Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education (St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History)

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Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education (St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History)

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Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education

Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education

Ian Green

University of Edinburgh, UK

© Ian Green 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Ian Green has asserted his moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited Ashgate Publishing Company Suite 420 Wey Court East Union Road 101 Cherry Street Farnham Burlington Surrey, GU9 7PT VT 05401–4405 England USA British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Green, Ian M. Humanism and Protestantism in early modern English education. – (St Andrews studies in Reformation history) 1. Education – England – History – 16th century 2. Education – England – History – 17th century 3. Humanism – England – History – 16th century 4. Humanism – England – History – 17th century 5. Protestantism – England – History – 16th century 6. Protestantism – England – History – 17th century 7. Reformation – England I. Title 370.9’42’0903 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Green, Ian M. Humanism and Protestantism in early modern English education / Ian M. Green. p. cm. – (St Andrews studies in Reformation history) Includes index. ISBN 978–0–7546–6368–3 (alk. paper) – ISBN 978–0–7546–9468–7 (ebook) 1. Education – England – History. 2. Education, Humanistic – England – History. 3. Humanism – England – History. 4. Protestantism – England – History. I. Title. LA631.5.G74 2009 370.942–dc22 2008051707 ISBN 978–0–7546–6368–3 (hbk)

ISBN 978-0-7546-9468-7 (ebk.V)

Contents List of Tables and Figures  




Abbreviations   1

Historiography and Sources  


Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers in Protestant England  

3 4 5

xiii 1 55

The Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools  


The Uses of Latin and Greek in the Senior Forms and Universities  


Protestant Influences in Grammar Schools and Universities  267

6 Assessing the Impact  




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List of Tables and Figures Tables 1.1  ‘School books’ entered into the ‘English stock’ by 1620 or published for the Stationers’ Company c. 1620–1760.


Figures 1.1 Advertisement of c. 1695 (British Library 1865, c.3, f. 132;   42 © British Library. All Rights Reserved). 1.2 Advertisement of 1766 (Stationers’ Hall Archives, Series 1, Box M, Folder M, Miscellaneous Valuations, Records and Stock in the Treasurer’s Warehouse. With the permission of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers).  


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Preface The core of this monograph consists of the set of Waynflete Lectures delivered at Magdalen College Oxford, in February and March 2006. I am extremely grateful to the President and Fellows for the invitation to give those lectures, and for awarding me a Visiting Fellowship. I am also greatly indebted both to the Fellows, especially Professor Laurence Brockliss and Dr Christine Ferdinand, and to the other distinguished members of the audience, especially Sir Keith Thomas, Professor John Bossy, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch and Dr Martin Ingram, for their helpful comments and suggestions for further reading. I am also very grateful to the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in the University of Edinburgh for making me an Honorary Research Fellow, and providing a quiet haven in which the lectures could be turned into a monograph. For publication the lectures have been annotated and amplified, especially in Chapters 2 and 6, and the sequence changed somewhat, but the gist remains the same. The theme of these lectures was chosen, at least in part, with William Waynflete and his foundations at Oxford in mind. Waynflete had begun his career as a schoolmaster, and his success at Winchester College and then as Provost of the recently founded Eton College led to his promotion to the episcopate. But his early career left a strong mark on his later thinking, notably in his determination to plough back many of the rewards of high office into producing a supply of Latin teachers for grammar schools, which in turn would supply recruits for the priesthood who would help stamp out heresy in the parishes. Accordingly he put much effort and considerable resources into setting up his educational foundations in Oxford: Magdalen College and Magdalen College School. But though his aims may have been conservative, he was open to change in the organization and curriculum of those creations, and especially the way in which Latin was taught – along the lines of the classical Roman writers rather than the usages of the later Middle Ages. As a result both College and School helped to open England up to influences from abroad, especially humanist influences from Italy and Northern Europe. Not only was an impressive and talented succession of humanist scholars appointed to teach in Magdalen College School from the 1470s to the 1560s, many of whom in turn became fellows or teachers in schools scattered wide across southern England, but also a   Virginia Davis, William Waynflete: Bishop and Educationalist (Woodbridge, 1993).

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

series of innovative educational texts associated with teachers like John Holt, William Lily, John Stanbridge, Richard Sherry and Thomas Cooper were published, a number of which circulated far and wide. On the titlepage of his Thesaurus linguae Romanae et Britannicae (1565), the Latin– English dictionary prepared by Cooper during his long stints as Master of Magdalen College School from the 1540s to the 1560s, he proudly described himself as ‘Magdalenensis’. Innovative teachers and publications were typical of the new establishments set up in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries by men like William Waynflete and Richard Fox in Oxford, John Fisher in Cambridge, and John Colet in London, and anticipated the hundreds of additional publications of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries written by teachers anxious to improve the teaching of Latin grammar and the mastery of the classics in schools and colleges, even though by then both universities and schools had experienced the buffeting winds of change from Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. While historians have devoted much time to exploring how humanism in the short term came to co-exist with changing versions of Christianity, less time has been devoted to exploring how and why, in the longer term, the encouragement given to humanist studies in the decades before the Reformation proved as pervasive as the reformist efforts of the Protestant and Catholic reformers of the mid-sixteenth century. Though not unique, Magdalen College School and Magdalen College provide an excellent example of how humanism and Protestantism produced a long-lasting symbiosis. Magdalen College and School today are still Protestant establishments, albeit with strong medieval roots in their buildings and traditions, especially the choral tradition. They are also (in part) still humanist ones, in the enduring vitality of the teaching and study of languages, literature and history, even if the ‘humanities’ today are supplemented by much more than was covered by the studia humanitatis of the late Middle Ages. Indeed, it is arguable that the more typical result of Waynflete’s campaign was neither a ‘godly’ President of Magdalen like Laurence Humphrey, nor a Laudian innovator like Accepted Frewen, but the author of the Thesaurus, Thomas Cooper. For, like Waynflete, Cooper was promoted from a schoolmastership to a bishopric, and in the 1570s    Nicholas Orme, Education in Early Tudor England: Magdalen College Oxford and its School 1480–1540 (Magdalen College Occasional Paper 4, Oxford, 1998), and ODNB under John Anwykyll, Thomas Cooper, John Holt, Richard Sherrey, John Stanbridge and Robert Whittington; Christine Ferdinand, ‘Magdalen College and the Book Trade: The Provision of Books in Oxford, 1450–1550’, in Arnold Hunt, Giles Mandelbrote and Alison Shell (eds), The Book Trade and Its Customers 1450–1900 (Winchester, 1997), pp. 175–87.    See relevant entries in ODNB; see also below, pp. 3–9, 267–305.



and 1580s acted as a conscientious and influential diocesan, first at Lincoln and then Winchester. As bishop of the latter, Cooper was not only visitor of his old college, but also represented a middle-of-the-road, evangelical churchmanship which in partnership with humanism persisted long after the impact of the ‘godly’ and the Laudians had begun to fade. How typical was this of wider developments in early modern England? These lectures were prepared in tandem with the trilogy on the teaching of early modern Protestantism in England, of which Parts One and Two have appeared, and Part Three is in progress. My interest in early modern English schooling was stimulated when I was searching for the Protestant catechisms used with the young (the results of which were published in Christian’s ABC), sampling the edifying treatises and manuals widely distributed among adolescents and adults through the medium of print (as described in Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England), and examining the various other forms of oral and visual instruction deployed in church, school and home (which will appear as Word, Image and Ritual in Early Modern English Protestantism). A number of texts which I then encountered, and which had sold in huge quantities in print, did not qualify as what would normally be called ‘religious’ – that is, works in which the author’s or editor’s main purpose was to express a personal statement of faith, to impart doctrinal or ecclesiastical information, or to exhort or try to help others to piety and correct forms of Christian conduct. Thus in the ‘English Stock’, a set of titles controlled by members of the Stationers’ Company in London, ‘Protestant’ essentials such as metrical psalters and catechisms sat cheek by jowl with handbooks and texts which included such ‘humanist’ icons as Cicero’s De officiis, Virgil’s and Ovid’s poetry, and Terence’s plays, all published in tens of thousands of copies to help students polish their Latin style and impart knowledge of the world of the ancient Greek and Romans. I was curious to know how this juxtaposition became so firmly fixed in English education that it changed little over the next two centuries, and what effect that had on the outlook of those scores of thousands of students who spent years poring over classical texts, either as adolescents, in a grammar school or with a tutor at home, or as young adults, during the first years at university. I was also struck by the rising tide of editions of translations of these and other   See relevant entries in ODNB, and Christopher M. Dent, Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford (Oxford, 1983), chap. 3. Gerald Harriss, ‘A Loyal but Troublesome College, 1458–1672’, in Laurence Brockliss, Gerald Harris and Angus Macintyre (eds), Magdalen College and the Crown (Oxford, 1988), pp. 9–25. Now see also L.W.B. Brockliss (ed.), Magdalen College: A History (Oxford, 2008).    Ian Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2000), p. xi. 

  The ‘English Stock’ is described at length below, pp. 33–52.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

classical works, and of works by leading ‘humanists’ such as Erasmus, printed outside the ‘Stock’ and reaching a peak in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. How did this come about? As in the case of the didactic and edifying literature of a clearly Protestant kind, did it take a combination of the ambitions of authors and translators, the profit margins of publishers, and the willingness of a variety of readers to try new works, to explain these huge sales? And what was the impact of these translations and humanist texts on the attitudes of those with little or no Latin education who were nevertheless strongly attracted by ancient stories and ideas? In the lectures and in this revised text, there is at least one major gap in that hardly anything has been said about the classical education of girls and women. The more one reads, the more one realizes that this was widespread, and would justify a major study; but the focus here has been on grammar schools from which girls were excluded. Also little has been said here about aspects of the subject on which other scholars have written extensively, especially on the ‘humanist’ side. One of these is the impact on political discourse of a humanist education, which has been treated at length and persuasively by Quentin Skinner, Richard Tuck and other scholars. Another is the consequences of such an education for social thought, which have been explored by Margo Todd in Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order. Yet another is the impact on the drama and poetry and of the period from the mid-sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries, which has fascinated students of English literature. These are touched on at relevant points, especially in the first and last chapters. My main concern, however, has been to try to tease out the implications of a humanist education for the ethical beliefs and religious understanding of those who attended a Protestant grammar school or college in early modern England. As explained in Chapter 1, efforts have been made here to focus, where possible, on less well known schools and students in the provinces, and to allow for the elements of change as well as continuity in school and undergraduate education. Also it is hoped that by comparing the English educational experience regularly with that in Lutheran, Calvinist and Jesuit institutions abroad, we may gain additional insights into the ways in which Protestantism and classicism intersected in early modern England, and the impact this may have had on the attitudes of the educated laity who came increasingly to dominate English life between the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Abbreviations Unless stated otherwise, all the books listed below were published in London. A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2

A History of the University in Europe, Volume II: Universities in Early Modern Europe (1500–1800), ed. Hilde De RidderSymoens (Cambridge, 1996)

Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’

T.W. Baldwin, William Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine and Lesse Greeke’ (2 vols, Urbana, IL, 1944)

Binns, Intellectual Culture

James W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England (Leeds, 1990)


British Library

Bolgar, The Classical Heritage

R.R. Bolgar, The Classical Heritage and Its Beneficiaries (New York, 1964)

Brinsley, Ludus literarius

John Brinsley, Ludus literarius: or, the Grammar Schoole (1612, reprinted Menston, 1968)

British Rhetoricians and Logicians

British Rhetoricians and Logicians, 1500–1660, ed. Edward A. Malone (first series DLB 236, 2001; second series DLB 281, 2003)

Brockliss, French Higher Education

L.W.B. Brockliss, French Higher Education in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Oxford, 1987)


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina

Charles Burnett and Nicholas Mann (eds), Britannia Latina (Warburg Institute Colloquia 8, London, 2005)

Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools

Nicholas Carlisle, A Concise Description of the Endowed Grammar Schools in England and Wales (2 vols, 1818)

Charlton, Education in Renaissance England

Kenneth Charlton, Education in Renaissance England (1965)

Clarke, Classical Education in Britain

M.L. Clarke, Classical Education in Britain 1500–1900 (Cambridge, 1959)

Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites

François de Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites (XVIe–XVIIIe siècles) (Paris, 1978)

Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education

François de Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education de la Société Française (2 vols, Paris, 1940)


Dictionary of Literary Biography


Early English Books Online

English Linguistics

English Linguistics 1500–1800, ed. Robin C. Alston (Leeds, 1967–72)


Eighteenth-Century Short-Title Catalogue (available online)

Green, Print and Protestantism

Ian Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2000)

Green, The Christian’s ABC

Ian Green, The Christian’s ABC: Catechisms and Catechizing in England c.1530–1740 (Oxford, 1996)

Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy

Paul F. Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy: Literacy and Learning 1300–1600 (Baltimore, MD, 1989)



Hoole, New discovery

Charles Hoole, A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole (1660, reprinted Menston, 1969) (The four parts, The petty-schoole, The usher’s duty, The masters method and Scholastic discipline, all have titlepages dated 1659.)

Jewell, Education in Early Modern England

Helen M. Jewell, Education in Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 1998)

Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric

Peter Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice (Cambridge, 2002)

Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School Newcastle upon Tyne

Brian Mains and Anthony Tuck (eds), Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne: A History of the School in its Community (Stocksfield, 1986)

Maxwell-Lyte, Eton College

H.C. Maxwell-Lyte, A History of Eton College (1440–1910) (1911)

McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England

John F. McDiarmid (ed.), The Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England: Essays in Response to Patrick Collinson (Aldershot, 2007)

McDowell, English Radical Imagination

Nicholas McDowell, The English Radical Imagination: Culture, Religion, and Revolution, 1630–1660 (Oxford, 2003)

Morgan, Godly Learning

John Morgan, Godly Learning: Puritan Attitudes towards Reason, Learning, and Education, 1560–1640 (Cambridge, 1986)

Morgan, History of the University of Cambridge

Victor Morgan, A History of the University of Cambridge, Volume II: 1546–1750 (Cambridge, 2004)

Moss, Printed Commonplacebooks

Ann Moss, Printed Commonplacebooks and the Structuring of Renaissance Thought (Oxford, 1966)


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

O’Day, Education and Society1500–1800

Rosemary O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800 (1982)


Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004–)

Oldham, Shrewsbury School

J.B. Oldham, A History of Shrewsbury School 1552–1952 (Oxford, 1952)

Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England

Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1966)

Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric

Quentin Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Cambridge, 1966)


A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave, A Short-title Catalogue of Books Printed in England … 1475–1640, 2nd edn, revised and enlarged by W.A. Jackson, F.S. Ferguson and K.F. Pantzer (3 vols, 1976–91)

Stone, The University in Society

Lawrence Stone (ed.), The University in Society (2 vols, Princeton, NJ, 1974)

Stowe, English Grammar Schools

A. Monroe Stowe, English Grammar Schools in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth (New York, 1908)

Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning

Gerald Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning: Indoctrination and the Young in the German Reformation (Baltimore, MD, 1978)

The History of the University of Oxford

The History of the University of Oxford, general ed. Trevor H. Aston (8 vols, Oxford, 1984–2000)


Victoria County History

Vincent, Grammar Schools

W.A.L. Vincent, The Grammar Schools: Their Continuing Tradition 1660–1714 (1969)



Watson, English Grammar Schools

Foster Watson, The English Grammar Schools to 1660: Their Curriculum and Practice (Cambridge, 1908)


D. Wing, Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England … 1641– 1700, 2nd edn, revised and enlarged (3 vols; New York, 1972; revised 1994, 1982 and 1998)

Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School

C.E. Woodruff and H.J. Cape, Schola Regia Cantuarensis: A History of Canterbury School (London, 1908)

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Chapter 1

Historiography and Sources

On the title-page of Thesaurus linguae Romanae et Britannicae, the Latin– English dictionary prepared by Thomas Cooper during his long spells as Master of Magdalen College School from the 1540s to the 1560s and published in London in 1565, he acknowledged his great debt to previous scholars. Those he named included, for the Latin elements, Robert Estienne, the scholarly printer of the Thesaurus linguae Latinae in Paris in 1532, and for the English equivalents Sir Thomas Elyot, scholar, royal tutor and author of an earlier Latin–English dictionary published in 1538. In fact, Cooper had also borrowed from Erasmus, Budé and other leading humanists in Northern Europe, who themselves owed great debts to scholars in late medieval Italy. But if his Latin–English dictionary reflected the relative ease with which a humble schoolmaster in mid-Tudor England could key into the work of a much older and wider network of humanist scholars and teachers, it also takes us to the heart of that mixture of innovation and conservatism which characterized early modern English education.

On his own initiative Cooper added a number of features, both in the body of the dictionary and in an appendix in which he listed all the names and places found in ancient history and literature. As an example, we may take the Latin noun virtus, which is translated into English, in black letter type, as ‘virtue, strength, puissance, valiantness’, and (in the politically incorrect way of the time) as ‘manliness’ and ‘manhood’; it also could mean ‘merit or desert’. This was innovative in the English context in that Cooper also provided a guide to pronunciation (emphasis on the second syllable), some grammatical information (it was a feminine noun), and many examples of usage or synonyms from classical writers, such as Cicero, Ovid, Virgil, Tacitus and Lucretius, with whose works Cooper was clearly hoping students were already or would soon become familiar. But it is also notable that no Christian authorities were cited: neither the Bible (perhaps excluded because the best-known Latin version, the Vulgate, was deemed faulty by many humanists), nor the Fathers, the Schoolmen, or even Renaissance authors such as Erasmus, all of whom had much to say   Thomas Cooper, Thesaurus linguae Romanae et Britannicae (1565), title-page; De Witt T. Starnes, Renaissance Dictionaries: English–Latin and Latin–English (Austin, TX, 1954), pp. 85–110. 

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

on the subject of Christian virtue. Nor was Machiavelli cited, though his concept of virtù was closer to those of the ancients’ ideals of masculinity and militarism than the Christian idea of moral goodness or even saintliness. While Cooper went on to become a bishop of the Protestant Church of England, his dictionary continued to face steadfastly back towards pagan ancient Rome. The number of Latin words Cooper had included, together with the features he added, not least the huge appendix, meant that the complete text amounted to a massive folio of over 1500 pages – a massive undertaking for any publisher, especially at a time when the English print trade had yet to come to terms with the rapidly expanding demand for schoolbooks. But despite its great cost to produce and bind – St Paul’s School’s copy cost them £1 4s. – the dictionary was printed four times in London between 1565 and 1584, and remained in demand for over a century. In school and college accounts and library catalogues we regularly find mention of a copy of ‘Cooper’ being recommended or bought, together with the costs of carriage from supplier to school – 9d. from Cambridge to Chester in 1589 – and (where it was school policy) of chaining. At Witton in Cheshire the cost of two chains for a copy of Cooper’s dictionary and one of Baret’s Quadruple dictionarie (which included words in Greek and French) was 7d. and the cost of fixing them 6d. Many copies were so heavily used that rebinding was an extra cost: Merchant Taylors’ copy was ‘all rent’ by 1599. Of course, such costs would have been much smaller where copies were given, as happened at Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School, to which a copy was left by the vicar, John Bretchgirdle, himself a former teacher. Among those students who probably used it was Shakespeare in his treatment of Virgilian passages. Other Latin–English dictionaries did appear, mainly shorter cheaper ones, and some of these like Thomas Thomas’s sold many copies. But throughout the seventeenth century, copies of ‘Cooper’, presumably second-hand ones, were still being sought for use in schools: at Felsted in Essex in 1601, Crosby in Lancashire in 1630, Gresham’s School at Holt in Norfolk in 1640, and Witney in Oxfordshire in the early 1660s. When the books in King’s School Gloucester were   Cooper, Thesaurus, sig. PPPppp2v.   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 422; STC2 5686–9.    Marjorie Cox, A History of Sir John Deane’s Grammar School Northwich  

(Manchester, 1975), p. 68.    Baldwin, Shakspere’s’ Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 421.

  Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 490–92, 528–31; Anthony Nuttall, ‘Virgil and Shakespeare’, in Charles Martindale (ed.), Virgil and his Influence (Exeter, 1984), p. 72.    J. Sergeaunt, A History of Felsted School (London, 1889), pp. 41–2; H.M. Luft, A History of Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby, 1620–1970 (Liverpool, 1970), pp. 41–2; P.J. 

Historiography and Sources

catalogued in the 1690s, the first book to be listed was ‘Cooper’s Dictionary London 1573’. In 1659 the experienced and influential teacher Charles Hoole was still recommending it, and as late as 1720 a reissue of old sheets was published with a fake title-page dated ‘1587’. The persistent demand for copies reflected the conservatism of the educational system in a country which in many other respects, not least its religion, had changed rapidly during the two centuries after the Reformation. The main aim of this monograph is to explore the changing relationship between these two potent forces – humanism and Protestantism – through an examination of the techniques of teaching in use, especially in grammar schools and (to a lesser extent) the first years of undergraduate life in early modern England. Of the three elements in the title of this volume, two – Protestantism and humanism – have undergone major changes in interpretation over the last few decades, while views of the third – secondary education – have also altered, though to a smaller degree. But whereas the impact of humanism on Protestantism and to a lesser extent of Protestantism on humanism has been the subject of much scrutiny by literary critics and political scientists as well as historians in recent years, the influence of those two forces on educational practice, and the impact of education on both of them, has with some notable exceptions received less attention. The focus of many of these studies has also been on the mid- and late Tudor or the early Stuart periods, whereas the forms of education, as Cooper’s dictionary indicates, remained remarkably similar in the late Stuart and early Hanoverian eras. The current state of play will become clearer if we examine the recent historiography of each of our three elements in turn, before we turn at the end of this chapter to see what sources are available to help us pursue our enquiries. * * * In his recent prize-winning survey, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided (2003), Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch has made a powerful case for believing that the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic CounterReformation which it provoked were among the great discontinuities in European and world history. Between 1500 and 1700, he argued, not only religion, but politics, thought, society and culture all changed completely, and at all levels. But where earlier generations of ecclesiastical historians had tended to stress the role of power politics and social tensions in bringing Lee, A Catalogue of the Foundation Library (1965), p. 13 (copy dated 1573); M.A. Fleming, Witney Grammar School 1660–1960 (Oxford, 1960), p. 22.    Wase Papers, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, CCC390/3, fol. 205; Charles Hoole, A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole (1660), sig. 11v; STC2 5690.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

about religious change, MacCulloch also rightly stresses the power of ideas – to initiate revolution and to change lives, both to ruin and rebuild them. Moreover, the impact of those ideas was quickly felt: by the 1580s battle lines had hardened across much of Europe, not only between Protestant reformers and Catholic counter-reformers, but also between Lutheran and Calvinist camps. In Reformation and other publications, MacCulloch has also argued forcefully that developments in England in the middle third of the sixteenth century were more closely connected with those on the Continent than had generally been acknowledged. This is not to say that in the English case major changes at the top – in Church institutions, doctrine, and officially approved forms of worship and discipline – were necessarily matched by developments at parish level, or that parishioners necessarily understood or accepted them. For some decades now, it has been recognized that popular sympathy for the old Church’s ways of ministering to a congregation’s needs, and confusion at what the new Church was teaching, were much greater than had been conceded in the triumphalist accounts of those nineteenth- and twentiethcentury historians who thought the Reformation had been widely welcomed with open arms. It is also generally accepted that the Reformers took decades rather than years to achieve a breakthrough in England, and in some respects had to lower their sights from the peak of their midcentury aspirations.10 Indeed, it is arguable that in England the reformers produced less abrupt changes than in many Reformations on the mainland of Europe. Christopher Haigh holds to the view that the English Reformation owed more to state intervention than ideology: the pendulum of reform and reaction may have swung further towards Continental Protestantism or Tridentine Catholicism each time there was a change in royal policy under Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary, but by 1559 the situation was still so fluid that England could have ended up heading in one of a number of directions.11 It was largely owing to the personal tastes of Queen Elizabeth,    Diarmaid MacCulloch, Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490–1700 (London, 2003), passim; and his Thomas Cranmer: A Life (New Haven, CT and London, 1996), Tudor Church Militant: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation (London, 1999), and ‘Putting the English Reformation on the Map’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th series, vol. 15 (2005): 75–95. 10   Christopher Haigh (ed.), The English Reformation Revised (Cambridge, 1987); Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Later Reformation in England 1547–1603 (Basingstoke, 1990); Christopher Marsh, Popular Religion in Sixteenth-century England (Basingstoke, 1998); Christopher Haigh, The Plain Man’s Pathways to Heaven: Kinds of Christianity in PostReformation England, 1570–1640 (Oxford, 2007). 11   Christopher Haigh, English Reformations: Religion, Politics, and Society under the Tudors (Cambridge, 1993).

Historiography and Sources

and the support she secured from key elements, that the settlement that then emerged was a curious amalgam – traditional in much of its structure and discipline, but with a hybrid liturgy and official statements of doctrine which reflected that earlier phase of the European Reformation when Protestants could actually still agree on many topics. For, despite the close contacts between leading reformers in England the Continent, the Elizabethan settlement was idiosyncratic doctrinally in being neither strongly Lutheran nor predominantly Reformed (as the Genevan or Calvinist version is often termed), but a mixture of both.12 And it rested on a foundation with an unusually high quota of inherited institutions such as cathedral chapters, episcopal Church courts and lay patronage. While many zealots wished to bring the English Church closer into line with the Reformed version abroad, they were thwarted (for different reasons) both by Elizabeth and James, who in this were supported, for a variety of motives, by a majority of the political elite.13 Moreover, although the foundations of a Protestant Church in England had been solidly laid between the early 1530s and the 1580s, that was far from the end of the building process. In response to challenges from outside the country (from the Papacy and Catholic Spain and Ireland, and later from Catholic France and presbyterian Scotland) and to challenges from dissenters within its boundaries and even within the English Church’s own ranks (from ‘godly’ pressure groups and Catholicizing monarchs), clarifications were needed on where the Church of England stood on various matters of discipline and doctrine.14 And in terms of the quality of the parish clergy and the range of their pastoral activities, and the forms of worship negotiated with the laity, especially in rural parishes some distance away from the cathedral cities, English Protestantism in the localities was arguably still evolving in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, albeit more slowly than in the sixteenth.15 Furthermore, the task of trying   This view is based on a view not just of the 39 Articles, but also of the Book of Common Prayer, the two volumes of official Homilies, the official catechisms, and of the literature discussed in Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England, chaps 5–7. 13   Norman Jones, The English Reformation: Religion and Cultural Adaptation (Oxford, 2002), passim; Alan Cromartie, The Constitutionalist Revolution: An Essay on the History of England 1450–1642 (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 2–3 and chaps 5–6. 12

  For a brief account of this, see Ian Green, ‘Anglicanism in Stuart and Hanoverian England’, in Sheridan Gilley and William J. Sheils (eds), A History of Religion in Britain (Oxford, 1994), pp. 168–87. 15   Rosemary O’Day, The Professions in Early Modern England, 1450–1800 (Harlow, 2000), part 2; John H. Pruett, The Parish Clergy under the Later Stuarts: The Leicestershire Experience (Urbana, IL, 1978); Jeremy Gregory, ‘The Eighteenth-century Reformation: the Pastoral Task of Anglican Clergy after 1689’, in John Walsh, Colin Haydon and Stephen Taylor (eds), The Church of England c.1689–c.1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism 14

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to move the bulk of the English population from an initial awareness of new teachings and practices to full comprehension of them, let alone active commitment to them, proved to require generations of effort. The concept of a ‘Long Reformation’ in England, from the 1530s to the late seventeenth century or even beyond, has much to recommend it in reflecting not only the shifts of agenda among influential groups at the top – ‘Calvinists’ from the 1580s to the 1620s, ‘Laudians’ in the 1630s, and ‘Low Church’ and ‘High Church’ from the later seventeenth century – and the time it took to get a suitable parish clergy in place, but also the fact that lay parishioners as well as clergy insisted on retaining the old patterns of patronage and tithes, and on trying to mould various aspects of the new Church’s life to their own tastes.16 In the provinces especially, the eventual settlement in many ways reflected the results of negotiations in which the views of lay parishioners were as important as, and on some issues even more important than, those of the clergy. The laity made their views clear on the new Protestant clergy’s performance of their duties, and on which aspects of Church court discipline they felt warranted co-operation and which not. The popular customs accompanying the official rites of passage, music-making in church, the new church fittings, and the prominent tombs of the gentry which flaunted their genealogy and their wealth and praised their virtue, as if these were guaranteed to get them through the pearly gates – many of these were also the product of local negotiation.17 As Michael Braddick pointed out in a recent monograph on state formation in early modern England, it proved to be much harder for the Tudors and Stuarts to establish a confessional state than it did to erect a patriarchal, a fiscal-military and a dynastic state. Indeed, it seems to have been harder to establish a confessional state in England than in many parts of Catholic and Protestant Europe,18 which (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 67–85. On the liturgy, see Judith Maltby, Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (Cambridge, 1998), and William Jacob, Lay People and Religion in the Early Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 1966), chap. 3. 16   Nicholas Tyacke (ed.), England’s Long Reformation 1500–1800 (London, 1988), passim, but esp. chap. 12: Jeremy Gregory on ‘“Success” and “Failure” in England’s Long Reformation’; Donald A. Spaeth, The Church in an Age of Danger: Parsons and Parishioners, 1660–1740 (Cambridge, 2000); Walsh, Haydon and Taylor, Church of England c.1689–c.1833, Introduction and passim; Jacob, Lay People and Religion, passim. 17   As previous notes; Felicity Heal, Reformation in Britain and Ireland (Oxford, 2003), pp. 473–84; and my Word, Image and Ritual in Early Modern English Protestantism (forthcoming). 18   Michael J. Braddick, State Formation in Early Modern England c. 1550–1700 (Cambridge, 2000); William J. Callahan and David Higgs (eds), Church and Society in Catholic Europe of the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 1979); but for interesting perspectives on confessionalization in Catholic Europe, see Marc R. Forster, Catholic Revival in the Age of the Baroque: Religious Identity in Southwest Germany, 1550–1750 (Cambridge, 2001).

Historiography and Sources

begs the question: ‘Why?’ Was it due to the higher than average quota of late medieval structures incorporated into the new Church at the Crown’s behest, or to the conservative or erastian attitudes of many of the English laity, and if the latter, how do we explain the shaping of those attitudes? In England, Protestantism seems to have come to mean rather different things to three groups of people who nevertheless all regarded themselves as sound Protestants: the clergy, the better-educated laity and the lesseducated laity.19 While the first group, the clergy, were far from being in total agreement on doctrine, or on the English Church’s place in the international Protestant community, the majority of them did manage to agree on more than they disagreed in terms of the faults of the Catholic Church and the proper role and status of an evangelical ministry. By contrast, the response to ecclesiastical change of the third group, the lesseducated English laity, seems initially to have been puzzlement, then a selective participation in the practices of the new Church, combined with hanging on to many older ideas, but eventually (it can be argued) a greater degree of commitment and involvement during the seventeenth century.20 In between, however, stood the second group – the better-educated English laity – the gentry, yeomanry and those among the middling ranks, the entrepreneurs, merchants and professional men – many of whom, to judge from their actions, comments in diaries and memoirs, and choice of edifying literature, developed views which were characterized by a constructive tension between on the one hand clearly Protestant ideas and on the other medieval, humanist and Renaissance ideas too. This tension led to a different position from that of the clergy. Where most of the clergy insisted on fallen man’s total inability to do anything meritorious and on salvation being through God-given faith alone, many of the laity tempered this view with a degree of moralism, rationalism and anticlericalism: man could perform good deeds, they felt, and God would surely recognize that, whatever the clergy said. The attitudes of the core of this group, who constituted the bulk of the members of parliament and of the magistracy in town and country, has, with some notable exceptions,21 received less attention than its numbers and power deserve; and this monograph will Protestant authorities did not have matters all their own way either: see Margo Todd, The Culture of Reformation in Early Modern Scotland (New Haven, CT, 2002). 19   Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England, pp. 24–39, 553–89. 20   See above, nn. 10 and 15–17; Martin Ingram, Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1987), chap. 3; Bernard Capp, The World of John Taylor the Water-Poet 1578–1653 (Oxford, 1994), chap. 6; Green, Christian’s ABC, Print and Protestantism and Word, Image and Ritual. 21   Felicity Heal and Clive Holmes, The Gentry in England and Wales, 1500–1700 (Basingstoke, 1994); Robert Tittler, The Reformation and the Towns in England (Oxford, 1998); Phil Withington, The Politics of Commonwealth: Citizens and Freemen in Early

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

look more closely at the role played in the evolution of the Protestantism of this propertied lay elite by a rite of passage that a great many of them shared – a number of years of humanist-inspired education. Was it the case, as Robert Bolgar suggested in the 1950s at the end of his panoramic survey of the impact of classical ideals from the eighth to the sixteenth centuries, that English grammar school and undergraduate education under Elizabeth was less geared to a confessional agenda than in most Lutheran, Calvinist and Jesuit schools and academies at the time? If he was also right that English teachers ‘were not pressed to inculcate religious zeal’ to the same extent as abroad, this could have had important implications for the nature and attitudes of the English laity as opposed to that of the Continent.22 When late Tudor and early Stuart education is mentioned, there has been a tendency to imagine that the lead in educational innovation was taken by the ‘godly’. This view is found as early as the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,23 but by the 1960s a number of historians had taken this much further: not only was the lead in improving English education after the break with Rome taken by the ‘Puritans’, but what held it back was a shortage of zealous, educated teachers of the type they approved. In W.K. Jordan’s trilogy on philanthropy in England from 1480 to 1660, the lead in endowing new schools under Edward, Elizabeth and the early Stuarts is taken by ‘evangelical Calvinists of Puritan persuasion’;24 and in his account of the ‘Educational Revolution’ in England between 1540 and 1660 Lawrence Stone concurred that ‘most new foundations had been predominantly the result of Protestant, and indeed puritan, piety’, adding that a major reason for the radicalism of the early Stuart period was the fact that ‘so many schoolmasters and dons were religious dissidents’. Joan Simon found many examples of puritan patrons and teachers in a study of Leicestershire schools in the late Tudor and early Stuart period, and concluded that with the rise of Laudianism in the 1630s, the disruptions of the 1640s and 1650s, and the ostracization of dissenters at the Restoration, English schools declined into ‘little but appendages of the Anglican establishment’. Looking at the universities as well as schools, Stone also concluded that a ‘prolonged educational depression’ began in Modern England (Cambridge, 2005); but see also Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500–1800 (London, 1977); see also below, Chapter 6. 22   Bolgar, The Classical Heritage and its Beneficiaries, pp. 360–61, 364–5. For the doubts about the compatibility of classicism and Protestantism expressed by other scholars, such as Geoffrey Elton and Richard Tuck, see below, pp. 10, 14–15, 110–11. 23   See the article on John Brinsley in the original Dictionary of National Biography, and Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 535–7. 24   Wilbur K. Jordan, Philanthropy in England 1480–1660 (London, 1959), p. 281; see also The Charities of London, 1480–1660 (London, 1960) and The Charities of Rural England (London, 1961).

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1660.25 Since then the only full-length study of the impact of Protestantism on English education, John Morgan’s Godly learning, has broadened their thesis by outlining ‘godly’ ideas on domestic instruction and the training of the clergy as part of the puritan educational heritage.26 But this thesis is not watertight. Many of the established schools and colleges were slow to change their ways; and many of the founders of new grammar schools were conservative bishops, cathedral clergy, gentry and lawyers, some of whom incorporated distinctly old-fashioned demands into the school statutes, such as praying for the founder’s soul and singing penitential psalms round his tomb.27 Moreover, as we shall see in Chapter 2, most English schools’ statutes and curricula changed remarkably little between the middle or second half of the sixteenth century and the first half of the eighteenth. As we will also see there, the great majority of teachers, whether career teachers or temporarily acting as ushers or masters, were prepared to accept the doctrines and discipline of the established Church, in which many of them also served parish cures. And from student memoirs, it is clear that many teachers left a strong loyalist, conformist imprint on their students’ minds, as in the case of Richard Busby, the headmaster of Westminster School for over half a century, an ‘exact Latinist and Grecian’ who numbered many bishops, privy councillors, poets and thinkers among his students between 1638 and 1695.28 Where did the balance of power or influence lie between the Brinsleys and the Busbys of the early modern educational system? We need a reappraisal of the impact of Protestantism (as it is now conceived) on English education, and the effect of that education on lay attitudes in Protestant England. * * * Perceptions of early modern English humanism have also changed markedly in recent decades. Since the early nineteenth century the term ‘humanism’ has been used by historians of mainland Europe to describe the ideas of those late medieval and early sixteenth-century scholars who 25   Lawrence Stone, ‘The Educational Revolution in England, 1540–1640’, Past and Present, 28 (1964): 73, 71–8 passim; Joan Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, pp. 397–400; Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries’, in Brian Simon (ed.), Education in Leicestershire 1540–1940: A Regional Study (Leicester, 1968), pp. 3–26, and see p. 27. 26   Morgan, Godly Learning; Margo Todd’s study of the arts degree in the late Tudor and early Stuart universities stressed the role of ‘Puritan’ tutors in framing the attitudes of their pupil, but conceded that similar ideas were found among ‘Anglican’ or ‘conformist’ tutors: Todd, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order. 27   See below, pp. 79–82, 280–83. 28   See below, pp. 83–6, and on Busby, the entry in ODNB.

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were fascinated by the ancient world and its literature, and highly critical of many of the scholastical methods and ideas of the high Middle Ages. By the mid-twentieth century, the earlier emphasis on the similarities between the humanism found in various countries was giving way to geographical descriptors to separate the characteristic compound of elements in ‘Italian’ humanism from that found in ‘Northern’ Europe, while other scholars were adding labels such as ‘civic’, ‘Renaissance’ or ‘Christian’ to describe what they saw as the distinctive elements of the humanist programme.29 The historians of the mid-twentieth century who chose to work on sixteenth-century England, like Gordon Zeeveld, Jack Hexter, Fritz Caspari and James McConica, were naturally tempted to paint a rosy picture of the achievement and impact of English ‘humanists’, and to depict them as full members of the most prestigious club of the day – the Erasmian. Moreover, having grown up against a background of totalitarianism and fascism in the first half of the twentieth century, such historians tended to adopt a Whiggish agenda: humanists were the good guys, supporting parliament and the expansion of the English state, aspiring to the development of a purer Christian society, and urging social reform and educational innovation. Were not the great Erasmus and Vives welcomed in England? Did not More’s Utopia make him famous on the Continent? Did not leading figures such as Ascham correspond or swap copies of their writings with reputed humanist scholars abroad such as Philip Melanchthon and Johann Sturm? Many historians admired ‘Erasmianism’ for its apparent moderation in a time of strife, a moderation which some saw as anticipating the tolerance of the Age of Enlightenment; and they regretted the fact that by the 1550s many of Erasmus’ works were being brushed aside by both Catholic and Protestant hard-liners, like a particularly fine set of china in a shop full of bulls.30 However, the historiography of European humanism has changed considerably in recent decades, and English historiography, though not always heading along parallel lines, has changed with it. Continental   Paul O. Kristeller, Renaissance Thought: The Classic, Scholastic, and Humanist Strains (New York, 1961); Hans Baron, The Crisis of the Early Italian Renaissance: Civic Humanism and Republican Liberty in an Age of Classicism and Tyranny (2nd edn, Princeton, NJ, 1966); Roberto Weiss, Humanism in England during the Fifteenth Century (3rd edn, Oxford, 1967). 30   For recent critiques of mid-twentieth century work, see Geoffrey Elton, ‘Humanism in England’, in Anthony Goodman and Angus Mackay (eds), The Impact of Humanism on Western Europe (London, 1990), pp. 259–78; Alistair Fox, ‘Facts and Fallacies: Interpreting English Humanism’, and ‘English Humanism and the Body Politic’, in Alistair Fox and John Guy (eds), Reassessing the Henrician Age: Humanism, Politics and Reform 1500–1550 (Oxford, 1986), pp. 10–51; James Hankins (ed.), Renaissance Civic Humanism: Reappraisals and Reflections (Cambridge, 2000), Introduction and passim. 29

Historiography and Sources


humanism, it has become clear, shifted ground more than once between its first appearance and later manifestations. At the outset studia humanitatis described the shared interests of a small coterie of writers who believed they were reviving classical learning by recovering lost texts and imitating classical eloquence in speech and script. By the late fifteenth century, however, this campaign had given birth to a much less exclusive phenomenon, the rise of the umanista – a man who made his living by teaching a particular educational programme which revolved around grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and moral philosophy, and who was more likely to have a knowledge of Greek than the first ‘humanists’.31 Recent accounts have also pointed out that the old perception of a unitary humanism tended to iron out the differences between its many strands: the highly technical agenda of philological study and textual criticism of the Bible and the classics, the early spread of neo-Platonism, and the later interest in law, medicine, botany, mathematics and art, and in current vernaculars as well as ancient languages.32 Nowadays scholars are also much more sceptical about humanists’ condemnations of the flaws in scholastic education and assertions of the originality of their own ideas. Most notably, the bust of Erasmus, who was once happy to be seen as the hammer of obscurantist scholastics and the linchpin of Northern humanism, has been moved from its original pedestal in the centre of the pantheon to a smaller, rather battered stand to one side. In his dealings with the powerful, Erasmus proved to have feet of clay: he wanted to back the winner – to publish, but not be damned. Doubts have also been cast on the existence of a unitary ‘Erasmianism’ and its viability as a middle ground offering compromise between extremes, at least in countries outside the Netherlands.33 For their

31   Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, chap. 1; David Rundle, ‘Studia Humanitatis’, in David Rundle (ed.), The Hutchison Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (Oxford, 1999), pp. 377–8. 32   Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, chaps 2–5; on the many aspects of sixteenthcentury humanism, see also the essays in Goodman and MacKay, The Impact of Humanism on Western Europe; Quentin Skinner, Eckhard Kessler and Jill Kraye (eds), The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy (Cambridge, 1988); and Jill Kraye (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (Cambridge, 1996); see also Charles G. Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (2nd edn, Cambridge, 2006). 33   See Erika Rummel, ‘Erasmus and the Art of Communication: Willing to Publish, but Not to Perish’, and the other essays in M.E.H.N. Mout, H. Smolinsky and J. Trapman (eds), Erasmianism: Idea and Reality (Amsterdam, 1997); Andrew Pettegree, ‘Humanism and the Reformation in Britain and the Netherlands’, in N. Scott Amos, Andrew Pettegree and Henk van Nierop (eds), The Education of a Christian Society: Humanism and the Reformation in Britain and the Netherlands (Papers Delivered to the Thirteenth Anglo-Dutch Historical Conference, 1997), p. 8 and references there.


