Winchester College is one of England's best known public schools, mean a fee-paying private residential secondary school. Winchester is not the oldest school in England. It is, hoever, the oldest school in contuinual operation. William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, founded the school (14th century). William served as Chancellor to Edward III and Richard II, the boy king. The foundation charter was granted in 1382. Construction of the buildings began in 1387 providing what are now sone of the oldest and most destinctive medieval school buildings continully in use. William was one of England's great medieval architectural and artistic patrons. The Winchester buildings are an architectural treasure.
Winchester and New College Oxford were in the 14th century schools on an unheard of level. It is the oldest of the original nine English public schools. The school thus served as a model for for Eton and King's College, Cambridge, two other major public schools (15th cebntury). The first actual scholars arrived in 1394. Scholars meant bright boys from modest families being provided a charity education. The school at its beginning had a Warden (headmaster) and 10 Fellows, 2 schoolmasters, 3 chaplains, 70 Scholars and 16ixteen Quiristers (choristers). Note that there were more chaplains than scchoolmasters, presumsably the boys' religious training was thorough. Most of the original buildings and insitutions still exist. The archives of the College provide aunique historical record of education from the late-medieval era to modern day. The Pilgrims' School is a preparatory school which care for the younger boy. The quiristers now attend the Pilgrim's School and they continue to sing in original Chapel. Winchester College now has 70 scholars and 600 'Commoners' who are taught by 80 full-time teachers or 'dons'.
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