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The Free School
[Also known as 'The Thomas Hardye' or 'Dorchester Grammar School']

By Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester © September 2009
(Last Updated June 2013)

Masters of the Free School
(1550-1878)

      Rev. Edward Doughty MA. (c1550-1616)      - Master (1580-1584)
      Mr. Henry Harris MA. (1563-1596)       - Master (1588-1595)
      Rev. Robert Cheeke MA. (1572-1627)      - Master (1595-1627)
      Mr. Gabriel Reeve MA. (1593 - aft 1650)      - Master (1628-1650)
      Mr. Samuel Cromleholme MA. (1618-1672)      - Master (1651-1657)
      Mr. Anthony Withers BCL. (c1634-c1696)      - Master (1658-1662)
      Rev John Stevens BCL. (1624 - 1701)     - Master (1662-1664)
      Mr. Henry Dolling MA. (c1640 - 1687)      - Master (1664-1687)
      Rev Conyers Place MA. (1665-1738)      - Master (1689-c1711) 1st term
      Rev William Thornton MA (1686-1760)     - Master (circa 1711-1721)
      Rev Conyers Place MA. (1665-1738)      - Master (c1722- 1736) 2nd term
      Rev Edward Cozens MA. (1690-1753)     - Master (c1736- 1749)
      Rev John Hubbock MA.(1712-1781)      - Master (1749-1781)
      Rev George Watson MA. (1748 - 1813)     - Master (1781 -1786)
      Rev Francis Hinchman MA. (1742-1824)     - Master (1786 -1787)
      Rev John Cutler MA. (1756 -1833)         - Master (1787 -1790)
      Mr. Henry John Richman MA. (1756-1824)     - Master (1790 -1813)
      Rev Evan Davies BA. (1790-aft 1859)     - Master (1813-1824)
      Rev Richard Cutler MA. (1795-1873)     - Master (1824-1846)
      Rev Thomas Ratsey Maskew MA. (1818-1893)     - Master (1846-1878)
      Mr. Herbert Napier Kingdom MA. (1850-1938)     - Master (1882-1898)

Rev. Edward Doughty MA. (c1550-1616) (1, 2, 3, 5, 7)
(Name Variation: Doughtie)
Master of the Free School (1580-1584)

The first known Master of the 'Free School' was Edward Doughty MA who is credited by Hutchins as taking office in the 22nd year of the reign of Elizabeth 1st. A native of Derbyshire he matriculated at St John's College Cambridge in 1564 obtaining his BA in 1568/9 and his MA in 1572. He joined the church being ordained in the chapel at Waltham Manor as deacon and priest on the same day (6th October 1577). It is not known where he served his curacy but three years later (on 20 November 1580) he was appointed Rector of Holy Trinity Church and presumably this is when he also assumed the role of Master of the 'Free School' in Dorchester. We know nothing about his family as he seems to have married prior to his arrival in Dorchester, but a son John Doughty was baptised at Holy Trinity church in April 1581. John died however and was buried there on 21st of the same month. Edward served for four years before being appointed perpetual vicar of St Andrews church in Banwell Somerset (on 24 Oct 1584) which is likely to be the date his term of office as Master of the 'Free School' came to an end, although he did not resign as rector of Holy Trinity until 15 Nov 1585. On 22nd Feb 1587 he also took under his wing responsibility for the church 2 miles away at Loxton also called St Andrews. On 10 Apr 1590 he was licensed to preach throughout the diocese of Bath and Wells and a year later on 12 March 1591 he resigned his position as Rector of Loxton, but did not resign as Rector of Banwell until 23 Dec 1592.

Shrine of St Wite in the church of St Candida and Holy Cross
Whitchurch Canonicorum

Picture kind permission of: © Chris Downer
and licenced for reuse under the creative commons licence

His next recorded posting on 11 Aug 1595 is as perpetual vicar of the church St Candida and Holy Cross at Whitchurch Canonicorum situated in Dorset, a post he seems to have retained until his successor took office on 1 Nov 1615. An unusual church still much as it was in Edward's day. It is the only church in England, apart from Westminster Abbey, to possess the remains of a Saint. Little is known of her but tradition has it that St Wite (or St Candida) who gives the church its dedication was a Saxon woman who was killed by the Danes who had landed at Charmouth in the 9th century. Her shrine shown above in the northern part of the church would have been well known to Edward as it has been a destination of pilgrimage for centuries and limbs and garments of the sick would have been placed in the openings in the hope of healing. Prayers are still placed there today.

In 1596 Edward Doughty was appointed Chaplain to the expedition which set sail from Plymouth on the 13th June under the command of Charles Howard to capture the Spanish City of Cadiz. See picture left of Charles Howard who was Earl of Nottingham and Baron Howard of Effingham. The English fleet was made up of 150 ships although only 17 belonged to the Royal Navy. On board were 6,360 soldiers, 1,000 volunteers and and 6,772 sailors. The City was sacked on 2nd July with churches and peoples houses being the main object of pillaging. Edward Doughty brought away 17 books from the Jesuit College there and these are still housed at Hereford Cathedral Library, some inscribed ‘E. Doughtie, June 23, 1596:

A clerical survey carried out in 1603 lists him not only as vicar of Whitechurch Canonicorum but also as vicar of Chard in Somerset (Cambridge Alumni suggests appointed 1597) and Houghton in Hampshire, 'qualified by Queen Elizabeth' ? According to the Cambridge Alumni he was Dean of Hereford Cathedral 1607 -1616, Chaplain to James I, and Rector of Hampton Bishop in Herefordshire in 1609. His final appointment was as Rector of Stockport in Cheshire, but attached to this record are two long notes stating that 'the King also seems to have some role in the presentation by reason of the outlawry of Johannes Warren for simony'. He was buried in St Marys church Stockport on 7 Oct 1616 (Will at Chester 1545-1620 page 55. Hereford Cathedral is of course famous as the home of the 'Mappa Mundy'.
Henry Harris (Harreys) MA. (1563-1596) (1, 4, 5, 9)
Master of the Free School (1588?-1595)


