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1 - Situating Pedagogical Performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 May 2020

Amanda Eubanks Winkler
Syracuse University, New York


This chapter describes the educational institutions of post-Reformation England and the conflicted role music, theater, and dance played in English life and educational schema. According to English conduct books and prescriptive literature, music and dance were necessary skills for accomplished gentlemen and gentlewomen to possess; they might also be useful for students at charity schools, who sought socio-economic improvement through marriage or the procurement of apprenticeships. Yet, as many scholars have noted, there was also a strong suspicion and overt antipathy toward music-making, playacting, and dancing – some religious thinkers believed that these activities could lead to lasciviousness, decadence, and effeminacy. Others expressed concern that female students might develop inappropriate relationships with their music and dance teachers.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

I went this evening to see the order of the boys and children at Christ’s Hospital. There were neere 800 boys and girls so decently clad, cleanly lodg’d, so wholesomly fed, so admirably taught … They sung a psalme before they sat downe to supper in the greate hall, to an organ which play’d the whole time, with such cheerfull harmony that it seemed to me a vision of angels.Footnote 1

On 10 March 1687 John Evelyn documented his visit to the charity school Christ’s Hospital in his diary. For him, the sound of the children’s psalm singing, as well as their modest clothing and spotless environment, revealed their piety and morality. In a wonderful moment of synesthesia, Evelyn described their singing to the organ as a “vision of angels.” At Christ’s Hospital he found a multimedia incubator of religious sentiment – the school, with its “cheerfull harmony” and psalm singing and clean living was simultaneously church, school, and concert room.

This study seeks to understand pedagogical performance as a node through which various cultural energies flowed – spiritual, pedagogical, and recreational – but in order to do so we must first understand something of the educational institutions that formed in early modern England and the role performance was thought to play in education more generally. Before the Tudor period, children in England had frequently been educated in the household; however, educational institutions developed in the sixteenth century that helped to define the idea of childhood, as students were educated in age-identified groups.Footnote 2 Although children’s educational experiences were affected by gender, class, and location (city or rural), as historian Rosamond O’Day stated, “it is tempting to suggest that three distinct periods of dependence were age-identified by seventeenth-century society: childhood, adolescence (in school) and youth (in apprenticeship or service).”Footnote 3 Although O’Day’s generalization is useful, early modern thinkers sometimes followed Galen’s older method of classification: “infancy” up to age seven, when boys were “breeched”; “childhood” until fifteen; and “adolescency” from fifteen to twenty-five.Footnote 4

This book focuses on the performances given by young people educated in grammar schools, academies, charity schools, or boarding schools for girls. This education could have begun as early as five, but usually commenced about seven or eight, after students could read or spell.Footnote 5 The end of schooling depended on a range of factors. Children from charity schools might take up apprenticeships or grammar school boys might go to university, the latter often happening around fourteen.Footnote 6 Girls’ education was terminated for a range of reasons and at different ages: sometimes the parents could not pay the fees, as was the case with Edmund Verney and his daughter Mary (Molly), and sometimes they left to enter the marriage market.Footnote 7

This early phase of education was essential, as the period of youth was simultaneously configured as one of exuberance and hope and of potential licentiousness, for both boys and girls.Footnote 8 To curb this potential unruliness, educators crafted strategies to shape their students into obedient, functional members of society, according to the gender norms of their time.Footnote 9 Although a few more enlightened educators such as Richard Mulcaster advocated for some degree of educational parity between the sexes,Footnote 10 many others claimed that boys and girls needed to be educated in radically different ways to prepare them for the disparate demands of their adult existence. For boys of the gentry, the middling ranks, and even below, this often meant a classical education at a grammar school.

Educating Boys in the Arts

By the early seventeenth century many communities supported a local grammar school, where boys learned the skills they needed to succeed in the public sphere.Footnote 11 These institutions had proliferated in the sixteenth century and were funded through various schemes: generally, a wealthy landowner, a clergyman, merchant, or yeoman founded the school.Footnote 12 The schoolmasters of endowed grammar schools had often taken ecclesiastical orders; freelance schoolmasters had to get permission from the local bishop to teach.Footnote 13 The student body varied. Some schools drew upon those who could pay fees, other communities had “free” schools that offered instruction for certain groups of children (the poor or relatives of the founder, for instance),Footnote 14 and a few included girls among the student body.Footnote 15 The register of scholars at the grammar school at Rivington lists girls from 1615 well into the eighteenth century.Footnote 16 In terms of class status, a list of students from the Colchester Grammar School (1643) indicates that most of the students were the sons of gentlemen or clergy as well as tradespeople and merchants, although we cannot assume that this demographic makeup was typical.Footnote 17 Most crucially, learning fostered nobility and honor, traits necessary for upward mobility within the rigid early modern class system.Footnote 18 As Henry Peacham explained in his courtesy book, The Compleat Gentleman (1622):

Since Learning then is an essentiall part of Nobilitie, as unto which we are beholden, for whatsoever dependeth on the culture of the mind; it followeth, that who is nobly borne, and a Scholler withall, deserveth double Honour.Footnote 19

The training of these early modern “Schollers” in masculine ways of being was often accomplished through performative behaviors. Although knowledge of Latin and Greek – the backbone of most grammar-school education – was gleaned through writing, it was also acquired through recitation. As Lynn Enterline described, students were required to “imitate the schoolmaster’s facial movements, vocal modulation, and bodily gestures as much as his Latin words and texts.”Footnote 20 This process of language acquisition through imitatio – imitating a model to gain mastery – gave students access to the entire range of Western learning, while teaching them the necessary masculine attribute of self-control.Footnote 21 Knowing Greek and Latin also fostered the boys’ spiritual development, as they could read the New Testament and the works of the Church Fathers in their original languages.Footnote 22

In addition to instructing boys in Latin through the act of recitation, schoolmasters trained their male pupils more broadly in the art of rhetoric, for oratorical prowess was a marker of gentlemanly behavior and a facilitator of future success.Footnote 23 Many authors drew a connection between rhetoric and worldly advancement. John Hoskyns wrote during the reign of Elizabeth:

Yet cannot his mynde bee thought in tune, whose words doe jarr, nor his reason in frame whose sentences are preposterous nor his fancie cleare and pfect, whose utterance breakes it selfe into fragments, and uncertaintyes; Were it an honor to a Prince to have the majestie of his Embassage spoyled by a carelesse Embassador? And is it not as great an indignity that an excellent Conceipt & Capacitie, by the indilligence of an idle tongue should be defaced?Footnote 24

Performance was crucial to teaching rhetoric. The humanist Erasmus, who had a profound effect upon early modern English education, strongly believed that drama was a useful pedagogical instrument, particularly good for teaching boys oratory.Footnote 25 Many educators had boys practice rhetoric through playacting to properly train the voice and eliminate what schoolmaster Charles Hoole called “subrustick bashfulness,” or “that common and troublesome fault of indistinct and muttering speaking.”Footnote 26

But rhetorical practice before an audience might teach boys other skills. Hoole summarized its pedagogical purpose:

When you meet with an Act or Scene that is full of affection, and action, you may cause some of your Scholars, after they have learned to act it, first in private amongst themselves, and afterwards in the open Schoole before their fellowes; and herein you must have a main care of their pronunciation, and acting every gesture to the very life.Footnote 27

Thus performance, privately and later “in the open Schoole,” taught pupils how they might combine gesture and proper modulation of the voice to produce a vivid simulacrum of actual lived experience.

