Secondary Education in England, 1870-1902: Public Activity and Private Enterprise

By John Roach | Go to book overview

13

The public school community

Not much can be said here about the histories of individual schools. On the whole, once they had established themselves, they experienced fewer vicissitudes of fortune than had been common in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Much always depended on the skill—and the good luck—of individual heads, and there were some serious casualties like W.S. Grignon of Felsted, one of the original members of the Headmasters’ Conference, who quarrelled with one of his assistants and was eventually dismissed by the trustees, despite support given him by other headmasters (1875-6) (Craze 1955:180-91). Another victim of a quarrel with an assistant master, leading to a lawsuit and to bitter wrangles in the school community, was E.M. Young of Sherborne, who finally resigned in 1892 (Gourlay 1951:162-70; Honey 1977:334-5).

The most notorious of such cases was that of Temple’s successor at Rugby, Henry Hayman, a story that illustrates the readiness of the Victorians to enter into public controversy and to fight with few holds barred (Hope-Simpson 1967:66-100; Honey 1977:227-32). Temple was a great headmaster, but he had aroused opposition by his Liberal views and his involvement in the controversial Broad Church Essays and Reviews, published in 1860. When he was appointed Bishop of Exeter in 1869, the Rugby trustees chose as his successor, in preference to other strong candidates, the headmaster of Bradfield, Henry Hayman, who was a high churchman and a Conservative. Hayman had no easy start. There was controversy about the validity of the testimonials which he had used when he applied for the post, there was criticism of his qualifications (he had only a second class degree), and all the school staff, with one exception, petitioned against his appointment. Even more important was the fact that Temple did nothing to conceal his hostility. Within a couple of years he had become a member of the new governing body set up under the Public Schools Act, and was in a strong position to express his opposition. It seems extraordinary that he was prepared to behave in such a way towards his successor.

Hayman himself seems to have been tactless and good at making enemies, and he lacked some of the qualifications for the post; for

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