Henry Harris baptism record Cattistock 13th Jan 1563


The next master of the Free School listed by Hutchins is Henry Harris. He was baptised as 'Henerye the son of John Harris' in Cattistock Dorset on 13th January 1563 and as the eldest son was heir to his fathers estate. He had two elder sisters Elizabeth (bap 14th Mar 1559) and Margery (bap 18th Jun 1561) and two younger brothers Thomas (bap 10th Feb 1565) and Richard (bap 26th Sep 1569). Cattistock was within easy walking distance of Dorchester, just 8 miles to the south east and sat on a major crossroad link to London, the coast, Wareham and Exeter. As the largest market town in the area Henry would have been familiar with Dorchester from early childhood. He appears to have been educated at Oxford as a Henry Harris a native of Dorset matriculed at St Alban Hall on 11 October 1583, but his university record gives his age on entry as 15 (he actually would have been 20). He was awarded a BA degree on 15 June 1588 and I would have thought this would have been the earliest that he would have been Master of the 'Free School' .

One of his pupils is said to have been John Meller the son of Robert Meller Esq of Winterbourne Came as his Cambridge alumni record states that he was educated prior to university at the Free School in Dorchester under the tutilidge of Mr Harris. Meller matriculated at Caius College Cambridge on 13th March 1602-3 at the age of 15 so its much more likely that he was there during the tenure of Robert Cheeke. Henry Harris's university record also shows that he 'dispensed towards his MA on 14 March 1589/90'. Unfortunately he became ill in 1595 and according to the Municipal Records of Dorchester (p.564) he died the following year being buried on 31st May 1596 still only 28 years old.


Rev. Robert Cheeke MA. (1572-1627) (18, 19; 20)
Master of the Free School (1595-1627)


Robert Cheeke was only 23 years old when he completed his university education and moved to Dorchester. He played a key role in the reconstruction of the school after the great fire in 1613 and spent his whole life in Dorchester so his career has already been covered under the history of the school and in the biography of his close friend the Rev John White so there is no need to elaborate further here.

Some known scholars under his tutildge:-

    (1) John Meller son and heir of Sir Robert Meller (d.1624) of Winterbourne Came by his 2nd wife Margaret (d.1632) daughter of Robert Freak. John married Mary daughter of Sir John Swinnerton Lord Mayor of London who had a son Robert b. 1615
    (2) Gervase Scrope son of a Gentleman
    (3) Henry Notley born at Winterborne Monkton Dorset son of Henry Notley a husbandsman matriculated at Caius College Cambridge in 1619
    (4) Henry Munden of Poorstock Dorset son of Henry Munden Gentleman matriculated at Caius College Cambridge 20 Apr 1616; BA 1619-20; Scholar 1620-2. His church records also refer to him as having been at Gonville Colledge. He was ordained a deacon at Salisbury Cathedral on 21st Feb 1622 and served his curacy at Long Critchel in Dorset before being appointed as Rector of Hook in Dorset 1642-50

Gabriel Reeve MA (1593 - aft 1650) (1,2,4,5,6,8,)
(Name variations:- Gabrieli; Gabryell; Reve; Rives or Ryves)
Master of the Free School (1628-1650)

Gabriel Reeve came from Southants and studied first at Winchester College which was founded in 1382 by the Bishop of Winchester William Wykeham in conjunction with New College Oxford for which it was designed as a feeder school. It is not surprising therefore to find that Gabriel matriculated at New College on 23 Oct 1612 at the age of 19 and was awarded his BA there on 11 Apr 1616, and his MA on 21 Jan 1618/9. The Hall at Winchester is situated west of the chapel on the upper floor and below it is the original school room now called the 'seventh chamber'. The paneling in the Hall dates from 1540 and would have been recognised by Gabriel and the Hall with its long tables and benches still has a distinctively scholarly feel to it even today. After University Gabriel entered the church being ordained as a deacon in Salisbury Cathedral on 23 September 1620 by Bishop Robert Townson, but I have not been able to locate any other record of him serving the church. The absence of a record of ordination as a priest, which was often simultaneous, or followed within a year or two, suggests that he selected a different path at an early stage and it seems likely that he spent several years teaching elsewhere before he came to Dorchester.

We know from William Whiteway's diary that his first appearance in Dorchester was in June 1628 when he relieved Mr Branchard of Shaftsbury, who had stepped into the breach as Master of the Free School when Robert Cheeke died in Oct 1627. There is no mention of a wife or family that I can trace either on arrival or during his stay in Dorchester. His time in Dorchester is covered under the history of the school but it is clear that he left in 1643 for London when Dorchester was threatened in the Civil War. He seems to have been reasonably well thought of prior to his departure and possibly stayed in contact with John White whilst they were in London as they both returned to Dorchester in the autumn of 1646. They were on sufficiently good terms after his return for him to witness John Whites Will which was signed on 29 March 1648. After John Whites death in July that year his inaction, inability to attract new pupils and lack of drive meant that he lost the respect of the townspeople and in 1650 the Feoffees of the School asked him to resign.

On 31st January 1650/1 he agreed to relinquish the school at 'our Lady Day next (i.e. 25th March) but on the 4th April it was necessary for the Feoffees to issue an order for his removal. By the 5th November following he appears to have departed for Reading. It is clear from Municipal records however that Gabriel continued to demand arrears of a considerable amount of money due to him. This does not seem to have been particularly contested but Corporation finances were in a similar state making payment difficult. In December 1647 he received £35 in respect of 'arrears of consideration of 52s for 10 years' which was paid out of funds realised by selling the Impropriate Parsonage of Beere and Seaton. Two years later on 14th Dec 1649 he received another £6 from Richard Bushrod's legacy.