Skill in musical performance was equally important for a gentleman to possess, as Castiglione and his English emulators outlined, to promote understanding of human relationships, morality, health, and, more generally, as a signifier of good breeding.Footnote 28 Thomas Elyot averred in his influential The boke named the Gouernour (1531) that music, if studied moderately by noblemen, allowed “the better attaynynge the knowlege of the publike weale. whiche as I before have saide, is made of an ordre of astates and degrees, & by reasõ therof conteineth in it a perfect harmony.”Footnote 29 Distinguished educator Richard Mulcaster claimed that learning vocal and instrumental music could also foster bodily harmony, thereby facilitating good health.Footnote 30 One of Mulcaster’s students, Sir James Whitelocke, mentioned his musical and theatrical performances in the same breath, noting their moral benefits:

His [Mulcaster’s] care was also to encreas my skill in musique, in whiche I was brought up by dayly exercise in it, as in singing and playing upon instruments, and yeerly he presented sum playes to the court, in whiche his scholers wear only actors, and I on [sic] among them, and by that meanes taught them good behavior and audacitye.Footnote 31

Charles Butler, a rural pastor who had been a chorister in his youth, also believed that music should play a crucial role in the education of children, for both music and the knowledge of grammar facilitate good behavior. Writing in 1636 he stated:

That these two [Grammar and Music] should not be parted in the discipline of Children, Quintilian sheweth, where he saith, that Grammar cannot be perfect without Musik … And again that Grammar is under Musik, & that the same men formerly taught them both … And for Musik it self, the Philosopher concludeth the speciall necessiti therof in breeding of Children, partly from its naturall delight, and partly from the efficacy it hath, in moving affections and vertues.Footnote 32

These sources all connect musical skill with gentlemanly behavior. But what was the penalty for performative failure? Thomas Morley in A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597) claimed that a lack of musical proficiency signaled ill-breeding. One of the interlocutors in his dialogue recalled a moment of embarrassment:

But supper being ended, and Musicke books, according to the custom being brought to the table: the mistresse of the house presented mee with a part, earnestly requesting mee to sing; but when, after manie excuses, I protested unfeignedly that I could not; every one began to wonder. Yea, some whispered to others, demaunding how I was brought up.Footnote 33

Dance was also considered to be a desirable form of exercise for boys. It was encouraged, along with other physical pursuits such as leap-frog, swimming, and running.Footnote 34 In the seventeenth century, John Playford also extolled the physical benefits of dance. Bravely publishing his collection of country dances, The English Dancing Master, at the height of Puritan hostility against such arts, Playford cited ancient authorities to support the notion that “Children be taught to dance,” claiming that they “much commend it to be Excellent for Recreation, after more serious Studies, making the body active and strong, gracefull in deportment, and a quality very much beseeming a Gentleman.”Footnote 35

As Playford’s comment suggests, dance also trained the body in proper masculine gender deportment and control – one became “strong” and “gracefull” allowing one to perform the role of “Gentleman.” Dance also taught students the relationship between the sexes, and their place as a subject.Footnote 36 Sir John Davies intimated how dance and social hierarchy are related in his poem Orchestra (1596):
Concords true picture shineth in thys Art,
Where divers men and women ranked be,
And every one doth daunce a severall part,
Yet all as one, in measure do agree,
Observing perfect uniformitie.Footnote 37

Such ideas were persistent, for in the mid-seventeenth century social theorist Edward Waterhouse proclaimed far less poetically: “With us we have onely French dancing and Country dancing used by the best rank of people. Morris-dancing is an exercise that the loose and vile sort onely use, and that onely in faires and meetings of lewdness.”Footnote 38 According to Waterhouse, the controlled and patterned movements found in French dancing and country dancing marked one as being of the “best rank,” and, one might assume, potentially trained the body to become gentlemanly and gallant, “for which men are said to be well-bred and well-fashioned, or of good behaviour, de bonne meane.”Footnote 39

More specifically, dancing skill might facilitate oratorical prowess.Footnote 40 Davies’s Orchestra compares dance with grammar and rhetoric, albeit in a metaphorical sense:
And those great Maister of the liberall Arts
In all their severall Schooles doe Dauncing teach:
For humble Grammer first doth set the parts
Of congruent and well-according speech:
Which Rhetorick whose state the clouds doth reach,
           And heav’nly Poetry doe forward lead,
           And divers Measures, diversly doe tread.Footnote 41

A more practical connection between bodily movement and rhetoric is found in the headmaster William Malim’s decree regarding the annual performance of plays at Eton around the feast of St Andrew (1560):

The act of acting is a slight accomplishment but in so far as it pertains to the learning of the action of oratory, and the gestures and movements of the body, nothing else accomplishes these objects to so high a degree.Footnote 42

Gestures were thought to convey nuanced meanings, just like language; therefore, dance training strengthened the skills of budding rhetoricians. Combining elegant gestures with well-chosen words heightened eloquence.Footnote 43

Schoolmasters taught their students Latin, Greek, and rhetoric, as these disciplines were central to the grammar school curriculum, but evidence of staffing for music and dance instruction is less conclusive. Although some grammar schools had dedicated music masters (for instance, Dulwich College and the Charterhouse), at most institutions the music masters were not part of the full-time regular staff; they came in periodically to provide instruction. The Governors’ Account Book (1614–1711) of Rivington School records a payment on 12 January 1696 to a singing master of 10s “for 5 days,” suggesting that he was paid on an ad hoc basis.Footnote 44 The grammar school in Coventry, founded in 1545 by John Hales in the reign of Henry VIII, sometimes had a formal music master in residence and during other periods the master came into the school several times a week to teach. The first music master was “Mr Johnson of Oxford”; he was paid 10 nobles a year as well as his board.Footnote 45 By the time of Elizabeth, the position was vacant and the abstract of a deed from that era called for the hiring of “a Man skillful in Musick … who shall three times every week teach so many Scholars as are willing to learn,” suggesting that the master was no longer boarding at the school.Footnote 46 A record from 1647 indicates that the singing master received £3 in addition to the rents from a tenement, and in the following year his salary was raised to £4 and he was given the proceeds from a second tenement to supplement his income.Footnote 47 It is unclear what the nature of his teaching responsibilities were during this period, but by the eighteenth century the names of the music masters at Coventry’s grammar school were being recorded in a more formal way, suggesting that the music master once again was a full-time member of staff.Footnote 48 According to surviving records, dancing masters were not regularly employed by grammar schools; however, some entertainments performed by boys required these talents, so it is possible that dance was taught on an occasional basis.

As with the recitation of Latin in the schoolroom, the primary mode of instruction in the art of rhetoric, music, and dance – whether at school or not – was through imitation. To perform one must first internalize the model, learning words, gestures, musical notes. Then, if the student avoided the “subrustick bashfulness” that afflicted some, he might create a performance that moved the affections of those that watched, through careful control of the speaking and singing voice, through gesture and facial expression, and occasionally through dance. In musical instruction, composers-in-training copied each other’s music, sometimes embellishing and embroidering upon the source to learn its secrets. In dramatic performance, this act of imitation involved taking on another persona, imitating someone else in order to learn about the human condition.Footnote 49

But it was not only imitation. The student actor, like the budding musician, brought something of himself to the enterprise. Classical rhetoricians Cicero and Quintilian advised the orator to draw upon personal experiences and genuine emotion to create an effective speech; through this process students might vastly improve their ability to sway auditors.Footnote 50 Richard Schechner, in a modern performance studies gloss on the same phenomenon, has referred to performance as restored behavior, for “performers get in touch with, recover, remember, or even invent these strips of behavior and then rebehave them according to these strips.” In our modern time, the performer might be “absorbed into them (playing the role)” or might exist “side by side with them (Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt),” but it seems abundantly clear that in the schoolrooms of early modern England the restored behavior of performance involved absorption.Footnote 51 As a sixteenth-century schoolboy observed in his notes on actio: “Cicero saith yt is almost impossible for an Orator to stirre up a passion in his Auditors except he be first affected with the same passion hymselfe.”Footnote 52

These pedagogical techniques flourished at grammar schools in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In a sense, Hoole’s previously cited treatise, A New Discovery of the old Art of Teaching Schoole, was a reactionary work, for it sought to reinstate a performance-oriented curriculum that had largely disappeared in grammar schools by 1660. Indeed, after the Restoration, the grammar school went into decline, as there was a fall in demand for classical education. Endowments shrank and less prestigious schools closed or modified their curriculum to better suit the needs of their rural and non-elite clientele.Footnote 53 By the eighteenth century, two-thirds of the sons of peers received a classical education, but half of them attended just two schools: Eton and Westminster.Footnote 54 Accordingly, most of the grammar-school entertainments discussed in this book come from the second half of the sixteenth century and first half of the seventeenth century.

Educating Girls in the Arts

Skill in the performing arts allowed boys to find success in the public sphere, but this was not the goal of teaching girls these disciplines. As has been thoroughly documented by early modern historians, a woman’s role within English society was still limited by her supposed weakness – moral, intellectual, and otherwise – although by the seventeenth century her intellectual shortcomings were increasingly acknowledged to result from a lack of educational opportunity rather than an inherent deficiency.Footnote 55 Some sixteenth- and seventeenth-century educational theorists influenced by humanism (Juan Luis Vives, Thomas More, John Locke, William Law) believed that women should receive an academically rigorous education, but their relatively progressive theories were bounded by the belief that a woman’s place was in the home.Footnote 56 Women should be educated just enough to fulfill their future roles as wife and mother.Footnote 57 Some, such as Mulcaster, went so far as to acknowledge that different kinds of education might be useful for different kinds of women:

If a yong maiden be to be trained in respect of marriage, obedience to her head, & the qualities which looke that way, must needes be her best way: if in regard of necessitie to learne how to live, artificiall traine must furnish out her trade: if in respect of ornament to beawtifie her birth, & to honour her place, rareties in that kinde and seemely for that kinde do best beseeme such: if for government, not denyed them by God, and devised them by men, the greatnes of their calling doth call for great giftes, and general excellencies for general occurrences. Wherefore having these different endes allwayes in eye, we may point them their traine in different degrees.Footnote 58

But John Dury expressed a more typical line of thinking regarding female education in his Reformed School (1650) when he hoped

this our course of education … may habituat them through the fere of God, to become good and careful houswives, loving towards their husbands and their children when God shall call them to be married; and understanding all things belonging to the care of a Family, according to the Characters which Salomon doth give a virtuous Godly woman.Footnote 59

After the dissolution of the convents under Henry VIII, most girls were educated in the household, as they no longer had the option of receiving instruction away from home; however, a secular fee-based alternative, the boarding school, eventually emerged.Footnote 60 By the mid-seventeenth century, many towns had a boarding school for girls, and according to extant records a fairly broad range of society sent their daughters to these institutions.

