The Endowed and Chrity Schools in the City of Worcester

  • 16 Jul 2019
  • Education for the Poor
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Worcester has two ancient endowed schools. They were the Cathedral King's School, which was of pre-Reformation foundation and was re-founded in 1541 by Henry VIII, and is still prospering strongly to this day and the Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School. founded in 1561, known as the Worcester Girls Grammar School but sadly closed in more recent times.

The Cathedral King's School was established for 40 boys, 'pauperes et amicoram ope destituti'; (poor boys and destitute of the aid of friends), who before admission, were to be able to read and write, and know something of (Latin) grammer, and were not only to be taught free of charge but supported at the expense of the Cathedral.

In the 1864 Bryce Report to Parliament the following information is given:

                   "Few schools in England have a school room comparable to that at Worcester Cathedral. It is the refrectory of the great                                                             Benedictine monastery attached to the cathedral, a superb thirteenth century hall, in length aout two-thirds                                          of the length of Westminster Hall, and not dissimilar in its general proportions...."

"The Worcester Cathedral School is in some respect a model of what a grammar school in a large provincial town should be...                                               it has put within reach of the commercial class an education better than any they would or could have purchased for themselves. It has succeeded in overcoming that social difficulty, and gives instruction in the same classes to the sons of the small shopkeepers and of those are esteemed the gentry of the town"

" There are 85 day scholars; three-fifths between 10 and 14 years of age; sons of professional men, merchants, respectable farmers, and tradesmen.; 53 being foundationers, viz. 40 King's scholars, 10 choristers, and 3 supernumerary choristers....


The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School  was endowed for the classical education of 12 boys. It stood first in the Trinity then in 1735 moved to the north side of St. Swithins Church, then again in 1870 to it's final destination in the Tything.

In the Bryce Report the condition of the school was considered to be third grade. The scholars were chiefly 10 and 14 years old, and of middle class, nearly all from the town. In January 1869, there were 37 foundationers, and non-foundationers or borders. At the same time there were 48 boys receiving instructions, and these presumably came from the other charity schools in the City.

The foregoing brief account of the endowed schools in the City is included to show that they were in use as schools for the middle classes and tradesmen of the town, and though the words 'poor boys and destitute' may have been used they were not available for the children of the ' labouring classes', as they were termed in the nineteenth century.

The three charity schools which were founded in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Moore's Blue Coat School, Bishop Lloyd's Charity School, and the St. John's Charity School, were the first to come within the range of this study of the provision of schools for the working class.