Nothing further has so far come to light and further research would be needed to ascertain when he died but I have located two possibilities. (1) There is a Will at the National Archives for a Gabriel Reve Gentleman of London proved 15th Feb 1666 Ref PROB 11/319 and (2) an Administration Bond and Inventory at the Wiltshire Archives for a Gabriel Reeve Yeoman of Christian Malford near Chippenham dated 1662 P1/R/113


Samuel Cromleholme MA (1618-1672) (1,4,5,10,11)
(Name Variations - Crumwelholm, Crombleholme; Crumlum, or Cromlum)
Master of the Free School (1651-1657)

[NOTE:-The Life of Samuel Cromleholme has been extensively researched by Richard Cromelholme who lives in Winterborne Steepleton
and a copy of his extensive 'Research Summary' can be accessed via this link.]


Samuel Cromleholme was born in 1618 in Wiltshire, the son of the Rev. Richard Cromelholme BA. (b1592) a native of Lancaster who, having been ordained in 1614, rose within the church to be appointed Rector of Quedgeley in the county of Gloucester in 1624. Samuel was educated initially at King's School Gloucester during the mastership of Rev John Langley who was to become a lifelong friend and mentor. His father, had been educated at Brasenose College in Oxford, but Samuel matriculated at Corpus Christi College on 13 Nov 1635 at the age of 17. He was awarded his BA there on 27 June 1639, followed by his MA on 15 June 1642. After university in 1644 he was appointed as master of 'Mercers Chapel School' in London and in 1647 at John Langleys behest he was appointed as surmaster of 'St Pauls School' where Langley was headmaster. Langley's boys became lord mayors, bankers, engineers, academics, booksellers, MP's etc and he was described as a strongly religious man, a scholar and an antiquarian backed by 'a very awful presence and speech that struck a mighty respect and fear into his scholars'. Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) the diarist was a new pupil aged 14 at the school when Samuel arrived in 1647 and Samuel was already being described as an enthusiastic book collector who impressed the young Pepys with his learning.

It was through the recommendation of John Langley that Samuel Cromleholme obtained the headmastership of the 'Free Grammar School' in Dorchester and he took over from Gabriel Reeve on the 10th October 1651. This was no small undertaking as he insisted upon bringing with him his extensive collection of books and the Municipal records show that the Corporation had to pay for their transport to Dorchester in November of that year. For the six years of his tenure therefore the pupils in Dorchester had access to this wealth of knowledge and there can be little doubt that he used them to good effect as the Free School's reputation recovered during his time there. His role as Master of the 'Free School' brought him into close contact with members of the Corporation and he married Mary the daughter of Richard Bury a Capital Burgess of the town who had also been Mayor of Dorchester in 1640/1 and 1650/1.

Langley on his deathbed, however, recommended Samuel as his replacement as High Master of St Paul's and he accepted the position on 14th Sep 1657 and was replaced the following year by Anthony Withers. Samuel was a good linguist, and on his return to London as Head Master of 'St Paul's School' he continued to expand his collection of books.

<<<  Samuel Pepys retained some affection for his old school and this and their joint interest in books brought them into fairly regular contact. They both frequented the bookshops around St Paul's and Pepys diary records regular visits to the school of which he became a benefactor. One entry in his diary records:-

    "I took coach, and lighting at my bookseller’s in Paul’s Churchyard, I met with Mr. Crumlum (i.e. Samuel Cromleholme) and the second master of Paul’s School, and thence I took them to the Starr, and there we sat and talked, and I had great pleasure in their company, and very glad I was of meeting him so accidentally, I having omitted too long to go to see him. Here in discourse of books I did offer to give the school what books he would choose of £5."
Pepys regard for Samuel however took a backward step in September 1662 when Samuel drank too much and became rather impertinent. Samuel's wife Mary is referred to in Pepys diary in 1663:-

    "I called upon Mr. Crumlum, and did give him the 10s. remaining, not laid out of the £5. I promised him for the school, with which he will buy strings, and golden letters upon the books I did give them. I sat with him and his wife a great while talking, and she is [a] pretty woman, never yet with child, and methinks looks as if her mouth watered now and then upon some of her boys".

The third and final quote that I shall record from Pepys diary is mainly included as its referred to in Samuel's entry in the Dictionary of National Biography and coming as it does towards the end shows a growing impatience with him:-

    "I visited Mr. Crumlum at his house; and, Lord! to see how ridiculous a conceited pedagogue he is, though a learned man, he being so dogmaticall in all he do and says. But among other discourse, we fell to the old discourse of Paule’s Schoole; and he did, upon my declaring my value of it, give me one of Lilly’s grammars of a very old impression, as it was in the Catholique times, which I shall much set by."

In the great fire of London in 1666 Samuel lost his beloved library - a lifetimes obsession and reputed to be "the best private collection in London". It must have been great indeed for Pepys own library was substantial. The fire of course destroyed St Paul's and the school where he lived. The masters were paid retainers and allowed to take temporary employment elsewhere and Samuel opened a school at Wandsworth in 1668/9. He lived to see St Paul's school reopened in 1671 but it was the loss of his books that is said to have hastened his death which occurred on 21 July 1672. His remains were buried in the Guildhall chapel and his funeral sermon was preached by Dr John Wells of St Botolph's Aldersgate. His wife Mary Cromleholme survived him but left no children.