Information regarding tuition payments suggests that the fees would have been within the reach of merchants, professionals, and the gentry. These records also provide evidence of instruction in the performing arts at such institutions. During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, boarding schools taught their pupils needlework and cooking, reading and writing in English and sometimes French, as well as dancing and music.Footnote 61 Parents could purchase instruction for their daughters à la carte, as letters and bills from the time reveal. A late sixteenth-century letter from Anne Higginson to Lady Ferrers describes the approximate costs and services associated with a school based in Windsor: it was £16 per student “for dyett, lodging, washeing, and teacheing them to worke [that is needlework, embroidery], reading, writing, and danceing.” According to the letter, if students wanted instruction in viols, singing, virginals, or the lute, it cost extra.Footnote 62 Mrs. Parnell Amye ran a boarding school in Manchester where she charged £11 to study needlework and reading; students who learned additional subjects such as writing, dancing, and music, paid additional fees.Footnote 63 A letter from Alexander Rigby to Savile Ratcliffe (21 July 1648) outlines the curriculum and fees at this establishment:

at fit seasons, [Amye] employeth a scrivener to teach the children to write, and a dancing master to teach them to dance, and a musician to learn them music. The charge of the scrivener is small; the charge of the musician is forty shillings yearly, for each child, and the charge of the dancing master is, for every child, five shillings at her entry, and five shillings for every month wherein he is employed.Footnote 64

Molly Verney, the daughter of the dissolute Edmund Verney (heir to Sir Ralph Verney), was charged £5 for schooling and board at Priest’s school in Chelsea. Line items associated with music – “musique,” “mr hart” (probably James Hart, the composer and singer who had previously run the school with Jeffrey Banister), and “for singing” – are each charged separately (see Figure 1.1).Footnote 65

Figure 1.1 Mrs. Priest’s Bill to Edmund Verney, 20 January 1685

Music and dance, though important for a boy’s education, were central skills for a girl, as these documents make clear; however, there was an inherent tension between training women in these skills and gendered notions that women should be inconspicuous and silent. For Dury the emphasis on ornament of all kinds (clothing, hairstyles, dancing) promoted sin and vanity:

Therefore as to the Girls, the ordinary vanity and curiosity of their dressing of hair and putting on of apparel; the customes and principles of wantonness and bold behaviours which in their dancings are taught them; and whatsoever else doth tend onely to fome[n]t pride and satisfie curiosity and imaginary delights shall be changed, but this our course of Education.Footnote 66

On the other hand, Bathsua Makin, the daughter of a schoolmaster and tutor to Charles I’s daughter (and Charles II’s sister) Princess Elizabeth, objected to the intellectual poverty of girls’ education. She believed that women should learn grammar, rhetoric, logic, Greek and Hebrew, and mathematics, particularly geography. In her pamphlet An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen (1673) she set out her educational agenda, arguing that women were complicit in their own subjugation. Although God made “Man the Head,” educated women might help their husbands as counselors and advisors. Her dedication to Mary (daughter of James, Duke of York, future Mary II) argues against the prevailing notion that learning was pedantic and vulgar for women:

I know no better way to reform these Exorbitancies, than to perswade Women to scorn those Toyes and Trifles, they now spend their time about, and to attempt higher things, here offered: This will either reclaim the Men; or make them ashamed to claim the Sovereignty over such as are more Wise and Vertuous than themselves.Footnote 67

Yet Makin conceded that the ornamental arts still held a place in female education, primarily because positions of power were barred to women: “Musick, Painting, Poetry, &c. are a great ornament and pleasure. Some things that are more practical are not so material, because publick employments in the Field and Courts are usually denyed to Women.”Footnote 68 Makin died only two years after establishing her school, so her scheme to balance the ornamental arts with a more rigorous education had limited influence.Footnote 69

Dury and Makin may have balked at the frivolity of the typical girls’ school curriculum, but, despite such objections, “ornamental” skills remained central to female education because it was thought that proficiency in music, dance, and painting might increase a girl’s chance of success on the marriage market.Footnote 70 Indeed, many boarding school pupils were eminently available, marriageable young women. The age of marital consent was twelve (although in reality most did not marry until their twenties), and some young ladies did not even begin boarding school until after this threshold.Footnote 71 Thus, boarding schools housed a liminal population: young ladies on the cusp of adulthood, who did not, for the time being, entirely need to conform to patriarchal and heteronormative expectations.Footnote 72

Educators sought to channel the creative endeavors of girls in a direction that might maintain the social order and secure good marriages by combining instruction in the ornamental arts with spiritual endeavors, framing artistic pursuits within a larger moral framework. In the 1640s, Unton, Lady Dering, wrote a letter to Henry Oxinden, recommending a girls’ school in Mersham, Kent. She described how the schoolmaster, Mr. Beavan, provided both musical and religious instruction:

Besides the qualities of music both for the virginals and singing (if they have voices) and writing (and to cast account which will be useful to them hereafter) he will be careful also that their behavior be modest and such as becomes their quality, and that they grow in knowledge and understanding of God and their duty to Him which is above all.Footnote 73

Indeed, instilling the virtues of chastity and modesty in girls was a primary concern. For this reason, women often did not learn Latin and Greek. Their potentially corruptible minds needed to be protected from the risqué stories found in classical mythology, although, interestingly, these stories were frequently found in their school-based musical/theatrical entertainments, as shall be explored in the chapters that follow.Footnote 74 Because loquaciousness was conflated with sexual inconstancy and speech-making would have been superfluous to their future roles as wives and mothers, girls also did not receive formal instruction in rhetoric; women were barred from the public stage for similar reasons until after the Restoration.Footnote 75 Accordingly, school performances involving girls in the first half of the seventeenth century frequently deployed strategies to limit or obviate the need for female speech, although students did sing and dance. Some have speculated that dancing and masquing formed an increasingly important part of the boarding school curriculum as a result of Henrietta Maria’s involvement in these pursuits;Footnote 76 however, this thesis does not explain the students’ engagement with music, as before the Civil War women did not perform music in court masques (Madame Coniack’s and Mistress Shepherd’s singing in Tempe Restored being notable exceptions).Footnote 77 Regardless, female students in the Jacobean and Caroline periods were often exempted from some of these conventional prohibitions, the pedagogical context apparently rendering female performance more allowable. After the Restoration, professional actresses appeared on the public stage, and performances by female students reflected this paradigm shift, as girls sang, danced, and declaimed lines. In subsequent chapters I shall explore in greater detail the tension between female chastity and performance, and how the compromised body of the professional actress haunted the performance of schoolgirls.