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roles in transmitting and developing humanist ideas, other figures such as Melanchthon and later Lipsius deserve much more prominent positions.34 Melanchthon in particular has been accorded a pivotal role for his exceptional talents as a linguist, his genius as a thinker and writer, and his readiness (for a while) to modify his earlier views to take on board Luther’s insistence on the total depravity of man and the complete transcendence of biblical truth over even the best of human philosophy. These qualities enabled him to act as a bridge not only between late medieval South German nominalism and the North European humanism of Erasmus, but also between those influences and that of full-strength Lutheranism. His own idiosyncratic slant on humanism, including a fusion of dialectic and rhetoric rather than the subordination of one to the other, influenced both his translations of the Bible and his organization of theology. In his widely used Loci communes he offered students an index of the essential scriptural doctrines which humankind had the capacity to understand; and under pressure from Luther’s thundering certainties about the nature and true meaning of the Bible, he also refined the distinction between the study of theology and that of ethics. Theology applied to the sacred kingdom, had nothing to do with the classics, and was reserved for those on the upper rungs of the educational ladder; ethics applied to the secular kingdom established by God to preserve society and for which (he argued) pagan as well as Christian insights into the law of nature could, with appropriate safeguards, be used on most rungs of the ladder.35 Melanchthon’s particular relevance for this monograph is his contribution to education in Germany and further afield. For his many publications, including Greek and Latin grammars, student handbooks on rhetoric and natural philosophy, and editions of classical texts such as Terence’s plays, and for the broad curricula he devised for Lutheran schools and universities, he has been dubbed praeceptor Germaniae. Through this educational legacy he has been credited not only with helping in the short term to shield classical studies from the unfriendly attentions of those hard-line Protestants who dismissed the wisdom of pagan authors as worthless by comparison with that of the Bible, but also in the longer term with having more influence on German education than Luther himself. 34   For Lipsius, see Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, pp. 370–73, 824–5; Richard Tuck, Philosophy and Government 1572–1651 (Cambridge, 1993), chap. 2. 35   This paragraph and the next are based on my understanding of sources in previous notes, and John R. Schneider, Philip Melanchthon’s Construal of Biblical Authority, Texts and Studies in Religion, vol. 51 (Lewiston, NY, 1990); Sachiko Kusukawa, The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: The Case of Philip Melanchthon (Cambridge, 1995); Karin Maag (ed.), Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence beyond Wittenberg (Grand Rapids, MI, 1999). See also John Schofield, Philip Melanchthon and the English Reformation (Abingdon, 2006), pp. 22–4, 48–53; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 69–70.

Historiography and Sources


His textbooks were, however, widely used in many Catholic schools in Germany, and his more advanced works were influential in universities in several countries, including England.36 More than once he was invited to that country, where he was admired by Cranmer, Ascham and Elizabeth, and his works were known and used by scholars and students, not only in the universities, where his Dialectices was a frequently used handbook and influenced English authors like Robert Sanderson, but also in schools through the regularly reprinted edition of Cicero’s De officiis which included his notes.37 Melanchthon’s combination of a persistent belief in the benefits of the study of the liberal arts in a Christian education and in the capacity of the human mind, aided by grace, to understand and agree on the essentials of the Christian faith, marked him out as a pivotal figure in the history of both humanism and Protestantism. He is thus an excellent example of Kristeller’s narrower but more precise definition of a ‘Christian humanist’ – ‘those scholars with a humanist classical and rhetorical training who explicitly discussed religious or theological problems in all or some of their writings’ – as opposed to the wider but vaguer definition – ‘scholars who accepted the teachings of Christianity … without necessarily discussing religious or theological topics in their literary or scholarly writings’.38 Early modern England would have a limited number of Christian humanists of the first kind, mainly among highly educated clerics and teachers, but many more of the latter, among the lower ranks of the teaching profession and the educated laity. In addition to changing estimates of its leading figures, there have been revised assessments of the nature and extent of the impact of humanism on European ideas and practices. Scholars today would not deny that one strand – the theory and practice of humanist education – was very influential in many European schools and in new colleges and universities. But against that must be balanced the fact that it did not make serious inroads into the scholastic curricula of old-established universities such as Paris and Oxford, despite various attempts to produce a synthesis of

  As previous note, and Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, p. 87; A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, index under ‘Melanchthon’; Moss, Printed Commonplacebooks, pp. 126–32, 162–73. 37   Schofield, Melanchthon and the English Reformation, pp. 61, 66, 154–72, 160, 174, 196; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 161, 174, 227, 259, 276, 439, 509, 549, and vol. 2, pp. 33–4, 39, 56, 66 and 581–2; Todd, Christian Humanism, pp. 63, 66, 81; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, index under ‘Melanchthon’; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 52, 54–7. 38   Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, pp. 86–7. 36

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humanism and scholasticism, as in the study of Aristotle.39 Moreover, humanist ideals did not lead inexorably to a particular standpoint on philosophy, doctrine, politics or morality. Indeed, its impact varied a good deal according to which of the ancient philosophical schools were being discussed – Aristotelian, Platonic, Stoic or Epicurean – and on who was doing the discussing.40 In an important recent study entitled The Confessionalization of Humanism in Reformation Germany, for example, Erika Rummel has charted the process by which humanism was adapted to suit different confessional ends by Protestant teachers in the North of Germany, and in subtly different ways by their Catholic counterparts in both North and South. Thus the Protestant school Ordnung initially adopted the humanistic view of education as a civic duty, a means of producing citizens who would serve God and the state, and followed the humanists’ focus on language training. To this end teachers used existing (pre-Reformation) humanist manuals which had limited doctrinal content, and promoted a non-denominational, personal piety that could be inspired by pagan as well as Christian sources. But later Protestant school ordinances gave more space to the correction of faults, and the manuals used in both Protestant and Catholic schools became much more creed-specific with a larger quota of doctrine and dogma. The Jesuits and the Calvinists were, as Peter Burke has observed, ‘extremely selective in what they borrowed or appropriated from the classical tradition’ for their schools and colleges; while they continued to deploy many humanist ideas and methods in their schools and colleges, they also ‘domesticated’ them.41 Similarly, while most scholars would agree that other strands of humanism made major contributions to areas outside education and scholarship, such as public service in Renaissance courts and cities, they might argue that these aspects of humanist endeavour prospered most where they were adapted to suit the changing political and religious character of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. One example of this was the focus of Lipsius and Grotius on those spheres of ancient history and politics which were most likely to yield answers to their current concerns about political power, warfare and morality in the new age of religious strife. Many of these later theorists focused on the moral rights   Peter Burke, ‘The Spread of Italian Humanism’, in Goodman and MacKay, The Impact of Humanism on Western Europe, pp. 13–20; Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-century Europe (London, 1986). 40   Jill Kraye, ‘Moral Philosophy’, in Skinner, Kessler and Kraye, Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, pp. 303–86. 41   Erika Rummel, The Confessionalization of Humanism in Reformation Germany (Oxford, 2000); Burke, ‘Spread of Italian Humanism’, p. 19; and see Gerald Strauss on ‘the uses of sin’ in Luther’s House of Learning, chap. 10. 39

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of the community, albeit with consequences for the individual, whereas the teaching of the Christian Church was preoccupied with the spiritual needs and moral duties of the individual, albeit with consequences for the community.42 Turning to scholars who have worked on England in recent decades, we find two tendencies at work. On the one hand there are those who, as for the mainland of Europe, have rejected over-simple definitions of humanism, and refused to swallow humanist propaganda whole. Some scholars have pointed out that the standard of Latin in England in the first half of the fifteenth century was by no means as low as was later suggested, and that English scholars adopted humanist practice not from weakness but cautiously and selectively, transforming that practice at the same time as they adopted it.43 Others have argued that the humanist impact of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was not only less striking than had been thought, but also soon began to fade. J.G.A. Pocock insisted that the adoption of civic humanist ideas in England was impeded by a combination of forces, including medieval traditions of law and government, the idea of ‘the ancient constitution’, and the doctrine of the elect nation. When classical republicanism reappeared in England in the 1650s, he argued, it was only after a long hiatus, and the transforming work of Harrington and Milton.44 This downgrading of English humanism approached a peak in the mid-1980s when (to quote Sir Geoffrey Elton, who could not abide the adulation heaped on Sir Thomas More by his modern devotees) ‘a rather formidable cat … landed among the cooing pigeons’. The cat was Alistair Fox, freshly arrived from New Zealand and unencumbered by Whiggish baggage, who soon reduced the numbers of Englishmen entitled to be regarded as genuine humanists, and cast doubt on the coherence of English

  James K. McConica, English Humanists and Reformation Politics under Henry VIII and Edward VI (Oxford, 1965); G. Oestreich, Neostoicism and the Early Modern State (Cambridge, 1982); Richard Tuck, ‘Humanism and Political Thought’, in Goodman and MacKay, The Impact of Humanism on Western Europe, pp. 43–65; Tuck, Philosophy and Government, chaps 2, 5. 43   David Rundle, ‘Humanism before the Tudors: On Nobility and the Reception of the Studia Humanitatis in Fifteenth-century England’, in Jonathan Woolfson (ed.), Reassessing Tudor Humanism (Basingstoke, 2002), pp. 22–42; Rundle, ‘Humanist Eloquence among the Barbarians in Fifteenth-century England’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, pp. 68–85. 44   J.G.A. Pocock, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law: A Study of English Political Thought in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge, 1957); The Machiavellian Moment (Princeton, NJ, 1975); The Political Works of James Harrington, ed. J.G.A. Pocock (Cambridge, 1977). 42


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humanism and the debt it owed to Erasmus.45 It was true that many of the English elite absorbed humanist educational ideals with enthusiasm, so that by the 1540s and 1550s the imprint of a humanist education was evident on many academics, courtiers and nobles, with Latinists, Grecians and Hebraists being found among leading Catholic figures as well as Protestant.46 But despite this enthusiasm, English humanism, it is implied, remained derivative and stunted. English humanists in the generation after Fisher and More were by international standards second-rate, being heavily dependent on using or translating works written and published abroad, rather than producing much original scholarship of their own. For much of the sixteenth century English humanism had a significant impact only where it adjusted to suit changing conditions, for example at court. Even there, a humanist-educated gentleman like William Cecil had to abandon his earlier ideals in the face of the realities of international power politics.47 Some authors have also argued that classical humanism was changed radically around 1600, when the more idealistic Ciceronianism gave way to the more sceptical Taciteanism.48 There remain areas, however, where scholars today still treat humanism as a major force. Arguments rumble on as to how far or in what ways humanism may have either inspired Protestant reform initiatives or coincided with religious conservatism, or perhaps did both. Humanism has also been linked to concepts of public service to the common weal, to the shift from chivalry to courtesy, and to the debate on the colonization of America.49 Most notably, in the realm of political theory Pocock’s low estimate of humanist influence has been challenged by scholars who have argued for a much wider deployment of the vocabulary and values of Greek and Roman history and literature in late Tudor and early Stuart 45   Fox, ‘Facts and Fallacies: Interpreting English humanism’; Elton, ‘Humanism in England’, p. 276. 46   Richard Rex, ‘The Role of English Humanists in the Reformation up to 1559’, in Amos, Pettegree and van Nierop, The Education of a Christian Society, pp. 19–40; L. Wooding, Rethinking Catholicism in Reformation England (Oxford, 2000). 47   See the important essays by Andrew Pettegree and Richard Rex in The Education of a Christian Society; Stephen Alford, The Early Elizabethan Polity: William Cecil and the British Succession Crisis, 1558–1569 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 9–42; see also the contributors to Woolfson, Reassessing Tudor Humanism; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, pp. 157–99. 48   J.H.M. Salmon, ‘Seneca and Tacitus in Jacobean England’, in Linda Levy Peck (ed.), The Mental World of the Jacoeban Court (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 169–88; Tuck, ‘Humanism and Political Thought’, pp. 63–5; Tuck, Philosophy and Government. 49   See the useful historiographical survey in Jonathan Woolfson’s Introduction to Woolfson, Reassessing Tudor Humanism, pp. 1–21; Andrew Fitzmaurice, Humanism and America: An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, 1500–1625 (Cambridge, 2004).

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England. In Liberty before Liberalism Quentin Skinner argued that the roots of Renaissance republicanism were ‘neo-Roman’, derived from writers like Cicero, Sallust and Seneca rather than Greek theorists like Aristotle and Plato. And in Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes he showed how Hobbes’ training in classical rhetoric influenced his intellectual development: although at first Hobbes rejected the subjective, argumentative elements of rhetoric in favour of fixed, logically derived scientific approaches, he later swung back to a neo-classical blend of reason and rhetoric in the exposition of civil (as opposed to natural) science.50 Reviewing the pamphlet literature of the period, Markku Peltonen in Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought 1570–1640 challenged both Pocock’s work and Michael Walzer’s stress on Calvinist ideology in The Revolution of the Saints, by listing many examples of what he saw as humanist-inspired republican thinking on the need for the individual to undertake civic and political action, long before the upheavals of the 1640s.51 Meanwhile, the revaluation of the humanist impact on political thought had also attracted some ecclesiastical and political historians and some literary critics. Patrick Collinson had already posited the existence in late sixteenth-century England of a ‘monarchical republic’ which was both a hereditary monarchy accepted by all Elizabeth’s subjects and a collective, participatory state whose citizens expected a measure of self-government and to be consulted on certain issues. This expectation, he suggested, was due to the infection of the Elizabethan polity by an ‘anti-monarchical virus’ which was the legacy of early sixteenth-century humanism.52 But whereas some scholars have held back, either arguing that these republican or quasi-republican elements were fairly easily contained within a mixed polity which was capable of acting in a conservative manner when it was deemed necessary, or seeing classical humanism as a complement to English Calvinism in encouraging active participation by Protestant subjects in promoting the common weal,53 yet others have gone beyond Collinson in detecting a full-blown republicanism in the writings of leading poets and playwrights from the 1590s to the 1640s – classically educated   Quentin Skinner, Liberty before Liberalism (Cambridge, 1998), and Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Cambridge, 1996). 51   Markku Peltonen, Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1995). 52   Patrick Collinson, ‘The Monarchical Republic of Queen Elizabeth I’, and ‘De Republica Anglorum: Or, History with the Politics Put Back’, both reprinted in Collinson, Elizabethan Essays (London, 1994); see also next note. 53   The Introduction by John F. McDiarmid to McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England provides an excellent survey of this field, as well as summarizing a number of fresh contributions in that volume. 50

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men who were inspired by authors such as Livy, Tacitus and Lucan, and either tackled republican themes or reworked ancient myths and historical episodes to make anti-monarchical points.54 The longer this debate on a ‘monarchical republic’ spawned by classical humanism has persisted, the more complex it has become. The timeframe now goes back to the 1530s and beyond, and forward to the 1690s and the eighteenth century; all manner of new texts and forms of discourse have been marshalled; and the importance of native English traditions (of law and honour, for example) as well as the impact of Protestantism (and Catholicism) on political and social thought have all been forcibly restated.55 Indeed, new questions have been raised. If there was a ‘meld’ of humanist and Protestant influence, for example, how did this come about, and how were problems of differing interpretation reconciled? And to what extent did humanist emphases such as the importance of virtue in the leaders of society and the value of rhetoric when correctly used by those leaders encourage an elitist as well as a moralistic vision of the English polity?56 In later chapters of this monograph, the study of humanism in grammar school education may help to throw some light on these questions and some of the assumptions of previous scholarship. We have already mentioned some literary scholars who have been recently looking afresh at the impact of humanism on English poetry and drama, but this is not a new line of enquiry. In fact, literary scholars have come almost full circle on this. In the 1940s T.W. Baldwin finally published two huge volumes to support his view that Elizabethan drama must be seen through the lens of humanist learning.57 But in subsequent decades a number of scholars began to stress the extent to which Marlowe and Shakespeare adapted the ‘popular’, ‘native’ tradition of the morality play, or to point out the use made of drama for Protestant propaganda. Since then there have been several attempts to re-engage with humanism, though these have usually been much more critical than older ones. Some authors, for example, have compared the artificiality and rule-bound aridity of ‘humanist’ dramaturgy unfavourably with the liveliness and freedom of ‘popular’ sources, while others have stressed the points of tension between   Andrew Hadfield, Shakespeare and Republicanism (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 50–52, and chaps 1–2 passim; David Norbrook, Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627–1660 (Cambridge, 1999), passim. 55   See the essays in McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England; R. Malcom Smuts, Culture and Power in England 1585–1685 (Basingstoke, 1999); Cromartie, Constitutionalist Revolution. 56   See the essays by Lake and Peltonen in McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 298–304; Steve Hindle, The State and Social Change in Early Modern England, 1550–1640 (Basingstoke, 2002), pp. 25–8. 57   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’. 54

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humanist and non-humanist ideas, for example, between the optimism on man’s potential found in many ancient sources and the pessimism on human capacity stressed by Calvinist doctrine, or between the attitudes of adult males who had been exposed in school to classical assumptions about male dominance, and adult females who had mostly been denied such contact. In contrast with this caution, Kent Cartwright has taken a much more positive view of the liveliness and flexibility of the humanist tradition, while other scholars have concluded that Elizabethan authors were quite capable of utilizing and advocating humanist skills and values at the same time as they questioned and in some cases subverted them. What is often found in recent discussions is less the idea of a divide between popular and humanist, or Protestant and pagan, than the recognition that the Renaissance was pluralistic and contradictory, and that there was a complex interaction between the Latin-based and the vernacular cultures of the period.58 At this point, it is worth pausing for a moment to consider two major new studies of Tudor-Stuart literature. The first, Brian Cummings’ The Literary Culture of the Reformation, sub-titled ‘Grammar and Grace’, ignores conventional categories, and represents one of the few attempts to link the development of Protestantism, humanism and education in early modern England. This is an enormously impressive, groundbreaking study which combines recent critical theory and close readings of selected English texts (by Tyndale, Wyatt, Sidney, Southwell, Herbert and Donne) with searching analyses of changes in biblical interpretation, theology and education, especially the ‘neglected hinterland of grammar’, in which humanist debate was ‘shot through’ with traces of religious anxiety.59 It carefully places the ‘long reformation in culture’ experienced by the English from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries in its European context, highlights the results of the switching of sensitive doctrinal debates from the university and cloister to public fora, and tackles the problems posed by more and more scholars having to switch from a reliance on Latin as the medium of communication and having to acquire Hebrew and Greek for biblical study, to becoming increasingly aware of the imperative to develop means of instruction and persuasion in the vernacular as well. What emerged is what Cummings calls ‘a crisis of studies in Northern Europe’, as the old, proven methods of analysing, arguing and stating a case were subverted by newer methods before the

  For two recent surveys, see Kent Cartwright, Theatre and Humanism: English Drama in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 1999), pp 3–12, 249–53; Woolfson, Introduction to Reassessing Tudor Humanism, pp. 5–9. 59   Cummings, Literary Culture of the Reformation, p. 12. 58

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latter had proved their capacity to handle the enormous weight about to be put upon them by rival theologians.60 In England, Cummings argues, the Protestant reformers’ hopes of a new unifying literature in the vernacular got off to a flying start under Edward VI, but later in the century became frustrated, and by the middle of the next were fading. This was partly because the English language was itself in flux, and partly because of divisions within Protestantism and ‘a profound tension in puritanism about the status of poetry’.61 But above all, as shown by the spiritual angst of those pious authors whose works caught Cummings’ eye, it was because the search to find the right words ‘to capture what could hardly be captured’ proved so difficult that it produced distinctively heartfelt poetry and prose. Instead of making it easier to explain the ways of God to man, ‘the new literature of religion’ of the late Tudor and early Stuart periods ‘identified new differences, new contradictions, and new limits’. Milton’s Paradise Lost may have been ‘the crowning laurel in the contribution of the Reformation to the English language and its literature’, but to achieve his goal Milton had stretched the rules of that language to near breaking point.62 Much of what Professor Cummings has said about a ‘crisis of studies’ and the tensions it both reflected and helped generate is extremely valuable as background to what we are attempting in this monograph. But he assures his readers that he was not attempting a comprehensive survey. His coverage of textbooks on grammar, rhetoric and logic, for example, is necessarily biased towards those written or used by the leading minds of the day with whom he is concerned, and towards those authors with something to say about English grammar. So there is still room for the questions being posed in this monograph about the educational experience of the average Protestant schoolboy, who for six or seven years spent several hours each day exploring and imitating a relatively small selection of Latin texts, guided in the initial stages by the standard Latin grammar dating from the early Tudor period. Indeed, a major question to be tackled is why, when so many other features of English life changed, did the textbooks and the curriculum of English grammar schools change so little between the mid- to late-sixteenth century and the mid-eighteenth century? Moreover, like many students of English literature, Cummings’ focus is often on the ambiguities and creative tensions found in the ‘puritan humanism’ of Sidney, Spenser, Greville and Milton, and in the poetry of recusants like

  Ibid., p. 132.   Ibid., pp. 232, 274. 62   Ibid., pp. 327, 417, 431. 60 61

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Southwell and Stapleton or ecclesiastical conservatives like Donne.63 This still leaves the many volumes of prayers and meditations, the handbooks on godly living and dying and preparation for the sacrament, and the various forms of entertaining edification produced by clergy and laymen nearer the middle of the stream – many of which sold tens of thousands of copies in the same period.64 Who formed the market for these works? The other major recent study on the impact of humanism by a student of literature is Peter Mack’s Elizabethan Rhetoric: Theory and Practice (2002). This is the most insightful treatment yet of the skills in rhetoric and dialectic which the best students in grammar school and university in the late sixteenth century were expected to acquire; it also offers a wideranging assessment of how those skills affected the reading and writing habits of highly educated courtiers, lawyers, country gentry and clergymen who wished to persuade or impress their contemporaries. Where some other scholars have been eager to draw a direct line between a classical education or a specific ancient text and the political views or cultural aspirations of the Elizabethan elite, he sees the skills of rhetoric and dialectic being deployed to ensure that both sides of contemporary debates were heard in all their complexity, and that the decisions made were based on principle and pragmatism. He concludes that ‘the forms of argument together with the maxims and moral stories provided by rhetorical education defined the culture of debate and shaped the Elizabethan elite’.65 Much of what Professor Mack says coincides with what is suggested below, especially the powerful links between rhetorical training and the accumulation and mastery of moral precepts. But whereas his focus was on the Elizabethan period and on the impact of classical rhetoric on the writing and speaking of the English language, the emphasis here is on the longer period from 1540 to 1760, and on the relationship between classical and Christian moral teaching. Also where his sources provide a picture of what well born students experienced at the hands of a private tutor or in the best-endowed schools of the early to mid-sixteenth century, it is open to question whether many of the newly established grammar schools were able to afford the relevant supplementary texts on rhetoric, or whether most teachers had the time to instil into the average pupil anything like the high level of rhetorical skills which theorists and school founders demanded. This situation may have changed after 1600 as teaching standards improved and school libraries developed; but even then it is noteworthy that many   Ibid., pp. 266, 277 (for ‘puritan humanism’), and chaps 6–9 passim; see also Deborah Shuger, Habits of Thought in the English Renaissance: Religion, Politics, and the Dominant Culture (Berkeley, CA, 1990). 64   Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England, chaps 5–7. 65   Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 303–4 and passim. 63

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of the texts on rhetoric then written and regularly reprinted were designed to provide a simpler version of what was clearly regarded as a difficult set of skills to teach and master.66 There remain certain lacunae in recent work on the nature and impact of English humanism. One is a tendency to marginalize or offer a narrow account of the ethical dimension of the humanist educational programme. A number of recent studies of English humanism do mention the moral imperative, but tend to view it as a means to an end such as political theorizing or ensuring dramatic effect. Even those scholars like Crane and Mack who have awarded it a much more central role67 do not treat ethical teaching in the wider context in which most early modern people would have encountered it – a context which embraced on the one hand Christian teaching on sin and salvation, and on the other widely accepted legal norms on right and wrong, and a sense of the social duties incumbent on rank or occupation. How far these different perceptions reinforced or undermined each other, and in particular how classical and non-classical views on moral conduct were to be reconciled when they were at odds, are questions upon which a study of the ethical content of classroom education may help throw some light. Another way in which recent scholarship has been more narrowly focused than it might is by not engaging with a further point made back in the 1950s by Robert Bolgar. He suggested that in the upper forms of grammar schools and first degree level at university, the study of classical texts, and especially poetry and plays, was less inhibited in England than in most Protestant and Catholic countries, less likely to be restricted in the choice of texts, and less likely to have the texts bowdlerized or saddled with safe, approved notes or commentaries than in Lutheran, Calvinist or Jesuit institutions.68 Since then, no one (as far as I know) has challenged Bolgar’s conclusions frontally; and in the following chapters, especially Chapters 3–5, we will seek to test them, by asking whether English education was indeed less inhibited in its study of the classics, as well as less confessional in its nature, than in most European countries at the time.69 A third feature of much recent scholarship is that it tends to provide a rather top-heavy account of early modern English humanism, loaded in favour of figures like Edmund Spenser, Gabriel Harvey, Ben Jonson 66 67

  See below, pp. 70–71, 98–104, 249–54, 298–9.   Mary T. Crane, Framing Authority: Sayings, Self and Society in Sixteenth-century

England (Princeton, NJ, 1993); Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, passim. 68   Bolgar, The Classical Heritage and its Beneficiaries, pp. 364–5, 450; for some confirmation of this view, see Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 35–42, 51–3, 55–60. 69   For a comparative exercise on the Continent, see the monograph by Rummel cited in n. 41 above.

Historiography and Sources


or Thomas Hobbes who might have been unusual in any age. This imbalance is beginning to change. Elizabethan and Jacobean authors were obviously aware, as Jonathan Bate has stressed, of the possibility of multiple interpretations – historical, moral and allegorical – in a single text, such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses or a play or poem in English based on an Ovidian theme. Such authors – and their publishers – were also aware that different elements in their audience were capable of recognizing and appreciating different aspects of their work. Thus Shakespeare’s colleagues John Heminges and Henry Condell addressed the First Folio of 1623 to ‘the great variety of readers … from the most able, to him that can but spell’. Bate doubts whether a well-educated reader or playgoer ‘would have consciously recognized, let alone reflected upon the significance of all the Ovidian associations’ inserted by an author, which a modern critic with time and texts to hand can identify; and he suggests that those with no classical education were probably interested more in the story-telling, the spectacle and the mellifluous verse which translating or imitating Ovid produced. But, he feels, ‘Elizabethan theatrical Ovidianism’ represented ‘an exceptionally fruitful embrace between “high” and “low” culture’, enabling classics to reach a popular audience, with the avowed intent to edify as well as entertain.70 Men of humbler background could acquire more than a passing acquaintance with classical and humanist literature. There was the mercer Robert Langham, who wrote an account of Elizabeth’s visit to Kenilworth in 1575. At the end of this he comments, ‘Ye marvel perchance to see me so bookish,’ but explained that he had been to St Paul’s and St Anthony’s for a while, ‘could construe and pars with the best of them’, had got past Aesop’s Fables and could still remember the first lines of the Terence and Virgil he had studied. In his leisure time he liked to look ‘now … on one book, now on another’, and delighted in stories – ‘the more ancient and rare, the more likesome unto me’.71 By contrast John Taylor, the London waterman turned ‘Water-Poet’, never learnt Latin, but according to his modern biographer ‘read many of the classics in translation and paraded his newly acquired learning with a torrent of references and allusions’, some based on very careful reading.72 Taylor supported Church and King, 70   Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford, 2001), pp. 10–13 and passim; for similar thoughts on Ben Jonson, see Kevin Sharpe and Peter Lake (eds), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England (Basingstoke, 1994), Introduction and chaps 3–4. 71   Some doubt has been raised about the authenticity of at least part of Langham’s letter (ODNB under Robert Langham), but Stow seemed to think it was genuine and implies he met Langham: John Stow, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster (2 vols, 1720), vol. 1, bk 2, p. 124. 72   Capp, The World of John Taylor the Water-Poet, pp. 50–54.

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but some of the leading radicals of the 1640s like Abiezer Coppe may have received an orthodox humanist education in preceding decades, and then used that education to satirize standard texts (including Lily’s ‘Grammar’, seen as a symbol of authority) and to subvert established political norms and cultural practices.73 Given that many boys like Langham and Coppe had attended a grammar school for a few years without necessarily completing the whole curriculum, a study of that curriculum offers a good entry into further exploration of the impact of humanism on those in the lower middling and lower ranks. Indeed, if we combine Bolgar’s suggestion with another recent survey of classical literature in early modern England, J.W. Binns’s Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England (sub-titled ‘the Latin writings of the age’), and with some recent assessments of the longer-term impact on English life of authors like Virgil, Horace and Ovid,74 we have the potential to help solve other puzzles. One is the gulf between on the one hand the litany of complaints that the classical teaching provided in many English grammar schools was so boring and stultifying that it alienated most students completely, and on the other the persistence of classicism and the evident delight in reading and writing Latin verse which was experienced by many adults through to the age of Dr Johnson. This culminated in the flood of Neo-Latin poetry in the vernacular which in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries swamped England, perhaps more than in any other European country. Was this disparity due to the contrast between the necessary routine involved in mastering grammatical rules in the lower forms of schools right across Europe, and the more open-ended and so potentially more enjoyable study of Ovid, Virgil, Terence and Horace, and increasingly of Homer and ancient historians in the upper forms of grammar schools in England? Was it the case that, although humanist education in England did not produce many first-class citizens of the European republic of letters,75 it did produce tens of thousands of second  Nicholas McDowell, The English Radical Imagination: Culture, Religion, and Revolution, 1630–1660 (Oxford, 2003), esp. chap. 4. 74   James W. Binns, Intellectual Culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England: The Latin Writings of the Age (Leeds, 1990); Charles Martindale (ed.), Virgil and His Influence: Bimillennial Studies (Bristol, 1984); Charles Martindale and David Hopkins (eds), Horace Made New: Horatian Influences on British Writing from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1993); A.B. Taylor (ed.), Shakespeare’s Ovid: The Metamorphoses in the Plays and Poems (Oxford, 2000), esp. parts 1 and 3; Philip Hardie (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (Cambridge, 2002). 75   Though it did produce Sir Henry Savile, James Ussher, Thomas Gataker, John Lightfoot and the editors of the Walton Polyglot and the Critici sacri, whose achievements were recognized outside Britain: Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 110–12; see also below, p. 115. 73

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class citizens who, having pored for years over classical texts as students, found that in adult life they could appreciate some of Shakespeare’s tricks with Ovid or identify a politician’s use of Cicero or Tacitus, or who proved willing to buy lavish new editions or translations of works by Aesop or Virgil? For another puzzle is the reason for the huge increase in the sales of classical and neo-classical works in translation, in spurts from the mid sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, but especially striking in the second century after the Reformation. How far did the trickle-down effect of classical education, together with the commercially motivated production of English translations of classical texts and of works by humanists such as Erasmus, help to produce many thousands of what might be termed ‘denizens’ of the republic of letters (denizens were immigrants who were given limited rights of citizenship) – that is, adults who had little or no Latin education but were nevertheless strongly attracted by ancient stories and ideas? People like John Taylor, despite not having mastered Latin or Greek, had ready access to English versions of the poetry, plays and histories of Greek and Roman authors, and to the political pamphlets, satirical works and treatises of moral philosophy written by contemporary authors who had borrowed heavily from classical materials.76 If we put together the readerships represented by these second-class citizens and denizens, we may be able to explain the fact that in early modern England the works of Ovid and Cicero sold far more copies than those of Calvin and Perkins – two of the most frequently republished Protestant authors. It is true that the classical titles were mostly single texts and many were published in cheaper octavo formats, whereas many of the Calvinian were multiple texts, and published in much more expensive folios or quartos; but the comparison is none the less striking.77 How great was the cumulative impact on the attitudes of the English laity of on the one hand a classical education (for a minority), and on the other an exposure to ancient and humanist texts in English (for many more)? * * * If we now turn to the historiography of education in early modern England, we again find significant changes by the 1960s and 1970s, but relatively little change thereafter, at least on grammar school education. For whereas in the first two-thirds of the twentieth century much attention had been paid to grammar school education, in the remaining third much more   See below, Chapters 3, 4 and 6.   See below, Chapters 3 and 4, and STC2, Wing2 and ESTC under the relevant authors’

76 77


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was paid to the primary and tertiary levels, and what was written on the secondary tended to follow certain stereotypes or be downright hostile to what grammar schools were then trying to achieve. The pioneering studies of Foster Watson and Monroe Stowe on the grammar schools of Tudor and early Stuart England, published on opposite sides of the Atlantic in 1908, were both perspicacious; and Watson’s wideranging research in particular retains much of its value.78 However, much of the research carried out in the early and mid-twentieth century either had an ulterior motive, such as singing the praises of an author’s alma mater,79 or followed a restricted agenda. Some historians of education, for example, sought inspiration on how to improve lessons in their own age, by returning endlessly to the innovative ideas of a handful of educational pioneers and thoughtful laymen, even though the experience of some of these authors, such as Ascham, Milton and Locke, was limited to wellborn students at home, whereas that of others, such as Kemp, Brinsley and Hoole, was in provincial grammar schools.80 Indeed, Hoole’s fascinating and informative handbook, A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole, was a blueprint for setting up a large urban school with up to 500 students in a three-storey, purpose-built building.81 Other scholars have been preoccupied with the intellectual development of giants of the past. Thus Baldwin’s encyclopaedic study of sixteenth-century grammar school curricula was dedicated to finding out what Shakespeare may or may not have read in the small town school at Stratford-upon-Avon.82 And two studies of St Paul’s School were designed to tease out its formative influences on John Milton.83 However, by the 1960s, when left-of-centre politicians were condemning the idea of a grammar school as old-fashioned and elitist, and many classics teachers were considering ways of adapting to changing circumstances in order to keep their subject on the curriculum,   Watson, English Grammar Schools; Stowe, English Grammar Schools.   Many school histories written in this period are listed in P.J. Wallis, Histories of Old

78 79

Schools (before 1700): Revised List for England and Wales (Newcastle, 1966); for a broader bibliography, see Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 269–80. 80   For modern editions of contemporary texts by these and other authors which were available by the early 1970s, see Charles Webster, ‘The Curriculum of the Grammar Schools and Universities 1500–1660: A Critical Review of the Literature’, in History of Education, 4:1 (1975): 61–4. For Ascham and Locke, see below, pp. 73, 134, 155, 167, 171, 198–201; John Milton, Of Education, in Complete Prose Works of John Milton, vol. 2, ed. E. Sirluck (New Haven, CT, 1959), pp. 357–415; ODNB under William Kemp (c. 1560–1601), John Brinsley, John Milton and Charles Hoole. 81   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 222–4. 82   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’. 83   Donald L. Clark, John Milton at St Paul’s School (New York, 1946); Harris F. Fletcher, The Intellectual Development of John Milton, vol. 1 (Urbana, IL, 1956).

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the forward momentum of the study of classical education in its early modern heyday appears to have stalled. By then, however, support was also rapidly evaporating for the view of A.F. Leach that the institutions of English education and learning had been permanently crippled by the ecclesiastical changes introduced by Henry VIII and Edward VI, and that English schooling would not reach the levels of the fifteenth century again until the nineteenth century.84 The early work of Joan Simon, and later of Nicholas Orme and Jo Ann Hoeppner Moran, made it clear that there was a growing lay involvement in the founding of schools in the late Middle Ages (as opposed to Leach’s focus on the role of the secular clergy in cathedrals and collegiate churches); there was also a rapid increase in the numbers of elementary and grammar schools in villages and towns in the first few decades of the sixteenth century, and many of these schools survived the Reformation.85 As on the Continent, there were certainly severe disruptions when monastic schools disappeared and the resources of many cathedrals and some chantry chapels were at least for a time diverted to other purposes. But it is now clear that chantry schools did not suffer as much under Edward as had been suggested, and that some of the losses to Latin teaching were made good as Henry VIII, his children, and their ministers and bishops, and many town councils, intervened to create or re-found schools, many inspired by humanist ideals. The disruption caused by the Reformation in England was probably not as bad as that experienced in some Protestant states on the Continent during the break with Rome.86 The 1960s and 1970s also witnessed a shift of focus in the historiography of English education. This was partly because scholars in general became more interested in social history and human behaviour in early modern times, and historians in particular became more interested either in adult perceptions of childhood and in the emotional relationship between parents   Differing assessments of Leach’s contribution can be found in Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 89–93; Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, pp. 3–5, 166–7; Jo Ann Hoeppner Moran, The Growth of English Schooling 1348–1548: Learning, Literacy, and Laicization in Pre-Reformation York Diocese (Princeton, NJ, 1985), pp. 3–14; John N. Miner, The Grammar Schools of Medieval England: A.F. Leach in Historiographical Perspective (Montreal, 1990), passim. 84

85   See Moran, The Growth of English Schooling, pp. 7–13, for a review of Simon and Orme’s work, and pp. 221–4 for her own conclusions; but see also Nicholas Orme, ‘The “Laicization” of English School Education, 1250–1560’, History of Education, 16 (1987): 81–9; Jewell, Education in Early Modern England, pp. 14–26; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, chap. 3. 86   Nicholas Orme, Education in the West of England, 1066–1548 (Exeter, 1976), p. 32; Robert Tittler, The Reformation and the Towns in England (Oxford, 1998), pp. 131–4; Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, chap. 1; Rummel, Confessionalization of Humanism, passim.


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and children,87 or in what children got up to in school and elsewhere.88 From the late 1950s to the mid-1960s a clutch of works appeared by six very different historians, Wilbur K. Jordan, Jack Hexter, Lawrence Stone, Christopher Hill, Kenneth Charlton and Joan Simon, who all sought to place English education in a much wider social, cultural and religious framework than before. They tended to accept what Foster Watson had pointed out decades earlier, that there had already been considerable interest in education among both humanists and reformers by mid-Tudor times, but did not see eye to eye on the main reasons for change thereafter. Jordan’s review of charitable giving in ten counties between 1480 and 1660 convinced him that there had been a major increase in bequests to schools and universities, especially in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, and that it had been the spread of puritanism among the merchant class of post-Reformation England determined to bring education to the masses which was a key factor in the massive expansion of the education sector. Other scholars detected a less altruistic demand among the bourgeoisie, professional classes and clergy of Elizabethan and early Stuart times for laying the basis for vocational training for their sons; while Stone followed Hexter and others in arguing that the main stimulus was the growing demand among the landed gentry for ‘a liberal education’, ‘a training which both fitted them for local or central office, and enabled them to hold their own in company of virtuosi around a dinner table’.89 Where most previous historians had tended to give a moderately optimistic impression of the heights achieved by grammar school education under Elizabeth and the early Stuarts, however, some of this new generation also pointed out the gap between theory and practice, for example in the amount of Greek tuition available, or they tended to be dismissive of the quality of grammar school education outside a few top schools. Kenneth Charlton, for example, argued that in too many schools classical studies in the second half of the sixteenth century not only failed to reach the heights to which the humanists of the early sixteenth century had aspired, but also 87   Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500–1800 (London, 1977); for some of the replies this provoked, see Hugh Cunningham, Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500 (Harlow, 1995), chap. 1. 88   Keith Thomas, Rule and Misrule in the Schools of Early Modern England (Reading, 1976); Thomas, ‘Children in Early Modern England’, in Gillian Avery and Julia Briggs (eds), Children and their Books (Oxford, 1989), pp, 45–77. 89   See above, pp. 8–9; J.H. Hexter, ‘The Education of the Aristocracy of the Renaissance’, Reappraisals in History (London, 1961); Stone, ‘The Educational Revolution in England, 1540–1640’, pp. 41–80; Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558–1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 672–724; Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (Oxford, 1965); Charlton, Education in Renaissance England; Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England.

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imposed such a burden of boring routine that it crushed student interest and initiative, thus anticipating Grafton and Jardine’s argument that the methodical character of humanist pedagogy was intended to encourage ‘a properly docile attitude towards authority’.90 Moreover, various historians concluded that the advent of Laudianism and the rejection of puritanism at the Restoration meant that the grammar school system after 1660 would be, in Joan Simon’s words, ‘divorced from significant social developments’.91 Disenchantment with the grammar schools is also reflected in the fact that since the 1960s much of the work on Tudor-Stuart education has focused on other aspects of early modern education: at one extreme the means by which children and adults acquired some form of literacy, and at the other the education provided by the universities. Thus we have learnt a great deal more about basic literacy and elementary education outside the schoolroom,92 and about the changing social status and later careers of undergraduates attending Oxford and Cambridge, and the educational practice of the universities in disciplines other than the humanities.93 There was, it is true, a most useful set of facsimiles of contemporary school texts, published from 1967 to 1972 as English Linguistics 1500–1800. These confirm the increasing curiosity among English authors and teachers about the roots and idiosyncrasies of their native language, their increasing pride in using it, and their readiness to regard it as having value and virtues equal to those of Latin and Greek.94 But relatively little of this has yet been applied to the evolution of grammar school education, for example the growing use of English in teaching grammar and rhetoric, and the readiness

90   Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 100–102, 107–8, 126–30; Grafton and Jardine, From Humanism to the Humanities, p. xiv. 91   Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, pp. 397–400; J.T. Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry: The Great Puritan Families of Early Stuart England (London, 1984), pp. 76–103, 121–2; John Morgan, Godly Learning (Cambridge, 1986), passim. 92   David Cressy, Literacy and the Social Order: Reading and Writing in Tudor and Stuart England (Cambridge, 1980); Margaret Spufford, Contrasting Communities: English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London, 1974); Margaret Spufford, ‘First Steps in Literacy’, Social History, 4 (1979): 407–35; R.A. Houston, Literacy in Modern Europe: Culture and Education 1500–1800 (2nd edn, Harlow, 2002), passim; Craig Rose, ‘Evangelical Philanthropy and Anglican Revival: The Charity Schools of Augustan London, 1698–1740’, London Journal, 16 (1991): 35–65; see also Lawrence Stone, ‘Literacy and Education in England 1640–1900’, Past and Present, 42 (1969): 69–139. 93   Mark H. Curtis, Oxford and Cambridge in Transition (Oxford, 1959); Stone, The University in Society; The History of the University of Oxford, vols 3–5; Morgan, History of the University of Cambridge. For further discussion of changes in the universities, see below, pp. 84–6, 194–5. 94   Robin C. Alston (ed.), English Linguistics 1500–1800 (Leeds, 1967–72).

