1600 to 1699 - The OldWinburnians

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The History of the School

Back to 1500 to 1599

Events and Headmasters  1600 to 1699

By Graham Powell




1600 Steeple of Wimborne Minster collapses, during the Friday service ( Market Day – the best time to assemble a good congregation ). Mercifully, although the Chancel and roof are heavily damaged, no-one is injured. Subsequently “ a casualty of fire happening in the town, the kitchen of the Schoolhouse and some part of the Minister's house also burnt down. Thereupon the said Governors built a new kitchen to the Schoolhouse with two storeys overhead fair chambers and a buttery”.


William Stone is chosen as Scholemaster. On his selection, he was asked to have no more than 6 schollers in his house at a time.


The date of Hardynge's map of Wimborne, created at the time to help settle boundary disputes.The skulhaus is clearly shown in the position with which we are familiar.


His son, also William, born. After attending the school, went on to Oxford University, graduated with high honours, and subsequently returned to Wimborne as one of the ordained Prebends. He was ejected in 1638 as will be seen, but reinstated at the end of the Civil War in 1660. After a short residence in Wimborne he took up the position of Principal of New Inn Hall in Oxford, winning renown as one of the foremost scholars of his time. At the end of his life in 1685, he willed his collection of books to the Chain Library in the Minster, which remains a treasured feature to this day.


William Stone died. No new Master is recorded until William Kidgell in 1647. This leaves a gap about which there is no direct information. The downfall of Charles I and the Civil War which followed ushered in a period of considerable uncertainty.


Charles I new Patent. Granted at a cost of £1,251.3.0d, entirely paid by Sir Thomas Hanham out of his own funds. The parishioners eventually paid him back by increasing tithes, out of which arrangement they raised £222 more than they needed. A copy of this patent is kept in the Chain Library. During the Civil War, preachers came and went, the situation was unsettled and it is difficult to discover who was in charge. William Stone who founded the Chain Library was never Master at the school. It seems possible that William Kidgell may have been undermaster and kept things going until normality was restored by his election as Headmaster. There is also the possibility that Constant Jessop held the post of Master without being acknowledged.


William Kidgell appointed headmaster, stipend £30. matric New Coll, Oxfod 1635, BA 1636, MA 1639.


Col Bingham writes in a letter that “every Tuesday we must have a cock match at Wimborne. Divers unknown blades frequent the cocking game”. It was also practised at the school over a long period of time. This gentleman is famous in Wimborne history for being leader of the parliamentary group who threw William Stone out of the Church one Sunday and imposed their own “fighting preacher”, Mr Ford. The congregation reacted angrily and refused to be preached to, whereupon the group expelled Stone, who went abroad for several years, until the Restoration. Wimborne Minster stayed largely royalist in sympathy, although there was a certain amount of painting out and later repainting of royal symbols, and moving of Altar rails according to the whims of different preachers.


A record states that:-“ not long after the granting of said Patent said School House being ancient and often in decay and not sufficient for the scholars that came hither...divers sending their sons thither from divers parts of the Kingdom, the said Governors new built the said school house... not only fit for the Schoolmaster and his ordinary family but for the entertainment of a good number of scholars to be tabled with him...”. This would put the rebuilding somewhere in the 1640's. On 20 October this year a petition to the Lord Protector, alleging abuses of office by the Governors, is presented. A commission of Enquiry was set up.


Urban Fidkin BA of Brasenose College, Oxford appointed at a stipend of £30.


John Moyle There is a memorial tablet to him in the Minster, on the north wall.


Richard Lloyd, MA headmaster. Later became Vicar of Canford Magna. He was from Pentridge in Dorset and received his MA from New Inn Hall in 1685. In 1686 Lloyd is reported as having brought from Oxford the books donated by William Stone of New Inn Hall to the Chain Library in the Minster. He may have been the Usher or under-Master at the time.


Report that Squire John Richards sent his son to the school. The Headmaster received a gift of 2 silver spoons, the boarding fee was £12 per year.


Mr Gabriel Gould Headmaster.
In this year John Masters, b. 1687 in Newfoundland, joined the school. His father had been killed by Indians. Leaving WGS became apprentice to William Taverner of Poole, Master of a ship trading with Newfoundland. He later owned a ship the “Frome” operating from Bristol. Prospered in 1718-1719 in the Newfoundland fisheries, was elected Burgess of Poole in 1743, Mayor in 1748.


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