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A widespread custom, up to the 19th century, was the ‘barring-out’ of the schoolteacher by his pupils. On a day sanctioned by custom (but varying from place to place), the pupils contrived to bar the door with the teacher outside, often with his connivance, and refused to let him in until he agreed to their terms, which were usually for a half-holiday, or something similar. By the 19th century the custom was relatively controlled, but in previous generations had been much rougher. On at least one occasion, in Scotland in 1595, a magistrate who was helping the teacher gain access to the school was shot dead by one of the pupils. Not surprisingly, local authorities waged a continual war against such activities and gradually succeeded in taming and, eventually, eliminating the custom.

Rex Cathcart, History Today (Dec. 1988), 49–5;Chambers, 1878: i. 238–9;Brand, 1849: i. 441–54;Hone, 1832: 653–4;N&Q 187 (1944), 37, 83–4, 218–19.

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