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The Adventure of the Priory School

The Adventure of the Priory School

Holmes discovers Heidegger's body.

Holmes receives a visit from Thorneycroft Huxtable, the founder and principal of a preparatory school in Northern England. He beseeches Holmes to come back to Mackleton with him to look into the kidnapping of one of his pupils.

The boy's father, the Duke of Holdernesse, has offered a reward of £5000 to anyone who can tell him where his son, the ten-year-old Lord Saltire, is, and a further £1000 to anyone who can tell him who his kidnappers are.

James Wilder, the Duke's personal secretary, has also been indiscreet enough to mention something to Huxtable about the young Lord's unhappy home life. His parents no longer live together, his mother having moved to Southern France. Wilder has said that Lord Saltire's sympathies were with his mother in these matters. Upon arrival at the school, though, Lord Saltire seemed to be quite happy, and in his element.

Less than a fortnight later, however, he suddenly disappeared from the school. He could only have left by climbing out of his window at night and down the thick ivy to the ground. Curiously, the German master, Heidegger, is also missing, along with his bicycle. Lord Saltire had received a letter that very day from his father, but Huxtable has no idea of the contents. The boy has taken it with him. He was fully dressed, too. However, Heidegger left his shirt and socks behind.

Holmes decides to accompany Huxtable back to Mackleton, even though he is quite busy with business in London. He tells Huxtable first that if he is going to telegraph home, it would be wise to let the rumour of progress in Liverpool persist.

Once in the North, Holmes asks the Duke a few questions. His Grace does not think that his estranged wife has anything to do with his son's disappearance, nor has there been a ransom demand. He can also think of nothing in the letter that he wrote, posted by James Wilder along with dozens of others that could have upset Lord Saltire.

Holmes establishes that the boy and his kidnappers could not have used the nearby road without being seen, suggesting that they went cross-country. As if to confirm this, the police find the boy's school cap in some gypsies' possession. They swear that they simply found it on the moor. but the police lock them up.

Holmes and Dr. Watson go hunting for clues. They find a bicycle track, but it is not Heidegger's; it does not match his tyres. Holmes observes, however, that one tyre has a patch on it. Most anything observable has been obliterated by cow tracks, making sleuthing rather difficult. Indeed, the only marks on the ground anywhere nearby are cows' hoof prints.

Eventually, Heidegger's bicycle tracks are found, and they end where he apparently had his head smashed in. There he lies, quite dead.

A number of things may already be deduced:

  • Lord Saltire left the school of his own free will ;
  • Heidegger hurriedly went after him, having seen him climb down, which explains his less than complete dress;
  • The boy had a swift means of escape, for Heidegger would not have bothered with his bicycle if the boy had been on foot;
  • The boy had an adult companion, for he himself could not have smashed Heidegger's head in;
  • No other cyclist, nor another man on foot could have anything to do with the murder, for there are no marks on the ground to indicate this;
  • Something caused the boy to leave school at night, either homesickness (unlikely) or the letter he was mentioned to have received.

Holmes and Watson find themselves at the Fighting Cock Inn. and meet the innkeeper, Reuben Hayes, who seems startled indeed to hear that Holmes wants to go to Holdernesse Hall, the Duke's nearby house, to tell him news of his son. The two men have lunch there, and Holmes suddenly realises something: He and Watson saw lots of cow tracks out on the moor, all along their line of investigation, but never at any time did they see any cows. Furthermore, the patterns of the hoof prints were quite unusual, suggesting that the cow in question walked, cantered, and galloped – very unusual behaviour for a cow. Holmes and Watson sneak out to Hayes's stable and examine the horse's hooves. As Holmes has expected, there is evidence of recent shoeing, but with old shoes and new nails. Examining the nearby smithy. Holmes and Watson are rather belligerently asked to leave by Mr. Hayes. A short way down the road towards the Duke's house, Watson tells Holmes that he is convinced that Hayes knows all about the sordid business at hand.

Holmes examines James Wilder's bicycle.

