A Consolation for Our Grammar Schooles

A Consolation for Our Grammar Schooles

A Consolation for Our Grammar Schooles

A Consolation for Our Grammar Schooles

Excerpt

A Consolation for Our Grammar Schooles is tangible evidence of one of the earliest dreams for American education. In 1662 the Virginia Company of London was making ambitious plans for a college and a school in Virginia. The college was to be at Henrico, the school at Charles City. Funds were raised; some of the money was given by members of the East India Company, in whose honor the school was to be known as the East India School. A teaching staff was chosen, and a carpenter with five apprentices sailed to take care of the building. The Virginia Company undertook publication of a book "by a painefull Schoolmaster one Mr Iohn Brinsly" which presented a course of study suitable for the East India School. The Indian massacre of 1622 brought a tragic end to the dream, but Brinsley's book remains, important both for its analysis of educational methods in the English grammar school and for its direct connection with the beginnings of educational endeavour in colonial Virginia.

John Brinsley, the elder, was an Elizabethan clergyman and schoolmaster who took his dual calling seriously. In him the religious zeal of a devout puritan was combined with the enthusiasm of an expert in educational methodology. When he had received his B. A. from Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1584 (M. A., 1588), "he became a 'minister of the Word,' and had the care of the public school at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire." A brief summary of his life from a student's point of view is found in the autobiography of the famous astrologer, William Lilly. "Upon Trinity Tuesday 1613 my father had me to Ashby-de-la Zouch to be instructed by one Mr. John Brinsley; one in those times of . . .

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