Anthony Wither BCL (Bef 1634 - 1696?) (1,4,5)
(Name Variations - Withers, Withyers, Wyther, Wythers)
Master of the Free School (1658-1662)

Anthony Wither was educated at New College Oxford where he matriculated on 16 November 1650 and was awarded a Bachelor of Civil Law degree on 11 December 1654. On the basis of testimonials of his abilities from Dr Wilkinson and the Warden of New College Oxford, as well as the Vice Chancellor Dr Conant, he was accepted for the post by a resolution dated 18 Oct 1657 but he appears to have arrived later as in May 1658 the corporation paid £5 to him then for his 'coming down from Oxford'. In September of the same year he was approached about becoming the master of Winchester school but in the end he stayed in Dorchester. On 15th July 1659 the Company signed 'a parchment of School orders containing seven articles, the first being for payment of £50 per annum, without diminution for taxes to Mr Wyther' so he was well paid for the time. There is one other record of a payment to him dated 21 March 1661/2 confirming that his term of office lasted until his place was taken by the Rev John Stevens at the end of 1662. Hutchins states that his term of office lasted until 29 Sep 1662 but I have not been able to find out what happened to him after that. (12)


Rev. John Stevens BCL (1624 - 1701) (1,2,4,5)
Master of the Free School (1662 - 1664)

The Rev John Stevens is thought to be the son of Humphrey Stevens of Stoke Dry, Rutland and to have been educated at Trinity College Oxford where he matriculated 16 Oct 1640 at the age of 16 and was awarded a Bachelor of Civil Law Degree on 3 Dec 1646. He was master of Bristol Grammar School from 1657/8 to 9th December 1662. Whilst there he signed the declaration under the Act of Uniformity as a schoolmaster already in office on 3rd June 1662. He became master of the 'Free School' from 12 December 1662 but these were difficult times and the reputation of the school suffered under his leadership and the pupils reduced to such an extent that on 6 April 1664 the Governors had new rules and orders drawn up by William Pitt, Mr Joseph Seward and Mr Gould which were submitted to the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses for approval and then drawn up as a formal document which was delivered to the master 'to be observed by him on pain of dismissal'. In August 1664 John Stevens accepted the post of Rector of Wylye in Wiltshire and the Corporation tried to entice George Hammond the former Minister of Holy Trinity to accept the post but to no avail. He was licenced to preach in Sep 1680 and made a prebendary of Chissenbury/chute 14 Oct 1691 until 13 June 1698 when he was made prebendary of hurstboune and burbage. Stevens seems to have remained rector of Wylye until his death which was noted in his church career record on 7th June 1701 so he probably died some months prior to that.


Henry Dolling MA (1640 - 1687/8) (1,2,4,5,11,17)
Master of the Free School (1664 - 1687)

Henry DOLLING (1640-1687/8) (who for the sake of clarity I refer to as 'the younger') was baptised in August 1640 at Worth Matravers in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset the eldest son of Henry DOLLING (1609-1689/90) (the elder) and Alice EYRES (1619-1696). Alice was the daughter of John EYRES and is mentioned in her fathers will dated 16th March 1670, as is her son, our Henry, who was left a gold ring in memory of him, whilst her husband Henry the elder was made an overseer of her fathers will.

Just to make life really confusing Henry's grandfather was also called Henry DOLLING (Senior) and was buried at Worth Matravers (according to John Hutchins account of the parish) in 1652, preceded by his grandmother Temperance in 1644. For a much fuller account of his family background see the genealogical notes attached to the Letter of Administration of his estate.

Church of St Nicholas - Worth Matravers - in which he was baptised
The main body of the church, chancel nave and tower date from 1100 AD. Link to more information & pictures
Picture : © Mike Faherty licenced for reuse under the creative commons licence

Suffice it to say that Henry grew up in a very wealthy and influential family centered in the Isle of Purbeck. He was sent to University at the age of 17 matriculating at Wadham College Oxford on 29 Oct 1657. He was awarded his BA there on 21st June 1661 and his MA on 28th June 1664. From University he was appointed as Master of Dorchester Free School taking up his post on 17 November 1664 the same date church records show that he signed the oath of supremacy. Two years later on 9 Nov 1666 he was given the Usher's house with the arrears of rent due, his tenancy being described as 'during the pleasure of the Company'. He translated the 'Whole Duty of Man' into Latin and although it is not clear whether this was published, a copy was held in the school library. There is reference to his still being the Master of the school on 10th April 1677 when he was lent the original deed of endowment made by Thomas Hardye so that he could show it to the Commissioners of Charitable Uses - the commissioners having summoned a Mr Chick for seizing and possessing a living at Frome Vauchurch which belonged to the school. This belies the statement by Hutchins that his term of office 'continued till 1675' which he has not unreasonably taken from a note appended to the registers of Wadham College, but appears to be wrong. He also signed the Dorchester oath of loyalty issued to Charles II in the 34th year of his reign on the 31st August 1681.

    Note:- One of his pupils who held him in high regard was Samuel Wesley (1666-1735). Samuel the son of Rev John Wesley was baptised on 17th December 1666 at St Mary's church Winterborne Whitchurch by his father the vicar there. His initial education was committed to the 'Dorchester Free School' where he studied under the tutorship of the master Henry Dolling. He also received education at the hands of Edward Veal in Stepney and at Newington Green under Charles Morton. In 'A letter from a Country divine' he says about leaving Dorchester Grammar School " from whence my master would have me gone to the university having there provided a handsome subsistence for me". At Exeter College Oxford he obtained a BA in 1688, was ordained a deacon in August of the year, priest in Feb 1688/9; Chaplain to the Navy in 1689, and Rector of Ormesby in Lincolnshire 1691, and then Epsworth from 1695 until his death on 25 Apr 1735. A leading non conformist, poet and writer of hymns by his wife Susannah Annesley he was the father of John and Charles Wesley the Methodist Ministers. Out of respect for Henry Dolling he dedicated his first printed work to him.

He and his father both died intestate within a short time of one another and given identical names and the lack of any wills it is difficult to sort out events between Dorchester and Worth Matravers. I can't trace a marriage and Alice appears to have been his mother so I think he died first being buried at the church of St Nicholas at Worth Matravers on 27th Feb 1687/8. A Letter of Administration for his estate was granted at Dorchester to his lawful brother James DOLLING, again suggesting the absence of a wife, but not until 14th March 1689. His death in 1687/8 also fits with the fact that his replacement as Master of the Free School, Conyers Place, is said to have taken up his position in Dorchester when he was ordained in 1689. This means that it was his father who was buried at Worth Matravers on 4th Feb 1689/90 with a Letter of Administration being granted for the estate of Henry DOLLING the elder to his relict Alice at Dorchester on 21st June 1690. His widowed mother Alice also died intestate being buried at Worth Matravers on 20th October 1696 and a Letter of Adminsitration for her estate granted to her surviving son James on 7th January 1696/7.