Shortly afterwards, the two men hide as a cyclist comes along the road from the direction of the Duke's. It is James Wilder, and he looks agitated. He arrives at the inn. Soon afterwards, a trap pulls out of the stable yard and goes along the road towards Chesterfield. A while later, someone else – it is getting dark and only a fleeting glimpse of the new visitor is caught – arrives at the inn.

Coming closer, Holmes observes Wilder's bicycle tyres and notes that they are the same make as the first ones encountered on the moor, and as expected, one tyre has a patch. Holmes uses Watson as a stepladder to have a look at the meeting. His look is very brief, and then they leave.

The next morning, they go to Holdernesse Hall, where they find that the Duke is not at all well. Nevertheless, Holmes demands from him a cheque for £6000, saying that he has earned the reward. His son is at the Fighting Cock, and the accused is the Duke himself.

Holmes has not, however, deduced the whole story. He has found Lord Saltire, and seen the Duke with him while standing on Watson's shoulders, but the actual mastermind of this crime is James Wilder. He conceived a plan to kidnap Lord Saltire to force the Duke to change his will. Wilder has always felt cheated, because he is, as it turns out, the Duke's son, born out of wedlock to the Duke's late lover, before he married the Duchess, who bore the Duke a legitimate heir. Wilder knew very well that his father would not call the police on him, as he abhorred the very idea of scandal. The plan began to unravel when Wilder hired Hayes – who has now fled, but been caught on Holmes's information – to do the actual kidnapping. He killed Heidegger, and when Wilder heard the news, he confessed all to his father. So anxious was the Duke to avoid scandal, he agreed to let his younger son stay at the inn for another three days, and to keep quiet, so that Hayes could flee justice .

All ends well, except for Hayes, who faces the gallows. Lord Saltire is brought home from the inn and the Duke writes to his estranged wife asking her to reconcile with him. This he feels she will be willing to do, for the source of the friction between them is going away: James Wilder is being packed off to Australia to seek his fortune there.

As for the cow tracks, they were accomplished by shoeing the horses with special shoes shaped like cow's hooves. This artifice borrows from the story in Greek mythology about Hermes stealing his brother Apollo 's cattle in which Hermes shod them with shoes in the design of a horse's hoof so that Apollo would ignore them as irrelevant. These particular shoes are family heirlooms of the ducal house of Holdernesse.

Commentary

The date can be inferred from the story's mention of May 13 falling on a Monday that year, and the mention that the Duke of Holdernesse has been Lord Lieutenant of Hallamshire "since 1900" (making 1895 rather unlikely). Furthermore, the story mentions that the Duke and Duchess were married in 1888, and that Lord Saltire is ten years old. This would fit in with the 1901 date. Note, however, that in The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier (which takes place in January 1903) Holmes, who is the narrator, says his investigation of the mystery is delayed because that at that moment he was "clearing up the case which my friend Watson has described as that of the Abbey School, in which the Duke of Greyminster was so deeply involved". It could be that Holmes and Watson were both using different names and dates to discreetly obscure the identities of the real participants in this affair.

Holmes shows an uncharacteristically mercenary side in this story, gleefully accepting a cheque for £6000. On the other hand, he does refuse the Duke's offer of £12000, which is intended as a bribe for his silence as to the true nature of the crime.

There was some controversy at the time of publication over Holmes's claim to be able to determine the travel direction of a bicycle from the patterns in the mud on the moor.

Saltire is a term used in heraldry for an X-shaped cross.

Media

The story was dramatised as part of the Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett. However, the ending was changed. In the dramatisation, Wilder takes Lord Saltire as a hostage in a chase led by Holmes, the Duke of Holdernesse, and Watson through an underground cavern beneath the priory cathedral. Having climbed to the top of a cliff-like structure with the boy, Wilder slips and falls to his death, while Lord Saltire is rescued.

Influence

Agatha Christie ’s short story The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly features a similar plot. It also involves a father of ancient lineage, who seeks Poirot’s help for the forewarned kidnap of his young son. As it turns out, the father knows more than he lets on. In the end, Poirot succeeds in finding the boy and promises the father to hush his involvement up for the sake of his noble lineage.