Performance as a Practical Commodity: Charity Schools and Academies

After the Reformation in England, charity schools opened that were specifically designed to educate orphans and other children whose parents were unable or unwilling to care for them.Footnote 78 The curriculum of these schools varied considerably, but at some music and playacting were a part of the curriculum, and these performance activities served a different purpose than for pupils at boarding schools and grammar schools. Public displays of piety were important – a sign that students were grateful to their benefactors and deserving of charity. Both boys and girls participated in church services at these schools and were taught how to sing psalm tunes, as is borne out by Evelyn’s testimony. Students sometimes paraded forth to attend church services in characteristic uniforms where they were heard singing – a clear attempt to keep them in the public view with an eye to soliciting donations.Footnote 79 It is possible that other charity schools at Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, and Norwich followed similar practices.Footnote 80

These schools were also designed to prepare their students for a trade, and music was thought to teach valuable skills, at least to male pupils. The City of London advertised the musical abilities of their boys at both the charity schools of Bridewell and Christ’s Hospital, indicating that this training made them particularly qualified to be “servants, apprentices, or husbandmen.”Footnote 81 Thus, at these institutions musical and dramatic performance may have served a practical purpose, although apprenticing students to musicians – at least at Christ’s Hospital, founded in 1552 by Edward VI – was thought to be a last resort, only suitable for those who could not be placed elsewhere. A minute of the Court from 1569 states:

that from henceforthe none of the children harbored and kept in this Hospital be put apprentis to any Musissioner other than suche as be blinde or Lame, and not able to be put to other Trades.Footnote 82

Despite this seeming disrespect for music as a profession, from the time of its founding Christ’s Hospital employed a music teacher. John Howes, an early chronicler of the school whose son Edmond was apparently employed as a music master there, documented the importance of music in the curriculum in 1582:

I also thinck it convenient that the children should learne to singe, to play uppon all sorts of instruments, as to sounde the trumpett, the cornett, the recorder or flute, to play uppon shagbolts, shalmes, & all other instruments that are to be plaid uppon, either wth winde or finger, bycause nature yelds her severall gifts and there is an aptness of conceavinge in some more than in other some, and yett every child apt to learne the one or the other, those qualities cannott be greatly chargeable bycause they are the gifts of God in nature, and they are quallities that every honest minde taketh great pleasure and delight in, and no doubt if the children be well tought, plyde, & followed it wilbe a redy meane to preferre a number of them havinge theis quallities.Footnote 83

Initially, the music master’s salary was low (£2. 13s. 4d.),Footnote 84 but in 1609 the stipend increased to £16 per year and later, in 1611, to £20.Footnote 85 His duties were “to teach the art of music to 10 or 12 only of the children,” including pricksong. He also was required to teach the students writing and the catechism. Around this time, virginals, viols, and books were donated to the hospital, costing £10. 6s. 6d., material indications of the importance of musical instruction.Footnote 86

As the grammar school fell into decline in the late seventeenth century, the academy, a new type of school that taught practical skills, including the arts, emerged. In the sixteenth century, French academies had formed to train noblemen in manners, the arts, and military pursuits, and, although several entrepreneurial thinkers had proposed the establishment of academies in England during the reign of Elizabeth, it was not until the seventeenth century that an academy was founded there. Prince Henry, James I’s son, established an academy at Nonesuch that offered a similar curriculum to the French model. After the Prince’s death in 1612, the institution foundered because of lack of patronage. His friend, the Marquis of Buckingham, tried to revive the idea several times in the ensuing decades but was unsuccessful.Footnote 87

English academies offered targeted education in specific areas – grammatical, naval, military, commercial, and technical – which allowed them to enroll both the sons of the gentry interested in classical education and boys from less exalted circumstances who sought marketable skills.Footnote 88 Dramatic performances and music instruction played a significant part in the curriculum offered by some of these schools, such as Musaeum Minervae, opened by Francis Kynaston in 1635 in Bedford Street, London, to train the gentry in “arms and arts,” including instruction in music and dance.Footnote 89 Sadly, little is known about the specific musical activities at such institutions, but there are a few scraps of evidence regarding curriculum. In 1676 composer and violinist John Banister was running an academy in Little Lincoln’s Inn Fields that taught gentlemen languages for their travels as well as
All sorts of Instruments, Singing, and Dancing.
French, and Italian.
The Mathematicks.
Grammar, Writing, and Arithmetick.
Painting, and Drawing.
Fencing, Vaulting, and Wrastling.Footnote 90

Composer Henry Purcell was involved with several London-based academies that taught practical skills as well as the performing arts. In 1689 he wrote Celestial Music (Z322) for the students at Lewis Maidwell’s academy in King Street, Westminster.Footnote 91 On the 22 February 1695, “Royal Academies” were advertised in A Collection for Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, and Purcell was mentioned among the teachers. Supported by “several of the Nobility and many other very Eminent Persons,” 40,000 lottery tickets were to be sold with 2000 winners being able to “choose any of the following Accomplishments they shall have a mind to Learn,” including languages, mathematics, writing, fencing, heraldry, marshal-discipline, japanning, and waxwork.Footnote 92 Apparently, this scheme was open to girls, as the advertisement indicated that “Appartments will be appointed to sort the Learners according to their Age and Sex.”Footnote 93

Indeed, in the second half of the seventeenth century, girls often attended “academies,” although the differences in curriculum and clientele at these institutions, boarding schools, and dancing schools is unclear. For instance, included in New Court-Songs and Poems is a series of pieces associated with the “Academy in St. Bartholomew-Lane.”Footnote 94 Little is known about this academy, but it is possible that it is the same institution that was mentioned in the Protestant (Domestick) Intelligence of 15 February 1681: readers were informed that Mrs. Clerke’s establishment in “Kings Court in Bartholomew-Lane behind the Exchange” had been “removed to Hogsden near Shoreditch.” Music was a major part of the activities at this academy, and, judging from the song texts included in New Court-Songs, most involved solos with choral responses. It also appears that the “ladies” who populated this academy inspired a musical response by an admiring male onlooker:
A SONG, Directed to the Company of Ladies at the Academy in St. Bartholomew-lane
               WHat [sic] shall we do?
               When our Eyes are surrounded
               With Beauties like you,
               Our Hearts must be wounded.
               If we fly from the War,
               Your Darts do o’retake us;
               And if we stay there,
               Your Captives you make us.
               Engaging, or flying, w’are sure to be slain:
               Then who is so mad, such a Fight to maintain!
               And yet, Oh! how sweet
               Are the Wounds of your Glances!
               Then nobly we’l meet,
               Though we fall by your Lances:
               When your Smiles do evince
               That our Death will be pleasant,
               Better die like a Prince,
               Than live like a Peasant.
               If engaging, or flying, we are certain to die,
               ’Tis Courage to Fight, and a Folly to Fly.Footnote 95

Apparently young men attended performances to ogle the “beauties”; clearly there was a circulation of erotic energy at such events, and it is to the controversies, anxieties, and tensions over musical, dramatic, and terpsichorean display that we now turn.

Controversies Over Music, Dance, and Theater

Despite the presence of music, dance, and theatrical performance within early modern educational schema, these arts held a conflicted place within early modern discourses, as we have already seen with regards to the debate over female education. Nevertheless, we must view the prescriptive and polemical literature regarding the performing arts through the appropriate lens – as historian Kenneth Charlton put it, “Prescriptive literature … concerned itself not only with ‘what ought to be the case’ in the future, but also with what was seen to be the best of current practice, just as the flood of complaining, ‘now-a-daies’ polemic so plainly referred to the worst of current practice.”Footnote 96 Bearing these caveats in mind, prescriptive literature and polemics can still provide invaluable insights into the ideological debates that raged over the relationship between the arts and education in early modern England.

Naturally, opinions did not remain static from the late sixteenth century through the beginning of the eighteenth century. Negative attitudes toward the performing arts waxed and waned, reaching their peak around the time of the Civil War.Footnote 97 Despite these shifts, one may still identify fairly consistent attitudes in English discourses throughout the period.

As Linda Austern has shown, authors from a wide range of ideological perspectives were anxious about the deleterious and effeminating effects music had upon male musicians and auditors.Footnote 98 Moralists cautioned men against becoming too proficient in music and frowned at public displays of talent. Following the wisdom of Castiglione, Peacham claimed:

I desire not that any Noble or Gentleman should (save his private recreation at leasurable houres) proove a Master in the same, or neglect his more weighty imployments: though I avouch it a skill worthy the knowledge and exercise of the greatest Prince.Footnote 99

The Puritan polemicist Phillip Stubbes famously remarked:

if you wold have your sonne, soft, womanish, uncleane, smoth mouthed, affected to bawdrie, scurrilitie, filthie rimes, and unsemley talking: brifly, if you wold have him, as it weare transnatured into a woman, or worse, and inclyned to all kinds of whordome and abomination, set him to dauncing school, and to learn musicke, and than shall you not faile of your purpose.Footnote 100

Even the relatively liberal educator Mulcaster admitted that music could be “to[o] great a provoker of vain delites, still laying baite, to drawe on pleasure … bycause it carrieth away the eare with the sweetnesse of the melodie, and bewitcheth the minde, with a Syrenes sounde.”Footnote 101

The pedagogical efficacy of playacting and play reading, particularly for boys, was also debated.Footnote 102 Early in the sixteenth century, Elyot defended the practice, advocating the use of plays by Terence and Plautus, even if these plays contained morally challenging material:

comedies … be undoutedly a picture or as it were a mirrour of mans life. wherin ivell is nat taught but discovered, to the intent that men beholdynge the pmptnes [promptness] of youth unto vice: the snares of harlotts & baudes laide for yonge myndes: the disceipte of servants: the chaunces of fortune cõtrary to menes expectation: they beinge therof warned: may prepare them selfe to resist or prevente occasion … And if the vices in them expressed shulde be cause that myndes of the reders shulde be corrupted: than by the same argumente nat onely entreludes in englisshe, but also sermones wherein some vice is declared, shude be to the beholders and herers like occasion to encreace sinners.Footnote 103

Even some of the most virulent antitheatricalists were not entirely opposed to boys performing at school. John Northbrooke’s Treatise wherein Dicing, Dauncing, Vaine playes … are reproved (1577) lambasted the public stage, but allowed that performance could be useful in very specific pedagogical contexts:

I thinke it is lawfull for a Scholemaister to practise his schollers to play Comedies, observing these and the like cautions. First that those Comedies which they shall play, be not mixt with any ribaudrie and filthie termes and words (which corrupt good manners). Secondly, that it be fore learning and utterance sake, in Latine, and very seldome in Englishe. Thirdly, that they use not to play commonly, and often, but verye rare and seldome. Fourthlye, that they be not pranked and decked up in gorgeous and sumptuous apparel in their play. Fiftly, that it be not made a common exercise publikely for profit and gaine of mony, but for learning and exercise sake.Footnote 104

Still, according to Northbrooke’s criteria, many of the entertainments analyzed in this study would have been deemed “unlawful.”

