1800 to 1849 - The OldWinburnians

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1800 to 1849

School History
The History of the School

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Events and Headmasters  1800 to 1849

By Graham Powell




Headmaster James Mayo advertises: “At Free Grammar School, Wimborne, Dorset, young gentlemen are boarded and educated etc” for fees of 25 guineas per annum. Includes Classical Instruction, Writing and Accompts, and washing. For extra they can have French, Dancing, Music and Drawing.


Mention of John Hawke as writing master of the school. He attended the Minster where he is reported as taking his pupils, but later on his protestant convictions took him into to the Methodist Church.


James Mayo junior, educated at the Grammar School, BA of Pembroke College, Oxon, becomes Usher. He is just 17 years old. He went on to get his BA in 1805 and his MA in 1810. In the meantime, because he had to be a Minister to serve as Master, he was ordained Deacon at Wells Cathedral in 1806, and as Priest at Salisbury Cathedral in 1808. One wonders how much time he spent at Wimborne.


Born in 1810 in Christchurch, Benjamin Ferrey was the son of a successful draper, onetime Mayor of the town. Sent to Wimborne Grammar School in about 1818, and then, about 1825, to London to study architectural draughtsmanshipunder A C Pugin. In 1834 he published a famous book the Antiquities of the Priory of Christchurch, a copy of which is in Christchurch Library. He had a long career as an architect, and was influential in the creation of Bournemouth, the design of the Royal Bath Hotel is his, and he laid out a series of luxury villas along what is now Westover road. He also designed Dorchester Town Hall. Several famous churches, for example, All Saints at Blackheath, testify to his enduring achievements in the Victorian Gothic style.


James Druitt arrives at the school aged 5 years & 3 months. One of his 3 co-entrants was the son of Sir James Hanham, the school's neighbour at Deanes Court. He found a long low building with fixed benches and desks lining each side and a Master's desk at each end. He has left a substantial memoir of his experience at the school. His mother was Jane Mayo, daughter of the Master at the time, and sister of James Mayo II. She was also a great-niece of Robert Gutch, Master 1767-89. At a later date, articled to a local solicitor, James was involved in collecting the arrears of tithes which were allocated to the Corporation of Wimborne Minster for the upkeep of the school. Failure to properly collect these was the basis for the action promoted by the Attorney-General in 1832. From 1861 to 1877 he was Clerk of the Commissioners of Bournemouth, and also served as Mayor of Christchurch on multiple occasions.


James Mayo B.A. Matric Pembroke Coll. 1802, BA 1805, MA 1810. Takes over from father as Headmaster. There were 30 boarders. About this time, his brother Charles wrote that the pupils read Cicero and Virgil in Latin, Xenophon and Homer in Greek, and Arithmetic up to simple equations. French is so well taught that he delighted in hearing one of the boys read from a novel in that language. It was taught by a Mons. Leprince, reputed to be the son of well-to-doFrench emigres. Mayo eventually married a Miss Willis, whose two brothers had attended the school.


John Bingley Garland, b.1791 in Poole, resident at Stone Cottage, becomes a Governor. In 1832 he moved for a time to Trinity Bay in Newfoundland, was elected to the Assembly, and became Speaker of the first Parliament of that territory. In 1833 he moved back to Poole, of which he had been Mayor in 1824 and 1830. A successful merchant in the Newfoundland trade, he demonstrates how strong are the links between the Grammar school and the Poole merchant fleet. It's quite possible he had been a pupil.


The Attorney General orders an enquiry into the collection of tithes by the Governors. It was presented that over a long period the Governors from time to time failed to collect all the tithes due to the Corporation of Wimborne Minster for the upkeep of the Minster and of the School. A protracted legal battle ensued. A condition set by the original Charter was that Governors had to be resident in the Parish. Seven of the Governors were not, they were discharged and the Governors' accounts were sent to London, their office being taken over by the Chancery for 3 years.


A prospectus states that, as well as teaching Greek and Latin, the school offers English, Writing and Arithmetic. Also that since midsummer it ceased to take boarders. The non- boarders, i.e. Dayboys, recorded as increasing from 12 to 18.
In a letter dated 20 December, James Mayo to Governors, justifying the decision to end boarding at the School. He explains that he had to dispense with an assistant to superintend the boarders at meals and look after them out of school hours. The boys benefitted from this assistant's instruction in Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic at a cost of 2 Guineas per annum.


2 Nov 1839. James Mayo in a letter to the Governors states that,
there are 9 pupils in one class, 6 in the other, + 3 or 4 recently admitted.
the books used are Eton Greek & Latin Grammar and Valpy's Greek and Latin Delectus.
Classes open at 9.15 a.m. with a reading from the Scriptures and prayers. It lasts until 12.45 p.m., resumes at 2.45 p.m until 4.45 p.m. For 4 days a week.
This is 2 years after he has phased out the boarders. Mayo was a busy man, Vicar of Avebury and available for services in several other Churches over a wide area. He did some prodigious rides on horseback to carry it all out. As had his father. The Masters were all pluralists to a certain degree.


On 11 July the architect John Morris, of 2 Upper Stamford St, Blackfriars, London sends the following report to the Attorney General's office:- “found the present building to be an old building and a considerable portion is in a very delapidated condition and requires re-building..... a new school can be built for £2000 in addition to the value of the old materials”. In the meantime instructions to collect arrears had been carried out, leading to the sum of £8,000 being amassed, of which £3,000 were spent on the school and £5,000 on the Minster.


Rev. William Fletcher DD, Trinity College, then Brasenose 1833-35, takes over a school with only 23 pupils. 23 March a scheme for the administration of the charity and distribution of the income published. Signed by N W Senior Esq, Master of the High Court in Chancery. Made effective by order on 3 June 1848. It directed that instruction be given in Greek, Latin & French, mathematics, arithmetic, English literature and composition, sacred and profane history, geography, reading and writing. Masters and under-masters may not sublet their accomodation or office. They may receive into their houses, the Master not more than 30, the under-Master not more than 15 boarders. Boys must be English subjects, can gain admission at age of 8, and stay until 18. Any boy desirous of learning Latin and Greek only to be instructed free of charge. Other instruction to be charged as provided by the scheme, no Master can receive any gratuity or fee other than as provided. A schedule was attached laying down the sums being provided for the restoration of the buildings and the pay of the teachers to be employed.


The school is rebuilt. During this time, pupils were taught in rooms hired in what is now the Albion public house.


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