Wikisource links Look at other dictionaries:

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Hitchin - Familypedia

Hitchin Contents History Edit

Hitchin is first noted as the central place of the Hicce people mentioned in a 7th century document [1]. the Tribal Hidage. The tribal name is Brittonic rather than Old English and derives from *siccā. meaning 'dry', which is perhaps a reference to the local stream, the Hiz. It has been suggested that Hitchin was the location of Clofeshoh . the place chosen in 673 by Archbishop Theodore of Tarsus during the Synod of Hertford. the first nationwide meeting of representatives of the fledgling Catholic churches of Anglo-Saxon England. to hold annual synods of the churches as Theodore attempted to consolidate and centralise Catholicism in England. [2] By 1086 Hitchin is described as a Royal Manor in the Domesday Book. the feudal services of Avera and Inward. usually found in the eastern counties, especially Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. [3] were due from the sokemen. [4] but the manor of Hitchin was unique in levying Inward. [4] Evidence has been found to suggest that the town was once provided with an earthen bank and ditch fortification [5]. probably in the early tenth century [6] but this did not last. The modern spelling 'Hitchin' first appears in 1618 [7] in the "Hertfordshire Feet of Fines".

Panel representing the foundational history of Hitchin mentioning: King Offa, the River Hiz and the Hicce tribe. Now on the front of Hitchin Library, it was on the Sainsburys on Brand Street until the supermarket relocated to the Bancroft area.

The name of the town also is associated with the small river that runs through the town, most picturesquely in front of the east end of St. Mary's Church, the town's parish church. The river is noted on maps as the River Hiz. Contrary to how most people now pronounce the name, that is to say phonetically, the 'z' was an abbreviated character for a 'tch' sound, as in the name of the town. It would have been pronounced 'River Hitch'.

Hitchin is notable for St. Mary’s Church, which is remarkably large for a town of its size. The size of the church is evidence of how Hitchin prospered from the wool trade. It is the largest parish church in Hertfordshire. Most of the church dates from the 15th century, with its tower dating from around 1190. During the laying of a new floor in the church in 1911, foundations of a more ancient church building were found. In form, they appear to be a basilican church of a 7th century type, with a later enlarged chancel and transepts. perhaps added in the 10th century. This makes the church older than the story (not recorded before the 15th century) that the church was founded by Offa. king of Mercia 757-796.

In 1697, Hitchin (and the nearby village of Offley ) were subject to what is thought to have been the most severe hailstorm in recorded British history. Hailstones over 4 inches in diameter were reported [8]

The town flourished on the wool trade, and located near the Icknield Way and by the 17th century Hitchin was a staging post for coaches coming from London. By the middle of the 19th century the railway had arrived, and with it a new way of life for Hitchin. The corn exchange was built in the market place and within a short time Hitchin established itself as a major centre for grain trading.

The latter half of the 20th century has also brought great changes in communication to Hitchin. Motorways have shortened the journey time and brought Luton. a few miles away on the M1. and the A1 (M) even closer. By the close of the 20th century, Hitchin had become a satellite dormitory town for London. Hitchin also developed a fairly strong Sikh community based around the Walsworth area.

During the medieval period, both a priory (Newbigging, now known as The Biggin) and a friary (now known as Hitchin Priory) were established, both of which closed during Henry VIII 's Dissolution of the Monasteries. They were never reformed, although The Biggin was for many years used as almshouses.

Hitchin is home to the world’s only known complete Lancasterian Schoolroom. which was built in 1837 to teach boys by the Lancasterian method (peer tutoring ).

It is locally reputed that Henry VIII nearly died in a fire in Hitchin. It is also alleged that Henry VIII, when he was fitter, thought he was able to pole vault over the local river, the River Hiz. However, he had grown somewhat fatter than he knew, and the pole snapped from underneath him. He fell into the river, much to the amusement of his servants. This event is commemorated on the sign of the Buck's Head [1] pub in nearby Little Wymondley. Whatever the truth of this story, it is known however that Henry VIII did hunt in the area around Hitchin and practised archery on Butts Close.

