My Time At Rugby (1869-74) -- By: Henry Hayman

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 056:223 (Jul 1899)
Article: My Time At Rugby (1869-74)
Author: Henry Hayman


My Time At Rugby (1869-74)

Rev. Henry Hayman

First Paper. Of course on both sides of the Atlantic we have long been familiar with the strife of parties, and with the tenacity and virulence of the passions which they engender. In unregenerate humanity, and in much that is taken to be regenerate, the spirit of faction and what St. Paul (Gal. 5:20) calls ἐριθεῖαι, will never be wholly extinct. But in England it was a novel experience in 1869, when I was elected Headmaster of Rugby School, to find that spirit raging in a public school, poisoning the fountain of wholesome discipline, and tending to subvert authority in its administration. Rugby stands in that central England which is rich with the memories of St. Chad, Wicliff, and Shakespeare, and contains such battle-fields as Evesham, Worcester, Bosworth Field, and Edge Hill. The School forms one of the nine foremost ancient public schools, the group which is led by Winchester, Eton, and Harrow. Its normal strength is about five hundred boys, not now often entering until they reach their lower teens, and staying mostly into their upper. Indeed, I found one good fellow who was quietly coming of age, owing to a mistake in the record of his birthday, as it were unbeknown, and was earnest in begging that he might be allowed to return after the then summer vacation, in which case he would have attained his majority before leaving. But I said to him, “I’m delighted to find that Rugby is so beloved of its

alumni in the present; but, though sorry to shorten your happiness, yet the time, I think, has come to part now, as you can’t stop here for good and all.” So he was reconciled to his fate, I hope.

The five hundred contained but a small element of the purely local residents, for whom the founder intended his benefit; these, known as “town boys,” frequenting it as a day school only. The great majority were recruited from nearly all parts of the British islands, with a predominance perhaps from the northern and north-midland counties, and were grouped in eight boarding-houses, each under a senior master, the largest, known as the School-house, being that of the Headmaster himself, which in my time had over seventy inmates, the others receiving from about five and twenty to forty each. The whole five hundred were principally grouped in an ascending order of “forms,” culminating in the Sixth Form, Upper and Lower; both these last pursuing some studies under the Headmaster in person, while for others in which they were too unequal in proficiency, the Lower Sixth would be detached. Each form in the School had normally its own form-master, who guided the classical and ge...

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