Brentwoodian 2022

A day in the life of... I woke up well before dawn, relishing those final moments in bed until I saw the first glimmers of light. Last week we had to be in the schoolroom at six o’clock to escape Master Plumtree’s birch. Today, thankfully, it’s a seven o’clock start. I grab a few sheets of paper and leave home, eating some dry bread on the way. As the chapel clock comes into view, I see that it is almost seven - it is time to run! I don’t want to be birched on a Monday morning. I just make it in time, taking off my cap and bowing as I enter. The fire is lit, but it is only flickering and the room is cold. We chant Latin prayers on our knees. Then up to sit on the benches. From now on, no English is allowed to be spoken. Firstly, there is a test on the sermon from yesterday, and then one on what we did last week. We are careful to not look hesitant, otherwise we will get picked on by Master Plumtree, and that can lead to a birching. At last we get to nine o’clock and have a short break, and I munch on some bread and raisins I remembered to bring. We stop working when Master Plumtree consults the hour glass and thinks it is eleven o’clock. At eleven I go home for dinner, then back by one o’clock for another four hours in the afternoon. We learn some Latin verse, and all get a subject for a composition to write on Friday. For the moment, we are learning a Latin piece by Cato. We recite it, translate it into English and then translate back into original Latin. It helps so much when you can remember what the original piece was! Eventually Master Plumtree reckons it is five o’clock - we are all looking longingly at his hourglass. It is time for prayers when we kneel again and repeat what the master tells us, and this is the pattern six days a week. Brentwood schoolboy in 1622, aged 11 22