Bishop Lloyd's Charity School

  • 12 Oct 2011
  • Education for the Poor
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The foundation of this school in 1714 was due to most unusual circumstances - a double murder in a village a few miles from Worcester. An account of the affair was given in Berrow's Journal of 1831, as follows: 'In the night of the 7th November, 1707, Mrs Palmer of Upton Snodsbury and her maid servant were murdered, and the house burnt down by a gang of desperate villains, at the head of whom was Mr. Palmer, her only son, and Mr. Symonds, whose sister Palmer had married. These two wretches were tried and executed. By Palmer's death, an estate of his at White Ladies, Aston, was forfeited to Dr. Lloyd, the Bishop of Worcester, who unwilling to receive the price of blood, appropriated it to a school at Worcester'. Bishop Lloyd endowed two schools, one for 16 boys and the other for 8 girls, but both at the same premises in the old Trinity Hall. The children were to be 'taught to read, write and cast accounts, and be brought up in such a manner as to rescue them from the evils naturally consequential to the habit of idleness, vice and beggary, and enable them to become useful members of society'. As so often happened with such charities, at the death of the Bishop the charity declined, and even the clothing of the children ceased, and for a time 'the whole was sunk in oblivion'. The school moved from the Trinity Hall in 1750, and was held at the master's dwelling house, for which he received 30s. annual rent. The master, Greenbank Sheldon, remained undisturbed for 24 years, and during that time the school went from bad to worse. Eventually the trustees reprimanded him, but to no avail, then in 1779, it was found that he had pawned school books, that he was totally unacquainted with rules of the Charity, and that his mrals were such that he ought not to continue as Schoolmaster. Under a new master and mistress the school took a new lease of life. The funds were now ample, and a larger schoolhouse was built in the Trinity, and the number of children being educated rose from 24 to 60, being equally divided between boys and girls. In 1846, there was difficulty in finding a new master and mistress. The salary, jointly was £50 per year with a house and allowance for coal but the Dean of Worcester had great difficulty in finding a suitable pair: 'Their letters betrayed such ignorance that he could not trust the school into their hands'. The school continued however until 1896, when a deplorable manipulation of the charity took place. Like the pupils of the Blue Coat School, the children were removed to St. Martin's School, and the endowments were handed over to the re-organised Grammer School, which in 1896, was an entirely middle-class institution. The charity intended for poor boys and girls was used to provide scholarships for middle-class tradesmen's sons. A note in the City Archives gives this information, and adds: 'How far the present scheme carries out the wishes of the pious founders of this charity, I leave you to decide'. The foundation plaque from the school can still be seen in the Trinity, where it was set up in 1927, when the old building was destroyed.