice or thrice every week, that the absent schollars may be punished for their negligence, according as the master and usher judge meet.

   TWELVE. - The master and usher shall take special care that all the schollars do constantly repair to the church every Lord's Day morning and afternoon, and other days set apart for God's worship, and be placed together in the church, with or neare unto the master and usher, if so there be, or hereafter shall be, any conveniency procured so to do, and that they decently and reverently behave themselves under the publick ordinances, and submit themselves to be publicky catechised, as the Rector of Wigan, or his curate, shall from time to time appoint. And that one or more schollars be appointed to view and take notice of such schollars as shall absent or not decently behave themselves during the time of publick prayers and sermons; and that every Monday morning account shall be required by the master or usher of any so offending, who shall be corrected as the nature of the offence shall deserve. And it is further ordained that every Monday morning, after reading of the chapter, some short convenient time be spent by the master or usher, or both, in calling some schollars at one time, and some at another time, to give account of their proffiting on the Sabbath Day before, and to the end that catechising, being of such singular use for the trayning up of youth in the knowledge of the oracles of God, may be the better carryed on that the master or usher, or both, shall spend one hour at the least every other Saturday throughout in catechising the schollars.

   THIRTEEN. - The school shall break up six days before the Feast of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and three days before Easter and Whitsonday, and not sooner; and the master shall begin to teach after Christmas upon the next week day after the twelfth day, and after Easter upon the Monday next after Low Sunday, and after Whitsontide upon Monday after Trinity Sunday. Saturday, in the afternoon, with all holidays used in the Church of England, are to be allowed for the schollars' refreshment, as is accustomed.

   FOURTEEN. - The master shall teach and read classical authors, chaste and clear, in order to gramatical learning and knowledge of the tongues, with a special regard to the Protestant religion, morality, and pure language, such as Tully, Caesar's Comentaries, Salust, and Livie, with what others are most used in the best of free schools for Prose. And for verse, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, and Terence; for Greek, the Greek Gramar, Greek Testament, Socrates, addemoni, or Zenophon, his Tyrus, with such authors for verse or Greek as are usually taught in the best schools.

   FIFTEEN. - The hours of coming and departing from the school, from the 10th of March to the 10th of September yearly, shall be from seven of the clock in the morning to eleven, and from one of the clock untill ffive of the clock in the afternoon; and from the said tenth day of September untill the said tenth day of March from half an hour after seven of the clock in the morning (save about two months, when days are shortest, from eight) till eleven, and from one of the clock till three, four, or five of the clock in the afternoon, according as convenient daylight may fall out for the scholars going home. It being ordained that no candles shall be used in the school for teaching at any time.

   SIXTEEN. - That no children that have upon them any noysome or infectious disease shall during the same time be admitted, or if, after admission, any shall fall into such maladies, they shall be removed untill they are perfectly cured.

   SEVENTEEN. - The master and usher shall have a special care to the good manners and decent deportment of the scholars towards all persons, and shall exemplary punish all misdemeanors, especially the crimes of swearing, cursing, lying, drunkenness, filthy or obscene talking, or betting, reproaching or miscalling persons by foul language, gaming for anything of price, and in an especial manner shall diligently endeavour to see the Lord's Day kept free from any profanation (as much as in them lyeth), as well after as during the scholars being in the church.

   EIGHTEEN. - All scholars, of what degree soever, are to submit to due correction from the schoolmaster or usher, which shall be promised by the parents at their admission and referred to the schoolmaster's discretion; and all stubborn or disobedient scholars that are pertinatiously or exemplary bad browbeating the master or usher, or offering to struggle with, strike, spurn, or abuse the master or usher when he or they are orderly correcting them for their faults after two admonitions, wherewith their parents or friends be acquainted that the third time be expelled the school, after due proof thereof made before the Mayor of Wigan and greater number of feoffees for the time being; and those parents that molest the schoolmaster against reason and order for correction of their children, their children shall be utterly expelled the school for ever, unless they can prove the correction unreasonable; and all schollars shall be obedient and ready to help the master or usher for the due and lawfull correction of any stubborn schollar they punish it.

