1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dulwich

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DULWICH, a district in the metropolitan borough of Camberwell, London, England. The manor, which had belonged to the Cluniac monks of Bermondsey, passed through various hands to Edward Alleyn (q.v.) in 1606. His foundation of the College of God’s Gift, commonly called Dulwich College, was opened with great state on the 13th of September 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 consisting 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.” The almspeople consisted of six “poor brethren” and six “poor sisters,” and the teaching and governing staff of a master and a warden, who were always to be of the founder’s surname, and four fellows, all “graduates and divines,” among whom were apportioned the ministerial work of the chapel, the instruction of the boys, and the supervision of the almspeople. That it was the founder’s intention to establish a great public school upon the model of Westminster and St Paul’s, with provision for university training, is shown by the statutes; but for more than two centuries the educational benefits of God’s Gift College were restricted to the twelve poor scholars. Successive actions at law resulted in the ruling that it was not within the competence of the founder to divert any portion of the revenues of his foundation to the use of others than the members thereof, as specified in the letters patent. In 1842, however, some effort was made towards the realization of Alleyn’s schemes, and in 1858 the foundation was entirely reconstituted by act of parliament. It comprises two schools, the “Upper” and the “Lower,” now called respectively Dulwich College and Alleyn’s school. In the Upper school, now one of the important English “public schools,” there are classical, modern, science and engineering sides. The Lower school is devoted to middle-class education. The buildings of the Upper school, by Charles Barry, contain a fine hall. The college possesses a splendid picture gallery, bequeathed by Sir P. F. Bourgeois, R.A., in 1811, with a separate endowment. The pictures include some exquisite Murillos and 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. H. Blanch, Dulwich College and Edward Alleyn (London, 1877); R. Hovenden, The History of Dulwich College, with a short biography of its founder (London, 1873).