This shelf of The Library offers a wealth of links to information about Elizabethan education on the world wide web.

There's also details of books ideal for learning more about school life and education in Shakespeare's time. Track them down in a local library.

16th century education | Shakespeare & education | Primary sources

Web links  Web Links - General

BBC Documentary 'In Search of Shakespeare'
Background information from Stratford's King Edward VI School on filming in the Elizabethan schoolroom for television historian Michael Wood's new biographical series on William Shakespeare. Describes the contribution of present-day schoolboys to sections on Elizabethan Latin education and school drama. The four-part series was broadcast in the UK during June/July 2003.

The Life of a child in Elizabethan England
Provides background on sixteenth-century children's clothing, their role at home, and their games. From the Virtual Renaissance site for high school students.

Mount Joy Schoole of Boys
This article uses the device of an imaginary sixteenth-century petty school to give details of Elizabethan spelling, vocabulary and pronunciation. Also from the Virtual Renaissance site.

Shakespeare at school
An article dealing mainly with the curriculum of the Tudor school, from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust website. Includes suggestions for further reading.

Shakespeare's School - a brief history of the grammar school, Stratford-upon-Avon
Online version of the illustrated booklet published by the Guild School Association.

Shakespeare's School - Stratford-upon-Avon
Further information on the history of King Edward VI School from the Guild School Association's illustrated site.

Shakespeare's life and times
A link to the Shakespeare's Schooling section of Dr Michael Best's interactive website on the Bard.

William Shakespere's small Latine and lesse Greeke, by T W Baldwin
Shakespeare had ‘small Latine and lesse Greeke’, according to his contemporary, Ben Jonson. This famous judgment can be misleading to those living more than four centuries later. Discover more about Shakespeare’s early education in these two remarkable volumes by T. W. Baldwin, originally published in 1944 by the University of Illinois Press, and available on the Web for the first time as a fully searchable, open-access electronic archive.

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Books  Books - General

Elizabethan schooldays, by J. Howard Brown
(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1933)

A comprehensive account of sixteenth-century grammar school education in England; including sections on masters and boys, curriculum, teaching, and the day's work.

The Early history of King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon, by Levi Fox
Dugdale Society Occasional Papers No.29

(Oxford: Dugdale Society, 1984)

Covers the period of the school's history from its establishment by a medieval guild and its refoundation in 1553, to the mid eighteenth-century.

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Web links  Web Links - Specialist:  Sixteenth-century education

The Edwardian grammar schools
A slightly dated commentary on the motivation underlying the foundation of grammar schools during Edward VI's reign. From volume 7 of the Cambridge History of English and American Literature, originally published 1907-21.

A List of pre-eminent ethical treatises of the 16th century in conjectural order of importance
Ben Schneider's selection of texts appropriate for use in the Elizabethan schoolroom.

Lute scribes and handwriting
This chapter from Julia Craig-McFeely's thesis English Lute Manuscripts and Scribes 1530-1630 describes the instruction of handwriting during the period.

Marlowe's education
The dramatist Christopher Marlowe was born in the same year as Shakespeare and this article from the Marlowe Society briefly describes his education at the King's School, Canterbury.

The Rules of Latin
Many of the comments about education in colonial America, described in this course unit from Prof Bill Ziobro (College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts), could also be applied to Elizabethan England. The eighteenth-century Latin textbook Cheever's Accidence, on which the article focuses, was based closely on the format of Lily's Short introduction of grammar. A reproduction of a page from Lily is included.

A Study of attitudes towards corporal punishment as an educational procedure from the earliest times to the present
Robert McCole Wilson's MA thesis on the subject of corporal punishment includes this section considering attitudes in English schools between 1500 and 1800.

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Books  Books - Specialist:  Sixteenth-century education

Education and society in Tudor England, by Joan Simon
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966)

A Country grammar school: a history of Ashby-de-la-Zouch Grammar School through four centuries 1567 to 1967, by Levi Fox
(Ashby-de-la-Zouch: the school governors, 1967)

Includes sections on sixteenth-century procedures at this typical Midlands school, and on the seventeenth-century master, John Brinsley, a leading educational theorist of his day. Appendix has the 1575 rules for running the school.