Rev.Conyers Place MA (1665 - 1738)(1,2,3,5,16)
Master of the Free School (1690 - c1711) and (c1722 - 1736)

Conyers Place (Senior) was baptised on 10 Apr 1665 in Well, Yorkshire the son of Edward Place and initially schooled at St Paul's before matriculating at Trinity College Cambridge on 22 Mar 1682/3 at the age of 18. He was awarded his BA in 1686/7 and his MA followed in 1693. He joined the church being ordained Deacon in London on 20 Dec 1689 and information on his gravestone suggests that this was the time that he was appointed Master of the 'Free School' in Dorchester which is entirely possible given the death of Henry Dolling that year. I have only managed to locate one record concerning him in the Municipal Records of Dorchester, page 670 which has the following entry confirming him to be Master of the School in 1699.

    1699 November 24 "The information of Conyers Place Schoolmaster of the Free School who on his oath saith that for several times lately several boys of this town have disturbed this informants school by knocking at the school door and throwing in great stones and some small stones into the passage or entry to the school; the boys who have been guilty hereof as this informant is credibly informed are Mr Derbies two sons, Mr Maber's son, Mrs Gigger's son, farmer Light's son, and Mr William Coxe's son. He refused to take his oath, but all were sent for and most appearing confessed their faults, are very submissive and promised to do so no more, and are forgiven.

The Rev Conyers Place (recorded as Mr. Coniers Plaice) married Mary the only child of the Rev William Glisson at Piddlehinton in Dorset on 23rd March 1699/1700 and had the following children:- (1). Conyers Place junior baptised at St Peters on 27th July 1703 (See below) and (2) Mary Place baptised 12th March 1706/7 who later married Dr Conyers Middleton.

    Rev Conyers Place (Junior) (1703-1778) baptised at St Peters Church Dorchester on 27th July 1703, he was educated at the Freeschool and then went on to study at Pembroke College Cambridge where he was admitted 16th March 1719/20 obtaining a BA degree there in 1723 and an MA in 1727 (the same year that he was incorporated into Oxford). He married Magdaline the daughter of Rev. William Glisson the Rector of Woodsford Dorset in St Peters Church Dorchester on 20th July 1730. They had 6 children, 5 of their baptisms being recorded in the registers of both Holy Trinity and St Peters churches in Dorchester:- (1) Conyers Place who may have been stillborn as I cannot locate a baptism, but he is recorded as being buried as 'Conyers son of Mr Place' in the parish register of Holy Trinity on 10th September 1731 only 14 months after they married. (2) Conyers Place (the younger) bap 5th Dec 1732 & buried at Holy Trinity on the 14th Dec 1733 (3) Cordelia Place bap 16th Dec 1733 who married the Rev Richard Wilkins from St George in Somerset at her fathers church in Marnhull Dorset on 5th May 1768; (4) Edward Place bap 27th Feb 1734 who at the age of 18 matriculated at Oriel College and was awarded a BA there in 1757; but died at the age of 34 at Marnhull on 12th September 1768. (5) William Place bap 28 Jan 1736/7 but buried at Marnhull 24th Feb 1739 (6) Mary Place bap 20th July 1738.

    Conyers Place Junior also joined the church being appointed Rector of Marnhull on the 12th Feb 1737 (also stated on his burial record) a position he held until he resigned it on 21st March 1767. They had 2 further children baptised at Marnhull (7) Susannah Place bap 22nd Nov 1742 and (8) Henry [Harry] Place bap 9th July 1744 but Conyers Place Junior was still listed as a Freeholder in Dorchester in 1749. His resignation in 1767 from Marnhull was to enable him to be appointed Vicar of Bradford Abbas (21st March 1767) and also Rector of Clyfton Maybank (25th same month) positions he held until he retired at the age of 73 in April 1776. He was buried at Marnhull on 22nd April 1778

We know that Rev Conyers Place (Senior) resigned his position as Master of the 'Free School' on 1st Nov 1736 when he was appointed as Rector of Poxwell but we seem have a curious overlap with the following two Masters of the Grammer School in William Thornton and John JACOB shown below who served circa 1711-1721.

Author of various sermons Conyers died on 26th October 1738 and was buried at his sons church at Marnhull in Dorset where there is the foloowing memorial tablet to him. His widow Mary was also buried at Marnhull as detailed below.

    White marble Tablet on north wall (with coat of arms). “Here lieth / the body of the Rev: Mr: Conyers PLACE, M.A., youngest / son of an ancient & reputable family in the county of York / who after he had been liberally educated in Trinity College / in Cambridge, was invited to the Mastership of the Grammar School / in Dorchester, which he governed many years with great success / and applause, till, weary of the fatigue of it, he chose to resign it / (6 lines of eulogy) / While he was esteemed / by all worthy of the greatest preferments, he lived content / with the praise of deserving, without enjoying any / but the small Rectory of Poxwell, in this county / which he held 2 years & in the possession of which he died / the 26th day of October, in the 74th year of his age / A.D. 1738 / Here lieth also / the faithfull partner of his bed when living & of his grave now / dead, Mary, the only child of the Rev: Mr: Willm: GLISSON / She lived with him cheerfully & hospitably, in an uninterrupted / course of love & concord near 40 years, in ye town of Dorchester / A pattern of piety & a rare example of all the domestic & / conjugal virtues as a wife, a mother, & a mistress of her family / It was her principal care to observe the will, and / contribute to the ease & happiness of her husband / She survived him near 3 years, but having lost with him ye chief / comfort of this life, she willingly exchanged it for the hope / of a better, on the 27th day of June, in the 58th year of / her age, A.D. 1741 / They left behind them one son & one daughter / Mary, married to Dr: Conyers MIDDLETON, of / Cambridge; & Conyers, the present Rector of this parish / who in testimony of his piety & gratitude to his most worthy / and indulgent parents, erected this piece of marble / to their memory, A.D. 1742”.