Government Edit

Hitchin is in the local government district of North Hertfordshire which was formed in 1974 by the amalgamation of rural and urban councils. There is now no town council in Hitchin, [9] and residents now elects 13 members to the North Hertfordshire District Council. There are five electoral wards in Hitchin: Bearton. Highbury. Oughton. Priory and Walsworth.

Transport Edit

Hitchin railway station is on the Great Northern Line. to which the Cambridge Line connects just north of the station. There are direct connections to London, Stevenage, Peterborough, and Cambridge. Journeys to London and Cambridge both last approximately 30 minutes on the Express services. Stevenage is only 5 minutes away and Peterborough is typically 45 minutes distance in journey-time.

The A505. A600 and A602 roads intersect in Hitchin, which is about three miles from the A1(M) motorway and about ten miles from the M1 motorway.

Education Edit

There are several primary schools in Hitchin. Secondary education is provided at Hitchin Girls' School. Hitchin Boys' School and the Priory School. There is a campus of the North Hertfordshire College in Hitchin, and it is also the home of the Benslow Music Trust which provides music education for adults.

Hitchin Museum and Art Gallery has an extensive collection that tells the story of the town’s social history and of the rural industries that contributed to its prosperity. The British Schools Museum is housed in original Edwardian and Victorian school buildings.

Culture and community Edit

Hitchin is the venue for the annual Rhythms of the World festival. Now in its twentieth year, over 140 acts performed in 2011, with acts from India, Cuba, Australia, Congo, China, Senegal, Singapore and Germany taking part. [10] Once the largest free festival of world music in Europe, an entry fee has been charged since 2008. It is part of the three week Hitchin Festival which includes picnics, concerts, theatre, ghost walks, art exhibitions, comedy club, summer fetes and fireworks. [11]

There are a number of organisations for young people, including air. army and sea cadets and various scouting groups.

Hitchin is twinned with:

  • Nuits-St-Georges. France
  • Bingen am Rhein. Germany
Sport in Hitchin Edit

Hitchin Rugby Club is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to participate in and promote the sport of rugby union at all age levels within the Hitchin area. This includes Mini/ Midi (U7-U12), Youth (U13-U17), Colts (U19), Seniors (19+), Vets (35+) and Ladies. Hitchin RFC has a 50+ year relationship with the town of Hitchin, having been founded in 1954. See the history section for more. Highlights have included playing at Twickenham in the final of the national Junior RFU Cup in 1993 and the establishment of the country's first Academy. Currently their membership stands at over 500 people, including active and associate members. They have a community development programme and a Mini & Junior Section. Hitchin RFC runs 4 adult mens teams, 1 adult women's team, and mini and youth rugby teams at all ages.

Hitchin Town F.C. was established in 1865 and later reformed in 1928. It is one of only three clubs who competed in the first ever FA Cup and still do so now. The club is the biggest sporting entity in the town.

Hitchin is also home to Blueharts Hockey Club [2]. a leading club since 1946.

It also houses Hitchin Cricket Club. which has been an important cricket club within the area since 1866.

Hitchin has a local swimming club, Hitchin Swimming Club [3]. which competes at local level, county and regional level.

The Hitchin Nomads Cycling Club [4]. which caters for many competitive and non-competitive cycling disciplines was formed in the town in 1934. It is affiliated to British Cycling, the Cyclists' Touring Club, Cycling time trials and local cycling associations.

Formed in 2003 and known as FVS TRI until November 2009, Team Trisports [5] is a Hitchin based triathlon club. In addition to triathlon, the club is affiliated to England Athletics and British Cycling.

Districts of Hitchin Edit Nearby settlements Edit Notable people who have lived in Hitchin Edit Filmography Edit

Part of the 2010 BBC TV series Just William was filmed at the British Schools Museum. [13]

Miscellaneous Edit

In 1960 Hitchin Urban District Council was the first in Britain to introduce 'black bags' for refuse collection.