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of more grammar school teachers to let their students use translations of classical texts alongside the originals.95 As far as study of individual schools and teachers are concerned, coverage also remains as patchy now as a few decades ago. There have been few monographs of real quality on the history of grammar schools outside the capital since Claire Cross’s study of Leicester’s free school (the third earl of Huntingdon’s project) and John Lawson’s history of Hull grammar school (Marvell’s alma mater), with the notable exception of a history of Newcastle upon Tyne Grammar School by various hands.96 Is it possible, for example, that there may have been a middle ground between the successes depicted by optimists such as Baldwin, and the decline into rigid routine portrayed by pessimists such as Charlton? Equally, much less has been written on grammar school education in the early Stuart period than on the period before. Attention has been drawn to growing discontent among the ‘godly’ with some aspects of the humanist agenda for grammar schools, and to the ferment of new ideas associated with Comenius, Dury and Milton in the 1640s and 1650s. But less has been made of two other developments in the period 1600–1660. One was the growing number of attempts by teachers like William Hayne in the 1600s, John Brinsley in the 1610s and Joseph Webbe in the 1620s, and above all Charles Hoole in the 1650s, to prepare and print English translations of a number of standard classical texts, and increasingly to put them side by side with the Latin original, on the same page or facing pages. The title-pages of such works increasingly made the point that such works were of value both for those who were trying to master Latin quickly and painlessly, and for those who never had the chance to try doing so.97 The second was the way in which older aspirations such as the teaching of Greek were becoming widespread and belatedly reaching respectable levels. In fact, the late 1640s and 1650s were a golden age not just for new ideas, but also for the production of new editions of classical texts in both Latin and Greek for use in schools and universities.98 As for the later Stuart and early Hanoverian grammar schools, there has been some good work, by Oakeshott and Vincent, demonstrating how closely inter-knit the grammar schools were with local and national   Neither of the two most recent surveys of English education devotes much space to grammar schooling, though O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, accords it more than Jewell, Education in Early Modern England. 96   Claire Cross, The Free Grammar School of Leicester (Leicester, 1953); John Lawson, A Town Grammar School through Six Centuries: A History of Hull Grammar School (Oxford, 1963); Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne. 97   See below, Chapter 3. 98   See below, pp. 237–8, 254–9. 95

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hierarchies. But their conclusions tended to be defensive in tone, responding to the criticisms made at the time, on the one hand by some of the educated elite that old standards were being diluted, and on the other by the rapidly expanding ‘middling sorts’ of citizen who wanted more practical skills to be taught in schools.99 However, as we shall see in Chapter 2, there are a number of other indications that a considerable number of grammar schools did survive and even flourish as never before, by proving flexible enough to provide simpler, and therefore quicker and cheaper, ways of teaching the classics, and at the same time offering a broader education, with a modern language, and more geography and mathematics. In short, work on early modern secondary education over the last half century has been selective in coverage and either critical or defensive in tone, and this has tended to obscure what was actually happening in many provincial grammar schools, especially with regard to founders’ wishes that students be taught ‘piety and sound learning’.100 The other dimension that has been lacking in recent decades has been awareness of what was happening abroad at the time at secondary level. Earlier generations of scholars such as Watson and Baldwin had been keenly aware of the debt of English grammar school teachers to Continental models, by which they tended to mean Italian works and the ideas of Erasmus and Vives. Equally, scholars working on university life have always been aware of teachers’ and tutees’ reliance on imported texts by a wide range of authors. But since the 1960s, far more work has been done on the Continent and in America on secondary-level education, and especially on Lutheran pedagogy in Germany, Johann Sturm’s academy in Strasburg, and Jesuit education, which at this stage had a number of parallels with Protestant teaching. One scholar has even suggested that for his monumental efforts to defend a humanist version of a classical education at Strasburg and in greater Germany, Sturm merits the title of praeceptor Germaniae just as much as Melanchthon did.101 But like Melanchthon, Sturm exerted influence well outside Germany, not least in England. The mutual admiration and regular 99   A.M. d’Ivry Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools 1660–1714’ (unpublished University of London PhD thesis, 1969); Vincent, Grammar Schools. An ambitious survey of changes in the eighteenth century by Nicholas Hans, New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1951), should be read in conjunction with Joan Simon, ‘Private Classical Schools in Eighteenth-century England: A Critique of Hans’, History of Education, 8 (1979): 179–91. See also Richard Tompson, Classics or Charity? (Manchester, 1971). 100   The phrase appears in cathedral statutes drawn up in the 1540s and 1550s with reference to schools such as those at Canterbury and Durham: Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, p. 48; VCH Durham, vol. I, p. 374. But for many other examples, see below, pp. 57, 72, 80–81. 101   For Lutheran schools, see below, pp. 268–9; Pierre Mesnard, ‘The Pedagogy of Johann Sturm (1507–1589) and its Evangelical Inspiration’, Studies in the Renaissance, 13


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correspondence between Johann Sturm and Roger Ascham and his circle of allies in Cambridge had an instant impact on the educations of Edward and Elizabeth, and on the curriculum of leading schools in London and then the provinces.102 It is perhaps worth asking how far England adopted and persisted with a Sturmian model of classical education at a time when some schools in other countries were beginning to modify it. * * * There is a wealth of material available for the study of several aspects of early modern English education. There are dozens of works of educational theory and practice written by contemporaries, and scores of regularly reprinted schoolbooks (most of them in the grammar patent and the ‘English Stock’, to which we will come shortly), and hundreds of other works composed specifically for the young.103 There is a reasonable quota of school records such as school statutes and library catalogues, plus the occasional national survey, such as the answers to Christopher Wase’s questionnaire in the 1670s, and much later Nicolas Carlisle’s painstaking survey of endowed grammar schools in England and Wales, published in 1818 but stretching back over three centuries and more to the schools’ origins where possible.104 Although schoolboy diaries are thin on the ground, there are the later reminiscences of individual students, and parents’ advice to sons (usually reflecting their own experiences); and a number of biographical accounts of teachers in contemporary works such as Anthony Wood’s accounts of Oxford men and John Nichols’ literary anecdotes in the Gentleman’s Magazine, which are now much augmented by hundreds of entries in the ODNB.105 Armed with the new bibliographical and biographical aids of the last few decades we can construct a grid, of (1966), 200–219, at p. 219; for other work on Sturm and the Jesuits, see below pp. 191–3, 198–201, 275–9. 102   See Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 10–12, and index under ‘Sturmius’. 103   In addition to English Linguistics cited above, n. 94, there is also a useful recent bibliography of many primary sources in Linda C. Mitchell, Grammar Wars: Language as Cultural Battlefield in 17th and 18th Century England (Aldershot, 2001), pp. 168–94. 104   Most of the school statutes and curricula then in print were used by Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’; but this needs to be supplemented by the works cited above, in nn. 79, 84–5. See also Parliamentary Papers, 1867–8, XXVIII, part 1, Appendix, pp. 38–84. For some library catalogues, see below, pp. 298–9; for Wase’s survey, see P.J. Wallis, ‘The Wase School Collection’, Bodleian Library Record, 4:2 (1952): 78–104, and Vincent, Grammar Schools, chap. 2. 105   Anthony Fletcher, Growing Up in England: The Experience of Childhood 1600–1914 (New Haven, CT, 2008), chap. 20; for some student reminiscences, and parents’ advice to sons, see below, pp. 96–8, 135, 205, 255, 330; for Wood and Nichols, see ODNB.

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which the horizontal lines consist of the theory, as stated in school statutes and the theoretical treatises of the day, and the vertical lines consist of the likely practice, as deduced from sales of repeat editions of key texts, and from school records and biographical accounts of the period. By looking at the points where these horizontal and vertical lines intersect, we can get reasonably close to the likely practice and the possible impact of English grammar school education. To counteract the gravitational pull of the records towards the better endowed schools and often more advanced teaching in the South-East, efforts have been made where possible to focus on the experience of schools and students in the provinces. Establishments some distance from the capital were not necessarily badly equipped: Shrewsbury School, for example, was for a while perhaps the largest school in the country, and it could boast many conscientious teachers and a very good library; and for much of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the King’s School at Newcastle upon Tyne stood at the heart of a network of public and private schools in the north-east.106 But in many smaller provincial schools, unless there was an unusually enthusiastic teacher, well supplied with books, the education on offer to sons of middling and lesser gentry, and of local merchants and professional men, was probably limited in scope and imagination, and we need to factor this into the equation. Also considered here are elements of change over time, for example in the growing readiness to use English as a medium of instruction and composition (even if the subject matter was often still classical), and minor shifts in the choice of classical texts and developments in curricula in the upper forms of schools and first degree at university in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. * * * Many of the works most frequently cited in this monograph were the products of the early modern print trade. Commercial printing was slower to develop in England than on the Continent, so that for much of the sixteenth century many of the Latin and Greek textbooks used in English grammar schools and universities had to be imported, thus reinforcing the ties between English education and Continental practice.107 But not all of I trawled through ODNB using such labels as ‘grammarian, ‘schoolteacher’, ‘schoolmaster’, ‘headmaster’ and ‘usher’. 106   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 1–72; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, chaps 1–2. 107   Examples of English reliance on imported versions of texts like ‘Cato’, ‘Aesop’, Cicero and many others will be found in Chapters 3 and 4 below. See also David McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press, Volume 1: Printing and the Book Trade in Cambridge 1534–1698 (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 217–22. For the provenance of books owned


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

the texts desired by tutors and schoolteachers were published abroad in sufficient quantity to be obtained easily in England, especially in the second half of the century as demand soared from the rapidly rising numbers of grammar school pupils and undergraduates. Shortage of copies could mean problems in the classroom, such as a master having to dictate slowly from his own copy, or pupils having to share worn copies. The alternative was to use another text of which there were plentiful supplies, or to encourage publication in England, and it was the latter which proved more fruitful. One of the most striking developments of early modern English education in the second half and especially the last three decades of the sixteenth century was the rapid expansion in domestic production of school textbooks, so that by the early seventeenth century England was importing copies only of rare old editions or the occasional helpful new textbook. The fine detail of who took the initiative and how texts were chosen is still unclear, but we can identify the main players – at one corner of the triangle the leading booksellers, printers and others associated with the ‘stationers’ trades, at a second the Crown, and at the last the buying public. We can also isolate the most important mechanisms: use of royal patents, the Charter given to the ‘Stationers Company’, and the setting up of the ‘English Stock’. As early as the 1540s some of the more enterprising members of the English print trade had identified potentially profitable titles and sought royal support for a monopoly – a move which would bring them profit and the Crown a means of control. Thus Henry VIII and Edward VI, while retaining the right to confirm existing patents or grant new ones, were content to give individual printers a patent for individual titles being imposed on the country as a whole: the English Bible, the new liturgy, and the official Latin grammar for schools – what became known as ‘Lily’s grammar’. Thus the lucky patentee with the title ‘King’s Printer in Latin, Greek and Hebrew’ was empowered to print what proved to be huge quantities every year of ‘Lily’ and of a few school texts related to it, plus smaller but substantial quantities of approved Greek grammatical works; the ‘Hebrew’ was largely nominal. This patent proved to be a very lucrative and much sought after monopoly, worth in the region of £240–300 in the early seventeenth century – the income of a small bishopric or a member of the lesser gentry. It will be discussed further in Chapters 3 and 4.108

by Cambridge colleges, see H.M. Adams, Catalogue of Books Printed on the Continent of Europe, 1500–1600, in Cambridge Libraries (2 vols, Cambridge, 1967). We look forward to the new light that will be thrown on the international book trade in sixteenth-century Latin works by Professor Andrew Pettegree’s Universal STC project. 108   See below, pp. 135–8.

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By the late 1560s publishers and printers based in London were evidently aware that there was a growing market for the many other Latin texts which students would need after their ‘Lily’, for over the next three decades they sparred with each other for control of the right to publish portfolios of such texts, either by printing them or at the least entering their titles in the Stationers’ Register. In 1572, for example, Thomas Marsh secured a royal patent for twelve years covering ten titles which for many years had been selling well on the Continent; and in 1573–74 a Huguenot immigrant, Thomas Vautrollier, received two patents for ten years covering eight titles of mainland origin, including the works of Cicero with the corrections of Lambin, editions of Ovid’s works, Beza’s New Testament and Ramus’ philosophical works. As Andrew Pettegree recently observed, Vautrollier was one of the few printers then in England ‘with the confidence and resources to take on … a substantial project’ in Latin, such as Calvin’s Institutes or the complete works of Cicero. But his securing of these privileges and his wider success in publishing about 150 books between 1570 and 1587 led to resentment from the locals, and this together with large-scale pirating of patentees’ titles led to an inquiry into printing privileges in 1582. The report concluded that Vautrollier was not fully exploiting his patents, and in 1583 a privy council commission recommended that, as part of a wider process of drawing the patentees ‘within the compass of the laws’, Vautrollier’s patent be opened up for the benefit of poorer printers. Thereafter editions of some of his titles increased, a few of them printed by the widow of a Stationer or with a comment such as ‘for the poor of the Company’.109 However, it was also about this point, in the mid- to late 1580s, that the copyrights of first a few and then more and more school texts began to fall under at least partial administration by the Stationers’ Company or its Court. Governments throughout Western Europe had soon realized that the printing press had the potential to be a great ally in disseminating officially approved publications, but could also prove to be a powerful enemy if it got into the hands of critics or opponents. The solution adopted in England in 1557 was for the Crown to give a Charter to the more successful London publishers who were leading members of the Stationers’ Company: essentially the Company was given extensive powers and privileges in return for guaranteeing to keep the print trade in London 109   The older accounts in Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chap. 23, and Cyprian Blagden, The Stationers’ Company: A History, 1403–1959 (London, 1960), chaps 1, 4 and 6, should be read in conjunction with Arnold Hunt, ‘Book Trade Patents, 1603–1640’, in Arnold Hunt, Giles Mandelbrote and Alison Shell (eds), The Book Trade and Its Customers 1450–1900 (Winchester, 1997), pp. 27–54; the new synthesis in STC2, vol. 3, pp. 161–4, 200–202, 230–31; ODNB for Vautrollier; see also below, pp. 196–7, 202–3.


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under close supervision. Ensuring such tight control was not easy, but after the report of 1583, between 1584 and 1620, a growing number of titles were yielded or transferred to the Stationers, whose officials then assigned them to one of the three stock ventures developed by that Company: the ‘English Stock’, ‘Latin Stock’ and ‘Irish Stock’. Of these, the first was easily the largest, since it included law reports, almanacs, prayer books, primers and schoolbooks (other than grammars) in English, Latin, and Latin and Greek. It also lasted the longest, and was still thriving in the mid-eighteenth century. The limited band of senior Stationers who in October 1603 began to formalize this situation by securing royal protection for the ‘English Stock’ sold the idea to James I by saying that they would administer the Stock in such a way that £200 would be paid each year in charitable relief to the poorer members of the Company, though how far this promise was adhered to is unclear.110 What is clear is that the core titles in the ‘English Stock’ were regular, safe money-spinners, and the main shareholders in the Stock were sufficiently concerned to protect and promote their profits that they kept a close eye on publication of their titles. Those printers who were selected to print a new edition of a Stock title were supplied with paper from the Company’s warehouse, and had to account for every sheet used and copy produced. Any printers and sellers offering for sale unauthorized copies or new versions of titles claimed by the Company, whether these had been printed in England or imported from abroad, were vigorously pursued and prosecuted, though officials perhaps had less trouble with the pirating of classical titles than of primers and psalters.111 In addition, the shareholders regularly tried to add major patents to its portfolio, to ward off a rising tide of bids by courtiers, ambitious authors and individual stationers to secure new patents or reversions of existing ones, and to prevent the university printers from producing Stock titles, which they soon claimed the right to do. Interestingly, the Cambridge printers often accused the Stock shareholders of overcharging for school texts, though their motive for wanting to publish them cheaper had probably less to do with social conscience than trying to grab a share of the market quickly. The Stationers had to work hard to protect their position, and occasionally needed help 110   For a general introduction, see Blagden, The Stationers’ Company; but now see also The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, Volume IV: 1557–1695, ed. John Barnard and Don F. McKenzie (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 9–16; for the ‘English Stock’ titles, see STC2, vol. 3, pp. 161–4, 198–202. 111   The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 4, pp. 12–16, 280; Records of the Court of the Stationers’ Company 1602 to 1640, ed. W.A. Jackson (London, 1957), pp. viii–xi, xv, 30, 144, 192–4, 223, 344–5, 387; for later examples, see Don F. McKenzie and Maureen Bell (eds), A Chronology and Calendar of Documents Relating to the London Book Trade 1641–1700 (3 vols, Oxford, 2005), passim.

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from friends in high places, such as William Laud from 1628 to 1640; but few of the new patents for schoolbooks resulted in major sales of works. The hold of the major Stationers over wholesale and retail price structure gave them an edge, and when serious confrontations occurred, deals were usually struck. In the case of the university presses, for example, the shareholders either paid them not to publish certain titles, or agreed limits to their production of those items and, when possible, the prices to be charged.112 The potential scale of the business in dispute can be seen in the details hammered out in 1631 in one such deal with Cambridge printers over the production of almanacs and schoolbooks for three years. Thomas Buck, a Cambridge printer, would receive from London a supply of paper (a critical component in both production and pricing), and when they had been printed send huge numbers of copies of the current best-selling texts to be sold at London prices. These included 18 000 copies of Culmann’s Pueriles sententiae in three print runs of 6000 copies each; 12 000 of Aesop’s Fables, in three runs of 4000 copies; 6000 of ‘Mantuan’, in one edition; 4250 of Castellio’s Dialogues, and 3000 copies each (the more usual run for such texts) of Virgil’s Opera, Ovid’s Epistolae and Tristia, the dialogues of Vives, Erasmus and Corderius, plus 2000 of Aphthonius’ Progymnamasta. Such agreements meant that during the 1630s and again in the 1680s and 1690s the university printers at Cambridge were admitted, on terms dictated by the Stationers, to the ranks of the country’s leading suppliers of schoolbooks.113 The Stationers never secured control of all schoolbooks through the ‘English Stock’: the most commonly used grammatical works and dictionaries usually remained outside. In 1619 the Company did arrange to pay Bonham Norton, the current ‘King’s Printer in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew’, a lump sum of £300 and then £300 per annum for the grammar patent, in addition to paying substantial sums of compensation to others with an interest in the ‘grammar stock’. But this deal was soon reversed, for an agreement made in March 1625 stated that ‘Mr Norton shall take the grammar patent back again from the Company’. Perhaps the Company was having difficulty organizing the rapid production or distribution of 112   See previous notes; Hunt, ‘Book Trade Patents’, pp. 29–36, 41–52; see also STC2, vol. 3, p. 201. For allegations of overcharging, see McKitterick, History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, pp. 149, 202, 211, 289. One of the few new patents to be successful was Thomas Farnaby’s, but this was arguably a special case, driven by his anger over foreign copies of his schoolbooks flooding the English market: Hunt, ‘Book Trade Patents’, pp. 31, 52, and see below, p.102. 113   S.C. Roberts, A History of the Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1921), p. 51; McKitterick, History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, pp. 205–14, 322–3, and vol. 2. Scholarship and Commerce 1698–1872 (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 29–30, 45–6.

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grammars, or facing unwonted competition from the two editions of ‘Lily’ printed by the press at Cambridge in 1621. In March 1625 there were in stock over 16 000 unsold copies of grammar titles with a combined value of over £600.114 The most commonly used Latin vocabularies and dictionaries, such as those of Thomas Thomas, John Rider and Francis Holyoke were protected by patents and also remained outside the Stock, perhaps because the texts were expensive to set up and the Stationers preferred the rapid returns on their usual line of cheap octavos and quartos.115 Beyond these titles, there was only one major classical text known to have been widely used of which the title apparently remained in private hands throughout the early modern period: Horace’s poems. These were usually printed with the Satires of Juvenal and Persius, which probably raised the unit cost. Martial’s epigrams also evaded central control, though they did not become as popular until the late seventeenth century. Presumably in these cases the owners of the copyrights kept their noses clean and refused pressure to part with them.116 What is significant for our purposes here is that the copyrights of the great majority of the texts most frequently specified in school statutes and most regularly reproduced were sooner or later absorbed into the ‘English Stock’. There was a degree of uncertainty, even among the Stationers, about exactly which school textbooks were in the ‘English Stock’ at the outset and which were added in subsequent decades, and periodically this led to squabbles with publishers and printers, and occasional demands by the shareholders for a list of Stock titles to be drawn up.117 But the ‘school books’ which were definitely registered as being part of the Stock, or were regularly published thereafter under the description ‘for the Company of Stationers’, pro Societate Stationarum, pro Societate Bibliopolarum or ex typographia Societatis Stationariorum, can be established, and are listed below in Table 1.1.118 The high levels of loss of school texts due to wear and tear, the absence of the consecutive numbering of editions found in many other best-sellers of the period, and the possibility (as in Bible production) of some continuous reprinting mean that exact figures   STC2, vol. 3, p. 98, and vol. 2, nos 15627.2–7.3; Blagden, The Stationers’ Company, p. 143; Jackson, Records of the Court of the Stationers’ Company, pp. 117–18, 147, 164–5; Hunt, ‘Book Trade Patents’, p. 44. 115   Ibid., pp. 37, 42, 53. 116   See STC2 under ‘Horatius’ and ‘Martialis’. As we shall see in Chapter 3, control of some popular supplements to ‘Lily’, by John Stockwood, John Brinsley and Charles Hoole, also remained outside the Stock. 114

  McKenzie and Bell, Documents Relating to the London Book Trade 1641–1700, vol. 3, pp. 10, 24, 26, 95, 138, 216–17. 118   For one of the titles listed as a ‘schoolbook’ in 1620, there is no evidence of subsequent publication for the Stationers’ Company: Paolo Manuzio’s Epistolae. 117

Historiography and Sources


for repeat editions of Stock titles are not possible. But where editions were evidently produced every few years by different printers nominated by the Stationers’ Company, one can be reasonably sure of steady sales; indeed, any estimate of separate editions based on surviving copies is likely to be an underestimate rather than an exaggeration. The titles which one can assert with reasonable confidence were most frequently reproduced, as we shall see in Chapters 3 and 4, are given in bold type in Table 1.1. The accuracy of this list and the longevity of the Stock can be confirmed by comparing it with three later advertisements for Books printed for the Company of Stationers to be sold from the Stationers’ Hall in London: one dated c. 1680, one from c. 1692–95 (probably nearer 1695), and the third in 1766; the last two are reproduced here (Figures 1.1 and 1.2).119 As we shall see, there were some differences between the list of what had definitely been placed in the ‘English Stock’ by 1620 and the adverts of c. 1680 and c. 1695, and there were further shifts by 1766. But the essential core remained much the same, as indeed did the format, and even to some extent the price of individual titles, as far as we can trace them. The overwhelming majority of school texts in the Stock were printed in octavo, with only the occasional work in quarto or duodecimo, though the number in duodecimo was slightly higher in 1766 than 1695, which was typical of the general trend towards smaller formats for best-selling works. Prices may have been set high in the early seventeenth century (or so printers at Cambridge alleged), and there was clearly a hike in prices between those set in 1666 and 1680 and those in 1695, with over a dozen titles then being raised by 10–20 per cent. However, between 1695 and 1766 prices remained remarkably stable, being identical in nearly every case where one compares like with like.120 Typical wholesale prices were quoted in baker’s dozens, that is, ‘13 per dozen’ as all three advertisements stated, with any profit on the thirteenth presumably going to the middle man. Thus a short work like ‘Cato’ quoted at 3s. per dozen could have 119   The first advert is pasted halfway down the right-hand side of British Library, 1865, c.3, f.132; it is dated c. 1680 in the BL Catalogue and Wing2 B3736A, presumably on the basis of the titles listed (a late edition of Janua linguarum, but no sign yet of Stock editions of Barton, Hawkin, Justin, or Ovid’s Epistles in English). The second is pasted on the top left-hand corner of the same folio, and is dated c. 1692 in the BL Catalogue and Wing2 B3736B, but c. 1695 by Blagden, The Stationers’ Company, pp. 184, 187, probably on the basis of the first Stock editions of Barton’s metrical psalms (B2546B–95), Hawkin’s Spelling book (H1175–6), Justin (J1270A) and Ovid, Heroicall epistles (O672). The third advert is dated by the information written on the copy in Stationers’ Hall Archives, Series 1, Box M, Folder 8, Miscellaneous Valuations, Records and Stock in the Treasurer’s Warehouse.

  Formats and prices are given in the three advertisements just cited. Blagden, The Stationers’ Company, p. 186 also provides some prices for 1666 (for sets of 26 copies) for books printed immediately after the Great Fire. 120


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Table 1.1  ‘School books’ entered into the ‘English stock’ by 1620 or published for the Stationers’ Company c. 1620–1760. 1  For beginners, in English only The ABC with the catechisme The horn ABC/Horn-book prints A new book of spelling with syllables/[The spelling ABC] Primers Psalms and psalters in all volumes [E. Coote], The English schoolmaster Hawkin’s Spelling book

2  For grammar schools and (in the case of more difficult works) first years in university, in Latin, Latin-and-English, or Latin-and-Greek (i) First texts in Latin (or English-and-Latin) ‘Cato’, Disticha, ed. van Dorp (plus later English-and-Latin version by Hoole) ‘Aesop’, Fabulae, ed. Erasmus (plus later English-and-Latin version by Hoole) L. Culmann, Sententiae pueriles (plus English-and-Latin version by Hoole) (ii) Dialogues Vives, Linguae Latinae exercitatio Erasmus, Epitome colloquiorum Cordier, Colloquiorum scholasticorum libri quatuor (plus later Englishand-Latin version by Hoole) Castellio, Dialogorum sacrorum [Evaldus Gallus] Pueriles confabulatiunculae (plus later English-andLatin version by Hoole) Posselius, Familiarum colloquiorum libellus Graece et Latine (iii) Original texts Cicero, Epistolae ad familiares Cicero, Epistolae (ed. by Sturm) Cicero, De officiis … De amicitia, De senectute, Paradoxa, & De somnio Scipionis

Historiography and Sources

Cicero (et al.), Sententiae Ciceronis, Demosthenis, ac Terentii Cicero, Quaestiones Tusculanae Ovid, Metamorphoses Ovid, Tristia Ovid, Epistolae Heroidum Ovid, Fasti Terence, Comoediae sex Sallust, Opera omnia Virgil, Opera Justini ex Trogi Pompeii historia libri xliiii Florus’ Rerum a Romanis gestarum libri IV Isocrates, Ad Demonicum/Orationes tres Spagnuoli, Baptista (‘Mantuan’), Adolescentia, seu bucolica Schonaeus, Terentius Christianus Mancinus, De quatuor virtibus Mirandula, Illustrium poetarum flores/Flores poetarum (iv) Catechisms ‘Nowell’, ‘Catechismus’, ‘Catechismus parvus’, ‘Catechismus Eccles. Angl.’ Nowell, ‘Catech. Lat.’ Nowell, ‘Catech. Gr. and Lat.’ (v) Supplementary texts Aphthonius, Progymnamasta Aldo Manuzio, Phrases linguae Latinae Palingenius, Zodiacus vitae Ravisius Textor, Epitheta Ravisius Textor, Epistolae Smetius, Prosodia Susenbrotus, Epitome troporum Seton, Dialectica Talaeus, Rhetorica Hoole, Century of Epistles [Aler], Gradus ad Parnassum [Gregory], [Onomasticon brachu sive] Nomenclatura brevis



Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

The image has been removed for copyright reasons

Fig. 1.1 Advertisement of c. 1695 (British Library).

Historiography and Sources


The image has been removed for copyright reasons

Fig. 1.2 Advertisement of 1766 (Stationers’ Hall Archives).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

cost the retailer 2.8d. per copy but been sold on to the user for at least 3d.; and at least 4d. would have been charged for a slightly longer text such as Sturmius’ selection of letters by Cicero, and 7d. for a copy of ‘Aesop’, rising to a 1s. for a copy of a substantial work like Ovid’s Metamorphoses without notes or just under 2s. with notes. Of the largest texts, the collected works of Virgil cost over 1s., while Smetius’ heavyweight Prosodia cost well over 2s. Moreover, these larger works were more likely to need binding to prevent the stitches holding the folded sheets together coming loose and pages being lost. Depending on the quality, a binding for an octavo Virgil could cost anything from 3d. to 10d.121 In the list of books in Table 1.1, the titles have been divided into two main categories. First, there are those texts which were entirely in English and which were intended for beginners or ‘petties’, or those users who were teaching themselves or other members of the family. Some of these, like The horn ABC, pre-date the Reformation, while others date either from the mid-sixteenth century, like The ABC (The ABC with the catechisme) and The primer (usually The primer and catechisme), or the early seventeenth (A new book of spelling with syllables).122 These were designed to help people learn the alphabet and read, and provide a limited quantity of safe reading material such as the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed. Indeed, the ability to read a primer and to have mastered the official short catechism became for many English grammar schools a precondition of admission. During the seventeenth century the ABC and the Primer were being reprinted two, three or four times a year, probably in print runs of 2500 or more; one estimate suggests that perhaps two million primers were printed in the last quarter of the century.123 During the late sixteenth 121   Advertisements of c. 1680, c. 1695 and 1766. Other prices are given in McKenzie and Bell, Documents Relating to the London Book Trade 1641–1700. Lower prices for binding schoolbooks were quoted in A generall note of the prises for binding all sortes of bookes (1646) than in A general note for the prices of binding all sorts of Books (1669). 122   While the term ‘Primer’ usually referred to The primer and catechisme (or English Primer), some later advertisements referred to the Cambridge primer (presumably the same, but printed at Cambridge) and the Assembly primer (derived from the Westminster Assembly’s formularies). Hawkin’s Spelling Book advertised c. 1695 was probably John Hawkins’s English school-master completed, of which editions survive from 1692 and 1694: Wing2 H1175–6. The 1695 and 1766 adverts also refer to a larger work, Child’s Guide, which is not easy to identify: works by two possible candidates, William Thompson, and ‘T.H.’, do not appear to have been printed for the Stationers’ Company in London, and there are no surviving copies before the early eighteenth century. 123   A.W. Tuer, The History of the Horn Book (2 vols, London, 1896); Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 174–7; Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 183–4. The ‘catech. with proofs’ mentioned in the 1695 advertisement consisted of the text of the Prayer Book catechism, with scripture proofs added by Benjamin Bird; it was an experiment that does not appear to have been repeated.

Historiography and Sources


and seventeenth centuries the metrical ‘Psalms’ also passed through scores of editions in a bewildering variety of formats for combination with Bibles and Prayer Books, and for use in different situations in church, school and home. In different languages the Book of Psalms was, as we shall see, the basis of a variety of school exercises as well as a regular part of school worship.124 Edmund Coote’s English schoolmaster did not appear until 1596, but was targeted at such a variety of teaching situations – the master in school, the parent at home and the tradesman with his apprentice in the workplace – and offered such a useful combination of features – a primer to teach reading and writing, a catechism, prayers, metrical psalms, and improving thoughts – that it was soon incorporated into the ‘English Stock’, where it passed through nearly fifty editions in just under a century.125 The second and much larger category is of ‘school books’ in Latin, or Latin and English, and in a very few cases Latin and Greek, all of which were targeted at grammar school students and undergraduates. Within this category, the titles have been divided into five smaller groups, reflecting when and why they were used in schools. First, there are the Latin texts on which students still learning the rules in Lily’s Grammar cut their teeth while trying to expand their Latin vocabulary and master the technical aspects of the language. These first reading texts provided short sayings or sentences or couplets in verse which it was hoped students would be able to grasp readily: Cato’s Disticha and Aesop’s Fables were easily the most widely used of these, but to judge from the Cambridge figures cited above, Leonard Culmann’s Sententiae pueriles had also achieved considerable circulation by the 1630s.126 Secondly, there are the collections of dialogues which were used to help students develop confidence in speaking Latin and Greek out loud. Of these, Vives’ Linguae Latinae exercitatio, written for a noble household, continued to have its supporters for a while, as did an Epitome of Erasmus’ colloquies, and during the seventeenth century different versions of Evaldus Gallus’ Pueriles confabulatiuncula.127 But Cordier’s Colloquiorum 124   ‘Psalms’ referred to editions of the metrical psalms, usually ‘Sternhold and Hopkins’, but later editions in the Barton version, and then the Tate and Brady version, as well; ‘psalters’ referred to prose versions, usually in the Great Bible translation used in church services. See Green, Print and Protestantism, chap. 9, and Appendix 1. ‘Black print’ referred to black letter typeface, ‘white’ to Roman. 125   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 185–6.

  See STC2 and Wing2 under authors’ names.   Ibid. for Vives’ work. There is only one known edition of Erasmus’ Epitome

126 127

colloquiorum by the Stationers’ nominees in London, but editions were printed in Cambridge and Scotland, and plenty of different versions of the colloquies other than the Epitome became available: see below, pp. 176–7, 326. The Pueriles confabulatiunculae was listed in 1620, printed by agreement at Cambridge in the 1630s, and advertised in 1695 and 1766, but of the three known versions produced in England, hardly any copies survive of the first


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

scholasticorum libri quatuor, which reflected the everyday situations of schoolboys, became much the most popular for Latin conversation, and Posselius’ Familiarum colloquiorum libellus for Greek and Latin.128 The third group in Table 1.1 are described here as ‘original texts’. These include, from ancient times, half-a-dozen works by Cicero (or ‘Tully’ as he was usually known, from his middle name ‘Tullius’), three by Ovid, the comedies of Terence and the collected works of Virgil. Next listed are two histories in Latin and some speeches of Isocrates in Greek; and finally, from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, four derivative works, by Spagnuoli, Schonaeus, Mancinus and Mirandula. We can tell from student graffiti and other indications that copies of many of these somewhat more substantial publications passed from one year’s students to the next; but to judge from repeat editions, English schools still required thousands of new copies of some of these titles to be printed every decade. This was true even of more substantial texts such as the works of Virgil, Cicero’s De officiis with some shorter philosophical pieces by the same author, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. When existing supplies of many Stock items were destroyed in the Great Fire of London, the titles produced immediately afterwards included print runs of 1500 copies each of Sturm’s edition of Cicero’s Letters and of three works by Ovid; Blagden suggests this may have represented about twelve months’ sale at the pre-Fire rate.129 It cannot be concluded that all of the copies of the dozens of editions of Cicero’s Offices printed by the members of the Stationers’ Company necessarily ended up in the schoolroom: some may have been used by tutors and tutees in private houses, and others by undergraduates at university, or adults wanting to reprise or polish their classical education. Conversely, some of the copies of Ovid, Terence and Virgil used in schools after the 1650s were possibly not produced by the Stationers’ nominees, since by then other reputable versions in Latin were becoming available which were not incorporated into the ‘English Stock’.130 But as a general rule, the Stock items would have been the ones used in the average grammar school. The remaining titles in Section 2 (iii) of Table 1.1 include Justin’s epitome of Trogus Pompeius’ Historiae Philippicae, which appeared under the Stationers’ name from the mid-1690s, after a score of editions had been published between 1572 and 1688, and Florus’ Rerum a Romanis gestarum libri IV, which was claimed by the Stationers, but between 1656 two: by John Brinsley in 1617 (STC2 3373) and Joseph Webbe in 1627 (STC2 25107.5). Charles Hoole’s version (Wing2 H2671–3) was printed perhaps four times for the Stationers between 1659 and 1697. 128   See below, pp. 180–84, 258. 129   See below, Chapters 3 and 4; Blagden, The Stationers’ Company, p. 186. 130   See Wing2 and below, pp. 206–12, 222–8.

Historiography and Sources


and 1695 seems to have been published mostly in Oxford and Cambridge, perhaps by agreement.131 Copies survive of a handful of editions printed in London of one, two or three of the major speeches by the Greek orator Isocrates, often printed with another work in Greek such as Plutarch’s De educatione puerorum. But again other versions were soon in circulation from printers at Cambridge and Oxford with ready access to Greek type, and these eventually proved more popular.132 The last four titles in this group were, though original, more recent compositions. Spagnuoli was a saintly Carmelite friar who in the late fifteenth century wrote screeds of very elegant Latin verse on various topics in the style of Virgil: Dean Colet recommended his students at St Paul’s to read ‘Mantuan’ (as he was known in England) because he was a Christian, rather than a pagan like Virgil. But Mantuan proved very popular with Protestants too, such as Spenser and Milton, who much admired his work, and the number of editions published of his work suggests that he gave both Virgil and Horace a good run for their money.133 ‘Schonaeus’ (Corneille van Schoon) on the other hand was a Dutch Protestant who set out to compose plays in the style of Terence, but with much more edifying subject matter. The first part of his Terentius Christianus appeared in England in 1592: two plays on safely biblical themes – Tobias and Judith. But unlike Spagnuoli’s verse, his work never really rivalled the original; his plays were fading in popularity by the late seventeenth century, and were dropped by the time of the 1766 advertisement.134 Mancinus’ verses on the cardinal virtues, De quatuor virtibus, was listed in 1620, but perhaps published only once in 1638. Octavian Mirandula’s Illustrium poetarum flores also had its supporters, but copies produced in England may not have sold well either before or after it was listed in the ‘English Stock’.135 The fourth of the five groups of grammar school books in the ‘English Stock’ consist of catechisms in Latin or Latin and Greek. As often with these works, it is not easy to be sure exactly what was meant by the labels used as shorthand by publishers. The first label in the 1695 advert, Catechismus parvus 8o at 10d. a dozen, is probably the same as the ‘school book’ referred to in the Stationers’ register in 1620 as Nowell’s Catechismus. Listed by   Wing2 J1265A–70B and F1371–8. For an earlier claim to Justinus’ Historia, see STC2, vol. 3, p. 199. 132   STC2 20055.5–6.5 and Wing2 I 1077A–77B, but see also STC2 20054–5, 14274 and 14276.5, and Wing2 I1075–6A, and S6327–27A. For the Sylvanus edition of two speeches, see below, p. 258. 133   STC2 22980–89 and Wing2 S4784B–90A. 134   Nouvelle Biographie Générale, xliii: 580; STC2 21821–4, and Wing2 S879–82. 135   See STC2 17293.3–41 for Mancinus, and STC2 17954–5 and Wing2 M2219–20 for editions of Mirandula in 1598 and 1611, and (for the Stationers) 1651 and 1667. 131

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


the editors of STC2 as Nowell’s ‘shorter’ catechism, this was actually an only slightly enlarged version of the official Prayer Book Catechism of 1549 taught all young people in English, but soon translated into Latin by Alexander Nowell – a former schoolteacher and later Dean at St Paul’s. From the price given for the Catechismus ecclesiae Anglicana in 1766 this was either the same work, or a slightly larger version, perhaps bilingual, or with scripture proofs added.136 Of the other catechisms mentioned in the 1695 advert – Nowel’s catech. 8o. Lat and ditto 12o Gr. and Lat. – these were, to judge from the prices and from evidence of repeat editions in the Short-Title Catalogues, a Latin and a Greek-and-Latin version respectively of Nowell’s ‘middle’ catechism. (This was an abridged version of Nowell’s original full-length Latin catechism which had been published in 1570, but not reprinted after the 1590s in any language). The fact that none of the ‘Nowell’ forms appears in the 1766 advert probably reflects a growing switch during the seventeenth century to catechisms outside the Stock, either larger forms in English, such as Henry Hammond’s very popular Practical catechisme, or other advanced catechisms in Latin or Latin and Greek which sold moderately well, such as Edward Boughen’s Short exposition of the English Church catechism, and Hugo Grotius’ Institutio.137 Nevertheless, compared to the required reading in schools and colleges abroad, the limited number of catechisms and indeed of doctrinal works of any kind in the original ‘English Stock’ is a feature that needs some explanation. One should also note that, although copies of the New Testament were widely used in school and widely available, Latin and Greek Testaments did not feature in the Company’s advertisements until 1766.138 The final group of titles in the ‘English Stock’ is a miscellaneous assortment of ancillary works – works consulted when a student was trying to improve his technique, gathering suitable phrases for a commonplacebook, or preparing a ‘theme’, poem or speech. There was the aid to methodical composition of Latin themes associated with Aphthonius, a Greek sophist and rhetorician in fourth-century Antioch, which was translated into Latin as Progymnamasta by two humanist scholars, Agricola and Cataneus; and there were the model Epistolae and Epitheta of Jean Tixier, the French humanist teacher better known as ‘Ravisius Textor’, who in 1520 became Rector of the University of Paris. Both of these were reprinted regularly every few years between the 1570s and the 1680s, though under the Stationers’ name after 1603. Then there was the   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 189–93, 690–93.   Ibid., pp. 189–93, 598–9, 658–61, 690–93. 138   See below, pp. 256–7, 286–8. Bibles were not normally considered as part of the 136 137

‘English Stock’.