Rev William Thornton MA [1686 - 1760] (1,2,4,5)
Master of the Free School (circa 1711 - 1721)

William Thornton was the son of John Thornton a Gentleman of Sherborne Dorset he was educated at Oxford matriculating at Hart Hall on the 28 Mar 1702 at the age of 16, and was awarded his BA degree there in 1705. He joined the church being ordained a deacon on 21 Sep 1707 in Salisbury Cathedral and served a years curacy at the parish of Bryanston in Dorset. He continued his studies at Oxford to obtain his MA degree in 1708 and was ordained as a priest at Wells Cathedral on 25th Sep 1709. He was then appointed Rector of West Stafford with Frome Billet in Dorset on 16th Nov 1711 although the listing of rectors in the parish shows his presence there from 1708 to 1732 (Link to OPC listing) the latter date coinciding with his eventual move to Wiltshire. Strangely his official church record shows that he was also appointed curate? (I think this should be Rector) of Bradford Peverall Dorset on 16th Sep 1716, a position he seems to have held until his appointment as Vicar of Winterborne Canonicorum with Stanton St Gabriel on 18th Oct 1720. Both West Stafford and Winterborne positions were then reliquished in favour of an appointment as Rector of Brinkworth in Wiltshire on 5th Sep 1732.

Unfortunately William Thornton's appointment and resignation do not appear to have survived in the Municipal Records of Dorchester, nor do his church records show him being licenced as a schoolmaster but these too are incomplete. Fortunately the The Dictionary of National Biography under its account for John Hutchins (1698-1773), the topographer and county historian of Dorset, also refers to Hutchins being educated at the Grammer School in Dorchester during William Thornton's Mastership. John Hutchins subsequent chronicle "The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset", Published 1860-74 refers to William Thornton Rector of West Stafford surrendering his mastership on Nov 1st 1721 and I think as an ex pupil we have to assume John Hutchins had his facts right. In the absence of official records and given the above information my best guess is that he was appointed Master circa 1711 when he was appointed Rector to nearby West Stafford. John Hutchins was aged 13 then which is about right for him to have had his education under William Thorntons Mastership.


    Rev John Jacob [1690-1759] LLB Vicar of Fordington- According to Hutchins he was appointed the same day as Thornton surrendered i.e. 1st Nov 1721 [See John JACOB in the Fordington listing of Church Officials] Again at variance with Conyers Place - Its possible that John Jacob may have stood in at the school but I cannot trace any documentation supporting his appointment during this period so can only assume that Mastership was taken up again by Rev Conyers Place (Senior) until he resigned in 1736.

Rev Edward Cozens MA [1690-1753] (2,4)
Master of the Free School (circa 1736 - 1748)

Edward Cozens was the son of Richard Cozens of Castle Cary in Somerset. He matriculated at the age of 18 at Queens College Oxford on 23rd March 1707/8 and went on to obtain his BA there in 1711. He joined the church being ordained a deacon at Wells Bishops Palace, Trinity Chapel on 16th March 1712 and a priest on 21st December the same year. On the 8th January 1714 he was made curate of Brympton and appointed Rector of Yarlington on 25th July 1723 a position he held for 30 years until his death. Whilst serving in the parish he nevertheless continued his studies being incorporated into Cambridge where he gained his MA degree from Magdalen College in 1730.

He is simply listed by John Hutchin's as a Master of the Grammer School after Conyers Place 2nd term and his role at the school is confirmed on his daughter Elizabeth's memorial tablet in St Peters Church when she died in 1821. In the absence of more information I have assumed his tenure was from the resignation of Conyers Place in 1736 until John Hubbock was appointed by the Corporation in 1749.

The Rev Edward Cozens was buried at St Peters Church on 10th December 1753. He left a Will which is at The National Archives Ref PROB 11/806.


Rev. John Hubbock MA (1712 - 1781)
Master of the Free School (1749-1781)

Rev John Hubbock His life has already been briefly covered under Dorchester Church Officials as he was appointed Rector of Holy Trinity & St Peters in Dorchester on 12 May 1752 until his death in 1781 .


Rev. George Watson MA (1748 - 1813) (1,2,3,5)
Master of the Free School (1781-1786)

George Watson according to Hutchins was a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge and the only person of that name in the alumni records was George Watson the son of Samuel & Mary Watson who was born in Bury St Edmunds on 30 Oct 1748 and baptised there in St James Church on 28 Nov 1748. Having attended Bury St Edmunds school he matriculated at Trinity College Cambridge in 1766 obtaining his BA (Hon Wrangler) in 1770. He joined the church being ordained deacon at Norwich on 23 Dec 1770 when he was appointed curate of Ickworth and Chedburgh in Suffolk. He continued his studies and was made a fellow of Trinity College in 1771 and ordained a priest at Peterborough 16 Dec 1772. He was awarded his MA by Trinity in 1774. Although his university records makes no mention of it, church records suggest he was licensed as a schoolmaster in Norwich on 30 Dec 1776 and may have served as curate at Hawstead from 27 May 1777. Hutchins states that he was appointed as Master of the Free school on 11 Oct 1781 but resigned 15 June 1786. Church records however show that he was appointed curate of Winterbourne St Martin in Dorset from August 1785 being licensed there on 5th Dec that year but another curate was appointed in 1786 so presumably he moved on.


