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Rugby - Encyclopedia

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RUGBY, a market town in the Rugby parliamentary division of Warwickshire, England, finely situated on a tableland rising from the S. bank of the Avon, near the Oxford Canal. Pop. of urban district (1901), 16,830. It is an important junction on the London & North-Western railway, by which it is 822 m. N.W. from London; it is served also by the Great Central railway and by a branch of the Midland railway from Leicester.

The boys' school, ranking as one of the most famous public schools in England, was founded and endowed under the will (1567) of Laurence Sheriff, a merchant grocer and servant to Queen Elizabeth, and a native either of Rugby or of the neighbouring village of Brownsover. The endowment consisted of the parsonage of Brownsover, Sheriff's mansion house in Rugby, and one-third (8 acres) of his estate in Middlesex, near the Foundling Hospital, London, which, being let on building leases, gradually increased to about Soon a year. The full endowment was obtained in 1653. The school originally stood opposite the parish church, and was removed to its present site on the S. side of the town between 1740 and 1750. In 1809 it was rebuilt from designs by Henry Hakewill (1771-1830); the chapel, dedicated to St Lawrence, was added in 1820. At the tercentenary of the school in 1867 subscriptions were set on foot for founding scholarships, building additional schoolrooms, rebuilding or enlarging the chapel and other objects. The chapel was rebuilt and reconsecrated in 1872, and further additions were made in 1898. A swimming bath was erected in 1876; the Temple observatory, containing a fine equatorial refractor by Alvan Clark, was built in 1877, and the Temple reading-room with the art museum in 1878. The workshops underneath the gymnasium were opened in 1880, and a new big school and class-rooms were erected in 1885. From about 70 to 1777 the numbers attending the school have increased to nearly 600. A great impulse was given to the progress of the school during the headmastership of Thomas Arnold, 1827-42. Among Arnold's successors were Archibald Campbell Tait and Frederick Temple, both afterwards archbishops of Canterbury.

The parish church of St Andrew was rebuilt from designs by W. Butterfield and reconsecrated in 1879. A tower and spire were added in 1895. An aisle commemorates John Moultrie (1799-1874), rector, widely known as the "poet pastor." The church of Holy Trinity is by Sir G. G. Scott, and the Roman Catholic church of St Marie by A. W. Pugin. Trade is mainly agricultural; there is a large cattle market, and several fairs are held annually.

The early history of Rugby is obscure, but a settlement of the Danes is presumed from the name, and from the neighbouring tract of Dunsmore Heath (Danesmoor). Rugby was originally a hamlet of the adjoining parish of Clifton-on-Dunsmore, and is separately treated of as such in Domesday Book. Ernaldus de Bosco (Ernald de Bois), lord of the manor of Clifton, seems to have erected the first chapel in Rugby, in the reign of Stephen, about 1140. It was afterwards granted by him, with certain lands, to endow the abbey of St Mary, Leicester, which grant was confirmed by his successors and by royal charter of Henry II. In the second year of King John (1200)(1200) a suit took place between Henry de Rokeby, lord of the manor of Rugby, and Paul, abbot of St Mary, Leicester, which resulted in the former obtaining possession of the advowson of Rugby, on condition of homage and service to the abbot of Leicester. By virtue of this agreement the chapel was converted into a parish church and the vicarage into a rectory.

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