On the other hand, late sixteenth-century educator Roger Ascham viewed playacting at school, even Terence and Plautus, with suspicion, as the content of their plays set a bad example, although he conceded that they are useful for teaching “word and speach”:

The matter in both [Plautus and Terence], is altogether within the compassed of the meanest mens maners, and doth not stretch to any thing of any great weight at all, but standeth chiefly in utteryng the thoughtes and conditions of hard fathers, foolish mothers, unthrifty yong men, craftie servantes, sotle bawds, and wilie harlots, and so, is moch spend in finding out fine fetches and packing up pelting matters, soch as in London commonlie cum to the hearing of the Masters of Bridewell.Footnote 105

Criticisms that boys’ playacting was frivolous or morally corrupting also appeared in early modern drama. Ben Jonson mocked schoolboy theatricals in The Staple of Newes (1625), although he exempted Terence from scorn:

They make all their schollers Play-boyes! Is’t not a fine sight, to see all our children made Enterluders? Doe wee pay our money for this? wee send them to learn their Grammar, and their Terence, and they learne their play-books?Footnote 106

Similarly, James Shirley lampooned students giving empty speeches at the newly fashionable academies in Love Tricks, performed in 1625 but published in 1631 as The Schoole of Complement. In act 3, the mad Infortunio stumbles across students rehearsing their inflated rhetoric and mistakes them for denizens of Hell: “What, at Barley-breake? which couple are in hell? are you not Hellen, whose insatiate lust ruin’d faire Illium? and you sir Paris with a golden nose?”Footnote 107

There were also moral concerns about teaching girls the performing arts at school. The conflation of music and female sexuality was incredibly common in discourses from the late sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries.Footnote 108 Playwright Robert Greene’s pamphlet A Disputation, Betweene a Hee Conny-catcher, and a Shee Conny-catcher (1592) elucidated the potential moral danger of musically educating women. In the section “The conversion of an English Courtizan,” the narrator describes her early years:

after I grew to be sixe yeeres olde, [I] was sette to Schoole, where I profited so much, that I writ and read excellently well, playd upon the virginals, Lute & Cytron, and could sing prick-song at the first sight: in so much, as by that time I was twelve yeeres olde, I was holden for the most faire, and best qualitied young girle in all that Countrey, but with this, bewailed of my wel-wishers, in that my parents suffered me to be so wanton.Footnote 109

In contemporary stage plays singing and dancing female characters were frequently associated with sexual promiscuity as well.Footnote 110 Given such associations, musical and terpsichorean performances by schoolgirls – even toward pedagogical ends – could have been titillating for the audience, calling the students’ chastity into question.

Anxieties over female performance took a variety of forms. Sometimes female dancing and singing was derided for taking time away from learning skills necessary to be a good housewife. In the anonymous play The Wit of a Woman (1604), fathers debate the value of the musical and dancing instruction their daughters receive at school.

Fe. Yea but what thinke you of dauncing and singing?

Grin. Pretty qualities, the one to bee witche them that heare them, the other to heare such as will talke with them, and under the shape of a man, to hear a Devill in a Maske.

Fe. Oh you are an old Colt, but yet, speake more charitably: the use is it that makes or marres, the qualities are decent and necessary.

Gi. Yea but they marre huswifery, they drawe companie, and aske cost.Footnote 111

For female students, there was also the danger of a romantic liaison with a teacher or of becoming his sexual prey, situations that frequently arose when music and dance instructors worked closely with their charges. In 1685 Edmund French wrote to Henry Fauconberge, secretary to William Sandcroft, the archbishop of Canterbury, to inform him that his Grace’s niece had run away from school with her married dancing master:

This is to informe you that Mrs Alethea Brame went away with one Willm Oram, alias Orme a danceing mastr that belong’d to Saxmundham Schoole where she and her two youngr Sistrs were.Footnote 112

Versions of this real-life situation played out repeatedly on the public stage. In the aforementioned The Wit of a Woman, Balia, a schoolmistress, has four pupils that are sought after by two sets of suitors – one youthful and one elderly. The youthful lovers infiltrate the school to woo the girls, disguising themselves as a physician, a singing and dancing master, a rhetorician, and a painter. Balia makes a crucial error of judgment when she allows these youthful male teachers unfettered access to her charges.Footnote 113 After the Restoration, Thomas D’Urfey’s play Love for Money: Or, The Boarding School (1691) provided another fictionalized version of this situation, as young women cavort in a not-so-innocent fashion with their music and dance instructors. D’Urfey had been in residence at Josias Priest’s school in Chelsea and had even written an epilogue for their performance of Henry Purcell and Nahum Tate’s Dido and Aeneas. Although D’Urfey protested that he might as well have set the play in York as Chelsea,Footnote 114 some of his contemporaries clearly interpreted his play as a roman à clef, if we are to believe his defensive preface:Footnote 115

I confess, if what has been malitiously told to some Persons of Honour (Judges of Sense and Gratitude) to whom I’ve the happiness to be known, were true, viz. That I liv’d at a Boarding School near London all last Summer and in return of their hospitable Civility, writ this Play ungratefully to expose ’em, I could not defend my self from being really as guilty as they must naturally think me.Footnote 116

Given the lascivious content of the play, D’Urfey’s claims of innocence seem dubious. The singing master Semibrief and the dancing master Coopee are engaged in inappropriate relationships with their students Molly and Jenny, as they plot to elope with them for their own financial gain. As one character remarks upon discovering the girls have already married, “This comes of putting Girls to a Boarding-School.”Footnote 117 In act 2, scene 2 the elopement plan is foreshadowed through song and dance as Coopee performs a bawdy minuet song for Jenny that conflates sexual and monetary exchange in the crassest terms:
If you will love me Misse, tholl loll loll loll
You shall dance rarely Childe, tholl loll loll,
You are a Fortune Misse, tholl loll loll
And must be Married Child, tholl loll loll
Give me your Money Misse, tholl loll loll
Then I will give you my, hoh tholl la.Footnote 118

This song was sufficiently popular that it also circulated as a broadside ballad, a demonstration of how potent the combination of pedagogy and sexual impropriety was in the early modern English imagination.Footnote 119

Sometimes the criticisms of female performance followed religious and party lines. Girls’ boarding schools tended to educate the daughters of cavaliers and later Tories, while Puritans and Whigs preferred to educate their daughters at home through Bible study and practical training in the domestic arts.Footnote 120 For instance, the Puritan Joseph Lister described his refusal to be a servant in a Hackney boarding school in the 1650s, as he disapproved of young gentlewomen learning to “play and dance and sing, which did not at all suit with me.”Footnote 121 After the Restoration, some Whigs reviled opera and were deeply suspicious of such performances at school. In a letter to Mary Clarke, wife of a Whig member of Parliament, Mrs. A. Buck lamented the state of London education, mentioning boarding schools at Hackney and Kensington before citing D’Urfey’s play: “Att present all schoolls are redicul’d: they have latly made a Play cal’d The Boarding School.” She also held up the performances at Priest’s school for particular disapprobation: “Preists att Little Chelsey was one which was much commended; but he hath lately had an Opera, which I’me sure hath done him a great injury; & the Parents of the Children not satisfied with so Publick a show.”Footnote 122

Pedagogy and Performance

It is difficult to generalize about this “Publick.” Who constituted the audience for pedagogical performances? The surviving material evidence is scant – a few letters from relatives of students, eyewitness accounts from famous diarists such as Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, brief mentions in paratexts about who participated and who was in attendance (“family,” “parents,” “friends” or aristocratic dedicatees and patrons), a couple of tantalizing suggestions that male suitors attended performances at boarding schools and academies for young ladies. Despite the paucity of evidence, one generalization can safely be made: the audience for pedagogical entertainments was often broader than just doting parents.

