Paradigm, No. 1. (November, 1989)

King's Norton Grammar School Library, 1661

J. E. Vaughan

School of Education Library
University of Liverpool,
PO Box 147,
Liverpool L69 38

Amongst the Baxter MSS in Dr Williams's Library is one containing a life of the Rev. Thomas Hall (1610-1665), the minister of the chapelry of King's Norton and master of its school (then in the diocese of Worcester) until ejected for not conforming. The manuscript also contains three lists indicating the division of his library. The third of these lists is headed "Schoole bookes and Phylosophy given to Kingsnorton Library" which, unlike the other parts of the manuscript, is not in Hall's own hand but includes corrections inserted by him. It has items, mostly individually valued, worth in all £35-10-10d. Now in the Birmingham Central Library, 93 volumes from this school section survive. Some have evidence of former owners. An attempt was made to evaluate the contemporary educational value of this collection and to estimate how typical the possession of such resources was. For the first reference was made to Charles Hoole's A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole, in four small treatises (1660) and for the second a brief summary of the results of the questionnaire circulated in 1673 by Christopher Wase, the author of Considerations concerning free-schools (1678). Hall's autobiography and his own writings provided glimpses of his own views on school life and the educational methods employed in grammar schools.

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