Actor and comedian Bob Hope "claimed to have inherited his sense of humour from his paternal grandfather from Hitchin". [14]

See also Edit References Edit
  1. ^ Gover, J E B, Mawer, A & Stenton, F M 1938 The Place-Names of Hertfordshire English Place-Names Society volume XV, 8
  2. ^ Hindley, The Anglo-Saxons - The beginnings of the English nation. 47.
  3. ^ Sir Henry Ellis (1833). A general introduction to Domesday Book: accompanied by indexes of the tenants in chief, and under tenants, at the time of the survey, as wall as of the holders of lands. Volume 1 . Commission on the Public Records. p. 263.  
  4. ^ a b "Hitchin: Introduction and manors" . A History of the County of Hertford . 3 . 1912. pp. 3–12 . http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=43569 . Retrieved 15 September 2010.  
  5. ^ Saunders, G & Winter, M 2009 Brooker's Yard, Hitchin, Hertfordshire: Archaeological Assessment Report The Heritage Network (report 560), 7
  6. ^ Fitzpatrick-Matthews, K J & Fitzpatrick-Matthews T 2008 The Archaeology of Hitchin from Prehistory to the Present North Hertfordshire District Council Museums & Hitchin Historical Society
  7. ^ Gover, J E B, Mawer, A & Stenton, F M 1938 The Place-Names of Hertfordshire English Place-Names Society volume XV, 8
  8. ^ Tailor, Robert (May 1697), “Account of a Great Hailstorm”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Great Britain) ; vol. 19, pp. 577-578
  9. ^ "Councils and Politics" . Hitchin Forum . http://www.hitchinforum.org.uk/about-hitchin/council-mp/ . Retrieved 25 February 2012.  
  10. ^ "In pictures: Rhythms of the World 2011" . BBC . 12 July 2011 . http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-14120428 . Retrieved 25 February 2012.  
  11. ^ Burge, Laura. "Hitchin Festival to launch" . The Comet 24 . Archant Community Media Ltd . http://www.thecomet.net/news/hitchin_festival_to_launch_1_947747 . Retrieved 25 February 2012.  
  12. ^ "Russell, Robert Tor in Oxford Art Online" . www.oxfordartonline.com . http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T074580?q=Robert+Tor+Russell&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit . Retrieved 2010-09-06.   (requires login or UK library card)
  13. ^ Judge, Ann. "The BBC 'Just William' at Hitchin British Schools" . Herts Memories . Hertfordshire County Council . http://www.hertsmemories.org.uk/page_id__2258_path__0p34p109p.aspx . Retrieved 25 February 2012.  
  14. ^ Bergan, Ronald (July 29, 2003). "Obituary: Bob Hope" . London: The Guardian . http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1007817,00.html.  
External links Edit

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The Priory School review

The Priory School

This is an average-sized secondary school with a sixth form. The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals, children looked after by the local authority and those who have a parent in the armed forces, is lower than the national average. The school receives additional government funds for students now in Year 7 who did not achieve the expected Level 4 in English at the end of Key Stage 2. Less than a quarter of students are from minority ethnic groups. The proportion of students whose first language is not English is well below that found nationally and is declining. The proportion of disabled students and those who have special educational needs is above that found nationally. The proportion supported at school action plus or through a statement of special educational needs is also above average. The school is part of the Hitchin Sixth Form Consortium with Hitchin Boys’ School and Hitchin Girls’ School. A small number of students attend off-site provision at North Hertfordshire Education Support Centre and North Hertfordshire College. The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum levels expected for students’ attainment and progress.

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The shape of the red priority area on this map reflects the geographical admissions criterion applied by the school when it is oversubscribed, after pupils have been admitted on higher priority criteria such as Looked After Children, SEN, siblings, etc. See Admissions Criteria for the criteria applied by this school before considering a pupil's home address

The shape of the red catchment area on this map reflects the first geographical admissions criterion applied by the school when it is oversubscribed, after pupils have been admitted on higher priority criteria such as Looked After Children, SEN, siblings, etc. See Admissions Criteria for the criteria applied by this school before considering a pupil's home address. Applicants who were successfully admitted on a lower priority geographical criteria ('Other distance') are not shown on this map.

