Reading Abbey (Cluniacs) in 1139; Dunstable School to Dunstable Priory in 1130; Derby School to Darley Priory (Augustinian) about 1150. Bedford collegiate church was converted into a priory and moved to Newnham, and its right to the school acknowledged by the archdeacon of Bedford in 1155. A similar acknowledgment is found at Christ Church, Hants, in 1161; while Bristol School was taken from the Kalenders Gild and handed to Keynsham Abbey in 1171; and Arundel School to Arundel Priory at some date unknown (see articles on “Schools” in Victoria County History for the several counties in which these places occur). But these transfers did not make the schools monastic in the sense that the schools were kept in the monasteries or taught, much less frequented, by monks. The schools remained secular, outside the monastic precincts, frequented by lay boys and secular clerks, and taught by secular clerks, sometimes in holy orders—and at that time even sub deacons were reckoned as holy orders—but more often only in minor orders, and not seldom married men. Thus in 1420 the Patent Rolls show us one Ralph Strode, master of the scholars of the city of Winchester, bringing an action with Dionysia his wife. All that was transferred to the monks was the right of appointing the schoolmaster and the power and duty of protecting the authorized schoolmaster's monopoly. At Bury St Edmunds indeed the extrusion of seculars had gone so far that even the archdeaconry of Bury was vested in the monastery and exercised by the sacrist of it, subject to appeal to the abbot (Vict. County Hist.: Suffolk Schools, ii.). The substitution of regulars for seculars ceased in the latter part of the 12th century, owing chiefly to the secular clergy at length, under papal pressure, accepting the rule of celibacy, and to the growth of universities. The universities were developed out of the cathedral and collegiate church schools. In the days of Alcuin, as we saw, the one schoolmaster taught all subjects from the elements of grammar to theology and philosophy. In Italy the faculties of law and medicine had early in the 12th century developed schools of their own. In France theology similarly segregated itself, and, owing to the fortunate independence which the collegiate church of St Genevieve enjoyed from the jurisdiction of the scolasticus or chancellor of Notre Dame, much as in London the master of St Martin's le Grand did from that of the chancellor of St Paul's, rival schools of theology became possible, and the university of Paris, essentially a theological university, was born. The first university teaching in England came, not from France, but Italy, and was not in theology but law, and at Oxford the two collegiate churches of St Frideswide and St George's in the castle occupied much the same relative position as Notre Dame and St Geneviève at Paris. It is rather in their development and rivalry, not in a purely imaginary colony from Paris, that the origin of Oxford University must be sought. But the story of universities (q.v.) is told elsewhere. The important thing for the schools was that the university movement made the cathedral schoolmasters devote themselves to theology and to grown-up students, to the exclusion of grammar and arts, and left the grammar school entirely for boys and youths to be instructed in classical literature, rhetoric and the elements of logic, preparatory for the university. Moreover, the movement for university colleges perhaps caused a new crop of collegiate churches to spring up, of which grammar schools formed an integral and important part. In the quinquennium 1260 to 1265, the collegiate church of Howden was founded. on the Yorkshire estates of the bishop and priory of Durham at one end of the kingdom, and that of Glasney in Cornwall on the estate of the bishop of Exeter at the other. These were ordinary colleges of secular canons with grammar schools attached, and the schools outlived the colleges at the Reformation. They were contemporary with the first university colleges. The college of St Nicholas, with 20 university students, was founded by Bishop Giles Bridport of Salisbury at Salisbury in 1261, Merton College by Walter of Merton at Malden in Surrey in 1265, and St Edmund's College at Salisbury by Bishop Wyly in 127O, and Merton College was moved to Oxford in 1275. The difference between these colleges and the ordinary collegiate churches was simply that the former were ad orandum et studendum, the latter ad studendum et orandum. So closely did Merton College follow the ordinary collegiate church model, that its chapel was an impropriated parish church and it contained the usual appendage of a grammar school, though it was limited to 13 boys, who were to be of the founder's kin. The master who taught them was called the “master of glomery,” an odd corruption found also at Salisbury, Cambridge and Orleans A similar grammar school was found at Queen's College in 1340, but this from lack of endowment was never developed according to its founder's intentions. These two colleges formed a starting point for yet another new development, when William of Wykeham, in founding New College on a scale more than twice as large as Merton, separated the grammar students from the theological and legal students, and placed the former as the main object of a separate, though connected and more or less subordinate college, at Winchester in 1382. Though Winchester was the first boys' school-college, Oxford itself had been apparently the first place in medieval England at which grammar schools were maintained as separate entities, not attached to cathedrals or colleges, and practically as private adventure schools. The university apparently placed no limit on their number and rivalry, though retaining control and supervision over their efficiency, through two grammar school surveyors elected by convocation.