Audience members also understood these performances in radically different ways. Evelyn’s reaction to the psalm singing at Christ’s Hospital cited at the opening of this chapter is a world away from Mrs. A. Buck’s disdainful remark about the “Publick” opera at Priest’s school. In considering pedagogical performance, then, whether before a single teacher or a schoolroom full of observers, one must bear in mind the widely disparate views about the educational virtues and the moral vices associated with these arts. For parents and some teachers, the students’ performances may have been understood as innocent diversions, tools for teaching them declamation, music, dance, and appropriate modes of gendered performance. For observers of a more antitheatrical bent, student performance might lead to the degradation of impressionable youth and invite lasciviousness, dangerously blurring the line between public theatricals and pedagogical exercises. For perspective suitors, the schoolroom was an erotically charged environment: a place where “beauties” might be observed and admired, where future wives might be sought.

These divergent reactions also point toward the interstitial, liminal nature of the schoolroom as performance space. The schoolroom might be haunted by the church, the court, the bawdry of the public stage. Indeed, music and entertainments that had been performed elsewhere were frequently imported into the schoolroom, and children sometimes performed outside the schoolroom as well, taking their student identity with them even as they performed in a London street, at court, at church, or outdoors by a river. Inevitably, the memory of other performing contexts, other performing bodies, other performing spaces must have inflected performances at school. Marvin Carlson has argued that the memory of past roles, past performers, and past performance contexts do not fade – they haunt the performative present, a phenomenon he refers to as ghosting: “ghosting presents the identical thing … encountered before, although now in a somewhat different context.”Footnote 123

And yet, as this book will also explore, child performers could never exactly recapitulate what happened elsewhere: there were always gaps – sometimes uncomfortable gaps. The process of “how culture reproduces and re-creates itself” in different contexts through embodied performance is called “surrogation” by Joseph Roach:

Because collective memory works selectively, imaginatively, and often perversely, surrogation rarely if ever succeeds … the fit cannot be exact. The intended substitute either cannot fulfill expectations, creating a deficit, or actually exceeds them, creating a surplus.Footnote 124

For instance, there was an obvious counterfeit when a boy played an adult male – a fluting treble declaimed dialogue and sang, aurally revealing a lack of maturity. Or a child might surprise the audience with a talent rendered exceptional precisely because of age or gender; as Michael Witmore put it, the adept child performer’s sophisticated ability to “reproduce, nearly automatically, adult expressions and behaviors in diminutive form … implied that mimesis became art when it occurred on a smaller scale.”Footnote 125

Regardless of proficiency level, child performers at school were neither amateurs nor professionals. Christopher Marsh, finding such designations anachronistic for the early modern period, proposed the useful categories occupational and recreational instead, but those who sang, danced, and acted in a pedagogical context evaded this binary as well.Footnote 126 Students did not necessarily perform for personal pleasure, nor did they perform for their own financial gain; rather they exhibited their talents at the command of their masters, to practice various skills, to entertain important visitors, to advertise the school, and to demonstrate their proficiency before parents, relatives, schoolmasters, and others. I try to recover the individuality and agency of these child performers whenever possible, heeding Kate Chedgzoy’s observation that “children are best understood not as an undifferentiated ‘they,’ but rather as diverse and multiple ‘Is’ and ‘yous’,” even as the gaps in my archive sometimes make this challenging.Footnote 127

This chapter has described how performance might mold and improve the young and the role the arts played in schools more generally: these activities allowed students to rehearse their adult identities, learn appropriate gendered behaviors, envoice their religiosity through pious singing, and dance elegantly to signal their class status and health.Footnote 128 In subsequent chapters I will consider how the composition of the audience, the nature of the performance space, and the singing and dancing bodies of children and their teachers might destabilize, complicate, and even potentially undermine these pedagogical intentions. How did early moderns, ostensibly so concerned about inculcating prevailing gender and class values in their children, understand students’ acting, singing, and dancing with those of the opposite sex or those of another class (a schoolmaster, an occupational musician)? What if things did not go to plan or the children rebelled or were disruptive? As mentioned previously, for students to become good orators or skilled performers, they needed to fully embody the characters they sought to portray, imitating their voices, mimicking facial expressions, and adopting their ways of moving. Given the slippage between role and actor, what might the moral implications be if a schoolgirl portrayed a witch, channeling the same passions as a creature that contradicted the values the school purported to instill?Footnote 129 What of a young gentleman who played an errant scholar? As Roach wisely put it, “The passions are easily summoned from the lower regions, but, like devils, once summoned they are not so easily put back.”Footnote 130 The next chapter considers how musical instruction and religious indoctrination went hand-in-glove at grammar and charity schools, and how spiritual intentions were sometimes thwarted by unruly passions in performance.


1 John Evelyn, The Diary of John Evelyn, ed. E.S. de Beer, vol. 4 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1955), 542.

2 Rosamond O’Day, Education and Society, 1500–1800: The Social Foundations of Education in Early Modern Britain (London: Longman, 1982), 3.

3 O’Day, Education and Society, 4. On childhood and the periods of life, see also Philippe Ariès, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life, trans. Robert Baldick (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), 1549.

4 Kenneth Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education in Early Modern England (London: Routledge, 1999), 1011. Paul Griffiths noted that the “boundary between childhood, youth, and adulthood were sometimes blurred”; see Youth and Authority: Formative Experiences in England, 1560–1640 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 32. See also Ariès’s influential study, Centuries of Childhood.

5 Ilana Krausman Ben-Amos, Adolescence and Youth in Early Modern England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 55 and O’Day, Education and Society, 62.

6 The age when people took up apprenticeships varied; Carol Kazmierczak Manzione, Christ’s Hospital of London, 1552–1598: “A Passing Deed of Pity” (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1995), 147150.

7 Edmund told his son Edmund Jr. in a letter dated 2 February 1687/8 that he owed Mrs. Priest money and “could not pay Her and I ow hur Aboud 20 pounds for your sister … I do not intend to send you[r] sister to skool any moore.” The British Library holds a microfilm copy of the Verney correspondence, and this letter can be found on the reel with the shelfmark M636/42.

8 Griffiths, Youth and Authority, 34; Alexandra Shepard, Meanings of Manhood in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 24. On the potential unruliness of early modern girlhood, see Deanne Williams, Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 46 and Jennifer Higginbotham, The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Sisters: Gender, Transgression, Adolescence (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013), particularly chapter 2.

9 See, for example, Griffiths, Youth and Authority, 27–30. For an overview of the relationship between gender and pedagogy, see Kathryn M. Moncrief and Kathryn R. McPherson, “‘Shall I teach you to know?’: Intersections of Pedagogy, Performance and Gender,” in Performing Pedagogy in Early Modern England: Gender, Instruction, and Performance, ed. Kathryn M. Moncrief and Kathryn R. McPherson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 117.

10 As Anthony Fletcher pointed out, a small number of noblewomen were given a classical education – they were tutored at home; Gender, Sex, and Subordination in England, 1500–1800 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 366–67. For Mulcaster’s views on the education of women, see Positions wherein those Primitive Circumstances be Examined, which are Necessary for the Training Up of Children (London, 1581), 166183.

11 An earlier version of this section appears in Amanda Eubanks Winkler, “Schoolboy Performance in the Post-Reformation North-East,” in Music of the North-East, ed. Stephanie Carter, Kirsten Gibson, and Roz Southey (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, Forthcoming).

12 Stow’s Survey of London (1603) lists citizens of London who founded grammar schools. Many were from the merchant class, although sometimes yeomen founded schools. Foster Watson, The Old Grammar Schools, rept edn (London: Frank Cass, 1968), 46–49.

13 O’Day, Education and Society, 27.

14 Footnote Ibid., 19. Unfortunately, corruption sometimes undermined benevolence: “the parents who could afford to pay bribed the teachers to ensure places and preferential treatment for their children in school.” See also Foster Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice, rept edn (London: Frank Cass, 1968), 23.

15 Co-education of the sexes in grammar school was common enough in the sixteenth century that educational theorist Mulcaster found it necessary to argue against it; O’Day, Education and Society, 185 and Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 132.

16 GB-LRO DX/94/98, “Register, containing lists of scholars 1615–1833.”

17 Watson, The English Grammar Schools, 531.

18 Lynn Enterline, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom: Rhetoric, Discipline, Emotion (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), 15. As Richard Halpern observed, schools “transform[ed] both the ruling groups and the very nature of class distinction,” The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation: English Renaissance Culture and the Genealogy of Capital (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991), 25.

