• Ken Powell
  • Chris Cook
Part of the Palgrave Historical and Political Facts book series (PHPF)


The inscription carved above the door of the Lady Chapel at St Alban’s Abbey (after its conversion to a schoolhouse) sums up tlie attitude of Tudor governments to education in general and to schools in particular. The latter were seen by those in authority as ‘an effective means of unifying the religious outlook and consolidating the social order’.2 They also met the increasing demand from ever wider sections of the community for learning (a means of scaling the social ladder and entering the expanding professions) and it was for this reason that schools grew in size and number during the sixteenth century. The manner in which this growth was channelled and controlled, and the increasing supervision of the content of education, is symptomatic of the efforts of Tudor administrations to control those aspects of the lives of their citizens previously left to the Church or some lesser agency. The Tudor achievement was great, but the extent of the educational provision of medieval England must not be underestimated. Much of this provision was under the direct control of the Church: schools were attached to cathedrals, both those staffed by monks and the secular foundations, monasteries, especially the larger houses, collegiate churches (like those of Southwell (Notts.) and Wim-borne (Dorset)) and to chantries. But many schools were already being run by laymen, through guilds, merchant companies and town councils. Ipswich and Hull were among the towns which had borough schools in the fifteenth century.

When faith and learning are combined,

Then only do we true religion find.1


Sixteenth Century Fifteenth Century Wide Section Grammar School Town Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Charlton, K., Education in Renaissance England (London, 1965).Google Scholar
  2. Simon, J., Education and Society in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1966 ).Google Scholar
  3. Stone, L., ‘The Educational Revolution in England, 1560–1640’ in Past and Present, xxvni (1964).Google Scholar
  4. Baldwin, T. W., William Shakespeare’s small Latine and fesse Greeke (Oxford, 1944 ).Google Scholar
  5. Lawson, J., The Endowed Grammar Schools of East Yorkshire (York, 1962).Google Scholar
  6. Leach, A. F., English Schools at the Reformation (London, 1896 ).Google Scholar
  7. Orme, N., English Schools in the Middle Ages (London, 1973 ).Google Scholar
  8. Orme, N., Education in the West of England 1066–1548 (Exeter, 1977).Google Scholar
  9. Simon, J., ‘The Reformation and English Education’ in Past and Present xi, (1957): a critique of A. F. Leach.Google Scholar
  10. Curtis, M. H., Oxford and Cambridge in Transition,1558–1642 (Oxford, 1959 ).Google Scholar
  11. Hexter, J. H., ‘The Education of the Aristocracy in the Renaissance’, in Reappraisals in History (London, 1961 ).Google Scholar
  12. Kearney, H., Scholars and Gentlemen: Universities and Society in Pre-Industrial Britain (London, 1970 ).Google Scholar
  13. McConica, J. K., ‘Scholars and Commoners in Renaissance Oxford’ in L. Stone (ed.) The University in Society, I ( Princeton, New Jersey, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  14. Prest, W. R., The Inns of Court under Elizabeth I and the Early Stuarts 1590–1640 (London, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  15. Bennett, H. S., English Books and Readers,1475–1557 (Cambridge, 1952 ).Google Scholar
  16. Clark, P., ‘The Ownership of Books in England 1560–1640: the Example of some Kentish Townsfolk’, in L. Stone (ed.), Schooling and Society (Baltimore, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  17. Eisenstein, E. L. L., ‘The Advent of Printing and the Problem of the Renaissance’ Past and Present, XLV (1969).Google Scholar
  18. Wright, L. B., Middle Class Culture in Elizabethan England (Chapel Hill, 1935 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ken Powell and Chris Cook 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken Powell
  • Chris Cook

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations