On this day in history : 12th September 1440 – Eton College is founded by Henry VI to provide free education for 70 poor boys – who would then go on to King’s College, Cambridge – which he also founded….

Statue of founder King Henry VI in Eton College Quadrangle

Eton was founded as Kynges College of Our Ladye of Eton beside Windsor…. The earliest records held by the college date to the 1500s…. The students had a strict, spartan and gruelling routine…. Their day would begin at 5am, prayers would be chanted whilst they prepared themselves for the day ahead – at 6am their lessons began, which were all in Latin…. They were supervised by prefects – or ‘praepostors’ – senior boys who had been appointed by the headmaster….

The boys only had one hour of recreation per day…. It seems that football was a favourite game; according to a Latin translation from 1519 it was known as playing with ‘a bag full of wynde’…. Lessons ended at 8pm and there were just two holidays per year, Christmas and Summer….

Eton College by Loggan, 1690 – Public domain

Eton College is nowadays one of England’s most prestigious and largest independent secondary schools, with attendance fees in the region of £42K per year…. It has produced twenty of the nation’s prime ministers, including Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson….

Image credit : diamond geezer via flickr

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