19 Henry Peacham, The Compleat Gentleman: Fashioning him absolute in the most necessary & commendable Qualities concerning Minde or Bodie that may be required in a Noble Gentleman (London, 1622), 18.

20 Enterline, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, 4.

21 Fletcher, Gender, Sex, and Subordination, 299–300; Watson, The English Grammar Schools, 5; Shepard, Meanings of Manhood, 70. But, as O’Day noted, sometimes grammar schools shaped their curricula to meet the needs of a socio-economically diverse student body, Education and Society, 62–64.

22 Watson, The English Grammar Schools, 531–532.

23 Enterline, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, particularly 39–40 and Keith Thomas, Rule and Misrule in the Schools of Early Modern England (Reading: University of Reading, 1976), 58.

24 From Hoskyns unpublished commonplace book, Direccõns For Speech and Style, written sometime between 1598 and 1603; Louise Brown Osborn, The Life, Letters, and Writings of John Hoskyns, 1566–1638, rept edn (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1973), 116.

25 Ursula Potter, “Performing Arts in the Tudor Classroom,” in Tudor Drama Before Shakespeare, 1485–1590, ed. Lloyd Edward Kermode, Jason Scott-Warren, and Martine van Elk (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 144. As Bernarr Rainbow noted, Erasmus did not advocate for musical instruction in schools or the singing of elaborate church music by students, and this may have led to schools omitting music from the curriculum. Erasmus did, however, recommend psalm singing; Bernarr Rainbow and Gordon Cox, Music in Educational Thought and Practice: A Survey from 800 BC (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2006), 5758.

26 Charles Hoole, A New Discovery of the old Art of Teaching Schoole, In four small Treatises (London, 1660), 142, 257; Thomas, Rule and Misrule, 8.

27 Hoole, A New Discovery, 142.

28 On Castiglione’s influence upon the role of music in a gentleman and gentlewoman’s education, see Pamela F. Starr, “Music Education and the Conduct of Life in Early Modern England: A Review of the Sources,” in Music Education in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, ed. Russell E. Murray Jr., Susan Forscher Weiss, and Cynthia J. Cyrus (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010), 195. On music instruction during this period more generally, see Rainbow and Cox, Music in Educational Thought and Practice, 72–110.

29 Thomas Elyot, The boke named the Gouernour (London, 1531), fol. 24r. For more on Elyot’s opinions on musical education, see fols. 21v–24r.

30 On Mulcaster’s view of music as exercise, see Positions, 59–60.

31 Sir James Whitelocke, Liber Famelicus of Sir James Whitelocke, A Judge of the Court of King’s Bench in the Reigns of James I. and Charles I., ed. John Bruce (London: Camden Society, 1858), 12.

32 Charles Butler, The Principles of Musik, in Singing and Setting: with The two-fold Use therof, [Ecclesiasticall and Civil] (London, 1636), 2v.

33 Thomas Morley, A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, set downe in forme of a dialogue (London, 1597), [1].

34 Watson, The English Grammar Schools, 330.

35 John Playford, The English Dancing Master (London, 1651), preface.

36 Skiles Howard, “Rival Discourses of Dancing in Early Modern England,” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 36, 1 (1996): 33.

37 Sir John Davies, Orchestra or a Poeme of Dauncing. Judicially proouing the true observation of time and measure, in the Authenticall and laudable use of Dauncing (London, 1596), [C5r].

38 Edward Waterhouse, Fortescutus Illustratus (London, 1663), 534.

40 On the role of dance in early modern education, see Barbara Ravelhofer, The Early Stuart Masque: Dance, Costume, and Music (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 21; Howard, “Rival Discourses,” 32–33; Skiles Howard, The Politics of Courtly Dancing in Early Modern England (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998).

41 Davies, Orchestra, C2r.

42 Quoted in W. Reavley Gair, The Children of Paul’s: The Story of a Theatre Company, 1553–1608 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 3.

43 Enterline, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, 41–43.

44 GB-LRO DDX/94/95, 96v.

45 GB-CHC PA 14/11/4, 1.

46 CHC PA 14/11/4, 3.

47 CHC PA 14/11/4, 7.

48 For instance, Richard Drayton was appointed singing master in 1737 and served until 1771 when Jacob Bright took his place. Upon his death no one was appointed to that “office or situation”; it appears the music master position became defunct. CHC PA 14/11/4, 7.

49 Enterline discussed the shift from older medieval schemes to Renaissance notions of education in Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, chapter 1. Rebecca Herissone investigated imitatio with regards to musical instruction in chapter 1 of Musical Creativity in Restoration England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

50 Potter, “Performing Arts in the Tudor Classroom,” 152. For more on the connection between acting, rhetoric, and the body, see Joseph R. Roach, The Player’s Passion: Studies in the Science of Acting, rept edn (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993), 2357.

51 Richard Schechner, Between Theatre and Anthropology (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985), 36.

52 Quoted in Enterline, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, 4.

53 O’Day, Education and Society, 199–200.

55 For an overview of these attitudes, see Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 10–56.

56 O’Day discussed this with regards to Vives and More; see Education and Society, 184. Locke and Law thought it necessary for women to receive a more thorough education, as according to their preferred educational scheme mothers should educate their children at home for the first eight to ten years of their lives; see p. 188.

57 On the domestic education of girls, see Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 106–118, 126–131.

58 Mulcaster, Positions, 174–175.

59 John Dury, The Reformed School (London, [1650]), 20. Dury (sometimes spelled Durie) was closely aligned with Oliver Cromwell’s government during this period; see John T. Young, “Durie, John (1596–1680),” ODNB (accessed 25 January 2020). Dury strongly disapproved of the education received by women in fashionable boarding schools; Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 133.

60 Dorothy Gardiner, English Girlhood at School: A Study of Women’s Education through Twelve Centuries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1929), 194201.

61 Norma McMullen, “The Education of English Gentlewomen, 1540–1640,” History of Education 6, 2 (1977): 94.

62 US-Ws, Ferrers papers, L.e.644. For a modern transcription of the relevant portions of the letter, see O’Day, Education and Society, 186.

63 O’Day, Education and Society, 187. See also Gardiner, English Girlhood at School, 217. Gardiner suspected that “Amye” was a Huguenot name; many refugees from the Continent opened schools in England after the Reformation.

64 GB-LRO DDKE/acc. 7840 HMC/201.

65 As mentioned previously, Edmund Verney had to withdraw his daughter from school because of financial difficulties. For more on Molly Verney and Priest’s school, see Jennifer Thorp, “Dance in Late 17th-Century London: Priestly Muddles,” Early Music 26, 2 (1998): 202204; Bryan White, “Letter from Aleppo: Dating the Chelsea School Performance of Dido and Aeneas,” Early Music 37, 3 (2009): 421422 and the Verney correspondence at the British Library, microfilms with the shelfmarks 636/1–60 (particularly the reels from 1682–1693). See also Susan E. Whyman, Sociability and Power in Late-Stuart England: The Cultural Worlds of the Verneys 1660–1720 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

66 Dury, The Reformed School, 20.

67 [Bathsua Makin], An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen (London, 1673), 4.

69 For more on Makin, see Frances Teague, Bathsua Makin, Women of Learning (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1998).

70 Ben-Amos, Adolescence and Youth, 133; O’Day, Education and Society, 186–187.

71 Charlton noted a wide range of ages when girls began school, Women, Religion and Education, 136–141. On the age of consent in marriage, see Keith Thomas, “Age and Authority in Early Modern England,” Proceedings of the British Academy 62 (1976): 225.

72 Deanne Williams described girlhood as a site of potential resistance; Shakespeare and the Performance of Girlhood, 4–6. As Jennifer Higginbotham observed, marriage marked the end of girlhood; The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Sisters, 9.

73 Quoted in Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 140.

74 McMullen, “The Education of English Gentlewomen,” 96–97. Secular authors such as Dante, Massinger, Shirley, Sidney, and Shakespeare were also questionable; see Edel Lamb, “‘Shall we playe the good girles’: Playing Girls, Performing Girlhood on Early Modern Stages,” Renaissance Drama 44, 1 (2016): 7577.

75 On rhetoric and female education, see Catherine R. Eskin, “The Rei(g)ning of Women’s Tongues in English Books of Instruction and Rhetorics,” in Women’s Education in Early Modern Europe: A History, 1500–1800, ed. Barbara J. Whitehead, Studies in the History of Education (New York: Garland, 1999), 101132.

76 O’Day, Education and Society, 187.

77 Karen Britland argued that Madame Coniack was Elizabeth Coignet, one of Henrietta Maria’s ladies, while Mistress Shepherd was the child Anne Sheppard, who was associated with Philip Herbert, fourth earl of Pembroke and the king’s lord chamberlain; Drama at the Courts of Queen Henrietta Maria (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 92, 96.