Historiography and Sources


manual on prose-writing by Heinrich Smet (‘Smetius’), his Prosodia – first published in England by the Stationers in 1615, but regularly reprinted thereafter. In view of the high price of the Prosodia and the above-average price of the Progymanamasta and the Epitheta, however, it seems likely that only richer students could afford their own copies, and that some copies were bought by teachers for their own use or for putting in a school library.139 Other titles in this group may have been popular in the sixteenth century but were fading in the early seventeenth century, and may have been dropped by 1695 – for example, Aldo Manuzio’s Phrases linguae Latinae (of which there are no surviving copies of editions after 1635), Palingenius’ Zodiacus vitae (only two editions for the Stock), Susenbrotus’ Epitome troporum (no editions after 1635), and Talaeus’ Rhetorica (only six editions for the Company). The same was true of Seton’s Dialectica, of which only five editions were printed after 1600, compared to well over a dozen before, but this had probably always been used much more by students at university, and especially at Cambridge, than in grammar schools.140 The relatively low numbers of repeat editions of technical works in the Stock on rhetoric and dialectic may reflect continued reliance on imported copies, or changes in fashion in the texts used in Stuart as opposed to Tudor institutions.141 Whatever the cause, the shareholders of the ‘English Stock’ apparently did not feel inclined to pursue titles of this kind. Indeed, if we compare the list of titles incorporated into the ‘English Stock’ by 1620 with those advertised in c. 1680, c. 1695 and 1766, we find an apparent readiness by the shareholders not only to drop old titles but also to acquire new ones according to current demands. (The three advertisements did not claim to be a comprehensive list of all the titles in the ‘English Stock’, merely of ‘Books printed for the Company of Stationers’. But if a title was not listed, it was presumably the case, barring mistakes, that no copies were then currently available or likely to appear soon.)142 There are more omissions than those just mentioned. Sales of Cicero’s Quaestiones Tusculanae seem to have been disappointing to judge from the small number of repeat editions (perhaps as few as three)   STC2 700–706.5, 20761.2–65, and 22646–50; Wing2 A3529–31, T1317bA–17f and S4016–19. 140   See under authors’ names in STC2 and Wing2 for sales in the seventeenth century, and advertisement of c. 1695. See also below, pp. 220, 242–3, 249–51. 141   See below, pp. 249–54; McKitterick, History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, pp. 217, 219–22. 142   An example of a title listed in 1680 but dropped by 1695 was the Janua linguarum reserata, sub-titled the ‘entry door’ or ‘gate’ of languages, based on Comenius’ work; this had sold steadily from the 1630s to the 1660s, from 1652 under the Stationers’ name, but was not reprinted after 1673 as far as can be seen: STC2 150773–7.7 and Wing2 C5511–17A. 139

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


and its omission from the adverts; and Sallust’s Opera omnia was also omitted after what appears to have been a single edition in 1615 (though it resurfaced in the 1766 list). But there were also some additions, including Hawkin’s Spelling Book and the Child’s Guide, clearly aimed at elementary teachers, and (by 1695) Justin’s epitome of Trogus Pompeius, which had been selling well outside the Stock. More surprising was the addition to the advertisements of c. 1680 and c. 1695 of the Testaments of the twelve patriarchs and Tusser’s Husbandry, both long-standing copyrights of the Stationers, but published for the general reader rather than the student, one would imagine.143 There are, however, two other notable differences between the list in the register of 1620 and the advertisements of c. 1680 and c. 1695, both of which suggest that the shareholders of the Stock were spotting potential winners in publishing terms. One is the inclusion in the adverts of a group of six works by Charles Hoole, dating from the mid-seventeenth century: his English-and-Latin versions of ‘Aesop’, ‘Cato’, Cordier, Evaldus Gallus and Culmann, and of a hundred letters by Cicero, Pliny the younger and ‘Textor’ (the Century of Epistles). Hoole was committed to the idea that Latin could be taught much more quickly and less stressfully if students were offered a Latin text and an English translation of it in close proximity: on alternative lines, in parallel columns on the same page, or on opposite pages of an opening.144 As we shall see, Hoole was well aware that he was following in the footsteps of developments abroad as well by scholars and editors in mid-sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England, such as Richard Taverner, John Brinsley and Joseph Webbe, the last of whom secured a 31-year patent for his bilingual versions of some of Cicero’s letters, two plays by Terence, and Gallus’ Pueriles confabulatiunculae.145 But Hoole’s was much the most successful of these ventures, and the bilingual approach would become increasingly common by the eighteenth century, especially through the publications of men like John Clarke of Hull in the 1720s and 1730s and Nathan Bailey, the keeper of a private school in London, in the 1740s.146 In the mean time, what this meant was not just that many copies of classical works such as ‘Aesop’, ‘Cato’ and Ovid were being produced, but also more copies were available in English to those with little or no   STC2 5315.8–16.8 and 21623. For Hawkin’s [or Hawkins’s] Spelling Book and the Child’s Guide, see above, n. 122. 144   For a fuller discussion of Hoole’s work, see below, Chapters 2 and 3. 145   See STC2 under Taverner and Brinsley, and ibid., vol. 2, p. 443 for Webbe’s patent. 143

  See ODNB under John Clarke (c. 1687–1734), and see below, p. 103. For Nathan Bailey, see ODNB; his version of Ovid’s Epistles was claimed by the Stationers by the 1760s. 146

Historiography and Sources


Latin, as authors and publishers were quick to point out on title-pages or in the prefaces. A second addition by 1680 was the pair of references to ‘Minelli’, under Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Tristia, to which a third had been added by 1695, under Terence, lower down. And if you look at the 1766 advertisement, half-way down the left-hand column, and top of the righthand one, you will find the number of editions with notes by ‘Minellius’ has risen to eight, for all the standard classics. Jan Minell was a teacher at a school in Rotterdam (named after Erasmus), and between 1653 and 1704 there appeared editions of most of the classics studied in school with notes added by him. You will not find his name in the standard accounts of classical scholarship, because he was only a commentator – someone who used other people’s scholarship to help students understand certain features in the text. But his editions enjoyed great popularity in schools and colleges across Europe, as far north as Denmark, and south as Naples. A quick comparison of prices in 1766 reveals that Minell’s edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses sold at 22s. for a baker’s dozen, whereas the older, basic text cost only 12s. for the same number.147 There is also a tantalizing reference under Ovid’s Tristia to notis Delphini – a version that cost six times as much as the old standard edition. The Delphin editions had been prepared in Louis XIV’s France to help educate the Dauphin, and had high production values: good paper, generous margins, excellent illustrations and detailed notes by leading scholars, who, to help the young prince master Latin, were prepared to provide helpful paraphrases of a kind the purist probably despised.148 We shall return to the many examples of Delphin editions which were reprinted in England, but here it may be suggested that the Tristia represented yet another possible niche market of readers of classical works on which authors and Stationers were keeping a beady eye. Other examples of the acquisition of promising titles were Francis Gregory’s glossary of words in three languages, Onomastikon brachu sive nomenclatura brevis Anglo-Latino-Graeca, which sold rapidly in the late seventeenth century outside the Stock, but was being advertised as a Stock book in 1695 (Nomenclatura brevis), and Paul Aler’s Gradus ad parnassum, a thesaurus of useful synonyms, epithets and poems, which was published in England from the 1680s, acquired by the Stock by 1705, and thereafter was a Stock staple for centuries.149

  Nouvelle Biographie Générale, 35 (1861): 594–5.   See below, pp. 169–70, 211, 223, 227, 230, 239–40, 313, 318. 149   See Wing2 G1898–902B and ESTC (under Gregory) for the first surviving edition 147 148

for the Stationers, and G1472A–72E and ESTC (under Aler). Both of these works would repay further attention: see below, pp. 247–9.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

It must be reiterated that not all copies of texts in the ‘English Stock’ were used in schools, and some schools used copies of texts not in the Stock. But a combination of school statutes, student graffiti and biographical materials, and the indications of frequent editions of many of the schoolbooks in the ‘English Stock’ gives strong support for the conclusion that these were the most regularly demanded and used titles in English grammar schools. The shareholders of the ‘English Stock’ regarded these texts in a ruthlessly commercial light, and what they did or did not print would have reflected contemporary patterns of demand quite closely. * * * In Chapter 2, we look at the development of humanist education in English grammar schools, and explore the backgrounds and attitudes of the men who taught in them. In Chapter 3 we examine the Latin grammar and classical texts most widely used in the lower forms of grammar schools, and in Chapter 4 the classical texts and supplementary handbooks studied in the intermediate and senior forms and (for those sons of gentry and ‘middling sort’ intending to stay only a short time there) the universities. In Chapter 5 the spotlight is turned onto the Protestant element in English education. Finally, in Chapter 6 we assess the impact that a blend of classicism and Protestantism may have had on the attitudes of the educated laity who came increasingly to dominate English life between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. This is a provisional exercise, an attempt to explain the importance of the subject, to set an agenda of questions and obtain some preliminary results, and offer a new framework in which others might be encouraged to pursue those questions further. Any claims must also be qualified by an awareness that some pupils clearly fought back and tried to subvert the system. During the course of looking at a large number of surviving copies of educational texts I came across many examples of schoolboy graffiti, most of which are harmless enough. There is a 1619 edition of pithy Latin sayings by Cicero, Demosthenes and Terence which has the names of three owners. The first wrote ‘John Milles est verus possessor huius liber’ and the price; the second merely added ‘Robert Towers his book. 1629’, but the third opted for ‘Francis Micheillhorne is as very good boy as liveth’.150 A more pointed piece of graffiti in a different school text dates from about the 1680s. On the reverse of the title-page there is a sketch of two swaggering types in broad-brimmed Cavalier-style hats, standing hand on hip. The one at the top offers his friend a drink from a flat-bottomed flask, 150   Anon., Sententiae Ciceronis, Demosthenis ac Terentii (1619), reverse of title-page on BL copy, shelfmark 1474.a.8.

Historiography and Sources


with the toast ‘Here’s to you’, while below his friend with the cane replies ‘Thomas I thank you.’151 Evidence, perhaps, for the Cavalier fondness for drinking of which both ‘godly’ and conformist moralists complained; but the subversion comes also from the fact that the title-page was of the 1681 edition of a set of godly dialogues in Latin designed to curb such behaviour among the young – Maturin Cordier’s Colloquies. Moreover, this work had been first published in Geneva in 1563, and contained a preface by the author proudly pointing out that among his own pupils had been John Calvin. Directly opposite the sketch is the name of the reformer who was not only famously abstemious, but also become associated with the strict form of morality that the Cavaliers had found so objectionable.

151   M. Cordier, Corderii colloquiorum scholasticorum (1681), sigs. A1v–A2 r (copy in Folger Shakespeare Library).

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Chapter 2

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers in Protestant England

The importance attached to Latin was a long-standing feature of the education given to older boys and youths in medieval Europe, and was not seriously challenged at the Reformation, in England or elsewhere. But the nature of the Latin and the way in which it was taught had already begun to change well before then, as developments in late medieval Italy were taken further by leading humanists in Northern Europe from the late fifteenth to the mid-sixteenth century. In this chapter we will begin to explore the reasons why schools in Protestant countries persisted in giving Latin such prominence, which sections of society humanist education was intended to benefit, and the different environments in which Latin grammar was taught and the men who taught it in early modern England. In most medieval countries in Western Europe, the Catholic Church had provided schools in monasteries, cathedrals and collegiate churches at which a Latin education was provided for a limited number of adolescents destined for the priesthood or the religious life. Education might also be provided there or in the parish for those boys who supported the priest by acting as altar boys or who supported priest and clerks by singing at mass. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries this close association between Church and schooling was beginning to weaken, as growing numbers of lay people became involved in supporting and acting as governors of schools of different sorts, and as more children who had attended a school opted to pursue a career outside the Church. The ruling elites of the urban centres of late medieval Italy, for example, thought that their towns needed a steady supply of well-educated public officials, lawyers, notaries and secretaries; and Church schools were increasingly outnumbered by a combination of communal schools, set up by the secular authorities in smaller towns, and independent schools, subsidized by the pupils’ parents in larger cities, both teaching Latin grammar. The value of this education was increasingly seen by these lay elites in terms of civic good as well as moral improvement; and the early Italian humanists who provided much of the inspiration and material for it looked to the classics of antiquity, and especially the rediscovered Cicero, not only for an eloquent Latin style but also for advice on how to live a good life. Although the older picture


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of a relatively sharp divide between medieval-scholastic and Renaissancehumanist curricula in Italy has recently come under heavy attack from Robert Black, who stresses tradition as well as innovation in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the novelty of the focus on Ciceronian style as part of a wider revival of the Latin classics remains clear. The situation in England was comparable but not identical. From the twelfth to the early fifteenth century there had been a slow but steady growth in the number and variety of schools, offering everything from basic literacy to preparation for the priesthood or admission to a university. But then, from the late fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, there had been a further increase, especially in the creation of endowed free grammar schools and of chantry schools. Some of this expansion was certainly encouraged by bishops like William of Wykeham and William Waynflete, and later Richard Fox and John Fisher, who were all anxious to ensure a supply of educated priests to combat the new heresies of Lollardy and Lutheranism as well as raise the laity’s knowledge of their faith. But the funds which in the late Middle Ages had paid for the creation or support of many new schools and for the scholarships to extend the studies of abler pupils had come increasingly from the laity of all ranks: nobility, gentry, merchants, guildsmen, yeomen, and even humble villagers. Moreover, while many of the products of these schools took advantage of the growing opportunities in the century before the Reformation for Latinate priests to serve in chantry chapels or act as domestic chaplains, a rising proportion of students pursued careers in estate management, commerce or government. This did not mean that there was a difference between ‘clerical’ and ‘lay’ education: most of the teachers in smaller or chantry schools were still in orders, and the texts used were probably the usual mixture of sacred and secular found in most schools of that period. The quality of the Latin education provided in many of the grammar schools of late medieval England was possibly not high: Ascham’s memory of rote learning during his schooldays at Kirby Wiske may not have been untypical, and the scorn that a later generation of well-educated Protestants poured on the poor Latin of some ‘mass-priests’ may have been justified in the provinces. But from the mid-fifteenth century the Latin grammars and curricula which had been spreading in Italian schools were being used    See Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, chaps 1–3, 5 on the schools, and Robert Black, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2001) on the curricula.    Nicholas Orme, English Schools in the Middle Ages (London, 1973), and Education and Society in Medieval and Renaissance England (London, 1989); Jo Ann Hoeppner Moran, The Growth of English Schooling 1348–1548 (Princeton, NJ, 1985), p. 221 and passim; John N. Miner, The Grammar Schools of Medieval England (Montreal, 1990).

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


by an enthusiastic minority of English scholars and teachers, and soon began to replace older works in better-endowed English schools such as Winchester, Eton, and later Magdalen College School and St Paul’s. These were also soon being supplemented by new ideas and printed materials from Northern humanists such as Agricola and Erasmus, as well as textbooks written by teachers and authors based in England such as John Anwykyll, William Horman, Thomas Linacre, John Colet, William Lily and John Stanbridge. What happened in the mid- to late sixteenth century was a mixture of disruption of part of the old pattern of schooling – in monasteries, cathedrals, collegiate churches and chantries – and of enthusiastic support for the new curricula among men operating at the court and in the universities like Elyot, Starkey, Ascham and Cheke. Given that the disruption was often temporary, there was thus both an opportunity and a drive for the new humanist ideals and texts to be extended to more of the existing grammar schools and to many of the additional ones which were set up in the 1540s and 1550s and in the reign of Elizabeth. That spread was not, at this stage, in conflict with the desire of Protestant reformers to educate the laity and to supply orthodox preachers, since all educators influenced by humanism would have agreed in theory with Johann Sturm in Protestant Strasburg that the purpose of education was to impart sapiens et eloquens pietas. For both clergy and laity, the acquisition of wisdom and eloquence was deemed inseparable from piety. Later sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century England undoubtedly witnessed a further expansion of the numbers of schools teaching Latin and of students in them. In 1577 a contemporary observer, William Harrison, noted that ‘there are not many corporate towns now under the Queen’s dominion that have not one grammar school at the least, with a sufficient living for a master and usher’; and among historians working in the 1960s and 1970s there was general agreement that between 1560 and 1640 there had been a major shift in the social distribution of education, as many more students from the landed and urban elites received a grammar school education and then proceeded to higher education than had been

  As previous note; Roger Ascham, The scholemaster (1570), sig. 31v; Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, part 1; Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, chaps 1–2; see also the relevant articles in ODNB.    For the impact of the Reformation, see above, pp. 3–9, 12–15, 18–21, 27–8.    Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, chaps 4–5; Lewis W. Spitz and Barbara S. Tinsley, Johann Sturm on Education (St Louis, MO, 1995), p. 28. 

   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim; Stowe, English Grammar Schools, pp. 25–54; see also above, pp. 26–8, 35–8.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


the case in the centuries immediately before or after. But warnings against generalizing about the nature of this grammar school teaching were issued by Rosemary O’Day in the early 1980s. ‘A number of differing traditions were at work on the early modern educational scene’; access to schools varied according to region and wealth, and different types of school could have different aims, even at apparently the same level; and while ‘there was still a strong tradition of academic education for the Church and for affiliated careers … many town grammar schools were little influenced by the ideas of Renaissance scholars’ in that they taught literacy to tradesmen as well as Latin to potential clergymen and lawyers. In addition ‘everywhere there were private schools and freelance school teachers who provided the type of education which the market demanded’. In assessing the scale and nature of this early modern expansion, the problems for historians are not at the level of the well-established or well-endowed schools which had a continuous existence and have preserved fairly detailed records of some aspects of their life, such as Eton, Winchester, St Paul’s and Westminster in the South-East, and further afield major schools such as Shrewsbury and Repton. These leading schools might have occasional lean spells, but there were usually plenty of wellconnected parents who were aware of the many advantages that a classical education could bring, and who were anxious to get their sons into highly institutionalized and well-endowed schools like Eton and Winchester. Such parents were also willing to pay the entry and boarding fees appropriate to their sons’ rank where this was necessary, as at Shrewsbury in the 1570s, which on admission charged the son of a lord 10s., the son of a knight 6s. 8d., the eldest son of a gentleman 3s. 4d. and a younger son 2s. 6d., compared to the 4d. paid by the son of a burgess of Shrewsbury. The problems occur at the levels below this elite, where there were a variety of schools and schooling on offer: in town-based grammar schools, in less famous or less long-lived rural grammar schools, and in privately   William Harrison, Description of England, ed. George Edelen (Ithaca, NY, 1968), p. 76. See above, pp. 27–8; Wallace K. Jordan, The Charities of Rural England (London, 1961), p. 165; Lawrence Stone, ‘The Educational Revolution in England’, Past and Present, 28 (1964): 44–7, and 41–80 passim; Simon, Education and Society in Tudor England, part 3; Carl Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590–1642 (Oxford, 1968), pp. 329–30.    O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, pp. 26, 25–42. 

  Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 17–18; W. Sterry, The Eton College Register 1441–1698 (Eton, 1943), p. xxiv; Maxwell-Lyte, Eton College, pp. 221–2; Guy F. Lytle, ‘Patronage and the Election of Winchester Scholars during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance’, in Roger Custance (ed.), Winchester College: Sixth-centenary Essays (Oxford, 1982), pp. 167–88. For the lower rates charged at a less fashionable school set up in the 1620s, see Penelope E. Morgan, ‘The Library of Lady Hawkins’ School, Kington, Herefordshire’, The National Library of Wales Journal, 24 (1985): 46. 

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


run, fee-paying schools. The ethos and the fortunes of these schools could and did vary with their geographical location, the social composition of the student body and the ambitions of their parents. Compare the wellborn students, well-qualified teachers and well-stocked library of a major centre like Shrewsbury (which educated the young Philip Sidney, Fulke Greville and Andrew Downes) with conditions at the free grammar school at Kibworth Beauchamp in Leicestershire: only one teacher, no schoolhouse until 1630, and governors who warned the teacher that ‘because the school standeth much upon poor men’s children, whose parents are not able to buy many books’ that he ‘read unto them few books and them throughout’.10 It is clear that many of the schools endowed between 1560 and 1640 struggled in the first few decades owing to inadequate initial funding and the galloping inflation of the late sixteenth century. Schools set up with the promise of a generous bequest towards buildings or salaries came close to foundering when the family of the deceased challenged the terms of the will, or the endowment was badly administered. It took twenty-seven years of legal wrangling before the Free Grammar School of Coventry finally opened, for example; and of the 38 grammar schools in the Elizabethan diocese of London fewer than half (according to a recent analysis) had sufficient operating revenues to meet all contingencies, while the rest ‘lacked sufficient income to meet regular operational needs, to allow for liberal salaries as means to attract first-rate teachers, and to expand services’.11 Both contemporary comments and many of the histories written in the nineteenth and early twentieth century on schools in other parts of the country and in other reigns tell similarly depressing stories of lean periods owing to incompetence, fraud and arguments over finance, or to an inability to offer wages that would attract and keep teachers of quality, especially in geographically isolated areas.12 10   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 7–8, 314–16; B. Elliott, A History of Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School (1957), p. 24; for parents’ reluctance to let children who could earn wages go to school, see Hoole, New discovery, pp. 213–14. 11   David Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity in Tudor and Stuart England’, History of Education Quarterly, 16:3 (1976): 306–7; J.P. Anglin, ‘Frustrated Ideals: The Case of Elizabeth Grammar School Foundations’, History of Education, 11:4 (1982): 270, and 267–79 passim.

  Christopher Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools (Oxford, 1678), pp. 67–9; William R. Feyerharm, ‘The Status of the Schoolmaster and the Continuity of Education in Elizabethan East Anglia’, History of Education, 5:2 (1976), pp. 107–11; David Cressy, ‘“A Drudgery of Schoolmasters”: The Teaching Profession in Elizabethan and Stuart England’, in Wilfrid Prest (ed.), The Professions in Early Modern England (London, 1967), pp. 144–8. For examples of difficulties, see T.W. Hutton, King Edward VI’s School Birmingham 1552–1952 (Oxford, 1952), pp. 10–31; R.R. Lewis, The History of Brentwood School (Brentwood, 1981), pp. 24–9; N.J. Frangopulo, The History of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School Ashburne Derbyshire 1585–1935 (Ashburne, 1935), pp. 82–3; I.E. Gray and W.E. 12


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

The size of a school could also have a significant impact upon the type and quality of education, and on the level of stimulating competition between students. The largest of all could have taught over 200–300 at a time: the founders of Merchant Taylors’ in London catered for 250 pupils in the 1560s and had over 275 in the 1650s; Shrewsbury had 360 students in 1581. This evidently required a regular supply of extra teachers as well as plenty of schoolrooms and provision for feeding and lodging the scores of boarders who rubbed shoulders with the sons of local residents. At the other extreme, many town and small country grammar schools aimed at small numbers, of about 20 or 30 pupils, as at Scarborough and Dedham in the late sixteenth century, while schools in large towns with two or more teachers aspired to 100 or 150 at a time: Norwich may have had about 90 in 1566; Ipswich just over 100 in the 1570s; and Newcastle upon Tyne about 80 in 1577 (which could have accounted for perhaps a quarter of all boys then living in Newcastle aged between 10 and 15), though the appointment of an under-usher or third master in the 1610s suggests numbers had risen over 100 there too.13 Leaving aside the largest of all, the norm may have been about 50–100 for more popular and successful schools, and below 50 for schools in less demand. When Kington Free Grammar School opened its doors in 1632 it welcomed 11 students; but this rose to 94 in 1641, before settling at just over 50 for the rest of the century.14 These numbers may not have been huge by comparison with the numbers taught at Strasburg or in Jesuit colleges, but at least in those schools there was usually a separate master for each form or level,15 whereas in England the norm in schools which were well endowed was two teachers, with the usher teaching the lower three or more forms and the master teaching the three or four upper levels. Thus in 1609 the master at Wolverhampton had only nine pupils in the top two forms and 19 in the next two to demand his attention, and also had the luxury of an usher Potter, Ipswich School 1400–1950 (Ipswich, 1950), pp. 53–9; Marjorie Cox, A History of Sir John Deane’s Grammar School Northwich (Manchester, 1975), pp. 73, 77, 121–2. 13   H.B. Wilson, The History of Merchant-Taylors’ School (2 vols, London, 1812), vol. 1, p. 323; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, p. 28; Stowe, English Grammar Schools, pp. 188–9; Gray and Potter, Ipswich School, p. 39; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, p. 5. See also John Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation (London, 1967), p. 86; Lawson and Harold Silver, A Social History of Education in England (London, 1973), p. 115; Cressy, ‘Drudgery of Schoolmasters’, p. 131. 14   Cressy, ‘The Teaching Profession’, p. 131; Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, p. 86; Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, p. 115; Morgan, ‘Lady Hawkins’ School’, p. 46; Tonbridge was built for about 40 pupils: S. Rivington, The History of Tonbridge School (4th edn, London, 1925), p. 4. 15   Jean Sturm Classicae Epistolae, ed. Jean Rott (Paris, 1938), pp. 22–75; Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 119–22, 175; Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 61, 115.

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


introducing 30 pupils in the lower school to some basic Latin at the same time as teaching a dozen absolute beginners, the ‘petties’, how to read. In a situation such as this the staff/student ratio might have been quite favourable, but the master and usher had to balance the needs of two or three forms simultaneously by taking one form through a text or exercise while setting the other forms some task of reading or writing until it was their turn. Equally neither master nor usher could give the oral and written efforts of individual pupils the level of attention which theorists such as Ascham (writing about domestic tuition in royal or noble households) and Brinsley (in a well-supported market town school) seem to have imagined was practicable. Indeed, if there was enough income to pay for only one teacher, then he either had to teach all the pupils at once, or to rely on senior pupils to help the junior, or find an assistant at his own expense.16 Moreover, space for teaching was often at a premium, especially after the ecclesiastical authorities made it clear in the 1590s that grammar schools could not be held permanently inside the parish church, with the communion table being used as a writing desk. Many grammar schools either lacked permanent quarters or had far too many pupils for the small space originally provided. Charles Hoole’s ideal of a schoolhouse ‘with folding doors made betwixt every form … and seats made … with desks before them whereon every scholar may write’ remained in many cases just that. Often the only separation found was a thin partition between the master’s and the usher’s forms, or not even that.17 There were solutions which eased the financial burden but did not necessarily improve the quality of the grammar teaching. One answer was for the master to take in some fee-paying students, if the teacher had a good reputation and local parents could afford it; the master could then use the fees to fund an usher’s salary. But not only did this further increase numbers, it could also raise fears among local parents whose sons were attending ‘free’ that the master would devote more time to his fee paying students.18 Another solution was to take in ‘petties’ and teach them how to read for a small fee, and many of the grammar schools which were set up with high hopes but limited budgets in villages and small townships had to 16   Compare Eton and Westminster in the 1560s (Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chap. 15) with Hoole’s practice in the 1650s (New discovery, pp. 129–209, 255–66); and see O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, p. 38, and Kenneth Charlton, ‘The Teaching Profession in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century England’, in Paul Nash (ed.), History and Education: The Educational Uses of the Past (New York, 1970), pp. 37–8. 17   Malcolm Seaborne, The English School: Its Architecture and Organization 1370–1870 (London, 1971), chaps 2–3; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 223–4. 18   Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, p. 120; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 9; C.P. Hill, The History of Bristol Grammar School (Bath, 1951), pp. 25–6.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

justify their existence and make ends meet by combining the teaching of literacy to children and Latin grammar to older children and adolescents.19 Again this clashed with the ideal situation stated by the theorists of the day, that the master should teach grammar alone. This was a persistent problem, acknowledged by zealous teachers as late as the 1650s and 1670s. Hoole bemoaned the fact that masters of such ‘mixed schools’ either worked themselves into an early grave or quit after a few years; and Christopher Wase observed that many of the ‘multitude of country free grammar-schools’ were so constricted by their constitution or low revenue as to be ‘only nurseries of piety and letters … preparatory to trade’ – that is, catering for the demand for basic vernacular literacy and numeracy.20 In sum, the proportion of pupils learning Latin in many such ‘grammar’ schools depended on the teacher’s reputation, his students’ ability, and their parents’ ability to spare them from other tasks and if necessary pay the teachers’ fees. This proportion could fall as well as rise, and by the end of the seventeenth century in some cases it was falling, as we shall see shortly. Despite the problems faced by many of the smaller or less fashionable schools in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods, some achieved impressive results. Although it did not have a permanent school house until 1630, the grammar school at Kibworth in Leicestershire finally began to send boys to Oxford and Cambridge – the first two in the early 1640s were the tenth son of the local rector, and the son of a yeoman – and did so regularly for many decades thereafter.21 But it is hard to gauge the full success of such schools, since abler students did not necessarily stay at one school for the full span of six or eight years, but in many cases were moved from a small school to a larger for the last year before trying for university entrance. Either the teaching or facilities at the larger were acknowledged to be better, or it had links to specific colleges through personal contacts or closed scholarships of which ambitious parents wished to take advantage for their sons. As a result any statistics based on the registers kept by larger schools, or the records kept by colleges or universities of the schools 19   Brian Simon, ‘Leicestershire Schools, 1625–40’, British Journal of Educational Studies, 3:1 (1954): 42–58; Joan Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries’, in Brian Simon (ed.), Education in Leicestershire 1540–1940: A Regional Study (Leicester, 1968), pp. 20–5, 40, 42; Alan Smith, ‘Endowed Schools in the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry 1660–1699’, History of Education, 4:2 (1975): 10, 17; Smith, ‘Private Schools and Schoolmasters in the Diocese of Lichfield and Coventry in the Seventeenth Century’, History of Education, 5:2 (1976): 125; Richard L. DeMolen, ‘Ages of Admission to Educational Institutions in Tudor and Stuart England’, History of Education, 5:3 (1976): 209–10. 20   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 213–14; Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools, p. 53; see also Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 12–13. 21   Elliott, Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School, pp. 23–4.

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attended by successful candidates at the moment of application, give an incomplete view of the pattern of contemporary schooling.22 It has also became increasingly clear over the last few decades that it would be misleading to try to measure educational change simply by the number of establishments which can be shown to have had a permanent existence from their endowment in the early modern period through to the surveys of the nineteenth century. Domestic tuition persisted in the royal family and many noble households of the late Tudor and early Stuart periods, and even in some families of gentry or middling rank where there was concern over the child’s health or the father thought that either he himself or a tutor could do better than the education on offer in the nearest schools. In other cases a child was switched several times between schools and domestic tuition. Such mixed tuition was often of a high quality: it helped ensure the sound basis of the education of a future scholar of international reputation, a chief minister, an antiquarian MP, a leading lawyer and politician, a trio of poets, and many clergymen, including a presbyterian, a Baptist and episcopalians.23 Furthermore, beyond part- or full-time domestic tuition, it has for some time been abundantly clear that scores of fee-paying ‘private’ schools were set up in the homes of many clergymen who taught their own or their patrons’ boys and perhaps a few other local youths. Such was the school of Richard Nunn, rector of Stockerston, Leicestershire, who between 1629 and 1635 sent three boys to Cambridge; two were the sons of the lord of the manor, and all entered at the highest student rank, as fellow commoners.24 There was also the occasional private school set up by a laymen, such as Thomas Farnaby’s school in London and then Kent, in which during the reign of Charles I he is said to have taught not only hundreds of sons of the London oligarchy, but also over 300 noblemen and gentlemen who had been transferred from domestic tuition or provincial schools.25 Also revealing is the fact that of the 272 references to schools in Norfolk which 22   Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, pp. 15, 25; Joan Simon, ‘Leicestershire Entrants to Cambridge 1600–1699’, in Simon, Education in Leicestershire, pp. 231–2; Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, p. 17; Smith, ‘Private Schools’, pp. 125–6; David Cressy, ‘School and College Admission Ages in Seventeenth-century England’, History of Education, 8:3 (1979), 172–3; see the near-miss experience of Robert Sanderson (1587–1663) in ODNB. 23   Charlton, ‘The Teaching Profession’, pp. 40–43; Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558–1641 (Oxford, 1965), pp. 676–84; see also ODNB under Sir Henry Savile (1549–1622), Edward Hyde (1609–1674), Sir Simonds D’Ewes, Gervase Holles, John Milton (1608–1674) (who in turn organized the education of his Phillips nephews), Thomas Stanley (1625–1678), Alexander Pope (1688–1714), Matthew Henry, Joseph Stennett (1663–1713), Henry Hammond (who taught his nephew) and Matthew Nicholas. 24   Simon, ‘Leicestershire Entrants to Cambridge’, p. 232. 25   On Farnaby, see below, p. 102.

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had sent boys to three Cambridge colleges between 1626 and 1640, less than half were to endowed grammar schools. In addition to being vicar of St Stephen’s in Norwich, Matthew Stonham owned several properties in the city, had a licence to dispense wine in his house, and kept a school from which he sent 38 boys (including two of his sons) to those three Cambridge colleges between 1626 and 1637. The problem for historians is that many such private establishments disappeared when the teacher’s own children had grown up, or he moved his base or his career changed direction.26 Despite the difficulties in measuring the numbers of schools, teachers, or pupils, all of the indicators we now have – the lists of new foundations, studies of diocesan records and clerical career patterns, analyses of admission registers at university, and contemporary comments, together with the repeat editions of school textbooks used in this monograph – point in the same direction, towards a significant increase in the numbers of schools and teachers between 1560 and 1640. David Cressy has suggested that in the period 1560–1640 there were a handful of leading schools in the South-East, several dozen major grammar schools drawing students from some distance away, and 200–300 local grammar schools. This would make perhaps 300–400 endowed schools in all.27 Yorkshire, the largest county, may have had two dozen grammar schools in operation before the Reformation, but 15 or 16 new schools were added under Elizabeth alone. Lancashire had three before the Reformation, one was added under Edward VI, five more under Elizabeth, and three more soon afterwards. Many of these provincial schools were created by senior clergy acting individually, and some by gentry; but between 1540 and 1640 scores of new schools were also endowed, either by successful London merchants wishing to help those still living in their birthplaces, as at Burnsall and Coxwold in Yorkshire, or by the joint endeavour of townspeople, as at Blackburn, Halifax and Wakefield.28 Moreover, in the early seventeenth century there could in a given decade have been almost as many temporary schools as permanent. The fact that over half of the boys who in the 1630s entered three colleges of Caroline Cambridge from the county of Norfolk came from non-endowed

  See Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, pp. 84–5; Stone, ‘The Educational Revolution’, p. 46, and ODNB under Matthew Stoneham; Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, p. 686; Carl Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen 1590–1642 (Oxford, 1968), pp. 328–9. 27   Cressy, ‘The Teaching Profession’, pp. 132–4 and p. 150 n. 9. 28   Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, pp. 83–4; Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, pp. 329–30. 26

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schools confirms that the permanently endowed schools were by then far from comprising the main providers of grammar education.29 The rapid expansion of the production of school texts within England may also be taken to indicate that thousands of children, including girls as well as boys in those homes with a private tutor, were being taught Latin grammar and reading Latin texts in any given year between the 1560s and the 1630s.30 By 1587 the patentee of the official Latin grammar, the Shorte introduction and Brevissima institutio which together made up ‘Lily’s grammar’, was permitted to produce four double impressions of 2,500 copies of each every year; and in the early seventeenth century the most popular school textbooks in the ‘English Stock’ were regularly reprinted in runs of 3000, 4000 or 6000 copies rather than the standard run of 1250 copies. Moreover, unlike some of the more specialized school texts, many of these were deployed in the complete range of types of grammar schools which we have encountered in the last few pages.31 How far these indicators suggest a full-blown ‘revolution’ in English education or merely a much faster evolution of pre-1540 trends depends on how positive a view one takes of the undoubted changes in the period from c. 1470 to c. 1540.32 Certainly contemporaries were aware not just of a rapid expansion of schooling, but of a change in the nature of the education provided and of those receiving it. As early as the reign of Elizabeth, and increasingly often thereafter, there were complaints in some quarters that with all these new schools being set up, especially the ‘free’ schools in many market towns, more scholars were being produced than there were preferments for them to take. Despite support from some statesmen and teachers for wider access to grammar schools, the complaints gathered momentum during and after the civil wars, when some claimed ‘the multiplying these foundations’ was ‘dangerous to the government’. Recent work has confirmed that some radicals had indeed received an orthodox humanist education, and used it to ridicule and subvert established opinions.33 Among some sections of the educated elite, the fear 29   See previous paragraph. Vincent tried to construct a list of endowed grammar schools in existence between 1600 and 1660; although he missed quite a few endowed schools, and counted many which turned out on closer inspection to be private, temporary affairs, he easily reached a total of over 900: W.A.L. Vincent, The State and School Education 1640–1660 in England and Wales (London, 1950), Appendix A, pp. 120–35; but see Simon, ‘Leicestershire Entrants to Cambridge’, p. 232; Smith, ‘Private Schools and Schoolmasters’, pp. 117–19.

  See above, pp. 34–9, and below, Chapters 3 and 4.   See above, pp. 34–5, and below, pp. 135–8. 32   See above, pp. 56–7. 33   Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity’, pp. 303–6; Joan Thirsk, The Restoration 30 31

(London, 1976), pp. 170–71; Stone, ‘Educational Revolution’, pp. 74–8; Bridenbaugh, Vexed


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that education could be subversive never altogether disappeared, despite receiving a detailed rebuttal in the 1670s by a well-informed schoolmaster and scholar, Christopher Wase. Wase stressed how much positive good had been achieved through the grammar schools during the century after the Reformation, and argued that there was still more that could be done, especially in those parts of the country with too few schools, and in those provincial schools which (he knew from personal experience) had much smaller endowments and fewer links to university than the public schools, such as Eton, which he himself had attended as a youth. However, it is worth noting that the area of the debate on which Wase chose to concentrate was the balance between ‘preferments’ and ‘lettered persons’ rather than any higher ideals about intellectual development or the good of Church and state.34 * * * Wase was writing at a pivotal moment when English education could have turned down a very different path. During the 1640s and 1650s proposals for major changes in English education and a shift to parliamentary supervision had been put forward by those motivated by a mixture of millennial and social concerns, such as Samuel Hartlib, John Dury, Hezekiah Woodward and others who were strongly influenced by the writings of the Moravian Johann Amos Comenius, and by those who like John Petty wanted greater emphasis on the vernacular and the teaching of practical subjects than appeared in the typical grammar school curriculum.35 In the second half of the seventeenth century, England also enjoyed a massive expansion of trade which had consequences in many walks of life: merchants and manufacturers needed to be able to speak foreign languages fluently, to build many more ships and navigate trade routes safely, to discover new technical processes to improve the value of imported raw materials, and to

and Troubled Englishmen, pp. 329–30; McDowell, English Radical Imagination. 34   See Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools, pp. 1, 47–57 and passim, and ODNB. He specifically challenged the criticisms levelled against ‘market Latin schools’ by Edward Chamberlayne in his Angliae Notitia, which had already passed through several editions. 35   Joan Simon, ‘Educational Policies and Programmes, 1640–60’, Modern Quarterly, 4:2 (1949): 154–68; Vincent, The State and School Education, pp. 23–39, 89–93; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, p. 26; see also Milton’s condemnation of the ‘pure trifling in grammar and sophistry’ in schools and universities, cited in Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 44.

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lobby the Crown and parliament to pass laws and make treaties to protect their interests.36 For these reasons, one might have anticipated either a drift away from grammar school education, especially among urban elites, or at the least a distinct shift in curricula to include utilitarian subjects such as French, geography and mathematics. Certainly the older view among many historians was that after the mid-seventeenth century the English grammar school system entered a period of decline due to its own inherent faults and the greater attractions of a non-classical education. It is clear that the numbers of students at some of the more famous schools fell during the civil wars or in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and in some cases struggled to recover; so too did numbers attending the universities.37 It is also beyond doubt that in the closing decades of the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century some smaller schools gave up the struggle to teach both English and Latin by dropping the Latin, and a few even ceased to exist altogether. In some rural counties such as Norfolk and Suffolk the numbers of teachers licensed to teach Latin grammar may have declined in the later seventeenth century.38 However, many of these cases of decline usually had fairly specific causes, or proved temporary. During the civil wars, some school premises had been badly disrupted during the civil wars, for example at Eton and Ashby-de-la-Zouch and a number of colleges at Oxford, while the school libraries at Northwich in Cheshire and Newcastle upon Tyne were badly damaged by enemy action. There had also been enforced changes of staff at a number of institutions in the 1640s or 1650s and again in the early 1660s, as at Shrewsbury and Newport.39 Either upset by the radicalism of the mid-century (which as we have seen some blamed on too much 36   James A. Sharpe, Early Modern England: A Social History 1550–1760 (London, 1987), pp. 78–85, 136–42, 178–83; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, chaps 11, 14; for the ‘urban renaissance’, see below, pp. 343–51. 37   Vincent, Grammar Schools, chaps 1, 5; Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, pp. 195–6; Stone, ‘Educational Revolution’, pp. 47–51, 73–5; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 57–61; Stone, ‘The Size and Composition of the Oxford Student Body 1580–1910’, in Stone, The University in Society, vol. 1, pp. 3–6, 37–59; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, pp. 196–203. 38   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 27, 33, 47, 96, 112, 128, 189–90 and elsewhere; Joan Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments: Schools in the County 1660–1700’, in Simon, Education in Leicestershire, pp. 44, 50–51; Cressy, ‘The Teaching Profession’, pp. 134–8. 39   Vincent, The State and School Education, chaps 4, 9 (though see also chap. 6); Maxwell-Lyte, Eton College, pp. 234–51; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 743; Jewell, Education in Early Modern England, p. 36 and references there; Cox, Sir John Deane’s Grammar School, p. 90; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, p. 27; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 43–55; D.C. Somervell, A History of


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education of the wrong sort of people) or attracted by the fashion for all things French and foreign, a few more parents from the landed elite may have chosen to educate their sons at home or sent them on the Grand Tour, usually accompanied by a tutor. But this was always an expensive option, and was reversed in the eighteenth century when a stress on socializing the young among their peers in England again became common.40 And although a growing number of parents in towns and cities sought schools which placed more emphasis on practical subjects such as mathematics, bookkeeping, navigation and foreign languages, this was by no means the case with all parents (as we shall see shortly); in fact the numbers of teachers licensed to teach grammar in London diocese, far from declining, actually peaked in the 1690s.41 Indeed, in many of those schools which were set up to meet the new demands, including the academies set up by dissenters who were denied access to full university education, the teachers in many cases persisted with a significant element of Latin teaching alongside the increased proportion of theology and ‘practical’ subjects which were better suited to the careers of those unlikely to go to university.42 Even the increasing use of English as a medium of teaching in schools, the moves towards studying the rules of English grammar, and the growing deployment of English poetry and prose in the classroom should not be seen as a frontal challenge to the established patterns, since much of this English-based instruction tended to mimic the teaching of Latin grammar and texts in its focus on clarity and poetic expression, and its emphasis on moral instruction.43 In fact, there was probably far more continuity than change after 1660 at the middling and upper levels of grammar school education. Wase himself was a fine classical scholar as well as a teacher at Dedham Royal Free School in Essex and Tonbridge School in Kent for many years, before he became historiographer royal in 1669. He remained convinced that England’s interests in producing enough well-educated noblemen, gentlemen, clergy, lawyers and other professional men were best served by Tonbridge School (London, 1967), p. 27; A.G. Matthews, Walker Revised (Oxford, 1948), pp. xiii–xiv, 23–41, and Calamy Revised (Oxford, 1934), pp. xiii–xiv, 570, 587. 40   Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools, pp. 72, 111; John Stoye, English Travellers Abroad 1604–1667 (2nd edn, New Haven, CT, 1989), pp. 327–8; Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, pp. 202–3. On the restrictive effect of the high costs of the foreign tour, see Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, pp. 701–2. 41   Cressy, ‘The Teaching Profession’, pp. 134–8. 42   Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, pp. 203–6; O’Day, Education and Society, pp. 208–15; W.E. Brown and F.R. Poslitt, The History of Bolton School (Bolton, 1976), pp. 52–3. 43   Early English grammars include Richard Mulcaster’s First part of the elementarie and Ben Jonson’s English grammar.

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the current mixture of methods: private tuition or attendance at the ‘greater schools’ such as Eton, Westminster, Winchester and Rugby for the sons of the aristocracy and upper gentry, and attendance at free grammar schools in corporate towns and countryside for the rest, including the sons of the local gentry and clergy.44 Numbers at Eton, for example, picked up after a dip in the mid-1640s to reach 200 by 1678 and 400 by 1697.45 In the North-East, Yorkshire, the Lake District, the North and West Midlands, and East Anglia there is also plenty of evidence for persisting and even increased demand for grammar school education among the many parents who were either unable to afford a domestic tutor or a foreign trip for their offspring, or were traditional in their outlook.46 Many of those schools with respected teachers who were consistently able to get pupils into university, and those whose teachers adapted the curriculum somewhat to changing circumstances by including (in or out of school hours) some English grammar and literature, some geography or maths and a modern language alongside the classics, not only survived, but in many parts of the country flourished.47 Henry Holyoake, for example, was credited with ‘recovering the credit and reputation’ of Rugby School during more than four decades as headmaster from 1688 to 1731; he was ‘universally esteemed for his singular learning and humanity’, attracted well-born sons from a wide areas, and sent many students on to university.48 With active help from the Corporation of Bristol between 1710 and 1743, successive masters, William Goldwin and Alexander Stopford Catcott, took the numbers of boys at Bristol Grammar School from as low as 20 to over 70.49 At the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne the Rev.   Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools, pp. 45–9, 72–4, 76–8 and passim.   Sterry, Eton College Register, p. xxiv. 46   Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 53–5; Lawson 44 45

and Silver, Social History of Education, pp. 198–202; O’Day, Education and Society, pp. 203–8; Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, pp. 28, 33, 43–5, 48–50, 54; Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, pp. 8–10, 13–17, and ‘Private Schools and Schoolmasters’, p. 125; Patrick K. Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession in the Seventeenth Century: The Career Patterns of the Grammar Schoolmaster’, History of Education 6:3 (1977): 189–91. For fairly typical mixtures of sons of middling and lesser gentry with sons of yeomen and tradesmen, see Benjamin Varley, The History of Stockport Grammar School (Manchester, 1946), pp. 66–7, and Rivington, Tonbridge School, p. 98. 47   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 49–50; Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, p. 200; R. Birley, The History of Eton College Library (1970), pp. 17–44, 70–7; C.L.S. Linnell and A.B. Douglas, Gresham’s School History and Register 1555–1954 (Ipswich, 1955), pp. 17–20; D. Robson, Some Aspects of Education in Cheshire in the Eighteenth Century (Chetham Society, 3rd series, 13, 1966), pp. 54–6. 48   W.H.D. Rouse, A History of Rugby School (London, 1898), pp. 89–102; see also ODNB. 49   Hill, Bristol Grammar School, pp. 37–41.

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Hugh Moises, fresh from a fellowship at Peterhouse Cambridge, raised numbers from a very low level in 1749 to over 130 by 1787. With the aid of two assistant masters, he taught not only the classics with enthusiasm, but also English prose composition, astronomy and geography; and his success was recognized by the corporation, which, anxious to keep him, raised his salary from £50 to £120, and gave him further offices in Newcastle which probably raised his income to £350 a year.50 There were other signs of buoyant demand for good grammar schooling in the period from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. Where numbers at an existing school declined, it was often because the current master was deemed less able or committed, so that gentry and urban oligarchs were sending their sons instead to another school, often a newly created private one whose master taught the same pre-university curriculum but had fewer pupils among whom to divide his time. Competition from private classical schools was often cited by those governors and teachers whose school numbers had recently fallen; and the burgeoning local press carried many advertisements for such schools.51 A good example of such a school was that run by a non-juring graduate, James Ellis, ‘a very able schoolmaster’ who ran a highly respected school in Isleworth, Middlesex in the 1690s, ‘purely for grounding … noblemen’s sons or gentlemen of some rank in classic learning, and fitting them for the university’; Ellis inspired one student, Lewis Theobald, later in life to try to make classical literature accessible to a wider range of readers. Another was the large and successful school set up at Salford by the Rev. John Clayton – a former member of the Holy Club at Oxford, and prominent High Churchman in Manchester.52 Sustained demand is also evident in the scores of new grammar schools still being endowed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, from Lewisham and Newport in the 1650s through Witney and Woodbridge in the early 1660s to Appleby Parva in the 1690s. In Cheshire alone 11 new grammar schools were endowed between 1656 and 1725, and a number of private schools were opened shortly afterwards.53 Equally, in the later Stuart and early Hanoverian periods many existing schools   Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 46–53.   Ibid., pp. 43–5, 58–9; Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity’, p. 126; Cressy, ‘Drudgery

50 51

of Schoolmasters’, pp. 143–4; Nicholas Hans, New Trends in Education in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1951), chaps 2, 6; Robson, Education in Cheshire, pp. 75–7, 173–6. 52   See ODNB under Lewis Theobald, and Alumni Oxonienses for Ellis; Hans, New Trends, pp. 132–3. 53   R.A. Houston, Literacy in Early Modern Europe: Culture and Education 1500–1800 (2nd edn, Harlow, 2002), pp. 26–7; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 579–85, 734–5, vol. 2, pp. 355–62, 535; M.A. Fleming, Witney Grammar School 1660–1960 (Oxford, 1960), pp. 1–5; Robson, Education in Cheshire, pp. 166–8.

