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1096 - 1547 The Medieval School

It is almost certain that Bishop de Losinga started a school in the environs of The Close soon after the commencement of the building of Norwich Cathedral as part of the Benedictine Priory in 1096. Records exist in the early medieval centuries up to the 16th century which prove the existence of a continuing Episcopal School linked to the priory, an Almonry School linked to the Great Hospital and a song school for the sole purpose of developing choral skills. There were no school books as they were very precious items, so learning would be by rote and subjects never wavered from Greek, Latin and Religious Study. At times, the teachers of the Episcopal and Almonry schools merged and teachers worked in both schools.

Under direct threat of the end of the Catholic Church with the dissolution of the monasteries, these schools were closed and subsequently re-founded and reformed as King Edward V1th Grammar School in 1547. The new foundation was given to The Hospital of St Giles (The Great Hospital) because of past links, but there were initial problems in finding suitable accommodation as The Great Hospital had been much damaged in the recent Kett's Rebellion.

Sensing the city might be without a Grammar School if things were not rectified, The City Fathers purchased The Carnary College from speculators whose aim was to sell the stones of the buildings as material for new building projects. This was a common practice in the destruction of monastic institutions.

1551 - Norwich Grammar School was set up in the disused chapel of the Carnary College. The chapel was the main school room and the hall and other buildings were used to house the schoolmaster, provide a library and accommodate the pupils in boarding. This situation prevailed as the main structure of Norwich School throughout the passing centuries until Victorian times.


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