Abraham de la Pryme (1671–1704), the Yorkshire antiquarian had this to say about Brigg Grammar school in August 1697 :-
"There is a pretty school-house at Brigg, but not very well situate, nor very well contrived; it was built and endowed by one Sir John Nelthrop after his death. These Nelthorps (of which there is several in this country), descended all from one Tho. Nelthorp, who was taylor to Queen Elizabeth, who got a great estate under her, and purchased several houses in Hull, and several manors in this county."
GLANFORD BRIDGE alias BRIGG. Sir John NELTHORPE, Bart., by his Will dated the 11th of September 1669, vested certain Estates in Trustees, for the building and endowing a FREE GRAMMAR School on lands purchased by him near the Town of Glanford Bridge: And the present School, with suitable dwellings for a Master and Usher under one roof, were erected in 1674.
The Endowment consists of a small Farm at Fulsby, and some dispersed lands in the neighbourhood of Horncastle, -and others, in the Parish of Ulceby, appropriated to the Usher. Out of the rents of which the School-house is kept in repair, the Master and Usher receive their Salaries, and Two poor boys are clothed, maintained, and educated from the Parishes of Leggesby, and Fulsby. The rental of all these Estates amounted, until lately, to £160. per annum; but upon the conclusion of some leases, the Master's part now lets for £240, per annum, out of which he maintains the Two poor boys, -and the Usher's part for £100.
The benevolent Founder directed, that the boys born in the Town of Brigg, and in several other Parishes, where he had estates, should be taught the Learned languages, gratis, -and that all other boys, "wheresoever born," should be instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, free of expense. The Trustees have, however, limited the number in the School to EIGHTY. The places of these are filled up, as often as vacancies occur, most honourably by the Master "without demanding any Entrance money."
The present TRUSTEES are,
The Duke of ST. ALBANS.
Lord YARBOROUGH, The Honble. CHARLES A. PELHAM.
Sir HENRY NELTHORPE, Bart.
John NELTHORPE, Esq., of Ferriby.
John NELTHORPE, Esq., of Lincoln.
John CRACROFT, Esq., of Hackthorn.
Edward WESTON, Esq., of Somerby.
The ETON Grammars are used; and the system of Education is intended to be the same as that at ETON COLLEGE. Scholars have gone off to each University promiscuously, but have neither Scholarships nor exhibitions from the School. Two late Pupils will take their first Degree at Cambridge next Term, and being the foremost of their year, in their respective Colleges, are expected to stand high in The University Honours. One of the Mathematical Professors in The East India College was educated here, and he is also a Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.
The situation of the School-house, in a field of eight acres, is pleasant, airy, and healthy, at a short distance from the Town. The three last Masters held their offices ONE HUNDRED and THREE YEARS. The present Head Master is, The Revd. JAMES WALTER, B.A., late Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Vicar of Market Raisen, who was elected at Midsummer 1787. This Gentlemen takes Boarders at Thirty guineas per annum, and Four guineas for Classical education. About nine years since, the Trustees agreed to let the Master appoint his own Usher, stipulating only that the latter should receive the full emoluments of his Office according to the Will of The Founder. The present Usher is, The Revd. Thomas WATSON, who takes Boarders at Twenty guineas per annum, -the English education being gratis. By the Will of the Founder, he settles in the Trustees of the School his Tythes of Market Raisen, for the maintenance of a Minister to preach a weekly Sermon every Lord's Day in the Afternoon in the Parish Church of that Town. To the same Trustees, he gives his Tythe Beans and Pease in Barrow, for the maintenance of a Minister to preach a Sermon weekly every Lord's Day in the Afternoon in the Parish Church of Barrow. To the same Trustees, he gives his Tythe Hay in Bleasby in the Parish of Leggesby, for the maintenance of a Minister to preach a weekly Sermon every Lord's Day in the Afternoon in the Parish Church of Leggesby.
The Town of Brigg stands in Four Parishes, and had originally no place of Worship under the Establishment nearer than one mile and an half. In the year 1699, Four Gentlemen built and endowed a small Chapel, and vested certain Estates in their own Heirs and the Trustees of the School. The first Minister of this Chapel was also Master of the School, -his name was JAMES COOK, -and his right to the appointment being disputed by the then Vicar of the Parish in which the Chapel stands, the matter was compromised, and a Bond from the Vicar, dated the 17th of October, 1709, was given, by which he binds himself and his Successors never more to molest the said JAMES COOK, or his Successors in the School, from officiating in the Chapel. In this, however, the Vicar seems to have exceeded his powers, for the present Vicar enjoys and claims the Chapel Estates in virtue of his Office as Vicar.
There are no precise directions in the Will, as to the persons to be appointed. The Head Master who was appointed about the year 1713, was a Layman, and he continued to preside over the School FORTY-FIVE years, which probably lost the Chapel to the Schoolmaster. The Trustees have presented to the Preacher-ship at Barrow, worth about £200. per anum; but the Vicars of Market Raisen and Leggesby enjoy the Tythes before mentioned; without any special appointment from the Trustees of the School.
The Vicarage of Market Raisen is in the gift of the Crown, and the Parish was inclosed by Act of Parliament about 50 years since, without any claim being made by The Trustees, and an Allotment of land given in lieu of all Tythes without any distinction; so that an application to the Court of Chancery will be necessary to (distinguish what belongs to the Vicar, and what to the Preacher appointed by The Trustees).
TL;DR - Conclusion.
In order to pay the expense of the Meetings of the Trustees, to examine the proficiency made by the Scholars, which The Founder directs, shall take place twice in every year, they have the rent of an estate at Gainsborough, now let for £12. per annum.
The Market Town of Brigg lies in a narrow Valley, on the river Ancholme, which is navigable 19 miles up the Country, and was noted for its eels in the time of CAMDEN. A considerable Trade is carried on here in corn, coals, and rabbit skins. The Valley runs North and South, and the adjacent Hills are well wooded.