78 Charlton, Women, Religion, and Education, 148–149.

79 On the characteristic uniforms and singing, see Gardiner, English Girlhood at School, 303, 306. The Easter Psalms sung by the children of Christ’s Hospital are an obvious example, as discussed in chapter 2.

81 Quoted in Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660, 214.

82 Quoted in Ernest Harold Pearce, Annals of Christ’s Hospital (London: Methuen & Co., 1901), 135.

83 Quoted in Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660, 214–215.

84 John Howes’ MS., 1582, Being “a brief note of the order and manner of the proceedings in the first erection of” The Three Royal Hospitals of Christ, Bridewell & St. Thomas the Apostle, ed. William Lempriere (London: Septimus Vaughan Morgan, 1904), 36.

85 N.M. Plumley, The Organs and Music Masters of Christ’s Hospital, The Christ’s Hospital Papers I ([Horsham]: Christ’s Hospital, 1981), 2.

86 Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660, 214.

87 Patricia-Ann Lee, “Some English Academies: An Experiment in the Education of Renaissance Gentlemen,” History of Education Quarterly 10, 3 (1970): 275276. For a broad overview of academies with a particular eye toward the relationship between religious non-conformity and these institutions, see Irene Parker, Dissenting Academies in England: Their Rise and Progress and their Place among the Educational Systems of the Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914).

88 O’Day, Education and Society, 209.

89 On this academy, see subsequent chapters, as well as Jean E. Howard’s discussion in Theater of a City: The Places of London Comedy, 1598–1642 (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 186192.

90 Musick: or a Parley of Instruments. The First Part (London, 1676), [15]. Only GB-Lbl 11621. f.31 has this advertisement.

91 A partial autograph of this manuscript survives, GB-Lbl R.M.20.h.8. For more on Lewis Maidwell and his academy, see Bryan White, “Music for a ‘brave livlylike boy’: The Duke of Gloucester, Purcell and ‘The noise of foreign wars’,” The Musical Times 148, 1901 (2007): 7980. On Maidwell, see John Barnard and Paul Hammond, “Dryden and a Poem for Lewis Maidwell,” Times Literary Supplement (25 May 1984), 586.

92 A Collection for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, vol. 6, no. 134 (Friday, 22 February 1694/5).

93 Footnote Ibid. For a full account of the Academies and their failure, see Michael Tilmouth, “The Royal Academies of 1695,” Music and Letters 38, 4 (1957): 327334. Tilmouth speculated that the method of gaining admittance by lottery made the public suspicious (p. 333).

94 I thank Andrew Walkling for bringing this academy to my attention.

95 R[obert] V[eel], New Court-Songs and Poems (London, 1672), 138.

96 Charlton, Women, Religion and Education, 2.

97 Christopher Marsh made a similar point in Music and Society in Early Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 2324.

98 Linda Phyllis Austern, “‘Sing Againe Syren’: The Female Musician and Sexual Enchantment in Elizabethan Life and Literature,” Renaissance Quarterly 42, 3 (1989): 420448; Austern, “‘Alluring the Auditorie to Effeminacie’: Music and the Idea of the Feminine in Early Modern England,” Music and Letters 74, 3 (1993): 343354.

99 Peacham, The Compleat Gentleman, 98–99. See also Linda Austern’s discussion of male music-making in “Domestic Song and the Circulation of Masculine Social Energy in Early Modern England,” in Gender and Song in Early Modern England, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Katherine R. Larson (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014), 123138.

100 Phillip Stubbes, The Anatomie of Abuses: Contayning a Discoverie, of Vices in a Verie Famous Ilande called Ailgna (London, 1583), O4vO5r.

101 Mulcaster, Positions, 38.

102 Jonathan Walker argued that academic drama was “virtually immune” to antitheatrical criticism; as this section suggests, this was not entirely the case. See Learning to Play” in Early Modern Academic Drama, ed. Jonathan Walker and Paul D. Streufert (Farnham: Ashgate, 2008), 56.

103 Elyot, The boke named the Governour, G2r–v.

104 [John Northbrooke], Spiritus est vicarius Christi in terra: A Treatise wherein Dicing, Dauncing, Vaine playes or Enterluds with other idle pastimes &c. commonly used on the Sabboth day, are reproved by the Authoritie of the word of God and auntient writers (London, [1577]), 76.

105 Roger Ascham, The Scolemaster Or plaine and perfite way of teachyng children, to understand, write, and speake, the Latin tong (London, 1570), 59r.

106 Ben Jonson, The Staple of Newes (London, 1631), 49–50.

107 J[ames] Shirley, The Schoole of Complement (London, 1631), 36. Shirley later used the judgment of Paris story for one of his school theatricals, The Triumph of Beautie (as discussed in subsequent chapters). For more on plays critiquing the academies, see Howard, Theater of a City, 184–200.

108 Austern, “‘Sing Againe Syren’,” and Austern, “‘Alluring the Auditorie to Effeminacie’.”

109 R[ichard] G[reene], A Disputation, Betweene a Hee Conny-catcher, and a Shee Conny-catcher, whether a Theefe or a Whoore, is most hurtfull in Cousonage, to the Common-wealth (London, 1592), D2r.

110 Amanda Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 63113; Rochelle SmithAdmirable Musicians: Women’s Songs in Othello and The Maid’s Tragedy,” Comparative Drama 28, 3 (1994): 311323; Leslie C. Dunn, “Ophelia’s Songs in Hamlet: Music, Madness, and the Feminine,” in Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Nancy A. Jones (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 5064; Linda Phyllis Austern, “‘No Women Are Indeed’: The Boy Actor as Vocal Seductress in Late Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century English Drama,” in Embodied Voices, 83–102.

111 A Pleasant Comoedie, Wherein is merily shewen: The wit of a Woman (London, 1604), [B3v]. As the Malone Society edition indicates, the character names are inconsistently applied and the dramatis personae is incomplete, but this is clearly a dialogue between fathers; see The Wit of a Woman 1604 ([London]: The Malone Society, 1913), ix.

112 GB-Ob MS Rawl. Letters 59, 343r.

113 For a plot summary as well as a discussion of the problems with the play, see June J. Morgan, “Toward a Textual Study of The Wit of a Woman,” Emporia State Research Studies 14/15 (1966): 850. See also Jean Lambert, “Early Modern Educational Culture: The Wit of a Woman,” in Performing Pedagogy in Early Modern England, 131–145. Lambert made the point about Balia’s “error” on p. 137.

114 Thomas D’Urfey, Love for Money: Or, The Boarding School (London, 1691), [A3v].

115 D’Urfey’s play clearly struck a nerve, as an anonymous author published Wit for Money: Or Poet Stutter (London, 1691), a dialogue that satirized D’Urfey and particularly Love for Money.

116 D’Urfey, Love for Money, [A3r].

119 A Excellent New Play-House Song Called, Love for Money: Or, The Boarding School ([London], [c. 1691]). The ballad version has more verses and slightly different words. Jennifer Thorp explored the dubious reputation of dancing masters in “‘Borrowed Grandeur and Affected Grace’: Perceptions of the Dancing-Master in Early Eighteenth-Century England,” Music in Art 36, 12 (Dance and Image) (2011): 927.

120 Gardiner, English Girlhood at School, 234–236.

121 The Autobiography of Joseph Lister, of Bradford in Yorkshire, ed. Thomas Wright (London: John Russell Smith, 1842), 32.

122 GB-TAr DD/SF 3106. Mark Goldie provided a transcription and discussion of the letter, “The Earliest Notice of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas,” Early Music 20, 3 (1992): 393400.

123 Marvin Carlson, The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory Machine (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001), 7.

124 Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 2.

125 Michael Witmore, Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007), 6.

126 Marsh, Music and Society. As Marsh focused exclusively on music, he discussed only occupational and recreational musicians; however, his terminology can be applied to the other performing arts.

127 See Kate Chedgzoy, “Introduction: ‘What are they children?’,” in Shakespeare and Childhood, ed. Kate Chedgzoy, Suzanne Greenhalgh, and Robert Shaughnessy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 28.

128 Edel Lamb makes a similar point about the educative function of performance in the boys’ companies in London in Performing Childhood in the Early Modern Theatre: The Children’s Playing Companies (1599–1613) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 92117.

129 Caroline Bicks asked a similar question with regards to the English girls who performed plays in Mary Ward’s Jesuit convent schools; “Instructional Performances: Ophelia and the Staging of History,” in Performing Pedagogy in Early Modern England, 206.

130 Roach, The Player’s Passion, 47.

Figure 0

Figure 1.1 Mrs. Priest’s Bill to Edmund Verney, 20 January 1685

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