Rev. Francis Hinchman MA (1742 - 1824) (2,4,5)
(Name variation: Henchman)
Master of the Free School (1786-1787)

Francis Hinchman was the son of Francis Henchman of Huntingdon town and matriculated at Trinity college Oxford on 5 April 1758 aged 16 where he was awarded his BA in 1762. He studied for his MA at Queens College Oxford and was awarded his degree in 1768 also being made a fellow of the college. His ordination as deacon was at Christchurch Oxford 21 Oct 1764 and as Priest at Mary the Virgin Oxford on 22 June 1766. He was first appointed as Rector of Stoke/North Mediety in Lincolnshire 28 Oct 1771, then Moreton in Berkshire on 30 Oct 1772. Hutchins states that he was appointed as Master of Dorchester free School on 2 July 1786 and resigned 13 June 1787 on being presented to the living of Marlborough in Wiltshire. Church records show that he was collated as Rector of Marlborough on 10 Aug 1786 so it would seem that he continued at the school to allow time for a successor to be found before moving to Wiltshire. His records in the church also show appointments as vicar of Persute 25 jan 1787; Padworth 25 Jan 1796 and Beckbury 30 July 1801 and his death was noted in their records on 7th Sep 1824. His will is available at the National Archives under 'Will of Reverend Francis Henchman, Clerk of Galloway Buildings Bath , Somerset' proved on 26 April 1825 Ref 11/1698


Rev. John Cutler MA. (1756 -1833) (2,4,5)
Master of the Free School (1787-1790)

John Cutler John was baptised at Eton 19 May 1756 the son of Roger & Mary Cutler of Eton, Bucks. He was educated initially at Eton and then at Exeter College Oxford where he matriculated on 1st Nov 1775 aged 19 and was awarded his BA in 1779. He was ordained deacon at Christchurch Oxford 30 May 1779 and became the Chaplain on the Hero in Sir Edward Hughe's fleet to the East Indies. On return he was assistant Master at Rugby school 1784-7 during which time on 24 Sep 1786 he was formally ordained as a priest before being appointed on the 7 July 1787 as Master of Dorchester Free School. He held the post until 23 Jan 1790 when he entered Kings College Cambridge where he completed his university education being awarded his MA. From Cambridge he went as Master to Sherborne Free Grammar School taking office on 23 July 1792. He was made Rector of Patney in Wiltshire 17 Feb 1815 until his death on 28 Feb 1833 in Sackville Street London.


Rev. Henry John Richman MA (1756 - 1824)
Master of the Free School (1790-1813)

Rev Henry Richman His life has already been briefly covered under Dorchester Church Officials as he initially appointed Master of the Free School in 1790 and then in addition became Curate of Holy Trinity Church in Dorchester in 1807. He resigned his Mastership when he was made Rector there in 1813.


Rev. Evan Davies BA (1790-Aft 1859)
Master of the Free School (1813-1824)

Rev Evan Davies His life has already been briefly covered under Dorchester Church Officials as he initially appointed Master of the Free School in 1813 and became Rector of All Saints Church in dorchester in 1818.


Rev. Richard Cutler MA (1795-1873)
Master of the Free School (1824-1846)

Richard Cutler The son of John Cutler [1756-1833] he was (like his father before him) appointed as Master of Dorchester Free School on 24 Oct 1824. His life has already been briefly covered under Dorchester Church Officials as he was made curate of All Saints in 1825.


Rev. Thomas Ratsey Maskew MA (1818-1893) (3,5,9,13,14)
Master of the Free School (1846-1878)

Link to picture of the school during his Mastership (page down)

Thomas Maskew was Born 7 Sep 1818 at Keyhaven, Milford, Hampshire the third of five sons of Thomas Maskew Esq of Lymington Hants (& formerly Liverpool) by his wife Elizabeth the only surviving daughter of the late Christopher Ratsey. Educated initially at Sherborne he matriculated at Trinity College Cambridge on 5 July 1837 and transferred to Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge on 11 May 1840 where he graduated BA on 1842 & MA 1846.

He entered the church and was ordained as deacon at Hereford in 1842; and priest in 1843 by the Bishop of Hereford and served his curacy initially at Brockhampton & Fawley Chapel in Herefordshire 1842-3 and then at Sidlesham Sussex 1843-4 and Swyer Dorset 1844-6.

On 30th July 1844 at Piddlehinton, Dorset, Thomas married Emily Knight the daughter of John Baverstock Knight. She had a twin sister Augusta Knight that married his brother George Fairclough Maskew. Thomas was appointed Headmaster of Dorchester Grammar (or Free) School and Chaplain to the Dorchester Union Workhouse on 25th June 1846 positions he held until 1878. During his career as Headmaster of Dorchester Grammar School  he had published 'Annotations on the acts of Apostles, the 2nd edition being issued in 1847 and when the existing Rector of Sawyer, Dorset died in 1856 he also took on the role of rector there until 1861. Three of his pupils were the sons of Dorchesters Solicitor Henry Lock (1815-1880) these being:- Arthur Henry Lock (1845-1900) who like his father became a Solicitor in Dorchester; Rev. Walter Lock DD (1846-1933) who among many other titles was senior proctor at Oxford; and Benjamin Fossett Lock MA (1847-1922 ) who became a leading Barrister.

Thomas & Emily had two children Alice Ensor Maskew (1848) and Edward Maskew (bap St Peters 1850). Alice was to later marry in St Georges church Fordington on 22nd March 1871 to Henry John Gilbert who worked for the Wiltshire & Dorset Bank in High East Street Dorchester. Tragically in 1851 the birth of Thomas & Emily's third child, Emily Gertrude Maskew (bap 9 Sep 1851 St Peters Dorchester) resulted in the death of both mother and child. Emily’s sister, Augusta, had died under similar circumstances the previous year, although the child survived.

At Netherbury, Dorset on March 3, 1853, Thomas was married to Catherine Ann Keddle. The couple were to have 4 children, Arthur Fairclough Maskew (bap 8th Mar 1854), Thomas Anthony Browne Maskew (bap 13th May 1855), Lillian Margaret Maskew (1857) and Catherine Ann Maskew (bap 28th Apr 1859). Following her daughters birth, Catherine died on April 26, 1859.

