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Town Grammar School


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William Shakespeare would have started school aged five at Stratford's Petty School where he was taught to count, read and write by a teacher called an 'Abercadarius'.

He learnt the alphabet and Lord's Prayer from a hornbook - a sheet of paper sandwiched between a wooden board and a piece of transparent animal horn. Reading skills were taught by 'abc books' including the Lord's Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments.

When learning to write the children had to use a quill pen and ink.

Sons of richer citizens, which would have included William Shakespeare, went on to the town's grammar school.

School days at this time were very long. Pupils attended school from Monday to Saturday, beginning at six or seven in the morning and finishing at five or six in the evening, with two short breaks during the day for breakfast and lunch. In winter the school day was probably slightly shorter from seven until four. (The boys had to take their own candles)

There was no time allocated to exercise or play and no proper school holidays, except for an occasional day off. Discipline was harsh and even though school was not open on Sundays the boys had to attend lengthy church services supervised by their schoolmasters.

16th Jun 2005

English, History

Key Stages:
Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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