Grammar School Accounts

Mary Fielding

The schoolroom fireplace with the master's desk in front.

Gloucestershire Archives holds a volume of Campden Grammar School’s early Accounts from 1629 to the end of the nineteenth century, which reveals a fascinating history of building practices, school administration and the help available to the poor and sick of the town.

As more of the Accounts are transcribed we will add information to this page.  To start with, though, one great discovery concerns the elaborate carved fireplace and overmantel in the old Schoolroom on the High Street.

In the accounts for 1636 there is an item:

Paid John Page the Mason for building two chimmies in the schoole £04   02s   0d

Further down the page for the same year:

Paid Nathaniel Evans for the moniment in the schoole  £03   2s   6d

This must surely be the mantelpiece with the bust of a gentleman in ruff and robe, with his hand on a skull.

A few years later, in 1639, there are two more entries:

Paid Nathaniel Evans for amending the moniment and makeing it sutable for the verses Mr Edwards hath made   £00   01s   4d

Paid Nathaniel Evans for ingrossing the Epitaph on the schoole moniment  £00   02s   0d

Mr Edwards was the schoolmaster, and the verse he wrote, apparently about the school’s Founder, John Fereby (or Varby), was:

DIGNA TUIS MERITIS NON HAEC MONIMENTA PUTAMUS
EBUR NEC INDICUM PARIVE MARMORA
AUREUS HIC ESSES IN FRAUS TUA MUNERA NOBIS
RAPINA TORSERAT DOLUSQUE PERFIDUS
AT TUA FAMA VIGENS ET LAUS PIA FACTA LOQUENTUR
MALUM IMPROBI BREVIQUE NOMEN INTERIT

If your Latin is a little rusty, Percy Rushen gives us a translation:

“We do not deem this marble worthy thee,
Though Parian ’twere or Indian ivory;
A golden figure should this niche have graced
Had craft and rapine spared their cruel waste.
The foul slanders made will shortly leave your name,
And flourishing praise declare expiation of your fame.”

A somewhat strange epitaph, it seems to me!

 

Another entry in the Accounts for 1638 records “Item: given Michael Wiggins wife lying in £00  01s  0d”.  Checking the Parish records for that year, there is an entry for Mar 4 1637/38  “Baptism of Mary, d. of Michael Wigin”  No record in either entry of the poor mother’s name!

If transcribing documents isn’t your ‘thing’, then how about comparing records of names in the School Accounts against the Parish Records to build up a picture of the lives (and deaths) of poorer people in Campden – those who otherwise get lost to history.  Or compiling a list of the building work done on the school?

 

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