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received supplementary bequests from governors and old boys to support more university scholarships and exhibitions, or to pay for new buildings, or to house a new or expanding school library.54 Writing his handbook for teachers in the late 1650s, Charles Hoole put a much greater emphasis on the need for a school library than had his predecessor Brinsley in the 1610s; and scores of existing school libraries were supplemented in this period, or in the case of London schools which lost many of their books in the Great Fire, re-founded. Although we know most about the libraries accumulated by successful schools like Eton, Westminster and St Paul’s, there is abundant evidence of major expansion of school libraries in provincial schools as well, both in urban centres such as Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Bristol, Southampton and Birmingham, and in smaller schools such as St Bees in Cumberland, Preston in Lancashire, Louth in Lincolnshire, Witney in Oxfordshire, Holt in Norfolk and Maldon in Essex. Moreover, many of these libraries exhibited a diversification in content – more works on history, geography, science and modern languages than before – which reflected changes in the school’s teaching.55 In short, after a certain amount of adjustment to changing circumstances the upper and middling levels of grammar school education in many parts of England enjoyed an Indian summer in the eighteenth century. * * * For whom had these traditional forms of education been designed, or to whom did they appeal, not only during the expansion of 1540 to 1640 but also in the period of adjustment between 1660 and 1760? Three possible answers to the first question should be discounted: the suggestion that early modern English education was promoted primarily for the good of the state; that it was dominated by the Church; and that it was designed to help all levels of society. 54   Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, passim; Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, pp. 12–14; Lawson and Silver, Social History of Education, pp. 197–8; Seaborne, The English School, chaps 5–6; Ian Green, ‘Libraries for School Education and Personal Devotion’, in Giles Mandelbrote and Keith A. Manley (eds), The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, Volume II: 1640–1850 (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 47–55. 55   Ibid.; Hoole, New discovery, sigs A9r–12v, p. 225 and passim; Alfred A. Mumford, The Manchester Grammar School 1515–1915 (London, 1919), pp. 522–6; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 43, 65, 325–9; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, pp. 13–14, 45–6; C.F. Russell, A History of King Edward VI School Southampton (Cambridge, 1940), pp. 201, 214–24; Hutton, King Edward’s School Birmingham, pp. 42–5; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 165, 435–6, 712, 831–2, vol. 2, p. 636; Fleming, Witney Grammar School, pp. 15–20, 22, 26, 38–42, 147–53; P.J. Lee, A Catalogue of the Foundation Library (Holt, 1965), pp. 3–24.


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It was certainly the case that in mid-Tudor England a number of humanist scholars and courtiers were keen to press on kings and princes the advantages for their states of a humanist education, in much the same terms that were used in late medieval Italian cities: it would provide a plentiful and regular supply of well-educated public officials, lawyers, diplomats and secretaries.56 But regular assertions of such an ideal by authors targeting the social elite did not mean that the expansion of the grammar school sector was pursued primarily for that reason. English monarchs may have found the ideal attractive, but did not say so explicitly; and, with many more pressing demands on their time and resources, did not offer significant amounts of their own funds, or as far as we know regularly urge others to offer theirs to subsidize the creation of new secondary schools offering a humanist education. If other people – bishops, nobles, town corporations – took the initiative and provided most of the cash, then Henry VIII, Edward VI (or his minders) and Elizabeth were content to let their name be used to promote new or re-founded schools. They also were ready to confirm school statutes in which the authors, knowing royal approval was being sought, stressed the need to produce pious and loyal citizens, though such statutes rarely talked of benefit for the state as such.57 Where the Tudors led, the Stuarts, and their parliaments, followed: acquiescence in others’ efforts rather than direct sponsorship of new schools. Major state involvement in the provision and curricula of education in England was delayed until the nineteenth century by the growth of religious pluralism and the increased political infighting of the second century after the Reformation. Other accounts of Tudor education have asserted that the higher echelons of the Protestant Church were soon exerting the same control, even a monopoly, of English secondary education as their Catholic predecessors had done.58 This was partly based on a misapprehension of late medieval education, which by 1500 as we have seen was much less under the Church’s thumb than was once thought. It was also based on an overestimate of the power of the Protestant ecclesiastical authorities and a misconception of their intentions as a body. The ‘confessional state’ was 56   See above, pp. 10, 16, 56–7; Charlton, Renaissance Education, pp. 78–85; Simon, Education and Society, pp. 149–59, 333–68. 57   Many examples of schools named after Henry, Edward and Elizabeth but founded and largely funded by others can be seen in the pages of Carlisle, Concise Description of Endowed Grammar Schools, which also describes their statutes where extant; see also Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 93–5. 58   The fullest statement is Norman Wood’s The Reformation and English Education, which is sub-titled ‘A study of the influence of religious uniformity on English education in the sixteenth century’ (London, 1931), but similar views are found in Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, pp. 89–93, and Simon, Education and Society, chap. 13.

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particularly slow to develop in England, where the powers of the laity at provincial and parish levels, many of them left in place or even augmented by the Crown at the Reformation, were too great to allow the leaders of the Protestant Church to have an easy run.59 We can see from the words used by some of the individual bishops and clergy, both conformist and ‘godly’, who set up or re-founded grammar schools that, like their counterparts abroad, they hoped that these schools would give a much-needed impetus to the process of producing properly qualified clergy, as well as a pious and educated laity capable of rebutting erroneous arguments.60 But the bench of bishops did not act collectively to advance such education, and indeed (as we shall see in Chapter 5) could be accused of being remiss in failing to insist on a higher measure of doctrinal instruction in schools and of failing to provide proper training facilities for young men about to enter the ministry. Compare the situation in Scotland, where the Reformers not only led the way in proposing to establish a uniform system of schools, but also put pressure on local landowners to subsidize the building of a schoolhouse and pay the master’s salary, and on parents to send their children and (if they could afford them) pay fees. In addition, kirk sessions usually paid the fees of poorer children and found bursaries to send promising lads to university, and both ministers and presbyteries kept up continual pressure to keep the new system efficient. That system was slow to evolve and never perfectly uniform, but the amount of time put in by churchmen as well as elders and burgesses arguably had a much greater impact on education and the recruiting of a well-educated clergy than their counterparts in England had.61 The extent of ecclesiastical involvement in education in early modern England has been gauged mostly from two sets of records: the licences issued by bishops to schoolteachers, and visitation materials. Owing to fear of schoolmasters spreading heresy in the mid- and late sixteenth century, there was a tightening up of episcopal inspection of teachers at the moment they entered a school, and there were in theory periodic inspections of qualifications and questions about the teaching in school thereafter in the regular visitations by bishops and archdeacons.62 But research in different   Nicholas Orme, ‘The “Laicization” of English School Education, 1250–1650’, History of Education, 16:2 (1987): 84; see also above, pp. 27, 56–9. 60   For Cranmer’s and other bishops’ concerns, see R.D. Croft, ‘Archbishop Cranmer and the Education of the English Clergy, 1533–1553’, History of Education, 11:3 (1982): 155–64. 61   R.D. Anderson, Scottish Education Since the Reformation (Economic and Social History Society of Scotland, Dundee, 1997), pp. 4–10. 62   For episcopal supervision of teachers, see The Anglican Canons 1529–1947, ed. Gerald Bray (Church of England Record Society, vol. 6, Woodbridge, 1998), pp. 200–201, 370–73; W.M. Kennedy, Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation 59


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parts of the country indicates that many teachers remained unlicensed, especially if they were moving from one area to another, or setting up a school of their own for a short period of time. As for permanently endowed schools, once their statutes had been approved and their teachers had been licensed, there was in most cases very little by way of outside inspection of, or involvement in, the methods and texts actually used in those schools, certainly much less scrutiny than in the regular visitations in Lutheran Germany, in many Calvinist areas, and in Catholic countries too, both during and after the sixteenth century. Inspections there were carried out school by school, either by the officials of the state or the established Church, or by a set of governors given a very clear brief at the outset, as in the case of the gymnasium in Strasburg. And the inspectors wanted to be reassured not only that the curriculum was being followed, but that it was yielding results in the form of improved student performance.63 In England official scrutiny was usually limited to asking whether the teacher used an officially approved catechism (the Prayer Book catechism or a catechism by Nowell) and the official Latin grammar (‘the King’s Grammar’ or ‘Lily’), or had taught any unsound doctrine. To these queries, answers in the negative were so rare that this particular aspect of the visitation process rarely became the basis for a campaign to tighten enforcement. Indeed, the question about the Latin grammar used in schools was left out of many early Stuart visitation articles.64 Some founders and governors certainly insisted on the right to inspect regularly, or came to expect a public display once a year of scholars’ achievements in the form of Latin declamations or a play, as we shall see later. But in England, governors seem to have been lax rather than intrusive, and we tend to hear of inspections only when the governors were dissatisfied with a teacher and seeking grounds to persuade him to resign, or there were opposed factions among the local elite which

1536–1558 (Alcuin Club Collections, xiv–xvi, London, 1910), and W.M. Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration (Alcuin Club Collections, xxvi–xxvii, London, 1924), passim; and for the period after 1603, see the index under ‘schoolmasters’: ‘licensed’, ‘recusants’ and ‘religious beliefs and duties of’, in the two volumes of Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church, ed. Kenneth Fincham (Church of England Record Society, vols 1 and 5, Woodbridge, 1994 and 1998). 63   Rosemary O’Day, ‘Church Records and the History of Education in Early Modern England 1558–1642: A Problem in Methodology’, History of Education, 2:2 (1973): 115–32; Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, pp. 182–6 and chaps 12–14; Jason K. Nye, ‘Not Like Us: Catholic Identity as a Defence against Protestantism in Rottweil, 1560–1618’, in Helen Parish and William G. Naphy (eds), Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe (Manchester, 2002), pp. 50–55. 64   See below, pp. 130–31; and for renewed concern after the Restoration, see Lords’ Journals, 12: 793.

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spilled over into school life.65 Moreover, the students who performed at the end of year ‘speech day’ were carefully chosen and well primed: the result was a showcase rather than a thorough investigation of standards.66 A third misconception was that at the Reformation, education was made open to the masses. Wilbur K. Jordan’s assertion that by 1660, as a result of a revolution in charitable giving, ‘any poor and able boy who thirsted for knowledge and who aspired to escape the grip of poverty’ could enter a nearby grammar school and receive a free education was based on various methodological flaws and misunderstandings of the evidence. Although this view received some support in the 1960s, it has largely been discounted since.67 The Crown and bench of bishops were not averse to the lower orders being given enough elementary instruction, in church or school, to render them loyal and orthodox citizens. Some of the theorists of the sixteenth century also argued that education should be made available to those of all ranks, though few of them were sufficiently egalitarian to say that the poor should receive the same education as the propertied elite: education should be according to needs as well as abilities.68 Even attending one of the many new ‘free’ grammar schools of Tudor and Stuart England cost more in clothes, food, pens, penknives and paper and in lost earnings for the family than parents from the ranks of the unskilled and property-less labouring poor were able to afford. In theory ‘free’ grammar schools charged no fees for tuition in the subjects specified at their foundation, and some subsidized the costs of books and writing implements. But many charged an admission or a registration fee, or a small amount for lighting, heating and cleaning the classroom, and some passed on the full costs of books, or charged fees for subjects not mentioned in the statutes.69

  Hill, Bristol Grammar School, pp. 37–8, 43–5; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, chap. 1; Hutton, King Edward’s School Birmingham, pp. 62–3. 66   Vincent, Grammar Schools, chap. 8; see also below, pp. 253–4. The limitations of episcopal supervision during the first century after the Reformation were increased by some legal judgments in the late seventeenth century which reinforced governors’ powers of supervision of school staff against those of the Church. 67   Jordan, The Charities of Rural England, p. 165; Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, p. 84; Stone, ‘Educational Revolution’, pp. 44–6; Mordechai Feingold, ‘Jordan Revisited: Patterns of Charitable Giving in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England’, History of Education, 8 (1979): 257–73. 68   Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity’, pp. 303–6. 69   Ibid., p. 307. But for a case where the Brewers’ Company bought books for the children of parents too poor to buy them, see The History and Register of Aldenham School, ed. E. Beevor et al. (2nd edn, London, 1938), p. xxxv. 65

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To add insult to injury, many of the places and scholarships intended for the genuinely poor were soon appropriated by the well-born or wealthy or relatives of the founder.70 Furthermore, in those schools where a core of ‘free’ students was supplemented by fee-paying students (to augment the teacher’s poor salary), there was a risk, already mentioned, that the ‘free’ students would receive less attention than those whose parents were expecting value for money. Of the 165 boys who entered Colchester school between 1637 and 1642, only 18 (just over 10 per cent) were ‘free scholars’, while 31 per cent came from the landed elite, 20 per cent were sons of clergy or professional men, and 37 per cent were sons of tradesmen. Similarly, the statutes of Bury St Edmunds’ grammar school had promised preference in admission to the sons of the poor, provided they had already mastered reading and writing in English. But by 1656, concludes David Cressy, ‘there was not a single recognizably poor child on the school register’; in all 52 per cent had gentle or aristocratic parents, 17 per cent were sons of clergy or professional families, and 16 per cent were from the town’s commercial and shopkeeping elite. All in all, it is not surprising, as Wase confirmed from his own observations, that relatively few from the ranks of the small tradesman, the skilled artisan and the copyholder made it through school to a university or lasted the course at university.71 Today, there is not much doubt that the main beneficiaries of the expansion of grammar school teaching in early modern England were the sons of the landed elite and of the ‘middling sort’ of men in the professions and merchant elites. Nor should it surprise us that the proportion of the sons of landed and urban elites attending many schools and colleges was vastly in excess of their size in the population at large, and in some schools was actually increasing rather than decreasing in the late seventeenth century.72 For the expansion of the grammar school system in Tudor and early Stuart England and its continued development in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries appears to have owed much less to initiative or exhortations from above than to an uncoordinated series of private initiatives – by successful clergy and lawyers who wished to earn some credit for their altruism or as one put it in 1558, ‘for the love that I bear to my native country [that is, his county]’, and by local gentry and burgesses anxious to benefit their own children in particular.73   Lewis, Brentwood School, p. 42; Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity’, pp. 307–9.   Ibid., pp. 309–11; Wase, Considerations concerning free-schools, p. 56. 72   As previous notes; Joan Simon, ‘The Social Origins of Cambridge Students, 70


1603–40’, Past and Present, 26 (November 1963); Stone, ‘Educational Revolution’, pp. 57–70. 73   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, pp. 103, 107; Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, pp. 12–13; Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, pp. 35–6, 42–3, 46, 54; Carlisle,

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The presence of so many sons of established tradesmen and manufacturers, professional men, and clergy in English grammar schools, whether endowed or private, was not surprising by Continental standards: the sons of the middling ranks were very strongly represented in many of the new gymnasia and collèges of mainland Europe which their parents or other relations had helped to fund.74 But a number of English schools and the two universities did tend to have a higher proportion of sons of the landed elite than was true of some countries on the mainland of Europe where specialized institutions for the education of the aristocracy emerged.75 Winchester, Eton and Westminster had established themselves as safe havens for sons of the aristocracy by the 1630s, if not earlier, and as noted earlier, this association continued after the Restoration.76 Sedbergh School under Rev. Posthumous Wharton from 1674 to 1706 had a good reputation for getting boys into university, which persuaded Sir Daniel Fleming to send his boisterous sons there from the next county; and Rugby appealed to gentry from various counties beyond Warwickshire as well as sons of some local yeomen, merchants and professionals.77 Similarly, of the 88 boys on the school register of Repton in 1675, 27 were sons of gentry, including well-established Derbyshire families, and 15 were sons of yeomen, while only 18 were sons of tradesmen, one was an attorney’s son, and two were sons of masters at Repton.78 In short, if we are to explain the spread and the persistence at secondary level of the humanist culture that had been fostered at court and university in the early and mid-Tudor period and continued to be widely available across England through to the age of Dr Johnson and beyond, it is to the needs and aspirations of both the landed and professional-commercial elites that we need primarily to look. And it may be wise to look not just for the obvious and demonstrable aspirations – gentry anxious that younger sons be enabled to aim at a career in the church or the law, parents who were themselves lawyers or teachers or clergy who wanted their sons to follow in their footsteps, or sons of pious laity hoping their son would become a clergyman – but also for the less easily defined or proved: the desire of Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 129. 74   Houston, Literacy in Early Modern Europe, pp. 25–32; A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 311–20. 75   Ibid., 320–24; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 375–6; Houston, Literacy in Early Modern Europe, p. 30. 76   Wase, Considerations, p. 74; Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, pp. 685–7; see also above, n. 9. 77   Ibid., Crisis, p. 685; Anthony Fletcher, Growing Up in England: The Experience of Childhood 1600–1914 (New Haven, CT, 2008), pp. 152, 171, 213; Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, p. 44. 78   Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, p. 16.

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parents of middling rank that their offspring should have the opportunity to move a rung up the social ladder through transfer to a leading grammar school, attendance at a university or Inn of Court, followed by a successful professional career, or the hope that attendance at a grammar school would lead to the making of contacts and the acquisition of a polish that would stand them in good stead later in life. Having said that, we should also not overlook the possibility that many of those boys who, though always destined for the family business, attended a grammar school for a few years, did not forget all the moral instruction drummed into them at school, and were not averse to pursuing the attractions of classical poems, plays and histories after they had left school, either in the original languages or in one of the rising tide of translations through which classicism permeated much wider and deeper than those clusters of scholars, poets and politicians with whom ‘humanism’ in early modern England is usually associated. * * * Given the limited degree of central control over English education and the fact that the grammar school network evolved at different levels, from varying motives and over several generations, it is remarkable how similar was the core of the education which was offered, especially in the lower and middling forms, as we will see in Chapters 3 and 4. Sometimes the methods to be adopted and the texts studied were stated in detail in the school statutes or the regulations issued soon after their endowment; in other cases details survive in teachers’ accounts of what they themselves did or what they knew other teachers did, either in endowed or private schools; and much can also be deduced from the books purchased for students and (with some caveats) the books put in the school library.79 A major part of the explanation for these similarities is almost certainly a trickle-down effect. The education given the children of Henry VII and Henry VIII was in the public domain in that the choice of tutors and advisers like Thomas Linacre, Juan Luis Vives, Richard Cox, Sir John Cheke, Roger Ascham and William Grindal, and the demonstrations of their pupils’ prowess, were witnessed by those admitted to the court.80 To some extent the same was true of the education of the children of the   See Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim for statutes; on the publications of Brinsley, Farnaby, Hoole and other teachers described in this chapter, and on book purchases and libraries, see above, p. 50, and below, pp. 102, 120–21, 297–9. 80   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 9–12; M.L. Clarke, ‘The Education of a Prince in the Sixteenth Century: Edward VI and James VI and I’, History of Education, 7:1 (1978): 7–19; see also ODNB under the names in the text. 79

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leading nobility and gentry of the period. By the mid-sixteenth century these products of humanist tutors, together with the students who had attended one of the leading pre-Reformation schools in which humanist schoolbooks had been introduced at an early date, were reaching positions – as courtiers, royal servants, bishops, deans or judges – from which they could either endow new schools themselves, or influence the curriculum in the bodies which other benefactors were setting up, even if there was little expectation that the students in these new schools would include sons of the aristocracy or courtiers.81 Two early examples of this would be the cathedral schools which, with royal approval and episcopal supervision, were put on a new footing in a number of sees in the 1540s,82 and a number of the ‘new’ schools – many of them actually re-founded from older schools shorn of their monastic associations – to the charters of which Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth graciously allowed their names to be attached.83 Canterbury and Worcester cathedral schools appear to have adapted the Eton curriculum when they were re-founded, as may other cathedral schools; a few years later the curriculum at Bury St Edmunds, ‘founded’ by Edward VI in 1550, was influenced by the systems of the three leading schools of the early sixteenth century, Winchester College, Eton and St Paul’s – systems which had already begun to converge, and would continue to do so.84 Already in the 1550s but increasingly thereafter individual members of the aristocracy and gentry, the court, the episcopate and other senior ranks of the clergy decided to endow a school, usually in an area with which they had particular associations: Archbishop Parker and Rochdale, Archbishop Sandys and Hawkshead, Archbishop Holgate and three schools in Yorkshire, Archbishop Whitgift and Croydon, and the third earl of Huntingdon who re-endowed the ‘free grammar school’ of Leicester

81   As previous note; for a courtier sponsoring both ordinary grammar schools and a scheme for the highest-born youths, see Robert Tittler, ‘Education and the Gentleman in Tudor England: The Case of Sir Nicholas Bacon’, History of Education, 5:1 (1976): 3–10; for gentlewomen, see Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 208–15, though see also Norma McMullen, ‘The Education of English Gentlewomen 1540–1649’, History of Education, 6:2 (1977): 87–101. 82   Stanford E. Lehmberg, The Reformation of the Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485–1603 (Princeton, NJ, 1988), pp. 297–301; Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 46–56; D. Robertson, The King’s School, Gloucester (London, 1974), 30–37; VCH Durham, vol. I (London, 1905): 374–5. 83   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim; Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 93–5. 84   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 164–71, 296–302 and chaps 14–19.

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and a former chantry school at Ashby-de-la-Zouch.85 Alexander Nowell, a former teacher at Westminster and later dean of St Paul’s, passed on a system very close to that of Bury St Edmund’s to the re-founded Friar’s School in Bangor in North Wales in 1569, and perhaps to Harrow too.86 The teaching at the school at Westminster Abbey which had been refounded on Elizabeth’s insistence in 1560 was adapted from that of Eton, but when Bishop Pilkington devised the curriculum for his new school at Rivington in Lancashire in the early 1570s it was closer to that of Winchester.87 It is not clear where Edmund Grindal received his education, though both he and another Cumbrian youth, Edwin Sandys, were to climb to the top of the ecclesiastical ladder, as archbishops of Canterbury and York respectively. When Grindal came to found his grammar school at St Bees on the Cumbrian coast in 1581, he specified that the teacher be a Northerner, able to make Greek and Latin verses, and to read and interpret Greek authors, and his long and detailed list of the books to be taught was a mirror image of those used in leading schools by the 1570s.88 The reigns of Edward, Mary, Elizabeth and the early Stuarts also witnessed the endowment of many new schools by lawyers and merchants who had done well in London and by provincial burgesses and the occasional parish priest. These groups included many adults who had not themselves stayed long at grammar school or graduated from a university, and whose motives were probably a mixture of altruism, amour propre and, where places in the new schools were reserved for kindred, selfinterest.89 While some founders in the 1550s were clearly convinced Catholics, others in subsequent reigns used ‘godly’ phrases in the preamble of their statutes or sought ‘godly’ teachers; but what both opted for was the cultivation of ‘grammar and other good learning’ through a clearly humanist curriculum.90 Echoing phrases from the pre-Reformation period, many founders instructed teachers to instil in their pupils combinations   Lawson, Medieval Education and the Reformation, p. 83; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 656; ODNB under John Whitgift; Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, p. 3. 86   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 302–9, 309–13. 87   Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 380–84, 345–51; John Sargeaunt, Annals of Westminster School (London, 1898), pp. 10–11. 88   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 152–62. 89   Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 92–3; Rivington, Tonbridge School, pp. 8–21; Lewis, Brentwood School, pp. 4–7; Cressy, ‘Educational Opportunity’, p. 308. 90   Margaret M. Kay, The History of Rivington and Blackrod Grammar School (Manchester, 1966), p. 155; Charlton, Education in Renaissance England, pp. 92–6; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 129–33, 469, 742; Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, p. 17; Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry, pp. 80–81; John Barber, The Story of Oakham 85

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such as good learning and piety or good manners, as in ‘virtue, learning, and manners’, and ‘good manners, learning, knowledge and virtue’.91 The model for these schools could have been a watered-down version of the old pre-Reformation schools, or a brand new scheme reflecting the aims of the ‘godly’ or of educational innovators at home and abroad. But time and again, founders chose a curriculum that mirrored those of existing schools which had a track record of sending sons on to university. The teaching at the Merchant Taylors’ school set up in London in 1561 was originally modelled on that of St Paul’s, but a few decades later was closer to that of Westminster.92 The Westminster modification of the Eton system noted above was in turn copied when school curricula were drawn up for Ruthin in Wales c. 1574, Shrewsbury by the late 1570s, and Aldenham by 1600. The judge who founded Sandwich school early in the reign of Elizabeth (and later added four scholarships to help its best students move on to Oxford and Cambridge) had attended the local chantry school and then an Inn of Court, but for his new creation insisted on the usher and master using a sequence of texts which had many echoes of the system in use in Winchester College. Though probably not the product of a humanist education, he specified in detail the nature of the weekly exercises and the yearly disputations (for which valuable prizes were to be awarded) and in the Christmas play insisted that parts ‘be played by as many scholars as possible’. More pragmatically, he also insisted that students should know a few books well, and not be allowed to ‘rove in many authors’.93 The desire to imitate successful schools elsewhere had predictable repercussions. Aware that parents might want an academically able son to have at least an opportunity to go to university, governors of one school competed with those of another in headhunting teachers with good reputations, or trying to hang on to teachers who were solicited to move School (Wymondham, 1983), pp. 223–33; ODNB under Robert Johnson (1540/41–1625); Charlton, ‘Teaching Profession’, p. 32. 91   As previous note; Helen M. Jewell, ‘“The Bringing up of Children in Good Learning and Manners”: A Survey of Secular Educational Provision in the North of England, c. 1350–1550’, Northern History, 18 (1982): 1–25; Stowe, English Grammar Schools, pp. 20–23; Robertson, King’s School, Gloucester, p. 31; Beevor, Aldenham School, p. xix; Lewis, Brentwood School, p. 43; M.H. Peacock, History of the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth at Wakefield (Wakefield, 1892), p. 10; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 156, 449, vol. 2, pp. 49, 714, 759, 790, 910. 92   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 395–402, 418–23. For other schools with a possible debt to St Paul’s curriculum, see Cox, Sir John Deane’s Grammar School Northwich, pp. 38–40, 66–7, and Sevenoaks, Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 621. 93   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 382–92; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 596–607; see also ODNB on Sir Roger Manwood. For a similar order to focus on a few books, see Kibworth, above, n. 10.

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elsewhere. In the early seventeenth century the city council of Newcastle upon Tyne regularly recruited masters with good reputations from other Northern schools – in Hull, Carlisle and Morpeth – offering generous salaries and a larger platform for their talents.94 Conversely, in 1639 some of the school tenants of King Edward’s School in Birmingham were so concerned that few pupils were being sent to the universities by the then headmaster that they agreed to double their rents if ‘an able and sufficient’ replacement could be found. John Barton, a successful teacher in nearby Staffordshire, was recruited and paid £40 a year – exactly twice what his predecessor had received.95 The pattern of imitating successful schools became so entrenched that it continued right through the troubles of the mid-seventeenth century to the end of that century and beyond. The mimicry could be very localized: in 1647 the governors of Kibworth in Leicestershire based their new regulations on those of the nearby Market Bosworth Grammar School.96 But the cachet of nationally famous schools was hard to resist. When the local vicar set up a grammar school at Lewisham in 1652, he told the teachers to follow ‘all the best orders and exercises in use’ at Westminster, St Paul’s, Merchant Taylors’ and Eton. And when a school was set up to teach English and Latin at Appleby Parva in Leicestershire in the 1690s, the leading mover in the scheme (who had made his money in the East India trade) stipulated that the Latin master should follow the methods of teaching in use at the schools of Westminster or St Paul’s. A few years later, when Arthur Kynnesman moved from being usher at Westminster to be master of the grammar school at Bury St Edmunds, he applied the Westminster system to his new school.97 And when Nicholas Carlisle was pursuing his enquiries into what courses were taught and what books used in the endowed grammar schools of early nineteenth-century England, he found that the great majority of provincial schools were using either the ‘Eton’ or the ‘Westminster’ grammars for students learning Latin and Greek

  Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 19, 22–4.   See ODNB under John Barton (c. 1605–1675); Hutton, King Edward’s School

94 95

Birmingham, pp. 19–20, 62–4. The reply to the charge that few boys proceeded to university was that many parents were unwilling to pay for sons who were ‘brought up for trades’ to go there: ibid., p. 19. For Phineas White being pressed to stay at Coventry, see Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering’, p. 189. 96   Elliott, Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School, p. 23. 97   L.L. Duncan, A History of Colfe’s Grammmar School Lewisham (London, 1910), p. 58; Joan Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, p. 46; see also ODNB under Arthur Kynnesman.

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– works which (as we will see in Chapter 3) were themselves revisions of the grammars composed by humanists in the sixteenth century.98 This brings us to another feature of the grammar school curriculum in England: its longevity. During the mid and late sixteenth century the curricula of the leading schools continued to evolve – increased time was devoted to Greek language and literature, and there were changes of fashion in some of the texts used – but they did not go undergo a major overhaul for a long time thereafter, even when the opportunity arose in the late 1640s and the 1650s.99 The ordinances for the government of Shrewsbury school, drawn up by its first master, Thomas Ashton, and finally adopted in 1578, did not change until 1798; the statutes of Brentwood School lasted from 1622 to 1851; and the curriculum at Newcastle upon Tyne Grammar School changed relatively little between the early seventeenth and the late eighteenth centuries.100 Indeed, in those schools set up in the late sixteenth or seventeenth centuries which were modelled on the prestigious schools of the day, there was little reason to change teaching methods later, unless it was to modify the methods used in the lower forms to help ensure that pupils reached a competitive standard of Latin in as short a time as possible.101 How do we explain this remarkable continuity, when so much else was changing in early modern England? It is at first sight surprising given what we shall see were growing reservations expressed by some of the ‘godly’ about aspects of the typical grammar school education, and given also the many suggestions for improving the techniques of instruction which were in circulation in treatises imported from abroad or offered by professional teachers and enthusiastic amateurs at home.102 But compared to the modifications of early humanist methods in some Calvinist and Jesuit schools and academies abroad, in England there were few serious or concerted attempts to change the structures or the syllabus of classical education as it had evolved by the middle third of the sixteenth century.103 Indeed, such innovations as there were in England were mostly introduced by career teachers working within the existing system rather than seeking to subvert it – men with the requisite linguistic skills, familiarity with the existing literature, and the imagination to find solutions to problems, and   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 30, 95, 102, 111, 121, 137 and passim; see also below, pp. 135, 258. 99   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim; see also below, pp. 254–9. 100   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 3–11; Lewis, Brentwood School, p. 37; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 11–14, 30–32, 59–62. 101   See below, Chapter 3. 102   See above, pp. 66–7, and see below, pp. 99–101, 115–25, 207, 213–14. 103   See below, pp. 191–5. 98

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the time to prepare and circulate alternative methods. Charles Hoole had taught at the free grammar school in Rotherham in the 1630s and then at two private grammar schools in London in the 1650s, and clearly had discussed teaching with teachers in the capital, such as William Dugard at Merchant Taylors’, as well as having access to scores of school textbooks from the Continent. But his aim was to improve the system that had made him, especially at its lower levels; and the fact that his own school texts sold scores of editions in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries suggests many teachers felt the same way.104 It was not until the second quarter of the eighteenth century that we see some success for the frontal assaults on key elements of the existing system in the form of increased sales of some of the publications of teachers like John Clarke of Hull and John Holmes of Holt, to whom we will come shortly.105 Another reason why there was limited change in curricula in early modern England was the fact that university admission procedures and requirements, and the nature of first degree courses, changed remarkably little between the late sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries in Oxford, or before the very late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in Cambridge.106 Given that parents from many walks of life may have nurtured a hope that their offspring would have an opportunity to go to university, neither governors nor teachers had much incentive to change the syllabus and methods of teaching they had inherited, only to refine them.107 Those schools which had most success either in the short term or in the longer term tended to be those which developed and retained close links not just with trustees and students’ parents, whether they were locals or outsiders, but also with a university, and often a specific college. Some medieval schools had been set up as feeder schools for university colleges, such as Winchester (in 1382) for New College Oxford, and Eton (in 1440) for King’s College Cambridge; other colleges like Magdalen had an integral grammar school, though Magdalen also had a feeder at Wainfleet in Lincolnshire. Other pre-Reformation foundations had links of other kinds: the high master and usher of Manchester Grammar School, founded in 1515, were chosen by the president of Corpus Christi College Oxford; Sedbergh, founded in the late 1520s, had eight scholarships reserved for its pupils at St John’s Cambridge.108   Hoole, New discovery, sigs A9v–12v; see also below, Chapter 3.   See below, pp. 103–4. 106   Compare The History of the University of Oxford, vols 3–5, with John Gascoigne, 104 105

Cambridge in the Age of the Enlightenment; and see A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, chaps 7, 13–14. 107   See above, pp. 80–82. 108   Jewell, Education in Early Modern England, p. 18.

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


Established links of this kind were copied by new or re-founded schools wherever possible: usually in return for property or other endowments given to the college, the fellows would maintain scholarships or fellowships for good pupils from a particular school, or take a role in appointing a headmaster or supervising the school’s academic progress. The re-founded Westminster School was soon linked to Christ Church Oxford and Trinity College Cambridge, and Merchant Taylors’ with St John’s Oxford.109 A few years later Archbishop Parker founded scholarships to take boys from the re-founded King’s School at Canterbury to his old college, Corpus Christi Cambridge; Shrewsbury had close links to St John’s Cambridge from the outset; and when Archbishop Grindal set up St Bees he said that all masters (after the first, whom he named himself) should be nominated by the Provost of Queen’s Oxford, and later ensured tied scholarships and fellowships at Pembroke as well as Queen’s.110 His insistence that the master should be a Northerner reflected what proved to be long-standing connections between regions and colleges – the North-West and Queen’s Oxford, the North-East and Cambridge, Welshmen and Jesus Oxford, East Anglia and various Cambridge colleges. To give just one example from hundreds, the young Guy Carleton (a future bishop of Chichester) was taught by Thomas Robson at the free school in Carlisle in the 1610s, and when he was sent to university, it was to Queen’s Oxford, where he was taught by Robson’s son, Charles, who was already a fellow there.111 Establishing and keeping these links was more than just a matter of exploiting an old boy network for the teacher’s advantage. Universities had no entrance exams, and the fellows in the colleges relied heavily on personal recommendations from teachers whose word they could trust. Equally, from the point of view of an adolescent sent away many miles to a strange city, finding a tutor or fellow students who could understood his regional accent and dialect terms must have come as a great relief. It is not surprising, therefore, that the process of making and strengthening links continued unabated during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. When the ‘godly’ pluralist Robert Johnson was endowing schools at Oakham and Uppingham in Rutland in the 1620s, he made sure to provide scholarships at St John’s, Clare, Sidney Sussex and Emmanuel colleges in Cambridge for boys from his schools.112 In Leicestershire, during the 109   F.H. Forshall, Westminster School Past and Present (London, 1884), pp. 93–109; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 62. 110   Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 87, 357; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 9–10; see also ODNB under Edmund Grindal. 111   See ODNB under Guy Carleton (1604/5–1685); Morgan, History of the University of Cambridge, pp. 570, 578; Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, pp. 105–6. 112   See ODNB under Robert Johnson (1540/41–1625).

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


seventeenth century Leicester School had strong links with Lincoln Oxford, Market Harborough with Christ Church Oxford, Loughborough with Jesus Oxford, Kibworth with St John’s Oxford, and Market Bosworth with Emmanuel Cambridge.113 In the early eighteenth century Nathaniel Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, endowed 12 exhibitions at Lincoln College Oxford worth £20 per annum for natives of County Durham.114 To those that had, more was often given: schools that secured places at university for their pupils were likely to be given more tied scholarships or even fellowships by new benefactors long after the school had been set up. As a result, in the various surveys of charitable endowments made in the early nineteenth century, hundreds of these tied scholarships and exhibitions which had been funded from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth centuries were still in the hands both of major schools and of what were often by then small or insignificant grammar schools.115 In short, the spread of the humanist agenda which had become established in the leading schools of mid-Tudor England was probably due to a mixture of the nostalgia of those founders and parents who wished to perpetuate a version of their own education, and the ambition of others who were anxious to secure for their children what they themselves had not been able to obtain. And its persistence was due to the conservatism of the universities in their entry requirements and of the teachers grooming pupils for higher education, and the strength of the ties that developed between schools and colleges – ties of which parents were well aware. * * * The thousands of teachers who were appointed to grammar schools or set up their own schools were key elements in this system, and a number of shared features are worth noting here. First, the great majority were graduates of Oxford or Cambridge. Many school statutes stipulated that a headmaster had to be a graduate – this was sometimes stated to be a Bachelor of Arts degree, but increasingly a Master of Arts was demanded. Similarly whereas mastery of Latin alone was grudgingly accepted at first, increasingly from the late sixteenth century Greek was insisted on as well, even in schools which had previously offered little or no Greek tuition. In

  Simon, ‘Leicestershire Entrants to Cambridge’, pp. 231–2; but see also Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, pp. 3–4, 17, 25, 47. 114   Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 55–6. 115   Once again, see Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools; but see also Parliamentary Papers 1867–8, XXVIII, part 1, Appendix, pp. 44–78. 113

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


England demands for competence in Hebrew were not common.116 The requirement of a degree was in most cases met. Of 261 schoolmasters licensed in the diocese of London between 1627 and 1685, nearly 154, just under 60 per cent, were graduates; and in the well-established schools surveyed by Vincent 75 per cent of the teachers had degrees and a further 10 per cent had matriculated. Indeed, in leading schools like Winchester and Westminster some headmasters held doctorates as well.117 It was only where there was a dearth of suitable candidates due to poor wages or geographical isolation, or a governor was trying to get an under-qualified relation into a teaching post, that these rules were waived. Some school statutes insisted that the headmaster’s deputy, the usher, and the underusher (if there was one) should also have at least a BA, and this too was increasingly adhered to, though in less fashionable schools short supply might lead to the recruitment of either a student who had spent some time at university but not had the time or means to graduate, or on a temporary basis a senior pupil who was as yet unable to go to university.118 Secondly, their alma mater in many cases loomed large in the minds and careers of these graduates and matriculands. When applying for a post, their testimonials came from fellows there; their first appointments might be in the patronage of that college or of a fellow student whose acquaintance was made there; and their best students would be groomed to be sent either to their own old college or another college at the same university. In the previous section of this chapter, we listed some of the strong institutional and personal ties that developed between schools and colleges. As examples of the practice we may cite the sons of the parish clerk at Morpeth in the late 1590s, himself a former teacher. His eldest son, Thomas Oxley, went up to Christ’s Cambridge in 1598, and returned to become usher of the Newcastle School for a while. Then his brothers Charles and Amor went to Christ’s together, in 1615; after graduating Charles soon entered the Church, but Amor became tutor to a powerful local family, the Greys, whose sons he sent to Christ’s in 1626. Ordained priest in 1630, Amor then became master of Morpeth Grammar School before being appointed master at Newcastle in 1633. While he taught at Morpeth and Newcastle he placed over a dozen pupils at Christ’s,   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim; Wilson, Merchant-Taylors’ School, vol. 1, p. 11; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, p. 23. 117   S.M. Wide and J.A. Morris, ‘The Episcopal Licensing of Schoolmasters in the Diocese of London, 1627–1685’, Guildhall Miscellany, 2 (1967), 392–406; Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 119–22; Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, pp. 104–5; Wilfrid R. Prest, The Rise of the Barristers (Oxford, 1991), p. 109; see ODNB under Hugh Robinson (1583/4–1655), Richard Busby and Thomas Knipe. 118   For example, see Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, p. 17; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, p. 16; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, p. 23; Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 112–13. 116

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either with his old tutor, Joseph Mede, or with an ex-Northumbrian fellow, John Fenwick; but he also placed several other pupils at St John’s Cambridge with Robert Nicholson, a Newcastle boy who was one of the 16 fellows elected to St John’s between 1552 and 1630 who had come from Northumberland.119 Even those teachers who had themselves not been able to afford to stay long enough at university to graduate, or ended up teaching for a salary in a humble provincial school or for fees in their own private school, could aspire to send an able student to seek a place there, and often succeeded in doing so, though, as we have seen, the pupil in question might have to spend a year in a larger or more prestigious local school before applying.120 A third point is that, apart from those budding teachers who stayed on as fellows of a college or gravitated towards a major school in or near London, a high proportion of schoolmasters chose, like the Oxleys, to work in the county in which they had been born and raised. Indeed, quite a few went back for a few years or more to the very same school from which they had left to attend university. At Shrewsbury School the ordinances of 1578 stipulated that in the choice of masters, preference should be given to old boys or to candidates born in Shropshire; and most of the under-masters there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were also former members of the School.121 The importance of good relations with local grandees, often cultivated through shared background and education, is underlined by the comments of an aristocrat who was governor of a grammar school in Derbyshire which was experiencing a trough in recruitment in the late seventeenth century. The number of scholars at a school depended not just on a master’s abilities, he observed, but even more ‘on the good opinion and favour the country has for him’. When the governors could not agree on a new appointment, he suggested ‘letting the gentlemen of the country pitch upon some fit person, for by this means there will be no objection that can keep them from sending their children to that school, and their example will oblige others to do the like’.122 Fourthly, a high proportion, probably a clear majority, of grammar school teachers were in holy orders. Those bound for the ministry who had entered university aged 14–16 and left three or four years later with a degree had some years to fill before they reached the canonical age for 119 120

  Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 24–6.   See above, pp. 62–3. For other examples of teachers in less prestigious schools

sending students to university, see Smith, ‘Endowed Schools’, p. 10, and ‘Private Schools’, p. 125. 121   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 9–10; see also Varley, Stockport Grammar School, pp. 211–12. 122   Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, pp. 44–5.

