HC Deb 09 February 1860 vol 156 cc720-2

said, that he rose with feelings of pain and regret to submit to the consideration of the House the Motion which stood on the notice paper in his name. His object, he said, was to obtain, through the interposition of the authority of the House, and in connection with an important and public educational trust, a statement of facts which he could arrive at through no other channel, or at all events only at the expense of a considerable and altogether indefinite outlay. The Home Secretary had consented to the Motion. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock had given him in writing the grounds of his opposition to it. He was, therefore, obliged to trouble the House with a statement, which should be as short as he could make it, consistently with a due regard to the object which he had in view. The school in question had, he thought, strong claims on public sympathy. The learned Selden had been educated in it. Collins, one of the greatest if not the greatest of our lyric poets, had received in it a portion at least of his education. It was founded by Bishop Storey in 1497, for the gratuitous instruction of scholars from all parts of the diocese. He founded it, he said, Propter ignorantiam sacerdotum et proborum raritatem ministrorum Diocessus Cicestrensis. The diocese, however, no longer deserved the reproach of the truthful and outspoken Prelate. The chief points to be borne in mind were that the school was founded for purposes of gratuitous instruction; that the number of free scholars was not at first limited; that it was limited in 1828 by a statute of Bishop Carr to ten, whom the Dean and Chapter were to nominate. That the burden of teaching was thrown on the prebendary of the prebend of Highleigh for the time being, who as such was master of the school. By the statutes no payments were to be made either by the pupils or their parents. If the master took any presents he was to be twice admonished, then fined £10. If after a third admonition he offended, he was to be deprived of his canonry and prebend. The present master had been master between twenty and thirty years. During that period only three boys had been presented for gratuitous education, as he had ascertained from the chapter clerk, whom the Dean and Chapter had instructed to supply him with the information which he required. He wanted to know what had been the receipts of the prebendary during this period. He wanted to know what the tithe-rent charges, fines and quitrents were. All this, in the case of a public educational trust, the public had a right to know. The Charity Commissioners had attempted to deal with this school between 1853 and 1859, though without result; but this shewed that they considered it a public educational trust. In 1854 the House had ordered a somewhat similar return; but the rev. Gentleman answered that it did not come within his power or that of any other person now living to make it. It was, however, within the power or the rev. Gentleman to make the return for which he now asked, and he therefore begged to move for— Returns from the Rev. Thomas Brown, Prebendary of Highleigh, in Chichester, as such, and as Master of the Prebendal School in that city; of date of his appointment; amount of tithe commutation rent-charges in Sidlesham, Ferring, and elsewhere; of annual value of prebendal residence; amount of fines since appointment; of rents or other emoluments. Of the number of Boys presented to the School by the Dean and Chapter since the said Prebendary's appointment. Of the number of Scholars on the Foundation who have received a gratuitous Education in each year; of the highest number at any one time; and of the usual numbers on an average. And, of the names of any Scholars on the Foundation at present.