In the first quarter of the 14th century even the monasteries contributed to the spread of education by almonry schools, which were now built as quasi-separate institutions by, or just outside, their outer gates, under the management of the almoner or alms giver of the house. The almonry boys were apparently introduced as choristers to sing in the Lady chapels, which had become almost necessary appendages to great churches. At Canterbury a staff of six secular priests with clerks and scholars was established in the Lady chapel to sing for the soul of Edward I. in 1319. The scholars were admitted at ten years old and might stay to twenty-five, but were expected to be ordained sub-deacons and retire at twenty. They were lodged in a separate hall (Aula Puerorum), but waited on the sick and infirm monks who lived in the infirmary. At first they were taught wholly in the city or archbishop's grammar school. But by 1362 they had a separate grammar master, probably only as a house master, as the one mentioned in that year found Kingston school a better post, to which he had gone off without notice. The master was always a secular, and in 1451 was a married man. There is no evidence as to how many boys there were. At Westminster boys first appear in the almonry in 1354, and they first had a master in 1367, who from 1387 onwards, but not before, is called schoolmaster. The boys numbered thirteen in 1373, twenty-eight in 1385, twenty-two in 1387. The normal number seems to have been twenty-four (A. F. Leach in Journal of Education, Jan. 1905). This almonry school for charity boys is the only school, other than the novices' school, which existed at Westminster Abbey before, on its conversion into a cathedral by Henry VIII., the present school with forty scholars and unlimited town boys was established on the model of the old cathedral grammar schools. At Durham the almonry school first occurs in 1352; their master is first called schoolmaster in 1362 (Ibid. Oct. 1905). At the dissolution there were thirty boys, who waited on the monks in the infirmary, prayed all night round dead monks, sang in the Lady chapel, were fed on the broken meats from the novices' table and lodged in a hospital or infirmary opposite but outside the great gate of the monastery. At Reading almonry boys first appear in 1346, and were ten in number. They seem to have attended the town grammar school. At St Albans statutes were made for apparently thirteen almonry boys in 1399, who lodged by the great gate but attended the grammar school in the town. At Coventry there were fourteen boys in the almonry school, and the town quarrelled with the prior in 1432 for trying to interfere with the town grammar school for the benefit of the almonry school. The Carthusian monastery at Coventry had twelve boys in its almonry. At St Mary's Abbey, York, the almonry had fifty boys who attended St Peter's, i.e. the city and cathedral grammar school (Early Yorks. Schools, i.).
Taken altogether these almonry schools provided for the education of, or gave exhibitions to, a large number of boys, probably not less than 1000 in all. But they were not “monastic”; the boys themselves were not novices or oblates, and were looked after and taught by seculars. Various efforts were made in the 14th century and onwards to make the monks themselves learned. By papal statute in 1337 the Benedictine monasteries were each to send 5% of their number to the universities. Though Gloucester College had been established at Oxford in 1283 (reorganized in 1291) to receive them, not ¼% of the monks went there, for there is reason to think it never had more than sixty, and in 1537 had only thirty-twostudents (Vict. Co. Hist.: Gloucester, ii. 342). Also the monasteries