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Newly Published

'so excellent a Work'

These words are taken from a letter Queen Anne wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on 20 August 1711.  She was referring to the many schools for poor children which had been founded over the previous decade, financed by local charity.  Seven months earlier, one such school had been set up in the Royal Liberty of Havering.

Ninety years later the irascible and eccentric Rev'd Andrew Bell began a  second charitable campaign to establish a Church of England school in every English parish.  This created the National Schools, many of which survive today.  A year or two later his rival, the equally fascinating and repellant Quaker Joseph Lancaster, began a similar campaign to found non-conformist schools across the country.  This created a sectarian feud which would extend to the Americas and last throughout the 19th century.  

Meanwhile, parliament consistently rejected any proposal to fund public education with public money. 


'so excellent a Work' explores these developments against the background of 18th century and Regency society, and through the prism of the Charity School in the Royal Liberty.

Revised Index

The author and publisher apologise that in the production of the first edition of this book the index file was corrupted and a number of early copies were printed before this error was seen and rectified.  The correct index is available to download here.

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