With six children it is no surprise that Thomas soon remarried.  At St Pancras, London on June 1, 1860 he married Jane Stordy from Stanwell, Cumberland, with whom he was to have two more children, Charles Henry Maskew (bap 13th Sep 1861) and Francis Ernest Stordy Maskew (bap 3rd Sep 1865).

Thomas was also Rector of Swyer 1856-61. Curate of Nether Cerne Dorset 1863-78; Senior Curate of Cleobury-Mortimer 1879-81. Curate in charge of Kinlet Bewdley 1881-5; Rector of Thornbury Hereford 1885-92. Thomas, according to his probate record died on 29th January 1893 at Thornbury (Effects £135. 8s. 11d) survived by his third wife, Jane, who died at Swanage, Dorset on August 5, 1917.


Herbert Napier Kingdom MA (1849-1938) (15)
Master of the Free School (1882-1898)


Herbert Napier Kingdom was born on 5th Oct 1849 at Bridgerule in Devon the son of the parish vicar Samuel Nicholason Kingdom by his wife Eliza Ann who was born in Madras in India. Educated at Marlborough School he went on to Cambridge where he matriculated for Corpus Christi College on 30th Sep 1871. A scholar in 1872 he was awarded his BA in 1875 and MA in 1883. From 1874 to 1882 he was a classical master at Hillbrow Preparatory School in Rugby Warwickshire. He was appointed Master of Dorchester Grammar (or Free) School in 1882 a position he retained until 1898. Whilst he was in Dorchester he married in the 1st quarter of 1891 to Janet Isobel Bannatyne a lady born in Scotland who produced at least 5 children:- Janet (1892); William (1893); John (1894); Herbert (1896) and Charlotte (1898).

In 1899 he then became Master of The Briary School, Westgate-on-Sea, where he remained until 1903. In 1907 he joined the church being ordained deacon and priest at Ely and appointed as curate of St Andrew-the-Less, Cambridge. Two years later he retired and lived at Stockbridge, Hants. He was the author of 'Extracts from Livy', etc. and joint author of 'Gradatim'. He died on 19th March 1938, at Stockbridge.


Note on Masters:- Post 1900:-

Kellys Directory for 1915 lists for The Grammer School, South St.:-

Hugh A  Francis MA;  ;  The Grammar School,South St.;  Headmaster;  School

    GB Williams;  Science Teacher; 
    TE  Dibble BA;  Teacher; 
    T Gordon Davies  MA;   Teacher;
    DS Lidbury; Teacher; 
    TT Palmer;  Teacher; 
    E Lane ;  Music Teacher;
    W Cook;  Carpentry Teacher & Sgt instructor; 
    Merchant;  Gymnasium Teacher; 

Genealogical Notes:-
(1). The Municipal Records of the Borough of Dorchester edited by Charles Herbert Mayo p563
(2). The Clergy of the Church of England database (CCEd) is an online database of clergy of the Church of England between 1540 and 1835. This database is still being compiled Aug 2009 and may therefore contain only some of a persons appointments etc.
(3). Cambridge University Alumni - list of all known students, graduates, and officers at the University of Cambridge, England, from 1261 to 1900
(4). Oxford University Alumni - register of students, graduates, and officers who attended Oxford University between 1500 and 1886. Original data: Foster, Joseph. Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886 and Alumni Oxonienses: The Members of the University of Oxford, 1500-1714. Oxford: Parker and Co., 1888-1892.
(5). The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset by John HUTCHINS, Published 1860-74
(6). Fire From Heaven Life in an English Town in the 17th Century by David Underdown published by Pimlico 1992
(7). National Burial Index 3rd Edition
(8). 'John White The Patriarch of Dorchester [Dorset] and Founder of Massachusetts' by Frances Rose-Troup published by GP Putnam's Sons in 1930.
(9). The Church of Latter Day Saints Parish extraction programme (Henry Harris Extraction Ref POO4171) (Thomas ratsey Maskew Ref M004002).
(10. Dictionary of National Biography edited by Leslie Stephen Volume XIII Published by Macmillan & Co London 1888
(11). Samuel Pepys The unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin published by Penguin 2003: pages xxiii, 28,233; And http://www.pepysdiary.com/archive/1666/09/26/index.php
(12). There is a will at the National Archives for an Anthony Wither Gentleman of Saint Martin in the Fields Middlesex where probate was granted 2nd May 1696 Ref PROB 11/431 which might be him as he is likely to have returned to London
(13). Grateful for confirmation of background and info on his marriages etc to:- http://myancestors.wordpress.com/2007/10/27/thomas-ratsey-maskew-1818-1893/
(14). British Newspapers (Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc (Portsmouth, England), Monday, November 24, 1817; Issue 946.) and many others death Mar qtr 1893 aged 74 Bromyard district GRO Ref 6a/371.
(15). Sources Marlborough Coll. Reg.; Cambridge Alumni; Crockford; The Times, Mar. 21, 1938.
(16). Parish registers of Piddlehinton and http://www.opcdorset.org/MarnhullFiles/Marnhull%20CofE.pdf for transcription of his memorial tablet
(17). Somerset & Dorset Notes and Queries Vol VI published Sherborne 1899, pages 133 & 139 records that In the Bristol Consistory Court there are 8 volumes containing the names of persons who at various dates between 1619 and 1719 subscribed to the Oath of Supremacy ". On page 27 there is an entry "DOLLING, Henry M.A. to teach school, Deacon, date of subscription 17th Nov 1664" This entry then bears his signature. Also see Registers of Wadham College Oxford page 221. Also see British listed buildings
(18). Visitation of Dorset 1623
(19). William Whiteway of Dorchester - His diary 1618-1635
(20). Somerset & Dorset Notes and Queries Vol 1 1888-1889 page 108

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