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Welsh History Review


Vol. 4, nos. 1-4 1968-69

' A certaine schoole ' : a history of the grammar school at Cowbridge, Glanmorgan : Book review.

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a new Newtown in Montgomeryshire: a blood transfusion or the slow
death of the county and the culture. He sees that the real danger to
language and tradition comes from economic change and communications,
the 'invasion which comes over the air'. We have 'already reached the
point of no return' and must 'turn the challenge of change into a new
opportunity of building a new economy and a new society which will
combine what is precious in our inheritance with the new vigour and
strength the scientific and technological revolution can provide'. Fine
words, if a little trite. This is far from being Newtown's problem, or
that of Wales; it is that of every community, every country in the world
today. Jim Griffiths's pages are a graceful tribute to a rapidly-vanishing
age which sadly provides little guidance to our own.
COWBRIDGE, GLAMORGAN. By lolo Davies. D. Brown and Sons, Ltd.,
Cowbridge, 1967. Pp. 392. 35s.
This attractive volume breaks new ground in Welsh historiography in
that it is one of the first really detailed histories of an early Welsh grammar
school to appear in print. The headmaster and governors of Cowbridge
Grammar School are to be congratulated on their initiative in asking
the author to write such a book. Being a product of Swansea Grammar
School, sometime Meyricke Scholar at Jesus College, Oxford, and assistant
master at Cowbridge since the late 1940s, Mr. Davies was well fitted
to carry out his task, and he cannot be too highly complimented upon
the scholarly result of his labours.
The title, 'A Certaine Schoole', is a phrase used in the will of the
seventeenth-century lawyer and statesman, Sir Leoline Jenkins, who can
be justly regarded as the second founder not only of Cowbridge School,
which he attended in his boyhood, but also of Jesus College, Oxford,
which he entered in 1641. After the Restoration, he was made a fellow
of the College, and from 1661 to 1673 he was its principal. In 1684 he
purchased the school at Cowbridge from Sir Edward Stradling, great-
grandson of the original founder, and having got Jesus College to assume
control of it, he bequeathed it shortly before his death in 1685 to the
principal, fellows and scholars. His will became in practice the school's
new foundation charter, for as soon as probate was granted it ushered
in a period of more than two centuries during which the school was
owned and administered by the College. Right down to 1919 every
headmaster was appointed by the College-mainly from among its own
alumni-and it is around these headmasters that Mr. Davies rightly
chooses to weave the greater part of his narrative.
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