The Priory School

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For this school, priority is given to children whose parents apply to their nearest school. We have calculated the area in which homeowners receive priority for this school based on postcodes and created a nearest school catchment area shape.

Within this catchment area, further priority is given to children living closest to the school and distance is measured in a straight line. We display a circular cut-off distance, the radius of which is the distance between the school and the home of the last child taking up a place in the previous year.

While the catchment area is predefined and applications from this area are likely to be accepted, the existence of the cut-off distance shows that not all applications from the catchment area were successful in the previous year.

School Guide provides this data as a guide to future admissions only. We recommend parents always check important catchment information with the relevant local authority and consider the list of higher priorities (SEN, siblings, etc.) before applying to a school.

See Pupil heat maps and catchment FAQs for more information on the way geographical areas are used to allocate places when a school is oversubscribed.

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This School Guide heat map has been plotted using official pupil data taken from the last School Census collected by the Department for Education. It is a visualisation of where pupils lived at the time of the last School Census (released annually in July).

Our heat maps use groups of postcodes, not individual postcodes, and have naturally soft edges. All pupils are included in the mapping (i.e. children with siblings already at the school, high priority pupils and selective and/or religious admissions) but we may have removed statistical ‘outliers’ with more remote postcodes that do not reflect majority admissions.

For some schools, the heat map may be a useful indicator of the catchment area but our heat maps are not the same as catchment maps. Catchment maps, published by the school or local authority, are based on geographical admissions criteria and show actual cut-off distances and pre-defined catchment areas for a single admission year.

View this school’s catchment or cut-off distance map by clicking on the link above. See Pupil heat maps and catchment FAQs for more information about the source of pupil heat map data. We also explain the difference between our pupil heat maps, cut-off distance maps and catchment area maps.

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About Ofsted Reports

Ofsted carry out full regulatory inspections of schools and educational institutions throughout England. Reporting to the UK government, Ofsted are both impartial and independent, and inspect institutions that care for young people and children, as well as organisations that provide education or skills for people of all ages.

Ofsted inspects education providers, children's services and organisations that provide education or skills. One or more Ofsted inspectors visit a provider to inspect the quality of teaching, the levels of achievement that pupils achieve, the behaviour of those who are in attendance, and the effectiveness of teaching that schools provide to their pupils.

A typical Ofsted report will contain information about how well their inspectors think that a school is performing, as well as ways that it can improve certain areas. It also includes data on how well students are performing, both in their general education and their well-being. In addition, Ofsted inspectors will include feedback from parents and carers about their views and opinions of the school.

In order to produce a useful tool for improvement, inspectors will give a school an overall grade for how good they think a school is:

  • Grade 1 - Outstanding
  • Grade 2 - Good
  • Grade 3 - Requires improvement
  • Grade 4 - Inadequate


Should a school be judged as 'requires improvement' or 'inadequate', then the Ofsted report will explain why the grade was given, as well as ways how the school can improve their grade.

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Other Resources
Department for Education performance tables

Full school performance tables for The Priory School, including year-on-year comparisons, KS4 exam results, pupil progress, exam entries, vocational and academic progress for attending pupils at this school/establishment.

  • Edubase School Data

    School characteristics, SEN/PRU characteristics, quality indicators and school census data (number and age of boys/girls etc) from the Department for Education's EduBase, providing information on compulsory, higher & further education.
    Edubase school data

  • Ofsted Parent View

    How happy are children and pupils at The Priory School? How safe do parents think this school is? Does this school deal with bullying effectively? 'Parent View' gives you the opinions of parents of children at this school.
    Ofsted Parent View

    Contact Details

    Bedford Road
    Hitchin
    Hertfordshire
    SG5 2UR
    Phone: 01462 622300 Email: head@priory.herts.sch.uk
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