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


ordination in their mid-twenties, and many filled that period by acting as ushers to established masters. If they did not then secure a permanent cure of souls or one able to provide them with adequate funds, the temptation to stay on or set up as teachers may have been strong. Indeed, Canon 78 of 1604 stated that where there was no public school already, a curate who had a degree should be given priority ‘to teach youth of the parish where he serveth’ over all other applicants for a licence, though this canon did not specify grammar teaching as such.123 School statutes varied on this matter: many did not stipulate one way or the other, but a few said specifically that the master should be in holy orders, while others insisted that he should not, or that if he was ordained he must devote his whole time to teaching. But whatever the statutes said, it seems from school histories drawn from many parts of the country that in many cases a clear majority of headmasters in the Elizabethan and Stuart periods were in holy orders.124 This remained true even in the eighteenth century, as at Newcastle upon Tyne, where, during that century, 90 per cent of masters were graduates and 60 per cent were in orders. Similarly, when Alexander Stopford Catcott decided not to pursue a career in the law which his acquisition of an LLB degree indicated, he was ordained deacon and priest and became the outstanding principal of Bristol Grammar School from 1722 to 1744, at which date he undertook full-time clerical duties as rector of St Stephen’s. A local antiquary described him as ‘a good poet, profound linguist, well skilled in Hebrew and Scripture philosophy, and a judicious schoolmaster’ as well as a fine preacher; John Wesley admired his piety.125 One corollary of the large number of grammar school teachers who were in holy orders was the relatively small number who moved into that sector of teaching from a different direction than the university or Church, such as the ex-soldier Thomas Farnaby, whom we will encounter shortly. But another consequence was that most teachers had (in theory) been screened for their loyalty to the established Church more than once: on entry into university, prior to ordination, when being licensed to teach by the local diocesan, and when required to present that licence at an episcopal   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, pp. 105–6; Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 113–14, 120–22; Cressy, ‘Drudgery of Schoolmasters’, pp. 148–9; Bray, Anglican Canons, pp. 370–71. 124   Lewis, Brentwood School, pp. 37–8; Elliott, Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School, pp. 22–5, 32–7; Varley, Stockport Grammar School, p. 66; Somervell, Tonbridge School, pp. 22–3; Hutton, King Edward’s School Birmingham, pp. 62–5, 216; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, p. 37; N. Sunderland, The History of the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth Darlington (Darlington, 1963), pp. 21–3, 27–30; Robson, Education in Cheshire, pp. 50, 87–9. 125   Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 47–8; see ODNB under Alexander Stopford Catcott. 123

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


visitation. The expectation of the authorities, which there is little indication to suggest was not reflected in the practice on the ground, was that teachers would be orthodox and conforming members of the established Church, who used officially approved prayers, psalms, and catechisms, and ensured their students attended church or chapel on Sundays and holydays, or even daily, as in the case of schools attached to a cathedral or college.126 While the gentry and townsmen who acted as governors of endowed schools in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods might in some ‘godly’ areas have welcomed a little deviation from those official norms, this was not always the case, and became less likely after the Restoration when some of those who disagreed most strongly with the established Church’s worship opted to set up separate schools or academies outside the existing network of grammar schools.127 Two further trends in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are also worth noting: the increased number of years which many ushers or undermasters spent in teaching, and the growing practice among beneficed episcopalian clergy of combining a cure of souls with school teaching. During the late sixteenth century, when a stint as usher in a grammar school was the classic staging post for a young graduate not yet of canonical age for ordination or waiting for the security of his own benefice, there tended to be a high turnover of staff, even in the ‘godly’ towns of East Anglia.128 But in the seventeenth century, as the universities turned out more clergy, and posts in the Church became more scarce and the delays in obtaining one grew longer, there was an increase in the numbers of men, both clergy and lay, who spent not just a few years in their twenties acting as ushers, but an extended period in their thirties and forties too.129 William James, a pupil of Richard Busby’s at Westminster, soon returned there in the early 1650s while still an undergraduate, and stayed there till his death; Thomas Knipe, another Busby pupil, from 1652 to 1657, came back to serve as   Elizabeth Russell, ‘The Influx of Commoners into the University of Oxford before 1581: An Optical Illusion?’, English Historical Review, 92:365 (1977): 743–4; Bray, Anglican Canons, pp. 200–201, 314–23, 370–71; see also above, pp. 72–3, and below, pp. 279–80, 283–4, 290–93. 127   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, pp. 112–13; for schools with conservative traditions, see most cathedral schools, and Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, chap. 1; for dissenting academies, see below, pp. 124–5, 300–301. 128   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, p. 114; Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, pp. 184–6. 129   Ibid., pp. 186–90; Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, p. 51; Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 82, 90, 98–9, 120, 150–51; Robertson, King’s School Gloucester, pp. 41, 43, 48, 71; Robson, Education in Cheshire, p. 105; see also John H. Pruett, The Parish Clergy under the Later Stuarts: The Leicestershire Experience (Urbana, IL, 1978), pp. 56–7, 126–7. 126

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usher from 1661 to 1695, before finally succeeding Busby as headmaster from 1695 to 1711. At Newcastle School one usher served for 39 years, from 1710 to 1749, while others who started as under-ushers (third masters) stayed on to act as ushers, including John Brand, who wrote a widely respected history of Newcastle upon Tyne.130 The second trend was the increase in the number of established episcopalian clergy who in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries combined spiritual duties with teaching – that is, who carried on teaching after they had acquired a Church living or livings, either because they saw teaching as a worthy end in itself, or to supplement their clerical incomes (or a bit of both). Vincent’s sample of the better-documented schools in several counties for the period 1660–1770 suggested that 40 per cent of teachers also held cures of souls. In the dioceses of Worcester and Lichfield and Coventry, the number of such ‘pluralist’ incumbent teachers rose from below an eighth in the period 1601–40 to a third in the period 1661–1700 (and these figures do not count the many young curates who were combining teaching and parish duties for a while).131 To judge from the complaints made by some governors or parents, this doubling up of responsibilities could sometimes have an adverse effect on the quality of the teaching offered; but, as Vincent has pointed out, much depended on the character of the pluralist and the distance of benefice from school.132 Many cases may be cited where the two apparently were successfully combined: in the Midlands, for example, with Henry Mowle at Worcester (1594–1643), William Johns at Evesham (1667–87), John Barney at Bromsgrove (1679–87 and 1693–1721), and Henry Holyoake, who used his curates to help him teach at Rugby (1688–1731).133 It would be wrong to describe these trends as representing the emergence of a teaching profession, since the mechanisms for training, recruiting and disciplining the thousands of teachers up and down the country remained either basic or non-existent. Sensible suggestions for vocational training for teachers or for an agency to promote and supervise good teaching

  See ODNB under William James (c. 1634–1663) and Thomas Knipe; Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 46, 49. For similar promotion of third master to succeed second, and second to succeed headmaster, see Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 15, 27, 29 and elsewhere. 131   Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 119–22; Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, pp. 185–8; Smith, ‘Private Schools’, p. 121. Cressy’s low figures for clergy-schoolmasters are for a diocese unusually well supplied with livings: ‘Drudgery of Schoolmasters’, p. 148. 132   Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 113–18, 148–51, though see also 142–6. 133   Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, pp. 190–92; Simon, ‘Post-Restoration Developments’, pp. 40–42, 51–2; see also ODNB under Henry Holyoake. 130

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


practice came to nothing.134 Moreover, for many teachers, even those in post for many years, advancement in the Church, either as incumbent of a major benefice or through promotion to a senior position in the hierarchy, remained their highest aspiration. Nevertheless there are hundreds of examples of men who spent a decade or more in a teaching post, or set up a new school or revived the fortunes of an old one, especially in the provinces, or who wrote new textbooks for use by their pupils; and these examples give solid grounds for talking of the rise of teaching as a career, or at least as an extended phase or major element in a career.135 Such a career might be associated with lengthy service in a major school such as Shrewsbury or Westminster. At Shrewsbury John Baker served as second master for 36 years from the early 1570s to the late 1610s, and John Meighen as headmaster for almost 52 years from the early 1580s to the mid-1630s.136 Richard Busby was a student at Westminster for several years, and after a few years at Oxford returned as headmaster from 1638 to 1695, during which time he claimed to have educated 13 bishops (as well as Sir Christopher Wren, John Dryden and John Locke). His successors were the long-serving usher Thomas Knipe, whom we have just encountered, and then Robert Freind, yet another student at Westminster in the 1680s, an under-master from 1699, and a most successful headmaster from 1711 to 1733.137 But a career in teaching might also be associated with family tradition, such as the Chanceys in the Midlands, of whom father and son taught at Market Bosworth in the early seventeenth century and a grandson at Sutton Coldfield from 1660 to 1687, or the Fairbank family, who combined teaching and surveying in eighteenth-century Yorkshire and then London.138 Between them the Gray, Gibson, Oxley and Moises families provided ushers and teachers for the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne for large swathes of its history from the 1580s to the 1820s. Hugh Moises, master from 1749 to 1787, added to that the posts of Master of the Hospital and lecturer at All Saints’, married well and became prominent on town committees, so that it was not surprising that

134   Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, p. 184; Charlton, ‘Teaching Profession’, pp. 45–8; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, chap. 9. 135   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, p. 111; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, pp. 171–2; see also below, pp. 101–4, 120–23. 136   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, p. 29.

  See ODNB under Richard Busby, Thomas Knipe and Robert Friend.   Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, p. 189; see also ODNB under ‘Fairbank

137 138

family (c. 1725–1848)’. Teaching was often combined with or led on to medical practice: see ODNB under Richard Argentine, John Baret, John Bathurst, William Baxter (1650–1723) and John Bond (c. 1550–1612).

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


his nephew was master from 1787 to 1829, though Edward was an active and reforming teacher rather than a placeman.139 Plenty of other examples could be given of extended service in one or more provincial schools. In the early 1630s Thomas Chaloner sent pupils from his private school in Northamptonshire to Cambridge; then from 1637 to 1645 he was head of Shrewsbury School. After his expulsion by parliamentary forces in 1645 he moved several times, often accompanied by some students, to a number of teaching posts in the West Midlands and Wales, including acting as the first head of Newport Grammar School from 1657 to 1663. He then returned to Shrewsbury, whose school register he had carried round with him throughout his travels, and at his death was buried in the Scholars’ Chapel of St Mary’s Shrewsbury.140 John Grayle taught at Bewdley from 1635 to 1645 and then for 53 years at Guildford grammar school; Thomas Stephens taught a young John Aubrey at Blandford, later kept a school in Buckingham, and ended at Worcester Cathedral School after the Restoration.141 William Wyatt’s services as schoolteacher and tutor were constantly in demand in Wales, Worcestershire, Middlesex, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire from the mid-1640s to the mid-1680s; George Antrobus remained master of Tamworth Grammar School from 1653 to 1706; and Daniel Bernard attracted pupils from all over England to Brentwood between 1655 and 1698.142 * * * A few further points may be made about teachers in early modern English grammar schools: these concern their attitudes and methods rather than their careers. Teaching elicited many complaints from students – and from more enlightened teachers – about the mindless repetition of technical tasks involved in the mastery of Latin grammar in many grammar schools, backed by threats of flogging for those who failed to meet the arbitrary targets set by teachers. How valid were these complaints? The use of the birch or rod was centuries old. For those who believed children were limbs of Satan whom only force could turn into civilized beings, the practice was quite simply a necessity, and had scriptural justification in the Book of Proverbs: Brinsley talked of the birch being 139 140

  Mains and Tuck, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle upon Tyne, chap. 2.   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 43–55; see also ODNB under Thomas Chaloner

(c. 1600–1664). 141   Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’, p. 189. 142   See ODNB for William Wyatt; Joan Simon, ‘Private Classical Schools in Eighteenth-century England: A Critique of Hans’, History of Education, 8:3 (1979): 184; Lewis, Brentwood School, pp. 53–4.

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sanctified by God as an earthly instrument of correction.143 There can also be no doubt about the regular use of beating, even of senior pupils, in schools such as Eton and Westminster and further afield: there are simply too many contemporary anecdotes and images of teachers with birch rods to hand and of boys being beaten on their hands or buttocks.144 It was the story of a student revolt at Eton over the amount of flogging there, and his own horror at the practice of beating students, that helped inspire Ascham to write his Scholemaster in the 1560s, in which, like Erasmus, he roundly condemned the practice.145 Indeed, various teachers argued for the use of corporal punishment only as a last resort for persistent or flagrant misbehaviour.146 Rather than being the norm, beating may have been associated with certain teachers in certain schools: Richard Cox at Eton and Richard Busby during his long stint at Westminster had a reputation for excessive use of the rod, but others at the same schools did not: for example, Edward Grant, William Camden, Thomas Knipe and Robert Freind.147 When John Postlethwayt was recommended for the post of High Master of St Paul’s in 1697, his referees not only praised his scholarship (he was a distinguished orientalist) but also noted that while his previous pupils at Archbishop Tenison’s School were ‘in awe of him … he doth not terrify them’.148 Similarly Hugh Moises was said by his pupil and biographer to have conducted the grammar school at Newcastle upon Tyne with ‘the dignity of a Busby’, but ‘always tempered necessary severity with affability and kindness’. At his death his pupils raised £400 for a memorial in the local church.149

  Brinsley, Ludus literarius, p. 290.   For the view that flogging was especially common in England c. 1550–1650, see

143 144

Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England 1500–1800 (London, 1977), pp. 105–7, 161–74, 439–44; see also Anthony Fletcher, Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500–1800 (New Haven, CT, 1995), pp. 301–5; Alan Stewart, Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England (Princeton, NJ, 1997); McDowell, English Radical Imagination, pp. 70–72, 103, and other references there. For a broader view, see Hugh Cunningham, Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500 (Harlow, 1995), pp. 11–12, 24, 28–9, 37. For examples of images, see title-pages of many editions of Nowell’s Catechisme, and Barber, Oakham School, p. 35. 145   Ascham, The scholemaster, sigs B1r–2r, and fols 1r–v and 4r–v; Cunningham, Children and Childhood, pp. 43, 45, 55, 63. 146   For the views of Becon, Stockwood and Brinsley, see Morgan, Godly Learning, pp. 192–3; for Hoole, see New discovery, pp. 276–82. 147   See ODNB under names cited in the text; Charlton, ‘Teaching Profession’, pp. 44–5. 148   See ODNB under John Postlethwayt; his successors at St Paul’s included George Charles, dismissed for brutality, and the much-admired George Thicknesse: ibid. 149   See ODNB under Hugh Moises.

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


The fact that one of Busby’s former pupils, John Dryden, was not deterred by his own experience at Westminster from sending his two sons to study under him may have reflected the quality of Busby’s teaching, or the view that enduring some beating was a rite of passage – part of an ongoing contest in which students like the rowdy Fleming boys at Sedbergh tried to find what they could get away with, and accepted the consequences when they got it wrong.150 It is also not clear how often beating was used for misbehaviour or failure to hand work in, as opposed to simple failure to grasp a point being made by a teacher or text, as Thomas Fuller found when he failed to master Lily’s grammar quickly enough, and if the latter, how far beating was more common in the lower forms of a grammar school, where the mastery of rules and memorization of vocabulary predominated, than in the higher forms, where the less academically gifted had been weeded out of school and there was scope for more stimulating teaching methods.151 There were alternatives to coercion. In his Scholemaster, Ascham made a strong case for believing that persuasion and praise brought better results than intimidation and force – one of the many pleas heard from humanistinspired teachers over the next two hundred years. If you must criticize a poor effort that was a student’s best effort (it was said), do it privately, and find something positive to say about it as well.152 (Such an ideal did, of course, require moderately small classes and a teacher with plenty of time for each student, whereas most teachers, as we have seen, had at least two or three forms to supervise simultaneously.) In some schools the Continental practice of encouraging academic competition between boys was adopted, in some cases accompanied by the awarding of small prizes to the winners, such as the silver pens worth 2s. 6d., 2s. and 1s. 8d., and the victors’ garlands given for the three best performances at the annual public declamations at Sandwich school. By the late seventeenth century the top prize at a similar event at Bristol Grammar School was worth 10s., and the total value of the prizes given there by the 1730s was £4 2s. 6d. ‘besides what the gentlemen gave of their private bounties’.153 In short,

  J.G. Carleton, Westminster School: A History (London, 1965), pp. 12–14; ODNB for Charles Dryden and John Dryden junior; Fletcher, Growing up in England, pp. 152, 171. Hoole argued for avoiding beating wherever possible, but reserved it for the deliberately disobedient: New discovery, pp. 235–6. 151   The life of that reverend divine, and learned historian, Dr. Thomas Fuller (1661), pp. 2–3; see also ODNB under Thomas Fuller (1607/8–1661); see also below, p. 135. 152   Ascham, The Scholemaster, pp. 37–8; Hoole, New discovery of the old art, pp. 234–7. 153   J.H. Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays (Oxford, 1933), p. 106; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 603; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, pp. 43–5. 150

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


rather than being the norm, the amount of beating may have depended on the teacher and his circumstances as well as the pupils’ attitudes. * * * Similar qualifications may be made about the complaints of routine and boredom. Some were made by individuals who, to judge from their subsequent fame, were likely to have been very bright students who were not stretched, especially in the lower forms, and others by adults who admitted there was much boredom in mastering, say, the technical terms and rules in Lily’s grammar, but said it had done them no harm, and even benefited them in the long run in ways they had not appreciated at the time.154 Other disparaging comments were made by adults who perhaps had unhappy memories of a particular school or teacher, and were explaining why they had never been tempted to become a teacher: Marchamont Nedham clearly retained enough Latin to remark ‘Quem Jupiter odit, paedagogum fecit’ (‘Whom Jupiter hates he makes a schoolmaster’).155 Of the complaints about repetition which came from the teachers’ side of the desk, some were made by dedicated teachers who had worn themselves out with their efforts to do well by all their students, like Brinsley, who referred to teaching as a ‘moiling and drudging life’,156 while others came from men who had turned to teaching as a means of earning a crust on a temporary basis (as with some aspiring poets and authors whose preferred career had faltered) and who clearly hated the job so much they got out when they could, like Henry Peacham and John Oldham.157 This litany of complaint should be balanced by two other features of teaching in early modern England: the considerable number of teachers of whom former students clearly retained very fond memories, and the huge effort and great insight that went into attempts to improve methods of teaching, or at least make it more pleasurable for students. Many examples can be given of gratitude expressed by individual students for the care and inspiration provided by their teachers. Lancelot Andrewes never forgot those who taught him in the 1560s, first William Ward at a charity school in London (who urged Andrewes’ parents to send him to   See below, pp. 134–5, 139–40.   Charlton, ‘Teaching Profession’ pp. 48–9; Orpen, ‘Schoolmastering as a Profession’,

154 155

p. 186; Cressy, ‘Drudgery of Schoolmasters’, p. 130. 156   Ibid., p. 129. For teachers reputed to have worn themselves out with their labours, see ODNB under Edward Grant (c. 1546–1601) and John Clarke (1716–1761), and Linnell and Douglas, Gresham’s School, p. 14. 157   See ODNB under Henry Peacham, and John Oldham (1653–1683); Charlton, ‘Teaching Profession’, pp. 48–9.

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


a grammar school), and then Richard Mulcaster at Merchant Taylors’. Later in life he gave Ward’s son a benefice, and ‘as if he had made Master Mulcaster his Tutor or supervisor’, noted Andrewes’ biographer, ‘he placed his picture over the door of his Study: whereas in all the rest of the house, you could scantly see a picture’.158 Ben Jonson inserted into an edition of one of his first plays a dedication to his former teacher at Westminster School, William Camden: ‘Britanniae Phoebum, / Musarumqure suarum Parentem Optimum’. He also composed an English epigram (no. 14) on ‘Camden, most reverend head, to whom I owe / All that I am in arts, all that I know. / … to whom my country owes / The great renown and name wherewith she goes.’159 (What makes the praise the more remarkable is that at the time Camden was probably second master, rather than responsible full time for the senior forms.) Over a century later, another dramatist, Richard Cumberland, wrote a very affectionate account of his old headmaster, Arthur Kynnesman, master of the grammar school at Bury St Edmunds from 1715 to 1745 and a great supporter of the school tradition of performing school plays before parents and local gentry;160 and one of the most eminent pupils of a free school in the village of Brewood in early eighteenth-century Staffordshire, Richard Hurd, later an editor of Horace and bishop of Worcester, described his teacher, William Budworth, as having ‘every talent of a perfect institutor of youth in a degree which I believe has been rarely found in any of that profession since the days of Quintilian’.161 Thomas Zouch, former pupil of a master who taught in turn at Skipton, Beverley and Wakefield grammar schools from 1730 to 1758, wrote a short biography of him, and later published it as The good schoolmaster exemplified in the character of the Rev John Clarke MA; and a pupil of George Thicknesse at St Paul’s School London described him as ‘the wisest, learnest, quietest and best man he ever knew’.162 Mention of inscriptions brings us to other forms of recognition of worthy teachers. It was during the seventeenth century that the practice of commemorative plaques and busts developed, as with the busts of Sir Henry Savile (Provost of Eton and Warden of Merton), William Swift (Headmaster of Bristol School from 1600 to 1622), and Richard Busby

  See ODNB under Lancelot Andrewes.   See ODNB under Ben Jonson and William Camden; Ben Jonson, Poems (Oxford,

158 159

1975), p.13; Richard Harp and Stanley Stewart (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Ben Jonson (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 7–9. 160   See ODNB under Arthur Kynnesman.

  See ODNB under Richard Hurd and William Budworth.   See ODNB under John Clarke (1706–1761) and Thomas Zouch.

161 162

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


(High Master of Westminster).163 The Rev. Thomas Zouch, who published The good schoolmaster, was one of scores of former students of John Clarke who raised money to pay for an ‘elegant monument’ (costing 55 guineas) erected in the church where he was buried, and for inscribed marble tablets to be erected in each of the three schools. Similarly former pupils of George Thicknesse commissioned a marble bust and suitable inscription which is still in St Paul’s.164 In the same century we also find antiquarians and biographers recognizing the worth of the best teachers. Edmund Robotham, teacher at Haverhill in Suffolk at the turn of the sixteenth century, was accounted ‘the most famous schoolmaster of that age’ by Samuel Clarke.165 Of John Bond’s twenty-two years as master of the grammar school at Taunton from 1579 to 1601, Anthony Wood wrote that that he ‘did exercise such an admirable way of teaching, that many departed thence so excellently well grounded in humane learning that they proved afterwards eminent either in church or state’. Of Thomas Farnaby (who kept a most successful fee-paying school in early Stuart London), Wood commented that he was ‘the chief grammarian, rhetorician, poet, Latinist and Grecian of his time’, and ‘more churchmen and statesmen issued thence than from any school taught by one man in England’. Similarly laudatory remarks were made by Wood and other biographers about teachers in Hampshire, the Midlands and County Durham, as well as the masters of some less well-known schools in London.166 Not all teachers were pedants or sadistic monsters. * * * Many teachers had also made serious attempts to make the experience of schooling less painful, or even enjoyable. These attempts took a variety of forms: efforts to make mastering Latin grammar and the writing of ‘themes’ easier and more enjoyable; setting up or enlarging a school library; staging debates and acting out plays in class or in a performance before the whole student body and parents; encouraging (limited) reading of English poetry, such as Herbert and Quarles, and permitting extra days or afternoons   Savile’s monument is in Merton Chapel, Swift’s in the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, Bristol (Hill, Bristol Grammar School, p. 35 and pl. 3), and Busby’s in the South Transept of Westminster Abbey. 164   Thomas Zouch, The Works (2 vols, York, 1820), vol. 2, pp. 25–9; ODNB under George Thicknesse. 165   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, p. 7; Samuel Clarke, The lives of sundry eminent persons (1683), p. 154. 166   See ODNB under John Bond (c. 1550–1612), George Wither (1588–1667) (for his teacher, John Greaves), John Leech, Thomas Ingmethorpe, Thos Hunt (1611–1683), Zachary Bogan (for Mr Batten), William Budworth and Lewis Theobald (for James Ellis). 163

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


off to enjoy some approved form of sport or other recreation.167 One long-serving master at Bury St Edmunds, Edward Leeds, not only wrote several well-respected schoolbooks but also kept a pack of hounds, and as a treat when the students had done well he took them out hunting, he on horseback and they on foot.168 The numbers of works that survive in manuscript and print suggest that in England a significant proportion of teachers, mainly drawn from the ranks of career teachers but some from outside as well, felt an urge to draft supplements to or revisions of Lily’s standard Latin grammar, or to draw up collections of suitable phrases in Latin and Greek, prepare polyglot dictionaries and lexicons, annotate or provide translations of many classical texts, or write plays for students to perform. If we take items in print alone, we find hundreds of such works being published in England between the late fifteenth and mid-eighteenth century, perhaps more than in most European countries, especially those with stricter measures of central control over the texts used in schools.169 The motives for publishing such works could have been many: the convenience of having multiple copies to hand, a response to requests for copies from fellow teachers, to help younger teachers or autodidacts, or a desire to impress current or future patrons; but the numbers of them remain striking. As might be expected, a number of such publications emanated from leading schools such as Winchester, Westminster, Eton and Merchant Taylors’, not least in the 1640s and 1650s when William Dugard combined duties as a headmaster and a publisher in London.170 But at least some came from successful private schools where the headmaster was able to hire more staff to free him for writing and publishing. Thomas Farnaby attracted so many boarders and day boys to his London school that ‘he had two, sometimes three ushers besides himself’, freeing him to prepare and publish his annotated editions of classical authors, handbooks and anthologies all of which were designed to make life easier for schoolboys, and some of which earned him respect abroad.171 Many other works were published by long-serving teachers in the provinces such as John Bond in   Most of these will be explored in the rest of this and the next two chapters.   R.W. Elliott, The Story of King Edward VI’s School [Bury St Edmunds] (Bury St

167 168

Edmunds, 1963), pp. 64–72; see also ESTC under Edward Leedes for his publications. 169   See above, p. 32; Foster Watson, ‘The Curriculum and Text-books of English Schools in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century’, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, VI (1903): 159–267.

  See ODNB under Hugh Robinson (1583/4–1655) for Winchester, under Edward Grant, William Camden and Richard Busby for Westminster, and under William Dugard for Merchant Taylors’; for the Eton grammars, see below, pp. 135, 258. 171   See ODNB under Thomas Farnaby; see also below, n. 177. 170


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Somerset, John Clarke in Lincolnshire, John Barton in Staffordshire and Warwickshire, and Edward Leedes in Suffolk. Bond’s edition of Horace, prepared while engaged for twenty years at Taunton in the Sisyphean labour of teaching the young, supplied such helpful notes, wrote Brinsley, that ‘a very child’ could go through ‘that difficult poet’ with facility ‘except in very few places’. Bond’s version passed through 20 editions, 15 outside Britain.172 And the most prolific publisher of school textbooks of all, Charles Hoole, learnt his trade in Yorkshire before switching to private schools in London when his episcopalian sympathies got him into trouble in the mid-1640s.173 If we anticipate the next two chapters of this monograph by breaking down these efforts to improve grammar school teaching in early modern England into a few broad categories – improved ‘grammars’, helpful lists of Latin words and phrases, editions of classical texts, better dictionaries, and technical studies on classical rhetoric and logic – we find a pattern emerging. Many of the attempts to raise standards were associated with the leading teachers and/or the leading schools of the period: the efforts to refine existing Latin grammars or to provide better Greek ones; and the editions for older students of less commonly used classical texts of which there was no edition available in England or copies were hard to acquire. A number of these works (though by no means all) sold steadily for a few decades, and some for even longer.174 On the other hand, nearer the lower end of the scale of educational achievement were the many efforts not to refine but to simplify Latin ‘grammars’ and other texts or techniques used in schools: by reducing or rearranging the constituent elements in ‘Lily’, providing English translations of this and the other texts most widely used in the lower forms, providing useful lists of words and phrases for writing themes or speeches, or offering older students helpful notes to a notoriously difficult text, or a simpler work on rhetoric and logic than those used by previous generations. Many of these, it is clear, derived from the experience of working in provincial schools with students of mixed ability – schools in which decisions had been taken not to try to perform all teaching in Latin and not to punish students for talking English outside the classroom, as was done in elite schools.175 Moreover, the number of works at the lower end of the ladder increased steadily during the seventeenth and eighteenth   See ODNB under John Bond (c. 1550–1612), John Clarke (c. 1596–1658), John Barton (c. 1605–1675) and Edward Leedes (c. 1627–1707). 173   See ODNB under Charles Hoole, and Chapters 3 and 4 below. 174   A number of examples will be given in Chapter 4 below. 175   Some examples have already been given or will be given in the following paragraphs and in Chapters 3 and 4 below. 172

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


centuries, in terms of both the numbers of different titles and of repeat editions. To the accusation, mainly from elitist conservatives, that the authors of such works were debasing education, for example by providing a Latin original and an English translation on opposite pages of a book, the response usually was that not only did children learn more quickly by such means, meaning they could make further progress during the time they could spend in school, which was important to parents as well as students, but also their enthusiasm remained high, rather than being crushed by the older methods.176 Providing lists of suitable words and phrases also made good sense in those schools without a decent library (other than the teachers’ own collection) from which students could fill their commonplace-books and prepare their themes, compared to students in schools with a wide range of books available for consultation. These hundreds of works not only show many career teachers trying to improve their pupils’ performance, but also reinforce the picture of the essential conservatism of English grammar school teaching: repeated efforts were made to refine that system, but within very narrow parameters. At the highest level, with well-educated, committed teachers, talented pupils and reasonable resources, efforts were made to raise the inherited system to new levels of effectiveness, while at lower levels, with more varied standards of education among the teachers and of ability among the pupils, and with often limited resources, efforts were made to simplify that system and so make it more accessible. Both were recognizably much more indebted to and committed to the principles of the humanist tradition of Erasmus, Melanchthon and Sturm than to new initiatives such as those of Comenius and Locke, at least until the mid- or late eighteenth century. Moreover, where these supplementary works were printed, they tended to sell far more copies than the genuinely innovative works which were appearing in growing numbers by the end of our period, by authors who, like John Locke in Some thoughts concerning education (1693), were challenging the existing system frontally, or who wanted to encourage the study of English grammar and literature or a more systematic study of mathematics and science. * * * We can see this if we take a brief look at the publications of a few less familiar names – career teachers whose works for grammar school boys sold particularly well during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the opening decades of the seventeenth century William Hayne and John Brinsley had ambitious schemes for helping other teachers by a wide range 176

  See below, pp. 139–40, 161–2, 170–72, 178–80, 182–3, and Chapter 4.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of publications, but appear to have lacked business acumen or the common touch. The first Englishman to respond in a shrewd and successful way to the opportunities provided by the growing demand for school texts was Thomas Farnaby. His own education had been interrupted, but he proved extremely adept at picking the brains of authors like Heinsius, Vossius and Keckermann; and by plundering existing versions and recensions he produced annotated editions of texts outside the ‘English Stock’ such as Juvenal’s and Persius’ satires, Seneca’s tragedies, Martial’s epigrams, and Lucan’s epic poem Pharsalia, as well as some inside it, including new versions of the works of Virgil and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and a revised edition of Terence’s comedies (completed by the eminent scholar Meric Casaubon). The last three of these enjoyed only limited success, but the earlier ones between them sold perhaps 60 editions between 1612 and 1720. In addition Farnaby compiled three textbooks which between them sold 40 editions in England between the 1620s and the 1720s: Index rhetoricus (1625), Phrases oratoriae elegantiores ex optimis autoribus selectae (1625) and Index poeticus (1629). Some of these works proved so successful that they were regularly printed abroad – his Index rhetoricus was admired by scholars like Vossius and Heinsius – and in some cases cheap copies were smuggled back into England to undercut London prices, which he had to take active measures to thwart. Farnaby was also chosen by Charles I to design a new Latin grammar that would be shorter and more practical than ‘Lily’, though when it was published in the early 1640s the onset of civil war and Farnaby’s closeness to the court conspired to prevent it from being widely adopted.177 John Clarke spent nearly forty years teaching in Lincolnshire, at the free school in Lincoln from 1622 to 1641, and then in a private school in the parish where he had become rector, Fiskerton, until 1658. Clarke was neither a Ramist nor a neo-Ciceronian (as has been suggested), but very much a disciple of Erasmus and in the English tradition of Whittington, Leech and Farnaby, whose works he also acknowledged and adapted. For younger students in his care he gathered a collection of Latin phrases from Erasmus’ Adagia to which he added similar English proverbs, and prepared an edition of Erasmus’ Familiar colloquies which proceeded to sell nearly 20 editions between 1631 and 1711. For older groups he wrote handbooks to help them write letters and compose poems, themes and orations. The last of these works reflected the annual speech days which he had organized from the late 1620s, at which senior pupils in their best Latin welcomed the notables of Lincoln and then debated a pre-arranged topic, such as the respective contributions made by teachers and parents 177   See ODNB under Thomas Farnaby; R.W. Serjeantson, ‘Thomas Farnaby’, in DLB 236: 108–16; see also STC2, Wing2 and ESTC for Farnaby’s publications.

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to a child’s development, and finally congratulated students about to leave for university. When published, some of these handbooks also sold moderately well: between them his main four titles, Formulae oratoriae, Dux grammaticus, Phraseologia puerilis and Paroemiologia were reprinted over two dozen times between 1627 and 1694.178 In addition to the Lincolnshire John Clarke and the Yorkshire one who was a model for The good schoolmaster, there was yet another – the master of Hull Grammar School from 1720 to 1732 – who occupied a much more advanced position on the route down which teachers like Clarke of Lincoln and Hoole of Rotherham had set out. One of the first teachers who we can be confident was influenced by Locke’s attack on grammar school education, this Clarke abandoned ‘Lily’ altogether in favour of a much simpler basic Latin grammar which explained everything in English, and which would, he claimed, cut two years off the time a student spent in school. He insisted that understanding Latin was enough: speaking and writing were not necessary; and he also extended the use of parallel English and Latin versions, in his own literal and free translations, to a wider range of classical and humanist writers, such as Nepos’ lives of famous men and Erasmus’ Colloquies. He also encouraged the study of modern languages, mathematics and ‘the several sciences’. So keen was he to provide other teachers, and adults who wished to refresh their Latin skills or learn Latin from scratch, with a full range of such bilingual versions that he retired early from teaching to become a full-time author and publisher with his brother-in-law in Gloucester, and although he died soon thereafter, his works continued to sell in high numbers and in many areas for many decades. It is noteworthy, however, that the theoretical works in which he most passionately defended his views of a revised version of classical education did not sell nearly as well as the practical ones – the simplified grammar, and the bilingual versions of staple classic and humanist texts.179 If this John Clarke’s ideas represented a long stride towards major modification of the traditional grammar school approach, those of John Holmes, headmaster of Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk from 1730 to 1760, represented a more cautious approach, only a step ahead of Charles Hoole. Holmes restored his school’s reputation for classical education,   See ODNB under John Clarke (c. 1596–1658); Edward A. Malone, ‘John Clarke’, in DLB 281: 48–57; STC2, Wing2 and ESTC; see also John Clarke’s Orationes et Declamationes Habitae in Schola Lincolniensi, ed. Charles Garton (Buffalo, NY, 1972), pp. 13–56 and passim. 179   John Lawson, ‘An Early Disciple of Locke: John Clarke (1686–1734), Educational Reformer and Moralist’, Durham Research Review, 13 (1962): 30–38; Lawson, A Town Grammar School through Six Centuries (London, 1963), pp. 144–54; see also ESTC for Clarke’s publications. 178


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and within years of taking up his posts had published his New grammar of the Latin tongue, which contained a frontal assault on ‘Lily’s grammar’ (and passed through 13 editions between 1732 and 1788), and his Greek grammar (seven editions between 1735 and 1771). But he also actively encouraged the study of English grammar and the performance of school plays with a purpose. Among the scripts he wrote for the boys to perform in costume, there was a dramatized ‘History of England’ (published in Latin and English in 1737), and in 1741 a masque entitled ‘The constellations reformed’. Holmes also widened the curriculum to include modern languages (leading to a French grammar published in 1741), geography and ‘the use of globes’ (leading to The grammarian’s geography in 1751), and arithmetic (The grammarian’s arithmetic was advertised in 1755). However, as with John Clarke of Hull, his more innovative works did not attract the same interest as his grammars.180 In sum, what the textbooks published by these career teachers reflect is the persisting interest among other teachers in the core of the mid-Tudor grammar school system, even if that system was increasingly presented in different ways, and to some extent supplemented by new materials and courses. * * * If there was growing variation between the teaching at different levels of the English grammar school network, there was also a degree of variation between schools staffed by ‘godly’ teachers and those taught by conformists. However, it is doubtful whether the impact of this variation was as great as that between elite and average or basic grammar schools. It is worth spending a few pages on this point, not least because, as we saw in Chapter 1, the idea that education in early modern England owed more to the ‘godly’ than any other group became well established among historians working in the second half of the twentieth century. First of all, we may consider the criticisms of Wallace K. Jordan’s conviction that it was the puritan middle class of merchants that did most to further the development of English education. Jordan’s review of charitable giving in ten counties between 1480 and 1660 had led him to believe that there had been a significant shift from ‘religious’ to ‘secular’ giving after the Reformation, with more being given to poor relief and education than religious charities. He also detected a shift from the landed to the mercantile elite as the ‘class’ which assumed greatest social responsibility for helping others. Of the donors in the later sixteenth 180   Linnell and Douglas, Gresham’s School, pp. 16–20; see also ODNB under John Holmes (1702/3–1760).

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and early seventeenth centuries, the most munificent were ‘with very few exceptions … Calvinists of extreme orthodoxy and rigour’ who were trying to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth by levying war against the ignorance from which they believed popery sprang.181 In the 1960s and 1970s Jordan’s statistics, and his conclusion that there was a steady rise in giving under Elizabeth and James, were criticized by economic historians for failing to take proper account of the growth in population and the prolonged inflation of the period.182 Jordan’s figures were also checked and reworked by an educational historian, Mordechai Feingold, who concluded that Jordan’s use of averages for benefactions concealed the distorting effect of a small number of great benefactions in a particular decade, for example the deaths without heirs of extremely wealthy men like Thomas Bodley, Sir Henry Savile and Nicholas Wadham in the 1610s and 1620s. Moreover, accidental double counting of the funds given by London merchants to projects in the capital and in their home counties had led Jordan to exaggerate their gifts to schools by nearly a half; on Jordan’s own data, the average nobleman donated £649 compared to the average merchant’s £365. Jordan had also assumed, rather than being able to prove, that gifts to schools were due to the zeal of ‘evangelical Calvinists of Puritan persuasion’ as opposed to the other motives we have been examining in this chapter. Indeed, his own evidence can be interpreted to suggest that as much was given to universities as to schools, and that most gifts to universities were made neither by merchants nor puritans.183 Feingold was not arguing that the part of the ‘godly’ was insignificant, but that there were many other motives for charitable bequests to educational institutions. Other work on ‘godly’ schooling tended to rely on limited regional evidence. Through her work on schools in Leicestershire in Elizabethan and early Stuart England, Joan Simon found a number of ‘godly’ patrons and teachers (some already well known, such as Henry Hastings, the third earl of Huntingdon, and John Brinsley), and links with ‘godly’ colleges at Cambridge.184 John Morgan’s particular interest was, as his sub-title indicates, ‘Puritan attitudes towards reason, learning, and education between 1560 and 1640’, so that he had more to say about the theory than the practice, and in the home, college and pulpit rather than grammar schools. The ‘godly’ schools he listed are fairly familiar examples such as Ashby-de-la-Zouch (again) and Wakefield, though he conceded that both 181 182

  Jordan, Philanthropy in England, p. 229 and passim.   For a taste of the debate, see Economic History Review, new series, 29:2 (1976):

203–10, and 31:1 (1978): 118–28. 183   Feingold, ‘Jordan Revisited’, pp. 257–73. 184   Simon, ‘Town Estates and Schools’, pp. 3–26.


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had a typically humanist curriculum.185 On the basis of a national study of the puritan gentry, J.T. Cliffe was able to list a number of cases of wellknown puritans who acted as private tutors to gentry families, or took in gentlemen’s sons as boarders in ‘godly’ counties like Essex and Suffolk, but presumably these schools closed when the teacher moved on or died. Cliffe also offered an imaginary directory of endowed schools which could be recommended to ‘godly’ parents in the early Stuart period, but the list has only 16 schools in ten counties, and it is not clear how far there was a succession of godly teachers in all or even most of those schools, or even whether those masters spent most of their time teaching. Jeremiah Whitaker, cited by Cliffe as one of a succession of ‘Puritan masters’ at Oakham School in Rutland, evidently spent a lot of time preparing his mid-week lectures and Sunday sermons for nearby parishes, and mixing with the local gentry, who soon promoted him to a nearby rectory. Another master appointed a few years later, Alexander Gil the younger, was renowned for his Latin verse but was evidently a troublemaker and a violent man, and he too did not stay long.186 There are undeniable links between the ‘godly’ and learning, not least at primary school level, but not a clear pattern across the whole country. In this context it is interesting to note that among the thousands of laity and clergy who emigrated to New England in the 1630s, barely a dozen have been identified as teachers.187 Similarly, although some historians have correctly associated ‘godly’ intellectuals with the spread of Ramism in the late sixteenth century, or of the ideas of Comenius in the mid-seventeenth, it is now clear that support for such alterations was not confined to the ‘godly’, nor were those changes adopted by all of them or implemented that widely.188 Instead the ‘godly’ strategy for the use of the classics in Elizabethan and early Stuart grammar school education overlapped considerably with that of the conformist majority, though it may have begun to diverge appreciably from it thereafter, as reservations about some of the unseemly material in the standard school texts, concern about the limited time devoted to Protestant   Morgan, Godly Learning, pp. 195–8, 204–7, and chaps 9–10 passim; Peacock, Free Grammar School at Wakefield, pp. 54–75. 186   Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry, pp. 77–81; see also ODNB under Jeremiah Whitaker and Alexander Gil, the younger (1596/7–1642?). 187   Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry, pp. 121–2; Susan Hardman Moore, Pilgrims: New World Settlers and the Call of Home (New Haven, CT, 2007), pp. 186–98. For schoolteachers being associated with lukewarm or ungodly religious views, see Christopher Haigh, The Plain Man’s Pathways to Heaven (Oxford, 2007), pp. 64, 92. 185

188   See the articles by Edward Malone and Matthew De Coursey in British Rhetoricians and Logicians, DLB 236: xv–xxv, and DLB 281: xix–xxi, 277–9; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 289–95. Comenius’ ideas were influential at the primary level of teaching English: see, for example, Hoole, New discovery, pp. 6–7.

