1902 Encyclopedia > Dulwich

Surrey, England

DULWICH, a village of England, in the county of Surrey, five miles from London Bridge, remarkable for its college and picture gallery. The manor, which had belonged to the Cluniac monks of Bermondsey, was granted by Henry VIII., in 1541, to Thomas Carton; and his grandson, Sir Francis Calton, sold it in 1606 to Edward Alleyn, whose name is indissolubly associated with the place by his princely foundation. Dulwich College, or, as he quaintly and piously called it, " God's Gift College " (see ALLEYN, vol. i. p. 584), was opened with great state on September 13, 1619, in the presence of Lord Chancellor Bacon, Lord Arundell, Inigo Jones, and other distinguished men. According to the letters patent the almspeople and scholars were to be chosen in equal proportions from the parishes of St Giles (Camberwell), St Botolph without Bishopsgate, and St Saviour's (Southwark), and "that part of the parish of St Giles without Cripplegate which is in the county of Middlesex." By a series of statutes signed in 1626, a few days before his death, Alleyn ordained that his school should be for the instruction of 80 boys consist-ing of three distinct classes :—(1) the twelve poor scholars ; (2) children of inhabitants of Dulwich (who were to be taught freely); and (3) " towne or foreign schollers," who were " to pay such allowance as the master and wardens shall appoint." That it was the founder's intention to establish a great public school upon the model of West-minster and St Paul's, with a liberal provision for university training, is conclusively shown by the statutes; but he was scarcely dead when his grand project was overthrown, and for more than two centuries the educational benefits of God's Gift College were restricted to the twelve poor scholars. In 1858, however, the foundation was entirely reconstituted by Act of Parliament. The government of the college is now vested in 19 governors, of whom 11 are nominated by the Court of Chancery and 8 elected by the four parishes already mentioned, The first head of the reconstituted college, and the first also who has not borne the name of Alleyn, is the Bev. A. J. Carver, D.D. The revenue is at present (1877) more than £17,000 a year, with the prospect of a iarge and progressive increase. After provision for the expenses of management and the maintenance of the chapel and library, the surplus is divided into four portions, of which three are assigned to the educational and one to the eleemosynary branch of the foundation. The educational foundation comprises two distinct schools, the " Upper" and the " Lower." In the former the curriculum of study, as defined by Act of Parlia-ment, includes, besides ancient and modern languages and mathematics, drawing and designing, civil engineering, physics, chemistry, and other branches of science; in tha latter it is similar to that adopted in so-called middle-class schools. The Upper School contained in 1877 nearly 600 boys, and the Lower 160. The buildings of the Upper School are a splendid pile, designed by Mr Charles Barry, in the " Northern Italian style of the 13th century." They are said to form the most commodious and complete, as probably they have proved the most costly, fabric erected for educational purposes in recent times. The main architectural feature is the interior of the great hall, which will compare advantageously with some of the best college halls at Oxford or Cambridge. There are about 25 acres of play-ground and cricket-field included within the boundary fence of the college. Dulwich College possesses one advantage peculiar to itself in its splendid picture gallery, bequeathed to the college by Sir P. F. Bourgeois, B.A., in 1811, with a separate endowment of £520 a year. The pictures most widely known and most highly appreciated are probably the exquisite Murillos and the choice specimens of the Dutch school. The surplus income of the gallery fund is devoted to instruction in drawing and design in the two schools.

See W. Harnett Blanch, Dulwich College and Edward Alleyn, 1877.

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