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Thomas Arnold (1795-1842)

Public School Development of Athleticism
by

Bethan Nicholls

on 9 October 2014

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Transcript of Thomas Arnold (1795-1842)

Thomas Arnold
(1795-1842)

Thomas Arnold's reputation for an interest in games has been reflected in Tom Brown's Schooldays. 3 incidents in particular highlight this:
Arnold used the enthusiasm in sport of the boys to achieve a number of moral reforms
He took a stance against ungentlemanly conduct, stealing and other immoral acts.
Concerned with character development and the encouragement of Christian principles - Thomas Arnold was regarded as the father of public school athleticism.
Headmaster of Rugby School 1828 - 1842.
Rugby School rose to great prominence under his influence
The legalising of self-government helped the growth of organised games e.g. fagging allowed prefects to practice cricket without having to field the balls themselves.
Thomas Arnold brought a religious spirit into school life but at
the same time maintained the independence of the boys.

He legalised self-government by the boys i.e. the prefectorial / fagging systems.

This in turn, established confidence between him and the sixth form/ prefects.
He introduced social control and took a stance against trespassing on neighbouring land, which caused damage and gave the school a bad reputation.
The growth of athleticism at Rugby may be thought of as the price Arnold paid for the cooperation of the boys in maintaining discipline and putting into place his desired reforms.
Arnold discouraged country sports e.g. fishing and hunting as they took the boys out of school grounds upsetting the local community and gave the school a bad reputation.
He also felt they encouraged poaching, trespassing and truancy and were seen as violent, unruly and dangerous.
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