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doctrine, and even doubts about the value of studying languages other than biblical ones, became stronger among more determined dissenters. Even then, these concerns varied from one individual to the next, and one group to another, so that by the late seventeenth century there are indications of a division of opinion within ‘godly’ ranks rather than a single philosophy. It is undeniable that many of the ‘godly’ clergy and laity in Edwardian, Elizabethan, and early Stuart England had grasped the importance of education as a means of transforming a country in which many were still ignorant of God’s ways. But if we compare the number of ‘godly’ who became career teachers – teaching in a grammar school for a decade or more – with the career teachers that can be found in a leading Protestant academy such as Strasburg or in many Jesuit colleges abroad, we find their number quite limited at the outset, and not markedly higher thereafter.189 There may have been various reasons for the difficulty of translating the ‘godly’ enthusiasm for education into practice. There were ambiguities in puritan feelings towards the young and towards teaching. On the one hand there was the idea drawn from Augustinian theology that children in general and adolescents in particular were particularly prone to sin, and the ‘godly’ proved particularly adept at drawing up extremely long lists of childish sins, and urging parents to ensure that the will of their children was broken at an early age to guarantee total subjection to the authority of their elders and betters. On the other hand some ‘godly’ clergy and laity came to regard youth as ‘the fittest time for [Christ] to come to you’, either through a sudden encounter with God or by means of an evangelical divine expounding the Word faithfully. Children could become ‘saints’ at a very early age, and any signs of early conversion should be actively encouraged, though not necessarily in school: when Oliver Heywood joined a group of young friends for regular religious study, he was afraid his schoolmates would deride him for it.190 There remained a strong case for saying that all ‘popish schoolteachers’ should be rooted out, that young boys and girls should be encouraged to   For Strasburg, see Rott’s footnotes in Jean Sturm Classicae Epistolae, pp. 22, 30–31, 38, 45, 50, 54, 58, 64, 70–71. The ‘godly’ were, of course, well represented among the tutors in some colleges at Oxford and Cambridge for a number of years or even several decades: Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry, chap. 5; Margo Todd, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order (Cambridge, 1987), chap. 3. 190   Steven R. Smith, ‘Religion and the Conception of Youth in Seventeenth-Century England’, in History of Childhood Quarterly, 4 (1975): 493–516; Ilana K. Ben-Amos, Adolescence and Youth in Early Modern England (New Haven, CT and London, 1994), pp. 11–16, 184–91; Cunningham, Children and Childhood, pp. 46–57; Ralph Houlbrooke, ‘Death in Childhood: The Practice of the ‘Good Death’ in James Janeway’s A Token for Children’, in Anthony Fletcher and Stephen Hussey (eds), Childhood in Question: Childhood, Parents and the State (Manchester, 1999), pp. 37–56. 189


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read the Bible in the original languages as soon as possible, and pay close attention to sermons – the better to resist the blandishments of priests and turn to God when the moment came. But who was to do the teaching, and where? And if in school, what should be left out of the mid-Tudor curricula to make way for more study of Greek and Hebrew? Calvinists like William Perkins placed great weight on vocation, and those who were well-educated but also felt a call to preach the Word may have felt that the best way to teach children was through sermons, and that classroom teaching or acting as domestic tutor should be considered only while they were waiting for a permanent post as a minister, as was the case with many in England and New England, or when they were temporarily kept out of the pulpit by persecution or ill health.191 In those East Anglian towns which in the Elizabethan period were dominated by ‘godly’ magistrates and clergy, the endowed schools witnessed the arrival and departure of a series of schoolmasters who stayed relatively short periods before entering the ministry full-time; and a few decades later Ralph Josselin, who had aspired to be a minister ever since his childhood, persisted with teaching only until new sources of income rendered it unnecessary.192 Another who had been a schoolmaster for a few years in the mid-1620s before taking on his first cure of souls was Richard Vines, better known today as one of the favourite preachers of the MPs in the Long Parliament. When Thomas Jacombe preached a funeral sermon for Vines in 1656, he was patronizing about this phase of Vines’s career. Of his years as a teacher, Jacombe said: ‘let this be no disparagement’; Jacombe could instance ‘rare instruments of God’s glory in the Church of Christ who began with that employment’.193 For those ‘godly’ who attempted to combine two careers it probably proved very hard to keep their preaching and grammar school teaching up to the high standards expected. Like all well-educated clerics, the ‘godly’ preacher undertook long and arduous preparations for his sermons; but his sources for that exercise – various editions of the Bible and learned commentaries by scholars of many ages – were different from the texts he would have needed to be familiar with to teach the classics well on a daily basis. When in 1587 John Stockwood was appointed vicar of Tonbridge,   As previous note, and next. As Morgan noted, however, the motivation for suspended or deprived clergy to enter gentry households was ‘more often refuge than training or education’: Godly Learning, p. 295, n. 115. On New England, see Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783 (New York, 1970), p. 189. 192   Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, p. 109; Alan Macfarlane, The Family Life of Ralph Josselin (Cambridge, 1970), pp. 17, 34, 37, 39. 193   See ODNB under Richard Vines (my italics). Similarly, the Puritan hagiographer Samuel Clarke included very few teachers among his ‘lives’, compared to, say, Anthony Wood in his Athenae Oxonienses. 191

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where he had been headmaster of the Free School for some time, within a year the school’s governors had urged him to resign.194 Because of his commitment to midweek lecturing and Sunday preaching while still master of Oakham school, Jeremiah Whitaker must have relied heavily on his zealous young usher, John Seaton, who later performed a similar task for Martin Holbeach at Felsted School in Essex, while Holbeach was busy networking with the local ‘godly’ divines.195 (The ‘godly’ also improvised in-house apprenticeships to help train the next generation of faithful preachers: young ordinands were encouraged to spend some time in the household of a minister of proven skill; but even here some like Richard Rogers could be found complaining about the disruption of their time by the demands of the young ordinands, and wishing they could get back to the peace of their studies.196) One frequently cited case of a dedicated teacher is John Brinsley, who was taken up by the ‘godly’ parish of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, where he acted as master of Ashby School from 1600 to 1617, and as assistant to the eminent puritan Arthur Hildersham. But Brinsley, as we shall see later, demonstrates the unease already felt by some of the ‘godly’ towards a number of aspects of the humanist programme: the imbalance between merely ‘ornamental’ skills such as writing Latin verse and vital ones such as Bible study; and the need to avoid lewdness in the study of Latin verse and plays. Moreover, Brinsley’s career as a teacher was ended prematurely when his association with Hildersham brought him to the authorities’ notice, and his refusal to conform in full led to his dismissal.197 The Edwardian and Elizabethan authorities had naturally been concerned about the number of teachers who were still loyal to the old faith, and had taken steps to eject them from office; but there were many on the late Tudor and early Stuart bench of bishops who would not have tolerated open opposition from Protestant dissenters in such a sensitive role. In Kilkhampton in Cornwall in the 1580s a well-established puritan activist, Eusebius Pagit, had invited a Scottish minister, David Black, and his wife to stay in his parsonage; and with the connivance of the patron, Sir Richard Grenville, who was briefly converted to puritanism by Pagit and Black, Black taught in the school there for a number of years.

  See ODNB under John Stockwood, and see below, p. 139.   See above, p. 106. 196   Morgan, Godly Learning, pp. 294–7; Feyerharm, ‘Status of the Schoolmaster’, 194 195

p. 114. 197   See ODNB under John Brinsley (fl. 1581–1624); Morgan, Godly Learning, pp. 173–5, 195–8; see also below, pp. 207, 232, 243, 245, 256.


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But his open hostility to the structure and liturgy of the English Church led him into trouble and he decided to return to Scotland.198 In succeeding decades it was refusal to conform in ecclesiastical matters that led to the suspension of teachers, rather than just use of an unauthorized catechism which merely incurred a reprimand.199 At the Restoration, the bishops again tried to ensure that grammar school teachers were conformable, at least in high-profile schools, though perhaps only three dozen teachers were ejected from public schools like Eton. In many provincial schools, as before the civil wars, there was a degree of flexibility, in that at least a hundred of the ‘godly’ who had been actively involved in teaching or preaching during the Interregnum taught for a while after the early 1660s: a few set up separate academies, but many more either conformed in full in 1662 as teachers, or with the help of parents and a tolerant diocesan conformed sufficiently to hang onto a grammar school post. Many of these were graduates who had experienced several years of classical education, and as such tended to be at the presbyterian or moderate congregational end of the ‘godly’ spectrum, and may have conformed to protect their charges from infection by sectarian as well as papist ideas.200 Brinsley’s case reflects both the internal tensions and the external constraints likely to have affected a committed puritan who wished to dedicate himself to teaching at the start of the seventeenth century. The increasingly ambivalent feelings of many of the ‘godly’ towards a system of education which relied so much on non-Christian sources may have owed much to the rise of high Calvinism in Europe in the decades after Calvin’s death, a process which reached its peak in England from the 1590s to the 1650s. We do not have to go as far as Geoffrey Elton in seeing Calvinism and humanism as diametrically opposed: an overwhelmingly theocentric religion rejecting the humanocentric teaching of the humanists, and able to form a temporary alliance only by ignoring the abyss between them. Calvinism ‘set up manifest and often intolerable tensions within the minds of men educated by the humanists and committed to a predestinarian faith’, but by about 1660 it was the stringent version of predestinarianism that largely disappeared, as ‘the main part of thinking Christians among   See ODNB under Eusebius Pagit and David Black.   Cliffe, Gentry, p. 81; Hardman Moore, Pilgrims, pp. 186, 191, 196. 200   Matthews, Calamy Revised, pp. xiv, lv–lvi; Vincent, The State and School 198 199

Education, pp. 114–18; Smith, ‘Private Schools’, pp. 123, 125; see also below, pp. 122, 144–5. For John Ashworth, a protégé of Fairfax and Cromwell who continued to teach in Crosby after 1660 and then took the vicarage of Ormskirk as well, see H.M. Luft, A History of Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby 1620–1970 (Liverpool, 1970), pp. 80–82. For moderate episcopalian and ‘godly’ defences of the educational status quo against attacks by radicals, see Vincent, The State and School Education, pp. 82–9, and ODNB under John Webster (1611–1682).

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Englishmen … insensibly surrendered to the triumph of the humanist view of the world’.201 Elton may not have allowed for intermediate positions between his stark extremes, or for forms of synthesis which would prove stronger and longer-lasting than he imagined. Nevertheless, among Protestants in England, as abroad, it was many of the high Calvinists and other strict evangelicals who were tempted to move furthest away from the high value placed on classical ethics by humanists like Erasmus, Vives and Colet; and it is worthwhile reminding ourselves of the theological basis of this drift. * * * The rise of humanism in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries coincided with the revival of an earlier debate within Christianity, between Augustine and Pelagius on the nature of justification, which had serious implications for the humanists’ conviction of the power of education to reform corrupt mankind. Erasmus’ devotio moderna background and his impatience with theological speculation led him to an emphasis on piety as the practical aspect of justification. In pursuit of this he found much to admire in the ethical teaching of pagan moralists such as Cicero, who had believed in a divine reason that controlled nature and had pursued virtue as a means of reconciling the human with the divine, and seemed (to Erasmus) closer to Christ’s teaching than the speculations of scholastic theologians like Aquinas and Duns Scotus. Like many other humanists, Erasmus believed that classical ethics could be harmonized with the practical Christianity of the Gospels as interpreted by the early Fathers, through a form of education that would not only revive the pure Latin of the ancients but also help to liberate the soul within the rational individual, so that it could respond to the divine call to suppress vice and promote virtue. Erasmus believed that it was mainly adults who corrupted ‘young minds with evil before we expose them to the good’, and that mankind had retained sufficient free will after the Fall to be able to choose to co-operate with divine grace to do good, or turn against it and do evil.202 By contrast, Luther sided with Augustine’s view that all humankind, including infants, was so totally depraved after the fall of Adam that it could do absolutely nothing to merit or even initiate the process of salvation, and   Geoffrey Elton, ‘Humanism in England’, in Anthony Goodman and Angus Mackay (eds), The Impact of Humanism on Western Europe (London, 1990), pp. 277–8. 202   Alister E. McGrath, ‘Humanist Elements in the Early Reformed Doctrine of Justification’, in Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 73 (1982): 5–20 (at 6–7). The teaching of the Catholic Church on infant baptism may also have eased parents’ concerns about whether a child was damned by original sin: Cunningham, Children and Childhood, pp. 46, 57. 201


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that forgiveness rested entirely on divine intervention – almighty God’s gift of grace by which He voluntarily and unilaterally broke the hold of sin upon humanity. Through an infusion of grace, the faithful were able to justify themselves to some extent through devotions and good works which God treated as if they were of value. Luther and Melanchthon took this view further than Augustine in seeing Christ’s righteousness as being imputed to the faithful: when they were declared righteous their past sins were forgiven, but their subsequent works still lacked any merit.203 Not surprisingly, Luther’s apparent downgrading of good works was seen as a threat to the existing norms of morality, not just by Catholics like Erasmus, but even by some early evangelicals like Zwingli and Bucer who retained a human element in soteriology by arguing that (primary) justification (which could not be proved) depended on (secondary) regeneration (which could be demonstrated). However, when Erasmus in 1524 came out fighting vigorously on behalf of the freedom of the will to co-operate with or turn against grace, both Luther and Zwingli condemned Erasmus for his over-optimistic estimate of the ability of mankind to play some part in its justification. The gulf had widened by the time of the Council of Trent, with Calvin taking further Luther’s idea of the Christian life, both justification and sanctification, involving a mystical union with Christ, and the theologians of Trent refining the Catholic position on the role of free will, when the will was moved and excited by God.204 In England the doctrinal arguments were closely related to those abroad, but took a couple of different turns. In the formularies of 1547– 71, the Homilies, the collects and liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles and the official catechisms, one finds a clear statement that good deeds were the inevitable product of a saving faith – they glorified God, benefited neighbours, and won others to Christ; good works did not precede justification, but were the visible fruits that proved the tree of faith on which they grew was healthy. As Calvin had put it, faith was ‘pregnant with good works’, and a lively faith, through grace, produced good deeds in the elect as a fountain gushes forth water; by contrast, the best efforts of the unregenerate remained contaminated by sin. Those prepared to stress that works were an inseparable concomitant of saving faith – in other words, like Zwingli and Bucer, treating justification and regeneration as inseparable aspects of the beginning and continuation of the true believer’s new life in Christ – included the authors not only of these Edwardian and early Elizabethan formularies, but also of many later sixteenth- and seventeenthcentury works based on them, especially catechisms. Some of this group, 203   Alister E. McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (2nd edn, Cambridge, 2002), pp. 188–219. 204   Ibid., pp. 219–84.

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such as Richard Hooker, Robert Sanderson and Henry Hammond, also adopted a rather less jaundiced view than Luther and Calvin had done of the damage done by the Fall to human reason: glimmers of the law of nature written in men’s hearts remained and, through prevenient grace, could help fallen man to repent and seek to walk in God’s ways. In 1628 the moderate episcopalian John Earle deviated from the view that all children were born evil when he suggested that each newborn child was like a blank piece of paper on which the world had not yet written, or like Adam before he tasted the apple: ‘he knows no evil’. And, perhaps from somewhat different motives – not wanting to deter well-intentioned children and adults – many authors of catechisms and simpler guides to holy living also avoided too gloomy a view of human potential, when aided by grace.205 In the late sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century, however, many high Calvinists moved in a different direction. Worried by appearing to make the slightest concession to the idea that man could contribute to his own salvation, Beza and some other followers of Calvin raised God’s predisposing of all matters to new heights. English high Calvinists like William Perkins and John Owen accepted that all people, regenerate and unregenerate, must be urged to keep the Law: it was their duty, as Moses and Christ had made perfectly clear. But in their concern to deny any possible link between human action and salvation, they tended to avoid talking of any works as ‘good’, as in the Shorter and Larger Catechisms issued by the Westminster Assembly of Divines in the 1640s: anything that was done which was beneficial to the self or others was the result of divine foresight and the work of grace alone.206 A number of English high Calvinists also took one of Calvin’s psychological insights further than he had done. Suggesting that those already called to faith, the elect, should prove that their faith was of the saving variety by analysing their reactions to their own efforts to keep the Law, these high Calvinists tended to see works as a means of cognitive assurance of election in the individual’s conscience as much as or even more than an outward glorifying of God.207 Indeed, John Owen, struggling to come to terms with the consequences of the firm belief of many high Calvinists in a limited atonement, went as far as arguing that it was not just Christ’s passive obedience to his father (in suffering death on the cross for the sins of the world) but also his 205   Ibid., pp. 285–97; University of Wales Bangor Library, Gwyneddon MS. 25, p. 13 660; Thomas L. Cooksey, ‘Robert Sanderson’ in British Rhetoricians and Logicians, DLB 281 (2003): 277–82. 206   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 469–74; good works were mentioned in the Westminster Confession targeted at adults: ibid., pp. 470–71.

  Ibid., pp. 379–80, 387–97, 407–9.



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active obedience that was imputed to the elect. This predictably provoked concern among Owen’s allies, and complaints from his critics that such an argument was a great disincentive to piety: if Christ’s active obedience is imputed to the believer, where is the necessity for the believer’s own obedience?208 At this point, faced on the one side by Owen’s hyper-Calvinist theories and on the other by a surge of antinomianism among those sectaries who believed that having been predestined to salvation they were absolved from the burden of the moral law, men like the moderate puritan Richard Baxter and the episcopalians George Bull, William Sherlock and John Tillotson tried hard to reinforce the active dimension of faith that was implicit in the mid-sixteenth-century teachings, and to resolve the tension between Paul (in Romans 3:28, ‘man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’) and James (in James 2:24, ‘by works a man is justified, and not by faith only’). These authors were accused then, and have been since, of downgrading the role of grace and upgrading the value of holy living, and it may be fair to say that some of their expressions of concern about solifidianism were excessive. But when their work is viewed in the round, they can be seen to have continued to believe in the totally gratuitous nature of salvation, while at the same time providing an antidote to antinomianism by restating in forcible terms the essential link between faith and works. One may also point out the increased use by many episcopalians of the concept of a ‘covenant of grace’, mediated by Christ between God and man, in relation to baptism and the Lord’s Supper; this also reinforced the idea that man, through grace, had his part to play.209 It must be stressed that both of these narratives of justification were some distance away from the Erasmian view of a mankind free (through God’s grace) to pursue virtue and try to please God. But the humanist form of teaching which had been developed by supporters of the old Church, such as Waynflete, Fox and Colet, in conjunction with fellow Catholics from abroad such as Erasmus and Vives, and by other Catholic authors in succeeding decades as we shall see, in England had changed to only a limited extent after the Reformations of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Elizabeth, perhaps less than in many Protestant countries abroad. As a result, in England all educated Protestants had to find strategies to reconcile the emphasis on choosing virtue that persisted in the humanist programme for schools with the stress on original sin, the damaged will and the need for grace that was found in the doctrinal statements of the   A.C. Clifford, Atonement and Justification: English Evangelical Theology 1640–1790 – An Evaluation (Oxford, 1990), part 3. 209   Green, Christian’s ABC, pp. 398–421, 471–5; Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 199, 560 n. 77. 208

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Church and the leading clergy. For high Calvinists, their emphasis on spiritual introspection and their hostility to the idea of works having any soteriological value cannot have sat comfortably with the endless examples in the most widely used classical texts of the rewards that could be expected for morally correct outward behaviour. It proved especially and increasingly hard for those anxious to raise strict Calvinist fledglings in the English educational nest to find so much space taken up by a rather fat Erasmian cuckoo. * * * ‘Godly’ concerns about the humanist reliance on classical sources as the main pillar of a Christian education can be seen in a number of areas, both inside and outside the classroom. We may take the latter first, since they show the growing gulf between different standpoints quite clearly. In the case of moral philosophy, Lutheran teachers such as Melanchthon and Keckermann had continued to give a central place to Aristotle’s Ethics in the organization of their treatises on morality, whereas high Calvinists such as Daneau and later Walaeus felt unhappy at giving such prominence to a pagan text rather than the Bible. Among English authors, the ‘godly’ Ames and Perkins predictably tended to side with the high Calvinist view, while moderate Calvinists like Robert Sanderson and a conservative episcopalian like Jeremy Taylor sided with Keckerman.210 There is an interesting intermediate case here: Thomas Gataker was one of the very few members of the ‘godly’ who continued to pursue classical scholarship after he became a preacher, and over a period of forty years he tried to uncover parallels between the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the Bible. The annotated edition which he finally published in 1652 was much admired at home and abroad, as were his Opera critica, edited by a Dutch theologian and published in Utrecht in 1698. Gataker warned his readers against those aspects of Marcus’ Stoic philosophy which were in conflict with Christianity, such as his ambiguous position on the immortality of the soul, but areas of conflict were overwhelmed by the vast areas of agreement to which, most unusually for a puritan clergyman, he drew the public’s attention.211 For when the ‘godly’ urged their adult followers to   M.W.F. Stone, ‘The Adoption and Rejection of Aristotelian Moral Philosophy in Reformed “Casuistry”’, in Jill Kraye and M.W.F. Stone, Humanism and Early Modern Philosophy (London, 2000), pp. 59–90; Thomas L. Cooksey, ‘Robert Sanderson’, in British Rhetoricians and Logicians, DLB 281 (2003): 274–83; Jeremy Taylor, Ductor dubitantium (1676), esp. the Preface and bk II. 211   See ODNB under Thomas Gataker (1574–1654); Jill Kraye, ‘Marcus Aurelius and his “Meditations”’, in Kraye and Stone, Humanism and Early Modern Philosophy, pp. 114–18. 210

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read improving works, they did not have Marcus Aurelius or Aristotle’s Ethics or Erasmus’ Preparation to death in mind, and certainly not one of the many classical or quasi-classical texts prepared for the press by theologically less sophisticated laymen which we will encounter in Chapter 6, but either the Bible or one of the many treatises, handbooks or manuals of unimpeachably Protestant character then becoming available.212 In this context it is interesting to compare two expositions of the Ten Commandments, one by John (‘Decalogue’) Dod and Robert Cleaver, and the other by Lancelot Andrewes. All three authors agreed that the Commandments were a divinely inspired code of instruction for fallen man to try, through God’s grace, to follow, and like many English Protestant theologians they regularly teased out endless variations on what was commanded and forbidden to cover virtually every aspect of human life, whether spiritual or secular, since God controlled both. But in their huge exposition of the Ten Commandments, which passed through perhaps 20 editions between 1603 and 1662, Dod and Cleaver did not use classical sources at all to support their case – only scriptural, or perhaps some approved Reformed theologian or safe Father as well. By contrast, in the catechetical lectures which Lancelot Andrewes gave to students at Pembroke College Cambridge – lectures which proved so popular that they were preserved in many manuscript copies at the time, and later circulated widely through a series of posthumous printed editions as well – we find a huge number of references in the text to Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, Cicero and many other Greek and Roman authors, as well as the Bible. There was a pattern to these citations: pagan authors were cited where Andrewes thought they were supportive of what Christianity taught, for example on obeying superiors; but where they were not supportive, for example in suggesting there were many gods, or exploring the Stoics’ view of contentment, Andrewes explained exactly why the Christian view was superior. Indeed, the further his exposition proceeded, the more he cited the Fathers and the Councils, and the less the classics.213 Andrewes was offering not just an exposition of the Decalogue, but a model of how to use different sources to achieve such an exposition. There are many other examples of ‘godly’ authors shunning the wisdom of the ancients outside the classroom, while conformist episcopalians were content to use it, albeit varying the material used according to the topic and the audience being addressed. If one compares, for example, Robert Cleaver’s Godly form of household government (1598) with Christopher Sutton’s Disce vivere. Learne to live (1602) or Jeremy Taylor’s Holy   See below, pp. 326–30.   [John Dod and Robert Cleaver], A Plaine and familiar exposition of the ten

212 213

commandements (1603); Lancelot Andrewes, A patterne of catechistical doctrine (1630).

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living (1650) and Holy dying (1651), one finds a predictable absence of classical citations in the ‘godly’ author’s works, while in the conformists’ the citations from Seneca, Plutarch and other ancient authors vied with references to Augustine and Jerome and the Bible. In an early chapter on attitudes towards death in Taylor’s Holy dying, for example, there were long quotations from Seneca and other citations from Martial, Horace and Sophocles in the original languages. But when this work was written, Taylor was taking refuge in a gentry household during the English civil wars, and it was aimed at his hosts and other loyalist sympathizers, and his text reflected their educational standards. At the same time it was designed to enhance their Christian commitment: the most commonly cited sources in this handbook were the Book of Psalms and the Epistles, and as the frontispiece showed, Taylor was on the spot daily, reminding his patrons of the need to watch and pray by pointing to a memento mori bearing a reference to James 1:23.214 Another, later comparison would be between the works of Thomas Gouge or Thomas Brooks and the treatises of Richard Allestree. In works written for less well-educated adults, such as Gouge’s Christian directions (1661) and Allestree’s Whole duty of man (1658), both authors studiously avoided references to the classics. But in a work like Brooks’ Apples of gold for young men and women (1657) which tried to catch the attention of literate young sinners in London, Brooks used a quirky mixture of the Bible, the classics, mythology and nature, and Gouge in his The young man’s guide (1670) also used occasional stories from Xenophon or Seneca. And Allestree in a work like The ladies calling (1673) which was targeted at well-educated women, with a frontispiece showing a lady casting her jewellery and coronet on the ground as she turns and reaches instead for a heavenly crown, cited secular sources where relevant, as on the subject of female modesty through the ages. However, like Taylor, when he reached the subject of Christian piety, Allestree used Christian sources for the vast majority of his supporting references, with only the occasional exception, as when he wrote that ‘Socrates has excellently (I had almost said evangelically) defined “the best way of worshipping God” to be “the doing what He commands”.’215 If there was a growing caution among the ‘godly’ over using classical sources for edifying ends outside school, the same also became increasingly true inside school, though given the centrality of classical texts in the typical curriculum that caution took different forms from the ones we 214   For a modern edition of The rules and exercises of holy dying (1651) with translations of citations, see Jeremy Taylor: ‘Holy Living’ and ‘Holy Dying’, ed. P.G. Stanwood (2 vols, Oxford, 1989), vol. 2. 215   Thomas Gouge, The young man’s guide (1676), pp. 77–8, 150–51; Richard Allestree, The ladies calling (1700), p. 88.

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have just been discussing. ‘Godly’ teachers were always likely to be more selective in their choice of poetry, prose and drama.216 In a long dialogue targeted at the young and published in 1560, Thomas Becon condemned the ‘wanton’, filthy’ and ‘ungodly’ writings of a number of ‘heathen and pagan’ authors like Martial, Catullus, Tibullus, Popertius and Lucianus, and also Ovid’s De arte amandi. There was ‘more wickedness than godliness, more sin the virtue’ in such works, and youth should not read them ‘lest … they make shipwreck both of their faith and manners’. In a sermon preached at Paul’s Cross in May 1579 John Stockwood, schoolmaster at Tonbridge, condemned the same authors, and urged magistrates to ban their use in schools.217 Another area of concern was play-acting. The study and performance of classical or classically inspired drama played a significant part in English grammar school education, but already by the last quarter of the sixteenth century we find Stockwood’s opposition to the use of Terence’s plays in schools, and note John Rainolds’s change of mind on the value of play-acting for pupils. As a student, fellow and lecturer at Cambridge, Rainolds had immersed himself in the classics, presented Elizabeth with a translation of Plutarch, and regarded student plays as a harmless and even a useful exercise (he took a female role in the mid-1560s). But when he turned his back on the classics to concentrate on the study of theology, he attacked plays as potentially damaging and even blasphemous.218 Such opposition had already increased in inverse proportion to the decline of Christian plays in the public arena, which Protestants had initially used to make their case; and what has been called ‘the anti-theatrical prejudice’ would continue to grow in direct proportion to the rapid rise of the commercial theatre.219 Opposition from ‘godly’ teachers to performing plays in school was never total: there were exceptions where the theme was Christian or moral and no cross-dressing was involved, though this rather reduced the range of plays that could be chosen.220 But hostility to the naughtier passages of classical drama and a   See below, p. 124 n. 243, 207.   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 108–10. Martial appeared on

216 217

the curricula of Eton and Westminster in the same decades: Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 11. 218   See ODNB under John Stockwood and John Rainolds. When lecturing on Aristotle, Rainolds warned undergraduates to pursue a Christian view of man’s happiness rather than a pagan one: Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 52–3. For publication of Rainolds’s views in Th’overthrow of stage-playes (1599 and 1600), see STC2 20616–17 (both published in Middelburg). 219   Paul Whitfield White, Theatre and Reformation: Protestantism, Patronage, and Playing in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1993); Jonas Barish, The Antitheatrical Prejudice (Berkeley, CA, 1981). 220   For one example, see below, pp. 144–5.

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preference for enacting ‘godly’ colloquies and dialogues would continue to be a feature of ‘godly’ attitudes towards school teaching in the seventeenth century, and when the opportunity arose in the 1650s, some headmasters stopped the acting of plays altogether.221 The ‘godly’ were always likely to place other ancient texts in a properly subordinate position in a curriculum. It was no good knowing ancient philosophy, logic, astronomy and science, wrote Becon, if you did not first have ‘the knowledge of Christ crucified’.222 This applied even to skills such as rhetoric and sources of moral instruction such as histories. Initially some of the ‘godly’ appreciated the advantages of potential ordinands developing a range of rhetorical skills through close study of the best writers and orators of ancient times, so that their sermons would be the more persuasive. But this support may have declined as the pressure for a ‘plain’ style of preaching grew stronger during the seventeenth century, in reaction against both the florid style of some early Stuart court preachers and the high Calvinist and presbyterian ‘crumbling’ of the text. Certainly some of the radical sectaries of the Interregnum appear to have shared the long-standing suspicion that the use of rhetoric involved manipulation of the listener, or even intellectual dishonesty, and felt that they did not need such man-made skills when they were speaking with the help of the Spirit within.223 Equally, the ‘godly’ continued to believe that the Bible provided the key to understanding history, past, present and future, but this tended to isolate them from the growing numbers of those who during the seventeenth century saw ancient Rome as the best model for understanding the historical process.224 ‘Godly’ teachers were also likely to have agreed with Richard Baxter when he wrote that English schooling devoted too much time to the classics and not enough to the Bible, and so should try to redress the balance, for example by mastering Greek through close study of the New Testament rather than a pagan text in Greek. They were also marginally more likely to want to teach Hebrew, though much depended here on the master, or on the size of the school: the more highly educated the master and the more favourable the staff/student ratio, the more chance of some Hebrew   Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 119–20; see also Maxwell-Lyte, Eton College, p. 251. 222   Wood, The Reformation and English Education, p. 179. 223   J.F. McGregor and B. Reay (eds), Radical Religion in the English Revolution (Oxford, 1986), pp. 50, 66, 107, 149; but see also McDowell, English Radical Imagination, the ODNB entry for John Webster (1611–82), and Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric, pp. 88–100 and chap. 8. 224   Stephen Zwicker, ‘England, Israel and the Triumph of Roman Virtue’, in Richard M. Popkin (ed.), Millenarianism and Messianism in English Literature and Thought 1650–1800 (Leiden, 1988), pp. 37–64; see also below, pp. 237–41, 322–5. 221


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being offered.225 The practice of students making notes on Sunday sermons and showing these to their teacher the same evening or the next day may have been fairly common in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods, but we hear less of it by the late seventeenth century, when there were fewer evangelically inclined teachers in grammar schools.226 On the horizontal axis which separated attempts to refine teaching methods in the best-endowed schools from attempts to simplify them in the average provincial school, the attitude of ‘godly’ teachers tended to depend on which type of school they were teaching in at the time. Certainly a ‘godly’ teacher like Brinsley in a small market town school could be found favouring simplified grammars and the use of translations alongside original texts; whereas a teacher like Rous, appointed to Eton in 1644, was for the most part prepared to work with the advanced system he found there. But on a vertical axis, there is a case for arguing that a ‘godly’ teacher would tend to adopt a more selective approach to classical sources, and move towards a more pragmatic and Bible-centred strategy – one which would train the next generation of biblical scholars, preachers and ‘godly’ magistrates – whereas conformist teachers continued to have a more open-ended strategy, arguably closer to that of humanists such as Erasmus, Melanchthon and Sturm, which stressed both the moral benefits and the increased aesthetic appreciation and the greater skills as an orator or author to be derived from close study of as wide a range as possible of classical poetry and prose.227 * * * Again a number of the differences described in the last few pages may become clearer if we look at a few specific cases. As we have seen, John Brinsley taught at Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire from 1600 to 1617, while the puritan patriarch Arthur Hildersham was minister there. In addition to acting as his assistant and writing an edifying treatise, The true watch, for devout adults to read, Brinsley also published a number of manuals and school texts for ‘the younger sort of teachers’ and those in charge of ‘meaner and ruder’ country schools. Like his ‘old acquaintance and good friend’ William Hayne, his enormous enthusiasm for a classical education led him to devote years to preparing and publishing translations of segments of standard school texts such as ‘Cato’, Corderius, Cicero, Ovid and Virgil. These were heavily annotated in a form which he was convinced would enable children to master them quicker than versions in   See below, pp. 254–61.   See below, pp. 283–5. 227   See below, Chapters 3–4. 225 226

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Latin alone, and so make life easier for inexperienced teachers as well as young students. Brinsley also saw authors such as Cicero as valuable in that they taught students ‘to work in themselves a greater love of virtue and hatred of vice, and to be able with soundness of reason to draw others into their opinion’. On the other hand Brinsley obviously shared the strong distaste of the ‘godly’ for ‘all filthy places in the [Latin] poets’, and in his Ludus literarius of 1612 observed that ‘It were well if there were an Index expurgatorius to purge out all the filth’ from the classical texts used in schools. He also gave only grudging approval to composing Latin verse, which was ‘rather for ornament than for any necessary use’, and avoided the plays of Terence or Plautus as far as possible, recommending instead the ‘godly’ alternative: Schonaeus’ Terentius Christianus. Like Hayne, Brinsley also put more stress on Bible study, sermon repetition, and learning Greek and Hebrew than we find in most school curricula or educational treatises of the day. On the other hand, for supplementary reading for students in the middling and upper forms he recommended a much narrower range of works than would Hoole in the 1650s and Clarke of Hull in the 1710s, and those works were also more likely to be approved Protestant authors.228 Brinsley’s near contemporary in neighbouring Lincolnshire was John Clarke, who taught in Lincoln and Fiskerton from the 1620s to the 1650s, and who has been cited above for his educational publications of an Erasmian character, which earned him the respect of other teachers, such as Thomas Horne and Charles Hoole. But Clarke had a reputation for piety as well as learning, and also published a manual for preachers (in Latin) and some sermons and edifying works (in English). He is cited again here because he seems to have been a Calvinist conformist: a firm believer in double predestination who remained in his parish during the 1640s and 1650s, though he had been prepared to accept a prebend in Lincoln cathedral in 1635. He was clearly not an easy man to deal with: he responded vigorously to criticism of his educational works; he boasted of successfully prosecuting parishioners over tithes; and he denounced sectaries in no uncertain terms in the 1640s. One of his pupils at Lincoln, the future Colonel Hutchinson, thought him ‘a supercilious pedant’, and ‘so conceited of his own pedantic forms’ and severe to his pupils that Hutchinson formed a sharp dislike of him.229

228   Brinsley, Ludus literarius, title-page, sigs *3r–4r, pp. 45, 103–21, 167–9, 174–5, 191 and passim; ODNB under John Brinsley; and see also below, Chapters 3 and 4. For the Hayne connection, see [Cicero], Certaine epistles of Tully verbally translated (1611), sig. G8r. 229   See above, pp. 102–3; Charles Garton, ‘John Clarke’s Querela Apologetica’, Humanistica Lovaniensia, xxv (1976): 261–81.


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What is interesting is that at this stage of the seventeenth century, Clarke still seems to have been able to combine a strong conviction of the benefits of a classical education with a firm Calvinist persuasion. In one of his most popular educational publications he included a dialogue between the body and spirit on death written by one of his former ushers, which was taken largely from Virgil rather than Christian sources. In a prayer manual, Holy incense for the censers of the saints, and in a treatise on preaching, Holy oyle for the lampes of the sanctuarie, he also persisted with the older approach of selecting scripture phrases, paraphrasing them if necessary, and then assembling them under headings of his choosing. And in Holy oyle and in a short Latin guide to sermon making, Oratoriae sacrae, he also persisted with the humanist stress on the benefits to a preacher of a rhetorical education, only years before radical puritans would start to denounce the use of any text but the Bible, and to condemn the man-made wisdom purveyed by schools and universities compared to the inner light given to believers.230 After Brinsley was forced out of the school at Ashby, its reputation declined, but under Samuel Shaw, who was master from 1668 to 1696 and had ‘great skill … suiting himself to the temper of boys’, that reputation was restored. Shaw attracted scholars from as far away as London, many of whom went on to careers in the Church of England. He is cited here because in the late 1650s he had briefly been a teacher, and then ordained by a presbyterian classis. Ejected in 1661, in the late 1660s he became a partial conformist, and like a number of other ejected ministers he enjoyed the backing of local gentry and clergy, and was permitted to teach without full subscription. In Shaw’s case this permission came from Archbishop Sheldon of Canterbury, and from Bishop Fuller of Lincoln, who said he was ‘glad to have so worthy a man in his diocese’. Like Brinsley, Shaw had a traditionalist’s view of the importance of mastering Latin grammar, producing no fewer than three guides to grammar. Unlike growing numbers of the ‘godly’, however, Shaw was keen on ‘interludes’ and ‘dramatic scenes’ being acted out by pupils in a ‘country school’ like his. Some of these he wrote himself and were later published. The humorous interludes were in English, but heavily dosed with Latin phrases, and intended to demonstrate the need for good government in the study of Latin grammar; the broad social stereotypes and the triumph of order at the end were moralistic rather than Christian. If not in the same league as Terence’s comedies, Shaw’s plays were at least salubrious; and they appear

  J. Clarke, Formulae oratoriae (1632), pp. 365–75; Holy oyle was first published in 1630, Holy incense in 1634. For his interesting selection of entries on ‘election’ and ‘predestinate’, see Holy oyle (1630), pp. 130–32, 308. 230

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to have gone down moderately well with proud parents as well as London publishers.231 If Clarke represents a conservative tendency among the ‘godly’ and Shaw a moderate or flexible one, we also have two examples of what was seen as the right way to teach the classics in a ‘godly’ environment which had fewer constraints than the average – one being in late seventeenthcentury New England, and the other in a mid-eighteenth-century dissenting academy in Lancashire. The first is found in Cotton Mather’s verse elegy on the teaching of Ezekiel Cheever. Cheever was a product of Emmanuel College Cambridge who had emigrated to Massachusetts in 1637 and, unusually for the time, made teaching his career rather than a staging post. With a shortage of good teachers, Cheever was much in demand in various parts of New England during a career that lasted sixty years.232 In his account, Mather evidently wished to portray Cheever as a role model for other teachers. He first describes what a dedicated and inspirational teacher Cheever was: Now Rome and Athens from their ashes rise … And in our school a miracle is wrought; For the dead languages to life are brought. His work he loved. Oh! Had we done the same.

But Mather also stressed that on every occasion pupils were left in no doubt that mastery of the classics was secondary to mastering the Bible and living a Christian life. Grammar he taught, which ’twas his work to do: But he would Hagar have her place to know.233 The Bible is the sacred grammar, where The rules of speaking well contained are.

Many of the school texts Mather then cites will feature in the following chapters, many of the copies used by Cheever’s pupils having almost certainly been imported from England. But in each case Mather’s emphasis is on the spiritual dimension or edifying material which Cheever added to those texts:


See ODNB under Samuel Shaw (1634/5–1696); Matthews, Calamy Revised,

p. 435. 232 233

  Cremin, American Education, pp. 189–91.   Grammar was the servant of theology, as Hagar was the handmaid of Sarah.


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He taught us Lily,234 and he Gospel taught; And us poor children to our Saviour brought. Master of sentences, he gave us more Than we in our Sententiae had before.235 We learned good things in Tully’s Offices;236 But we from him learned better things than these. With Cato’s he to us the higher gave Lessons of Jesus, that our souls do save.237 We construed Ovid’s Metamorphoses, But on ourselves charged, not a change to miss.238 Young Austin wept, when he saw Dido dead, Though not a tear for a lost soul he had:239 Our master would not let us be so vain, But us from Virgil did to David train.240 Textor’s Epistles241 would not clothe our souls: Paul’s too we heard; we went to school at Paul’s.242

In Mather’s eulogy we have a clear statement of what a ‘godly’ clergyman thought was the ideal way of filtering classical texts through a Christian sieve, and supplementing them where necessary by fistfuls of specifically Christian teaching.243 The second account is of the teaching of classics by Dr John Aikin in a dissenting academy in Lancashire in the mid-eighteenth century. These academies had broken away sufficiently from the grammar school system to be able to choose their own curriculum and methods of teaching, and     236   237   238   234

For Lily’s grammar, see below, pp. 129–54. Probably an allusion to Culmann’s Sententiae pueriles (below, pp. 172–6). Cicero, De officiis; below, pp. 202–6. Cato’s Disticha, below, pp. 156–62; Cato’s [lessons] is implied. The inference here seems to be to the spiritual introspection encouraged by high Calvinists: ‘we analysed the syntax of Ovid’s tales of metamorphosis, but took care not to miss changes in our own condition’. 239   Augustine (‘Austin’) was said to have been moved to tears by reading the account of Dido’s death in Virgil’s Aeneid, but is portrayed as shedding no tears for those destined to be lost souls. 240   The Psalms of David were universally popular among Protestants as a source of comfort and inspiration, and of course, worth much more than Virgil’s poetry in the eyes of the zealous. 241   Textor’s Epistolae; see below, pp. 200–201. 242   A pun: the students were reading Paul’s Epistles, but could also pretend they had been to the famous school of St Paul’s in London. 243   Note the absence of a reference to Terence, which would almost certainly have been studied in an English grammar school of this period. 235

Grammar Schools and Grammar Teachers


although the balance between classics and theology had clearly shifted towards the latter, the former were by no means ignored. One of Aikin’s students gave a detailed account of his methods of teaching Greek and Latin. ‘His choice of books was … very judicious: avoiding those authors that are usually read in schools’ (including Ovid and Terence), but choosing works ‘which bore some relation to the leading objects of their other studies’. In history, for example, he chose such passages of Herodotus as might illustrate those parts of the Old Testament which were connected with Assyria and Egypt. For those likely to have to preach at funerals or speak at memorials, he chose ‘the fine funeral orations of Thucydides, Plato and Lysias’. ‘In reading the philosophical treatises of the ancients, he enlarged so much as to render his lectures almost a second course in a varied form, of natural religion and ethics.’ But in all he did, ‘he made it a principal object incidentally to illustrate scripture-passages by the heathen writers, and to point out the superiority of Christian to heathen philosophy’.244 The Warrington experience may be regarded as the culmination of a number of trends, of which Cheever represented an intermediate phase, and all of which reflect a growing ‘godly’ determination to use the classics in a pragmatic way to bolster a truly Christian education, in which the Bible was never far away from the students’ attention. As such, it represented a different balance between classical and Christian than that found in what we know of the teaching of earlier ‘godly’ teachers such as Brinsley, Clarke and Shaw. It also represents a different kind of education from that advocated by the humanists of early Tudor England but still practised centuries later in most English grammar schools, in which the teachers stuck closer to the ideal of proceeding through a mastery of Latin grammar to inculcating an Erasmian sense of morality and encouraging a heightened aesthetic awareness of poetry and prose.

