Chantry of St Mary

Painting by Archer, from the collection of the Duke of Northumberland

The Chantry was established in 1448 under license from Henry VI and endowed by the Earl of Northumberland and others. It housed two chaplains whose role was to pray for the souls of the King and its founders.

A requirement on the Chantry’s was that one of the priests should instruct poor local boys, children of the burgesses, in grammar, free of charge. An apartment in the chantry served as a schoolroom.

After the Reformation, which saw the dissolution of the Chantry, one of the masters continued to teach in the Grammar School. Eventually in the 1600s the burgesses took over the funding of the school themselves and education moved to a building in Pottergate.

Little now remains other than the wall along Walkergate, which is much patched.