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Hoole, Charles (1610–1667), schoolmaster and author, was born in Wakefield, the son of Charles Hoole. He attended Wakefield Free Grammar School under Robert Doughty, and in 1628, supported by his kinsman Robert Sanderson (the future bishop of Lincoln), entered Lincoln College, Oxford. He graduated BA in 1632, proceeded MA in 1636, and was ordained. Through Sanderson's influence he was appointed master of the free grammar school at Rotherham and began the work which was to make him one of the most noted of seventeenth-century teachers and educational writers. In 1642 he became rector of Great Ponton in Lincolnshire, but his royalist sympathies led to his sequestration and departure for London about 1646, although he was cited before the committee for plundered ministers on 21 July 1647 for trying to collect tithes from his former parish. On his returning to educational work, he was successively master of two private grammar schools in London, one off Aldersgate and the other in Lothbury, near the Royal Exchange. At an unknown date he seems to have married: the preface to his 1659 publication mentions a child who had died.

Hoole's numerous educational works comprise grammars, translations, and a book on educational method and structures. His adaptation of Lily's ‘authorized’ grammar, The Latine Grammar Fitted for the Use of Schools (1651), is more attractively presented than the original, with English and Latin on opposite pages. This method is also used in his Aesop's Fables, English and Latin (1689) and Publii Terentii Carthaginiensis Afri': Six Comedies of … Terentius (1676). In 1659 he published a translation of Comenius's Orbis sensualium pictus and recommended the pictorial method for the teaching of younger children as an antidote to the prevailing manner of ‘[teaching them] as we do parrots, to speak they know not what’ (Orbis pictus, preface).

Hoole's most notable work, A New Discovery of the Old Art of Teaching Schoole (1660), not only sets out his views on what education should be but also paints a vivid picture of education as it actually was in the mid-seventeenth century and is an essential source for educational historians of the period. The book stresses the value ‘to Church and Commonwealth’ of an efficient and progressive system of education with widely available elementary instruction and, alongside the grammar schools, practical schools for older children who lacked the academic bent. His ideas on the curriculum were traditional—Greek, Latin, and some Hebrew for the grammar school; English and Latin grammar for the ‘petty school’; and basic English and arithmetic for the ‘writing school’. However, he insisted that the means of instruction must vary to fit the capacity of the scholar, and teachers must rely on proper preparation and method rather than (particularly for younger children) the rod.

In 1660 Hoole became chaplain to Sanderson, who tried on 5 March 1661 to get him a prebend at Lincoln. He gained the rectory of Stock, near Chelmsford, and died there on 7 March 1667. He was buried in the chancel of the parish church.

W. R. Meyer


Wood, Ath. Oxon., new edn, 3.758–9 · C. Hoole, A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole (1660); facs. edn, ed. E. T. Campagnac (1913) · Foster, Alum. Oxon. · W. A. L. Vincent, The state and school education, 1640–1660 (1950), 8–9, 17–18, 66–7, 69, 91–2 · F. Watson, The English grammar schools to 1660: their curriculum and practice (1908), 64–7, 271–2, 278, 315–16, 479–82, 513 · J. A. Comenius, Orbis sensualium pictus, trans. C. Hoole (1659) · Walker rev., 252 · VCH Lincolnshire, 2.63–4