Felsted - Encyclopedia

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FELSTED, or Felstead, a village of Essex, England, between Dunmow and Braintree, and io m. from Chelmsford; with a station on the Great Eastern railway. Felsted is only noteworthy by reason of its important public school, dating back to its foundation as a grammar school in 1564 by Richard 1st Baron Rich, who as lord chancellor and chancellor of the court of augmentations had enriched himself with the spoil of the adjoining abbey and priory of Little Leez at the dissolution of the monasteries. It became a notable educational centre for Puritan families in the 17th century, numbering a hundred or more pupils, under Martin Holbeach (1600-1670), headmaster from 1627-1649, and his successors C. Glasscock (from 1650 to 1690), and Simon Lydiatt (1690 to 1702). John Wallis and Isaac Barrow were educated here, and also four sons of Oliver Cromwell, Robert, Oliver, Richard (the Protector), and Henry. Another era of prosperity set in under the headmastership of William Trivett (1745-1830) between 1778 and 1794; but under his successors W. J. Carless (from 1794 to 1813) and E. Squire (from 1813 to 1829) the numbers dwindled. As the result of the discovery by T. Surridge (headmaster 1835-1850), from research among the records, that a larger income was really due to the foundation, a reorganization took place by act of parliament, and in 1851, under the headmastership of Rev. A. H. Wratislaw, the school was put under a new governing body (a revised scheme coming into operation in 1876). The result under Rev. W. S. Grignon (1823-1907), the headmaster from 1856 to 1875, who may be considered almost the second founder, was the rapid development of Felsted into one of the regular public schools of the modern English type. New buildings on an elaborate scale arose, the numbers increased to more than 200, and a complete transformation took place, which was carried on under his successors D. S. Ingram (from 1875 to 1890), H. A. Dalton (to 1906), and F. Stephenson, under whom large extensions to the buildings and playing-fields were made.

See John Sargeaunt, History of Felsted School (1889); and Alumni Felstedienses, by R. J. Beevor, E. T. Roberts and others (1903).

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