   NINETEEN. - No schollar shall bring to the school or wear any weapons neither shall any schollar make an affray upon his fellow-schollar, upon pain of severe correction from the master or usher; and if any schollar be a common quarrellor and setter of debate, and ffighting amongst the schollars, and will not amend after correction and admonition by the master or usher, upon complaint from the master or usher to the Mayor of Wigan for the time being and the greater number of feoffees, and due proof made thereof, he shall be expelled the school.

   TWENTY. - No schollar, being in health, shall be absent above six days together, and that with the master's allowance, and if he shall be longer absent after admonition of the schollar, or notice given to the parents or friends, unless in some extraordinary case and the master approveing the excuse, shall forfeit all priviledges in the school, unless the said Mayor of Wigan and greater number of feoffees for the time being, upon hearing the cause, do order re-admission upon promise from parents or friends that there shall be more constant attention upon the school for better profiting in learning.

   TWENTY-ONE. - All schollars that have attained to such progress in learning as to be able to speak Latine, shall neither within school or without, when they are among the schollars of the same or a higher time, speak English, and that the master shall appoint which are the fformes that shall observe this order of speaking Latin, and shall take care that it be observed and due correction given to those that do neglect it.

   TWENTY-TWO. - Each schollar shall be placed according to his progress in learning, and without partiality, preferred by the master according to his desert, and in case of injury offered herein by the master, there shall be appeal to the Mayor of Wigan and greater number of feoffees for the time being.

   TWENTY-THREE. - That once in six weeks, or two months at the furthest, throughout the year, Saturday in the forenoon shall be spent by so many of the upper fformes as shall be fitted for it in such exercises as these :- Construing of such authors of themselves as the master shall appoint; proposing of gramatical or historical questions one unto another, and making declarations; and such like exercises as may tend to the begetting of an emulation amongst the schollars in learning.

   TWENTY-FOUR. - No schollar shall at any time with knife, or otherways whatsoever, cut or break the windows, wainscott, fformes, seats, tables, desks, doors, or any other materials belonging to the school or library, the master, upon conviction of such offender or offenders, shall give him or them exemplary punishments.

   TWENTY-FIVE. - The usher stall stand to the master's direction for method and order of teaching; also the master shall often examine the profiting of the schollars under the usher's teaching, and by himself (or if need be) by advice of the Mayor of Wigan and feoffees for the time being take course for regulating for what shall be amiss.

   TWENTY-SIX. - The schollars' play shall be shooting in the long bow, running, leaping, and other harmless sports; but to avoid cards, dice, and other unlawful games, and betting openly or covertly, upon pain of extreme punishment.

   TWENTY-SEVEN. - These statutes and orders ffairly written shall be fixed upon a convenient place publicly in the said school, and the master shall cause them to be read or shewed to all such persons as offer children to be admitted schollars, and also shall openly read them in the school once in a quarter of a year, from time to time, that so none may plead ignorance; and if any parents or friends refuse to have their children or relations to observe these statutes and orders, or any of them, they are not to be admitted into the school.

   TWENTY-EIGHT. - The Mayor of Wigan and the greater number of the feoffees for the time being, opon their apprehending defects in any statutes or orders herein comprised, and that other orders are necessary, and may further tend to the good of the said school, shall meet so often as shall be requisite (at least twice in every year) to inlarge, alter, change, in substance or words, what by experience and prudent counsel shall appear to be behooffull to the furtherance of literature and education of youth.

   11TH JUNE, 1760. - Ordered further by the feoffees of the said school - first, that the head-master shall not for the future take under his care and instruction any schollar or schollars who shall not be then fitt to be instructed in the grammar. And that no schoolmaster or usher shall hereafter teach or instruct any schollar or other person writing, or arithmetick in the school hours. And that the schollars shall not for the future be allowed to be absent from school in order to go home to breakfast.

   2ND OCTOR., 1711. - That the usher shall not hereafter take upon him to teach and instruct any schollar or schollars, but that are learning in the Testament and books above.

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