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Web links  Web Links - Specialist:  Shakespeare and education

Did Shakespeare owe anything to Seneca?:
The debate outlined

In the course of outlining Seneca's influence M Frank (University of the Witwatersrand) considers Shakespeare's proficiency in Latin. From the journal Akroterion.

"A Double spirit of teaching":
What Shakespeare's teachers teach us

Patricia Winson (University of Toronto) suggests how Shakespeare's depiction of schoolmasters in the plays may show something of his views on education, in this article from the online journal Early Modern Literary Studies.

National and colonial education in Shakespeare's The Tempest
The use of education to create a national identity in Tudor England is considered by Allen Carey-Webb (Western Michigan University) in this examination of Shakespeare's play. An article from Early Modern Literary Studies.

Shakespeare and Richard Field
The London printer Richard Field was not only the publisher of Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece but was also a schoolboy contemporary of William's, having been born in Stratford in 1561. This article thus gives an insight into the experience and abilities of a former Stratford pupil.

Shakespeare and the Jesuits
References are made to the religious sympathies of the schoolmasters at Stratford by Professor Richard Wilson (University of Lancaster) as he puts forward the evidence for Shakespeare spending the "lost years" in Catholic households in Lancashire. Particular mention is made of John Cottam, master from 1579 to 1581.

The Stratford grammar school
Reviews the evidence for Shakespeare receiving his schooling at Stratford's grammar school. Includes brief biographies of four of his contemporaries.

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Books  Books - Specialist:  Shakespeare and education

Shakespeare in Warwickshire, by Mark Eccles
(Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961)

Includes a chapter on the schoolmasters and pupils at Stratford in the second half of the sixteenth-century.

Shakespeare: man and artist, by Edgar I. Fripp
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1938)

Includes a chapter with much on the detail of Shakespeare's likely education at Stratford.

The Sources of Shakespeare's plays, by Kenneth Muir
(London: Methuen, 1977)

Discusses the classical sources, encountered by William either at school or afterwards, for each of the plays in turn.

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Web links  Web Links - Specialist:  Primary sources

The Boke named The Governour
The text of Sir Thomas Elyot's treatise on education, which was originally published in 1531. This online version of the Dutton/Dent edition is from Renascence Editions.

Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Although not used in the schoolroom, it is likely that schoolboys had access to the 1577 and the later 1587 edition of this Elizabethan view of British history.

It was an important source for contemporary playwrights and poets, above all Shakespeare, Spenser, Daniel, and Drayton. It is also interesting to note that Richard Field, educated in the Stratford schoolroom, was involved in the printing of the second edition.

The parallel text version of Holinshed's Chronicles available here allows you to compare the two editions and to navigate by the original chapter headings and by regnal years.

Holinshed's Chronicles
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's copies of both editions of the chronicles; and an example of how Shakespeare transformed Holinshed's 'plaine' speech into wonderful and totally gripping theatre.

A short introduction of grammar generally to be used ... ; by William Lily
As part of the Google books project, a full facsimile copy of the 1552 edition of Lily's Latin grammar is available as a 'Preview' item. A pdf file [portable document format] is also available here and once dowloaded can be saved on your own computer.

Other editions, in full or preview versions, extending into the nineteenth-century are also available on the Google Books site here and here, via the search facility.

The Scholemaster
Online text of Roger Ascham's treatise on education, originally published in 1570. From the Scholars' Bank database collection at the University of Oregon

Shakespeare's sources
Annotated list of links to online versions of works used as sources for the plays, including Plautus' The Menaechmi and Ovid's Metamorphosis. From the Shakespeare section of the About Network guide.

Sources for the history of education
This Historical Manuscripts Commission information sheet describes briefly the unpublished sources for the subject noted in the UK National Register of Archives, the principal relevant repositories, and the most useful general works of reference.

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