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Tudor Schools

Shrewsbury Library - geograph.org.uk - 117608

Before Henry VIII closed the monasteries, many of them had run schools for boys. These were later replaced with schools set up by wealthy families. They were called grammar schools because Latin grammar was the main subject taught (as most books at the time were written in Latin). Only wealthy families who could afford the attendance fee sent their children to grammar schools.

Boys were sent to school from the age of 8 and would practice writing in ink by copying the alphabet and the Lord's Prayer.

Lessons went on from dawn until dusk, with a break for lunch. The school master would be very strict and beat his pupils with a birch (a type of cane) if they misbehaved.

King Edward VI's teachers were not allowed to beat him however because he was going to be king. When Edward was naughty, the teacher beat a whipping boy, Bernaby Fitzpatrick, instead!


Girls were either kept at home by their parents to help with housework or sent out to work to bring money in for the family.

Most village children never went to school in their lives, but a few might have attended a local dame school. These were run by a woman who would teach the children letters of the alphabet and help the cleverer ones to read.

Dame schools rarely had proper books, but a few had hornbooks instead. These wooden boards had the alphabet, prayers or other writings pinned to them and were covered with a thin layer of transparent cow's horn.