244   W. Turner, The Warrington Academy (Warrington, 1957), pp. ii–iii, 12–17; see also below, pp. 300–301.

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Chapter 3

The Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools

Boys entering the lowest form of a grammar school in early modern England spent two to three years mastering the basics of the Latin language, and beginning to read some very simple Latin texts. The first building blocks – a vocabulary of useful Latin words, and the constructions through which those words could be combined into sentences – came in the form of a Latin ‘grammar’. After they had mastered at least the opening sections of that grammar, they were exposed to some short Latin sentences and then to whole paragraphs or verses in Latin, placed either within the covers of that ‘grammar’ or in a separate text. All these texts were used not only to encourage students to speak Latin out loud and translate them into English, but also to test their ability to ‘construe’ and ‘parse’ – to divide a sentence into its component parts, and describe them in the technical terms used in their ‘grammar’. The more of the grammar they mastered, the more they were exposed to texts, of which some, such as ‘Cato’ and ‘Aesop’, were thought to date back to classical times, while others were recent works by Northern humanists committed to the campaign to raise the standard of spoken and written Latin in schools. Only when students had reached the later stages of the official grammar, read a cross-section of these elementary texts, and showed an ability to parse, construe and speak Latin fluently were they considered ready to move on to the middling or upper forms of the grammar school, to attempt more difficult linguistic techniques and more demanding materials from the classical canon, which we will consider in the next chapter. In the first part of this chapter, we will look at the two-stage grammar most often used in the lower forms of English grammar schools – the Shorte introduction of grammar and the Brevissima institutio associated with William Lily; then in the rest of the chapter we will examine the typical reading materials through which beginners were led next. In one form or another ‘Lily’s grammar’ remained the most commonly used grammar in England for over three hundred years, and helped shape the language and thought processes of generations of schoolboys – not just the poets and playwrights such as Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Milton and Dryden, but thousands of sons of the upper and middling


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

ranks who became politicians, preachers and lawyers, or simply drifted into the family’s role as provincial landlords or merchants. Yet ‘Lily’ soon attracted criticism for its complexity and its preoccupation with words and rules rather than meaning and understanding. Part One (the Shorte introduction) was very compressed and, though in English, made few concessions to young pupils who had never studied any English grammar, let alone Latin. Part Two (the Brevissima institutio) was entirely in Latin, and large parts were presented in verse, which some early modern authors (like their medieval counterparts) felt helped students to memorize those passages, but which in the case of ‘Lily’, other teachers found, actually hampered weaker students’ ability to comprehend the lists of rules and examples they contained. Moreover, by comparison with Melanchthon’s Latin grammar, which became the standard form used in Lutheran states, ‘Lily’s grammar’ was both long and complex. It deployed a much wider range of words and examples, and a higher proportion of examples from classical texts rather than scriptural, patristic or humanist sources. While the use of ‘Lily’ may have achieved what it was meant to do with able pupils taught by talented teachers with the time to monitor individual progress, its complexity and mode of presentation made it difficult for less able students to digest and very demanding for less talented or committed teachers to use effectively. The story of how ‘Lily’ continued to be used in something close to its original form in many schools, especially elite ones, while in growing numbers of provincial schools it was studied with the help of supplementary works which tried to render it comprehensible and digestible for ‘the weaker sort’, tells us much about early modern English education. It confirms how seriously early modern teachers and publishers took the task of making Latin available to as wide a range of pupils as possible, and to considerably more students than in the late Middle Ages. But it also reflects the conservatism of the authorities, of teachers and parents, despite occasional opportunities to change the system. The longer that ‘Lily’s grammar’ remained the preferred option, the more it became an anomaly: a reminder of the pre-Reformation world of Colet and Erasmus which was used right through the Edwardian and Elizabethan Reformations and the revolutions of the seventeenth century to the Evangelical Revival, the Enlightenment and beyond. It began life as a powerful force for educational change, but in many critics’ eyes became an intellectual fetter. The elementary Latin texts read by ‘young beginners’ in the late sixteenth century also remained in use for centuries, though some of them were 

  These criticisms of ‘Lily’ and traditional grammars in general are discussed below, pp. 141–3; but see also now Hannah Dawson, Locke, Language and Early-modern Philosophy (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 41–63.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


modified to facilitate student use or (to a lesser extent) to reflect changing circumstances. They too proved to be a relic of the golden age of European humanism which survived the tensions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries into the changing world of the age of Reason and Romanticism. Some of the set texts composed by humanists had a Protestant dimension, but many of the versions of classical texts and some of the supplementary humanist texts used in the lower forms of English grammar schools had been prepared by Catholic teachers; and in practice, both showed more of the humanist concern for good morals and good Latin than any confessional bias. In addition, we will see that a number of these set texts were translated into English not just for use by schoolboys, but to satisfy the curiosity of those adults with no Latin at all who wondered why the wisdom of the classics was prized so highly in schools and universities. By this means, many texts approved by humanists became available to a much wider range of readers in England than had been envisaged at the outset. * * * In order to purge written and spoken Latin of what they regarded as the ‘barbarisms’ of the Middle Ages, humanists like Valla and Vives urged the rejection of older grammatical treatises such as Alexander of Villedieu’s Doctrinale (c. 1199) and a return to the insights offered by Donatus (c. 350 AD) and Priscian (c. 500). Where scholastics had been especially concerned with precision of legal or theological expression, the prime aim of many humanist grammarians was to re-establish the norms of correct grammar and vocabulary, and to prepare students for the study of rhetoric – that is, the cultivation of elegance of expression and eloquent or persuasive speech. Hence the humanist cult of Ciceronian style, since Cicero’s writings and speeches were widely held to be the most polished of ancient Rome. Hence also the common definition of grammar as ars recte loquendi as well as recte scribendi (‘the art of correct speaking’ as well as ‘correct writing’). The ideas of Donatus and Priscian became increasingly available outside Italy through the circulation of printed copies of the educational treatises of Valla, Perottus and Sulpitius. Thus the treatise written by the first schoolmaster of Magdalen College School in the 1480s, John Ankwyll’s Compendius totius grammaticae, published at Oxford in 1483, was an abridgement of Perottus and Valla but with elements of Villedieu’s

   G.A. Padley, Grammatical Theory in Western Europe 1500–1700: The Latin Tradition (Cambridge, 1976), pp. 14–16; W. Lily, Brevissima institutio (1567), sigs Aiir, Eiir–v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Doctrinale retained. Other English scholars who had visited Florence, Rome and Venice in the 1490s included Thomas Linacre, John Colet and William Lily, who all adopted the humanist programme with enthusiasm, and their works were soon being used both in England and on the mainland of Europe. Linacre’s main grammatical treatise, De structura (published posthumously in 1524), was prescribed with Priscian in both English and Continental universities, while the first published work by Lily, his short syntax in Latin, Absolutissimus de octo orationis partium constructione libellus (1513), written at the request of Colet for use in St Paul’s and substantially revised by Erasmus, passed through almost 200 editions on the mainland of Europe during the sixteenth century. By the 1530s or 1540s many European countries had replaced their old grammars by a favoured new one, such as Despauterius’ Commentarii grammatici in Catholic France, and Melanchthon’s Grammatica Latina in Protestant Germany; these would remain the standard texts until the late seventeenth or the eighteenth century. The equivalent in England was what came to be known as ‘Lily’s grammar’, or ‘the King’s grammar’ because royal authority had commanded it to be used in all schools in England in which Latin was taught. The use of ‘one uniform method of teaching’ had already been mooted by senior churchmen in the late 1520s. In 1529 Cardinal Wolsey (who may have spent some time teaching at Magdalen College School) published a grammar for his new school at Ipswich, the text of which leant heavily on an earlier version of the grammar in use at St Paul’s; on the title-page it was described as ‘omnibus aliis totius Angliae scholis praescripta’ (‘prescribed for all other schools in the whole of England’). A much revised and augmented version of this grammar was authorized by Henry VIII in the early 1540s, on the grounds partly that previous grammars had been defective, and partly that the use of different grammars was confusing for students; and its use was confirmed by Edward and Mary, and then by Elizabeth and her successors. Royal authority was 

  Padley, Grammatical Theory: The Latin Tradition, pp. 17–18; see also ODNB under John Anwykyll.    See ODNB under John Linacre, John Colet and William Lily; C.G. Allen, ‘The Sources of “Lily’s Latin Grammar”’, The Library, 5th series, ix (1954): 87–8; Padley, Grammatical Theory: The Latin Tradition, pp. 6–7, 21–4. 

  Ibid., pp. 19–21; Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 121–4.   Vincent J. Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily, ?1468–?1523’, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 37 (1943): 104, reproduces the original royal mandate.    Rudimenta grammatices et docendi methodus (1529?), title-page (STC2 5542.3). The Convocation of Canterbury which met late in 1529 may have seen Wolsey’s grammar as fitting the bill too: Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 122–3, and vol. 2, p. 690; Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, pp. 95–7. 

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


reinforced by ecclesiastical injunctions and the canons of 1571 and 1604, and during their regular visitations most bishops and some archdeacons enquired whether teachers were using the grammar ‘set forth by authority’ or ‘known as the King’s grammar’ or ‘Master Lily’s grammar’. As we shall see, ‘Lily’ and a series of derivatives designed to facilitate its use remained much the most commonly used Latin grammar in England until the nineteenth century, so it is worth describing the men involved in composing what became the ‘King’s grammar’. In its final form this consisted of two parts, and one scholar has suggested that both parts were assembled by a committee, possibly the same men in both cases, who had examined a range of European grammars looking for the best ideas and examples. Nevertheless we can identify the major contributors: Colet and Lily for Part One, and Lily, Erasmus and Thomas Robertson for Part Two. The first and shorter part, the ‘accidence’ or ‘short introduction of grammar’, was in English, and explained the changes to which Latin words are subject, for example in gender, number, case, mood and tense, depending on how, why and when they are used. The ‘accidence’ was itself sub-divided into two main sections. The opening section or aeditio on the eight parts of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, participle, adverb, conjunction, preposition and interjection) was written by John Colet, the leading English humanist, close friend of Erasmus, Dean of St Paul’s and founder of the new school there in 1512.10 The closing section of the ‘accidence’, the Rudimenta, which described the simpler constructions in which the parts of speech were to be used correctly, and the Carmen de moribus, a long poem on manners which was added as a coda, were both written by William Lily, who had been educated first at Magdalen College Oxford under John Anwykyll, and then in Rhodes and Rome, where he probably met Colet, who later appointed him the first High Master of St

   As above, n. 6; for royal injunctions and articles and ecclesiastical queries, see the index under ‘Grammar’ of W.H. Frere and W.M. Kennedy, Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Period of the Reformation 1536–1558 (Alcuin Club Collections, xiv–xvi, London, 1910), and W.M. Kennedy, Elizabethan Episcopal Administration (Alcuin Club Collections, xxvi–xxvii, London, 1924); for the period after 1603, see the index under ‘schoolmasters, teaching of’ in the two volumes of Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church, ed. Kenneth Fincham (Church of England Record Society, vols 1 and 5, Woodbridge, 1994 and 1998), and The Anglican Canons 1529–1947, ed. Gerald Bray (Church of England Record Society, vol. 6, Woodbridge, 1998), pp. 200–201, 372–3. 

Allen, ‘The Sources of “Lily’s Latin Grammar” ’, pp. 89, 99 and 85–100 passim.   On the genesis of the ‘accidence’, see Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 94–9, vol. 2, pp. 690–701; Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, pp. 92–3, 106–8; Allen, ‘The Sources of “Lily’s Latin Grammar”’, pp. 88–90, 99; on Colet, see ODNB. 10


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Paul’s. Lily was not only in touch with Erasmus through Colet, but also became a close friend of Sir Thomas More.11 Lily was also the largest contributor to Part Two of ‘the King’s grammar’ – the Brevissima institutio, or ‘grammar’ proper – though in its final form this combined versions of half-a-dozen pieces which had been in circulation by the 1520s or 1530s but revised by the early 1540s. Apart from the first section, which was probably medieval in origin, this composite had an international flavour in that it included extensive borrowings from the grammatical writings of Linacre, Melanchthon and Despauterius, and possibly from Listrius and Aldus Manutius too.12 But the largest segments were of predominantly domestic origin. Thus the sections of rules on the genders of regular nouns (known from its opening words as Propria quae maribus) and on the declensions of verbs (known as As in praesenti) which were placed second and fourth in the ‘grammar’ were based on original Latin verses by Lily, though both were revised by Thomas Robertson. Robertson had also been a student at Magdalen, and then master of Magdalen College School from 1526 to 1534, before becoming an influential theologian in the late 1530s and early 1540s. As a conservative, he did not play much part during Edward’s reign, but he was promoted to the deanery of Durham under Mary, before ending his days as a recusant under Elizabeth. It was also Robertson who wrote the intervening third section called De nominibus Heteroclitis (‘on the declension of irregular nouns’), and much of the material in the sixth and last section of the ‘grammar’, the Prosodia, which covered accents, quantities and verse.13 The penultimate section, known as the Syntaxis or De constructione octo partium orationis (explaining how words were placed together grammatically) was probably the oldest section of all. The libellus already mentioned, originally written by Lily, then substantially revised by Erasmus and published scores of times on the mainland of Europe, comprised the bulk of this section, though in the form it was used in ‘the King’s grammar’ it was supplemented by notes made in the 1530s by a schoolteacher based in North Germany called Henry Prime. The last section of the Syntaxis – the Figurae constructio, on figures of speech –

11   As previous note, and see ODNB under Lily. The Rudimenta also shows possible borrowings from Stanbridge’s grammatical works. 12   Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, pp. 108–9; Allen, ‘The Sources of “Lily’s Latin Grammar”’, pp. 90–99. 13   As previous notes, and see ODNB under Thomas Robertson (fl. c. 1520–1561); Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, pp. 696–7, 699.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


was a composite of texts by Mosellanus, a German humanist scholar, and Listrius, a physician and friend of Erasmus.14 One other name deserves mention: David Talley had been commissioned by Henry VIII to provide the rudiments of Latin and Greek for the use of Prince Edward, but also appears to have carried out some of the revisions to the official grammar in the early 1540s mentioned above, as well as producing a Greek grammar in 1546. To judge from John Bale’s description of him as Anglus papistarum malleus, Talley at some point became a committed Protestant, and if that was earlier rather than later, he was (with Melanchthon) just about the only figure in this select body of humanists from England and the Continent who developed strong leanings towards Protestantism.15 The version of ‘the King’s grammar’ printed in 1542, with which Talley was later linked, included some material which appears more Protestant than in the earlier grammars produced in England. But it had some quite conservative features too, and as we shall see, a number of the insertions made in the 1540s were lost during the further tinkering with ‘Lily’ by unknown hands in the 1560s and 1570s.16 Some of this further tinkering may have reflected the changing conditions of the mid-sixteenth century; for example, the catechetical material in the editions of the 1540s may have become superfluous when official catechisms in English and Latin appeared (about which, more later). Other examples of tinkering were probably due to pragmatism on the printers’ part: the need either to save space or to fill up spaces left blank on the last sheet. Thus the two short essays by Erasmus which were printed at the end of the ‘grammar’ in some quarto editions up to the 1570s – one recommending the study of epistola paraenetica (‘the letter of advice’) by ancient authors such as Pliny the younger and more recent authors including Pius II, the other on how to recall what one has read – were usually left out in the octavo editions thereafter. The octavo edition of 1597 (of which the type appears to have been left standing for some time) was an exception in including these essays, perhaps because the printer needed to fill up blank spaces on the last sheet, or because the compositor was copying from an earlier edition.17


  As previous notes, and on Listrius, see Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, pp. 698–9. 15   Ibid., pp. 691–5, 699–700. 16   See below, pp. 147–52. 17   For standing type, see ‘Warning’ in STC2, vol. 2, p. 63; for compositors copying from older editions, see Ian Green, ‘“Puritan Prayer Books” and “Geneva Bibles”: An Episode in Elizabethan Publishing’, in Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, XI:3 (1998): 325, 331–2, 336.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Thereafter, the basic shape and content of ‘Lily’ remained unchanged, even when it came under scrutiny in the 1640s and 1650s,18 and apart from the diplomatic removal of the reference to ‘King’s Printer’ on the title-page in the 1650s, continued to be printed regularly.19 As we shall see, from the 1630s to the 1680s there was a surge of publications by authors offering either a complete alternative to ‘Lily’ or a major revision of it. But although these new versions were evidently well known among betterinformed teachers, some of whom wished grammar to be reorganized along much more rational lines governed by universal laws, their sales remained low. If anything, these frontal challenges provoked a defence of the status quo, including a bill in the House of Lords in 1675 to enforce the teaching of Lily’s (Latin) grammar and Camden’s (Greek) grammar in ‘free schools’.20 In 1663 Marchamont Nedham, a parliamentarian turned royalist, published a work on how to reform schools to prevent heterodoxy, in which he noted that in ‘almost … all countries’ just the one grammar was used; and in 1670 William Walker, in his loyally entitled The Royal Grammar … explained, not only confirmed this, but also insisted that in England the choice of ‘Lily’ had been made by ‘the Authority of this Nation … upon mature deliberation’.21 Nor was Walker alone in believing that most teachers, especially those with students of ‘weakest capacity’, favoured either no change at all (so that the staff could teach the new generation of pupils what they themselves had mastered a decade or two earlier) or a policy of explaining the obscurities, rectifying the mistakes and supplying the defects of the existing official grammar as part of a programme of gradual reform.22 As for parents and even students, they too remained largely conservative. In the 1690s John Locke, a strong critic of the traditional methods used in grammar schools, had to concede that for most parents, ‘it is almost religiously observed by them … [that] their children had scarce an orthodox education unless they learned Lily’s grammar’.23 Similarly, 18

  See below, pp. 141–2, 153–4.   See Wing2 L2277–80A, though Norton left on the royal coat of arms which was part of the engraved frame of the title-page, for example L2277. 20   Lords’ Journals, 12: 703. 21   Marchamont Nedham, A discourse concerning schools and schoolmasters (1663), p. 5; William Walker, The Royal Grammar, commonly called Lylly’s Grammar, explained (1670), sigs A4v–5r, A7v–8r. 22   Ibid., title-page and sig. A6r; John Twells, Grammatica Reformata (1683), p. 22; R.C., The Royal Grammar compiled formerly by Mr. William Lilly (1685), sigs A5r–6r. An effort to promote a new grammar in Convocation also did not get off the ground: E. Cardwell, Synodalia (2 vols, Oxford, 1842), pp. 674, 682. 23   The Educational Writings of John Locke: A Critical Edition, ed. J.L. Axtell (Cambridge, 1960), p. 268. 19

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


in the 1770s James Boswell’s comment on a new way of teaching Latin suggested to him by a friend was, ‘I am always afraid of new schemes of education’; and as late as the 1810s George Borrow’s father (a militia captain whose profession took him to many parts of the country) always insisted at each new school that his son ‘should be daily examined in Lily’. There are clear indications that from an early stage students were expected to memorize large chunks of ‘Lily’, especially the sections which were in verse, and by the age of ten the young Borrow had memorized every word of it, ‘repeating in a kind of sing-song-measure … the sonorous lines of the golden schoolmaster’. Later in life, Borrow admitted he did not understand much of it at the time, but added, ‘Never mind, I understand it all now, and believe that no one ever yet got Lily’s Latin Grammar by heart when young, who repented of the feat at a mature age.’24 As some later commentators noted, even ‘Lily’, like Homer, had nodded. Moreover, over the years errors of transcription from one edition to another had inevitably crept in. So when in 1732 an antiquarian, Dr John Ward, undertook a detailed comparison of the current ‘Lily’ with copies of early editions, he found the need to overhaul the text thoroughly. This version was then revised and appropriated by Eton College as the ‘Eton Grammar’ of 1758, which was widely used in provincial grammar schools by the early nineteenth century, as Carlisle found.25 The Eton variant and a version for the boys of St Paul’s (by Christopher Wordsworth, Master of Trinity) effectively prolonged the life of ‘Lily’ until the start of Victoria’s reign. Only then was it finally ousted by Kennedy’s Public School Latin Primer.26 * * * If further evidence was needed of the association in teachers’ and parents’ minds between ‘the King’s grammar’ and mastering Latin, then it can be provided by the exceptionally high levels of sales during the centuries when it remained the official grammar. For there was another body of men who had a vested interest in grammar schoolteachers using nothing but ‘Lily’ and in keeping its text as little changed as possible: the patentees to whom the licence for publishing the grammar was given, and their 24

  E.J. Kenney, ‘“A Little of it Sticks”: The Englishman’s Horace’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, p. 179. 25   On Lily ‘nodding’, see Walker, Royal Grammar, sig. A6v; on Ward’s revision and its later use, see Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, pp. 112–13; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, pp. 693–4, 697–9; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 50–51. 26   Flynn, ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, pp. 112–13; Christopher Stray, Classics Transformed: Schools, Universities, and Society in England, 1830–1960 (Oxford, 1998), pp. 56, 97.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

partners and assigns. Production of the Edwardian editions was entrusted to a man whom the young king permitted to be described as ‘our well beloved subject Reyner Wolfe, our Printer of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew’. By 1573 the patent had passed to Elizabeth’s ‘well beloved subject Francis Flower’, by 1597 to John Battersby, and by 1603 to the Norton family, who held it throughout the seventeenth century.27 In case there was any doubt about his monopoly of production, Wolfe placed on the 1549 titlepage the legend ‘Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum’. The profits to be made from the official grammar were soon considerable: when Flower assigned his patent to six partners in 1574, he was paid £100 a year for it; and as we saw in Chapter 1, by the 1620s this figure had risen to £300 a year, before falling back to £240, perhaps as competition from the university presses kicked in.28 The records of the Stationers’ Company reveal periodic attempts by the Stationers to secure sole printing of the royal grammar, and also provide clear evidence of regular attempts by the patentees and assignees to protect their monopoly from jealous rivals, and to secure punishment for unauthorized printings. The patentees also tried to fend off or come to terms with the publishers of those supplementary texts intended either to make ‘Lily’ easier to use by the average grammar school boy or to replace it altogether.29 As we saw in Chapter 2, the expansion of grammar teaching in England was well under way by the late sixteenth century, both in endowed ‘free’ grammar schools and in fee-paying private schools, and one would have expected growing demand for the official grammar, not least because, being flimsier than Bibles or larger textbooks, copies were less likely to survive two to three years’ daily wear and tear, to be passed on from one student to another.30 By 1587, such was the demand that the Stationers’ Company allowed the patentee to produce four double impressions of 2500 copies 27   The complex bibliographical history of ‘Lily’s grammar’ is well explained in STC2, vol. 2, pp. 62–4, and vol. 3, p. 98. 28   See above, pp. 34, 36–7. 29   See W.W. Greg, A Companion to Arber (Oxford, 1967), index under ‘accidence’ and ‘grammar’; Don F. McKenzie and Maureen Bell (eds), A Chronology and Calendar of Documents Relating to the London Book Trade (3 vols, Oxford, 2005), name index under William Lilly [sic] and Thomas Farnaby, and topic index under ‘accidence’, ‘grammar’ and ‘Short introduction of grammar’. There were challenges to the Norton patent in the early 1640s: see ibid., vol. 1, pp. 326, 328–9; see also below, pp. 141–2, and Wing2 L2274F, 2274G and 2275 for the new imprint used in 1641–42: ‘by the printers of London for the good of the Common wealth’. But the Nortons soon emerged triumphant: ibid., L2276, 2277, and so on. 30   For examples of copies where there may be two names inscribed on the cover, see the 1574 ‘Lily’ in the Bodleian (Selden 8o L. 14. Th) and the 1592–94 copy in Christ Church, perhaps signed by the brothers Ralph Burton in 1595 and Robert Burton in 1598.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


each year – that is, 10 000 copies each of the ‘accidence’ and the ‘grammar’ (though they did limit any extra editions in the same year to the normal print run of 1250 copies).31 By the late 1590s another indication of high demand was the decision taken to permit the typeface to remain standing between editions (as opposed to the usual practice of breaking it up to ensure work for other printers when another edition was needed); ‘standing formes’ were normally permitted only for psalters and ABCs, which were always in high demand.32 As a result, we cannot rely on fresh title-pages with new dates between c. 1597 and c.1607 (and perhaps at other times too) indicating completely or even largely new editions of ‘Lily’. In the 1620s and 1630s, however, demand was still buoyant enough for the university printers at Cambridge and Oxford to be anxious to secure a share of the profits; and it may have been a couple of editions in the early 1620s by the university printers at Cambridge (perhaps taking advantage of the temporary dislocation brought about by the patent being taken into the English Stock in 1619) that led to the temporarily unsold copies in 1624 noted above. Certainly the round figures of 3000 unsold copies of the ‘accidence’ and 4000 of the ‘grammar’ suggest recently produced runs, yet to be distributed to booksellers.33 If we can believe the testimony of a disgruntled London bookseller, Michael Sparke, who in his Scintilla, or a light broken into darke warehouses (published in 1641) denounced all monopolies in books, the patentees in London were issuing ‘a yearly impression of 20,000’ of the official grammar (presumably four double impressions of the two parts). Moreover, while Oxford and Cambridge copies of ‘Lily’ were sold at 5d., the monopolists in London, even when they were buying in copies printed by other producers, sold them at 8d., thus boosting their profits by £250 a year.34 Even at an average annual rate of only 6000 copies each (which became the norm for ‘privileged books’),35 production of the official grammar between the 1580s and the 1630s could have been well over half a million copies; at the higher rate of 10 000 each, the total would have been well over a million. In Chapter 2 it was stressed how hard it was to calculate the numbers of grammar schools. But if we estimate that by 1640 there were about 300–400 endowed schools in operation, and half as many private schools, all taking in, say, 10–20 new boys each year, this would

31   A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London: 1554–1640, ed. Edward Arber (4 vols, London, 1875–77, and Birmingham 1894), vol. 2, pp. 23, 883. 32   STC2, vol. 2, pp. 63–4 (esp. under 15623); Greg, Companion, p. 95. 33   See above, pp. 37–8. 34   Sparke, Scintilla, p. 5. 35   Greg, Companion, p. 95.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

have created a potential demand for 4500–12 000 copies of Part One of ‘Lily’ that year, and similar demand for Part Two a year or more later.36 Although the lucky patentees must have regarded ‘the King’s grammar’ primarily as a steady source of income, there are signs of occasional efforts to improve its appearance and usefulness. By the late 1560s a major new section had been appended to editions of the ‘grammar’ published in England: a helpful glossary of all the Latin words it contained.37 Then, if we compare Wolfe’s quartos of the 1560s with Francis Flower’s octavo editions from 1574, we find that in the latter the patentee (or his assigns) had added helpful headings in the margins or the text so that students could quickly find the section they wanted, and even added in the margins a number of extra examples of the grammatical points being made in the body of the original text. He also used more lavish woodcuts for the capital letters, and allowed much more space on each page for the text: this extra space meant the number of contractions in the cramped quarto of 1567 was considerably reduced, and also made it easier for master or student (if they wished) to mark copies to help comprehension and assimilation. In addition, the Flower version improved the layout of the tables, and standardized the spelling and capitalization in places, replacing ‘mode’ by ‘mood’ for example.38 By the late 1590s the patentee or his assigns had added several extra Latin ‘graces’ for students to use before and after meals.39 Then, in the early seventeenth century, a ‘Printer’s advertisement’ was inserted at the start to inform readers that ‘for the greater profit and ease both of master and scholar’ a system of superscript letters and numbers had been added to link grammatical rules and examples, and the ‘sum’ of each rule had been set down clearly in the text or margin, ‘so that they may be chained together briefly, and make perfect sense’. Any errors in these innovations, ‘future impressions will (God willing) amend’. Meanwhile, readers were told, ‘use it, and finding the benefit, be thankful to the Lord’.40 36

  See above, pp. 64–5. In some cases boys could have shared a copy or received a hand-me-down; conversely, this calculation omits boys and girls receiving private tuition. 37   This was an expanded version of one which had appeared in the 1520s: STC2, vol. 2, p. 63 and 15607. 38   This is based on a comparison of the 1574 edition in the Bodleian (STC2 15617) and the 1567 copy in the Folger, reproduced in A Shorte Introduction of Grammar by William Lily, ed. Vincent J. Flynn (Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, New York, 1945). 39

  This enlarged the choice to seven graces before a meal, and six after it: [Lily], A shorte introduction of grammar (1597), sigs E7v–8r. In 1547 the authorities intervened at the conservative Winchester College to ban Latin graces of a clearly traditional kind: Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 457. But Latin graces of a more neutral kind apparently remained standard in many schools and colleges. 40   [Lily], A shorte introduction of grammar (1633), sigs A6 r–v.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


Nor was the patentees’ interest confined to the standard text of ‘the King’s grammar’, for they regularly tried to exert control over any derivative works whose authors wished to incorporate ‘Lily’ into their own texts. The two most striking examples of this development were written by teachers who began work in less well-known schools. The first was Lilies rules construed by William Hayne, a Cambridge graduate and grammar teacher from 1585 who, some time after his book appeared, rose to become headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ in 1599. Hayne provided not only an English translation of those key sections of Part Two of the original ‘grammar’ which were most commonly memorized, but also an extended exercise in construing – that is, analysing the syntax of the Latin verses in which Lily and Robertson had set out their rules. The first edition of which we know is dated 1603, but is described as ‘The ninth edition, corrected and amended’. Moreover, whereas this was published by Thomas Dawson, the 25 further editions of which traces survive during the seventeenth century were all published by the Norton family, using their full title of ‘King’s Printer in Latin, Greek and Hebrew’. In Hoole’s view, Hayne’s work made the mastering of ‘Lily’ both easier and quicker for tens of thousands of students, and so popular did it become that in many cases copies of the original text and Hayne’s supplement were bought as a pair, as in 1673, when the Brewers’ Company sent a package of books to their school at Aldenham in Hertfordshire which included ‘6 grammars with construing books’.41 Similarly, in The treatise of the figures at the end of the rules of construction in the Latin grammar construed, the Kentish schoolmaster and minister John Stockwood translated into English and construed the Figurae constructiones to help ‘the weaker sort in the grammar schools’ grasp some of the basics of rhetoric. Over twenty editions of this Treatise were published between 1609 and 1731, all by the Norton family.42 Other seventeenth-century authors also tried to provide translations or paraphrases of the complete ‘grammar’, though most of these either were sufficiently different from the original to avoid the patentee’s grasp, or they did not sell well enough to trouble the Norton dynasty. Two influential examples of the former were John Brinsley’s The posing of the parts, subtitled ‘a most plain and easy way of examining the accidence and grammar’, and Charles Hoole’s The common accidence examined and explained. Both of these were based on ‘Lily’ – Brinsley tackled both parts, Hoole on this occasion just Part One – but both transformed the original by turning 41   See ODNB under William Hayne; the total of editions is based on STC2, vol. 2, p. 64 (under 15633.4–33.8) and ESTC; C. Hoole, Catonis disticha de moribus (1708), sigs A7v–8r; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 296; The History and Register of Aldenham School, ed. E. Beevor et al. (2nd edn, 1938), p. xxxv. 42   See ODNB and ESTC under John Stockwood; see also above, pp. 102, 111.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

each sentence of the original into a question-and-answer format. This was not revolutionary: the same format had been used in treatises based on Donatus’ Ars grammatica, such as parts of Despauterius’ grammar; and in England students would have become familiar with it when learning the basic English catechism, mastery of which was a precondition of admission to many grammar schools. Both Brinsley and Hoole also modified and, where necessary, added material to ‘Lily’ to aid comprehension of the original. Brinsley’s work passed through at least 15 editions between 1612 and 1687; Hoole’s did even better, selling perhaps twenty editions between 1656 and 1700 and another dozen in the eighteenth century.43 Examples of works which were quite close to ‘Lily’ but did not sell well enough to attract much attention from the Nortons were Thomas Caudry’s Examination of the accidence (a single edition, in 1606), Thomas Granger’s Syntagma grammaticum (again only one edition, in 1616) and Charles Hoole’s earlier venture, The Latine grammar fitted for the use of schools (a translation and selective revision of the Brevissima institutio which sold six editions between 1651 and 1670). Hoole’s title-page stated that in this revision, ‘the words of Lily’s Grammar are (as much as might be) retained; many errors thereof amended; many needless things left out; many necessaries that were wanting, supplied’. For this, Hoole used what became his standard technique of an English text on the left-hand page and its Latin equivalent on the right-hand one – in this case, his amended version of ‘Lily’.44 Between them the supplementary texts of Hayne, Stockwood, Brinsley and Hoole may have passed through nearly a hundred editions between the 1590s and the 1730s, and in so doing went some way towards achieving their authors’ aims of providing ‘young beginners’ and ‘the weaker sort in the grammar schools’ (whom all these authors had encountered during their early teaching careers), and even the occasional autodidact, with the means of saving a year or more of the time normally taken to master the rules in the official grammar, especially those in Latin verse in the Brevissima institutio. * * *


  For further details and possible editions, see ESTC under Brinsley and Hoole.   STC2 4867; 12183; Wing2 H2684–87A; Hoole, The Latine grammar (1651), titlepage and passim. The Nortons laid claim to the works by Caudry, Granger and several others, but did not publish new editions where previous ones had not sold: see the titles listed in STC2, vol. 3, p. 98, and McKenzie and Bell, Documents Relating to the London Book Trade, vol. 1, p. 606, and compare these with the equivalents in ESTC. 44

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


The official status given to ‘Lily’s grammar’ by the Crown in the 1540s and reinforced by the patentees had contrary results. On the one hand, by enshrining the humanist ideas of the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century it marked a break with the grammar teaching of the high Middle Ages. But on the other it unwittingly froze grammatical theory and practice at that point, and made it difficult for those teachers and theorists who were so minded to incorporate improvements or the new ideas which emerged thereafter. It also froze the content of ‘Lily’ in such a way that many of its pre-Reformation features survived into the very different context of the post-Enlightenment world. The reaction against Aristotelian ideas which is evident in the writings of Peter Ramus had less impact on the teaching of grammar than of logic and rhetoric. Such impact as there was was felt mainly in Britain, but that too was limited. Ramus’ Latin grammar was published in London and Cambridge in 1585; a couple of supporters tried to apply his formal criteria to the study of the English language, and there were a few related attempts to combine Ramistic and more traditional ideas; finally some English authors later became familiar with the ideas of Ramus through the writings of his follower Sanctius.45 In the mid- and late seventeenth century, the stress in Comenius’ writings on the need for comprehension of what was being taught had rather more impact, but only at the lower levels, as in the third form of Hoole’s schools.46 A trickle of critics did try to challenge the use of ‘Lily’ frontally. In 1622, for example, Joseph Webbe published a manifesto seeking support for his alternative method of teaching Latin grammar, and the next year he petitioned parliament for support.47 In 1633 John Clarke of Lincoln published Dux grammaticus – a Latin grammar with pre-Lily, Whittingtonian elements such as model sentences and dialogues.48 And in 1641 Thomas Farnaby, who had been encouraged by the Privy Council of Charles I to draw up a Latin grammar ‘more brief and useful’ than that currently taught in schools, petitioned the House of Lords for permission to publish his Systema grammaticum.49 In the half-century from the 1640s 45

  Padley, Grammatical Theory: The Latin Tradition, p. 93; J. Holmes, A new grammar of the Latin tongue (11th edn, 1777), p. xii; see also next paragraph below. 46   See ODNB under Thomas Horne, and Hezekiah Woodward (on William Brookes); Hoole, New discovery, pp. 65, 79, and Wing2 C5523–26 for Hoole’s edition of Comenius’ Orbis sensulaium pictus ‘for the use of young Latin-scholars’. See also Mitchell, Grammar Wars, chap. 2; Dawson, Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy, pp. 50–51. 47   See ODNB under Joseph Webbe; STC2, vol. 2, p. 443; Vivian Salmon, ‘An Ambitious Printing Project of the Early Seventeenth Century’, The Library, 5th ser., 16 (1961): 190–96. 48   STC2 5354–54.3 and Wing2 C4467A–67aA; see also above, pp. 102–3. 49   Greg, Companion to Arber, pp. 84, 275–6; McKenzie and Bell, Documents Relating to the London Book Trade, vol. 1, p. 19; Wing2 F464.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

to the 1680s well over a dozen more works were published, either complete alternatives to or significant revisions of ‘Lily’, works such as William Dugard’s English rudiments of the Latin tongue (1656), Christopher Wase’s Methodi practicae specimen (1660), the anonymous Synopsis of Lillies Grammar (1675) and John Twells’s Grammatica reformata (1683).50 Some of these authors were clearly familiar with the work of Continental grammarians such as Sanctius, Scoppius and Vossius, as well as the more advanced efforts of English authors. Twells contrasted the work of the ‘Old Grammarians’, who in England followed ‘Lily’, and the ‘New Grammarians’ who wanted to create a ‘perfect system’, based on the ‘truer principles’ adopted abroad.51 But as R.C. pointed out in his revision of ‘Lily’ – The Royal Grammar (1685) – there were practical problems with the ‘philosophical projectors’ call for ‘an absolute universal alteration’, in that their supporters had pitched their material too high for the capacity of the average student and of many of their teachers. Faced by calls for sudden adoption of a new system they did not understand, most teachers favoured ‘the reviving of Old Lilly … in a more modish dress’.52 As a result of conservatism at the top and caution lower down the education ladder, most of these calls for serious change, like the Webbe manifesto and the Farnaby Systema before them, did not get past a first edition. On the other hand, selective revisions and new translations or re-workings of ‘Lily’ stood a much better chance of selling, since from a teacher’s standpoint they offered the double benefit of dealing with familiar material and avoiding the charge of subverting the official grammar.53 Although critics at this time rightly pointed out the discrepancy between the methods commonly adopted in England and those adopted abroad to teach students of Latin, and within England the difference between ways of teaching Greek and French compared to Latin, the theory and practice of Latin grammar tended to change much less in England than they might have done.54 50   Perhaps nine editions of the Dugard (Wing2 D2464–65B and ESTC for 1706 and 1731 editions) and nine of the Wase (Wing2 W1019–22 and ESTC for 1709 and 1731) were published; but only two of the Synopsis (Wing2 L2304D) and one of the Twells (T3994A). 51   C. Wase, Methodi practicae specimen (1660), sigs A7r–v; anon., A synopsis of Lillies Grammar (2nd edn, Oxford, 1675), p. 9; J. Twells, Grammatica reformata (1683), title-page and pp. 17–19, 21–6; his distinction between old and new grammarians (p. 19) was borrowed from Walker, Royal Grammar, sig. A8r, and was used in turn by R.C. two years later. 52   R.C., The Royal Grammar (1685), sigs A5v –6r , and see A3r–A6v generally. 53   See above pp. 138, 141, and also G.A. Padley, Grammatical Theory in Western Europe: Trends in Vernacular Grammar, vol. I (Cambridge, 1985), pp. 147–8; compare the works listed there with repeat editions in ESTC. 54   Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A5r–B3r; Educational Writings of John Locke, ed. Axtell, pp. 266–7, 277–8; John Clarke, A dissertation upon the usefulness of translations of classick authors (1734), p. 10 and passim.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


It was only in the second and third quarters of the eighteenth century that alternatives to ‘Lily’ began to sell steadily. In 1706 Richard Johnson, master of a private school in Kensington, issued a detailed critique of ‘the falsities, obscurities, redundancies, and defects of Lilly’s system now in use’, and offered the basis for a replacement: Grammatical commentaries. Proof sheets secured testimonials from some leading teachers of the day, but outraged others, two of whom replied in print; there was only one reissue of Johnson’s work, in 1718.55 Two other alternatives did much better straight away. John Clarke of Hull, another stout critic of current methods of teaching Latin, published An introduction to the making of Latin, sub-titled ‘the substance of the Latin syntax’, to complement the many Latin-and-English versions of standard school texts which he also prepared. The Introduction appears to have passed through over twenty editions in London, York and elsewhere in England between 1721 and 1773, as well as editions in Dublin and Edinburgh. His New grammar of the Latin tongue, ‘comprising all the art necessary for grammar-schools’, passed through five editions between 1733 and 1767, despite prompting attacks by traditionalists like Thomas Ruddiman.56 John Holmes composed his New grammar of the Latin tongue, ‘freed from the many obscurities, defects, superfluities, and errors which render the Common Grammar an insufferable impediment to the progress of education’, for use at Gresham’s School at Holt in Norfolk. He devoted a dozen pages of the published version to criticisms of existing ways of teaching Latin grammar made by a score of teachers and theorists from the 1640s to the 1720s, many of them teachers working in urban schools such as Hull, Norwich, Newcastle and Nottingham. Perhaps this was where Holmes’s grammar found a niche, for it passed through 13 editions between the 1730s and the 1780s.57 Even then, the case for using a single approved grammar had not died. If anything, it was reinforced in the first half of the nineteenth century by those teachers in the major public schools and leading churchmen who equated the case for abolishing the official grammar with the subversive agenda of radicals and atheists. Only in the late nineteenth century would those conservatives finally be defeated.58


  See ODNB under Richard Johnson (1656/7–1721).   See ODNB under John Clarke (c. 1687–1734), ESTC for publications, and above, p. 103. 57   Holmes, New grammar of the Latin tongue, title-page and pp. i–xii; see ESTC for editions. 58   Christopher A. Stray, ‘Paradigms of Social Order: The Politics of Latin Grammar in 19th-century England’, The Henry Sweet Society Newsletter 13 (1989): 15–20; Stray, Classics Transformed, parts 1 and 2. 56


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

* * * Another aspect of ‘Lily’ which was frozen in time in the 1540s was its content. Despite the temptation to associate humanism with the invention of a modern liberal arts education, the official Latin grammar used in England for three centuries was and remained a very authoritarian document. Moreover, despite the changes wrought by new geographical discoveries, and the rise of new empires and new patterns of trade, industry and scientific thought in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, its content remained fixed in the archaic world of ancient Greece and Rome. And despite being written and used in the era of heightened spiritual awareness that spawned Catholic and Protestant reformations and evangelical revivals, its content was and remained overwhelmingly secular and pagan. It was an authoritarian text not just because of its royal backing and ecclesiastical support, or because its authors reflected that vein of humanist thought which saw Latin grammar as the product of usage or custom and humanist grammarians as the best custodians of the purest Latin. It exuded authority also because of the language of law used by its authors. Its text was dominated by ‘rules’, ‘concords’, ‘rules of agreement’ and ‘rules of government’; and although there were endless exceptions to these rules, it was held to be vital for the student to accept and memorize both the norms and the approved exceptions.59 There was an old tradition of grammatical disputations between students in schools, and from the late sixteenth century we also find students at Oxford and the Inner Temple performing ‘grammar plays’ – mild parodies of ‘Lily’ which nevertheless reinforced the point of the overwhelming need for order in the use of language.60 We can gain some sense of how a teacher wished his students to regard the workings of the grammatical state from a satirical play, written for his students to perform publicly in the late 1670s, by Samuel Shaw, the exPresbyterian teacher in Leicestershire whom we encountered in Chapter 2. There were two plays in his Words made visible (1679), of which the first was subtitled ‘Grammar accommodated to the lives and manner of men’. In it there is a very clear hierarchy, with King Syntaxis at the top, supported by his Lords Commissioners and Attorney, pursuing the eight parts of speech who are staying with the Lord Lieutenant, ‘Gymnasiarches’ (that is, the schoolteacher). The verbs are represented by nobles, nouns by knights, pronouns by gentlemen, participles by yeomen, adverbs by husbandmen, 59   See almost any edition of A shorte introduction and Brevissima institutio for the use of these terms, and the precepts in the preface ‘To the reader’ in the former for the stress on each student mastering the ‘concords’ and continually rehearsing them. 60   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 8, 182n; McDowell, English Radical Imagination, p. 132.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


conjunctions by tradesmen, prepositions by labourers, and interjections by beggars. Each group has very different traits, and in turn is challenged by the king’s commissioners for some breach of the law, act of treason or subversion of the authority of King Syntaxis. They are then reminded that such rebellion could lead to a ‘confusion of languages’ of Old Testament proportions, but there is a predictably happy outcome in that a ‘happy civil union’ is established between the king and his subjects through the wise accommodations suggested by the king’s commissioners.61 Grammar was here still being publicly presented as a paradigm of political stability and social harmony. The text of ‘Lily’ was also in a literal sense archaic. Since the prime function of ‘the King’s grammar’ was to facilitate the mastery of the best forms of Latin writing and speech, and to prepare students to read classical texts in the middling and upper forms, it was predictable that the vocabulary and examples used were drawn overwhelmingly from the ancient world. Proper names in the Propria quae maribus were exemplified by the names of gods – ‘Mars, the god of battle, Bacchus, the god of wine, and Apollo, the god of wisdom’ – and goddesses – ‘Juno, the wife of Jupiter, and Venus the goddess of beauty’ – or of significant places in the Mediterranean, such as cities, rivers and sacred sites.62 Gender was taught through the words used by ancient Romans for trees, animals, parts of the body, and household objects, no matter how banal or ill-assorted these might be. Here is a couplet from one of Robertson’s verses on irregular nouns: Sunt dubii generis, cardo, margo, cinis, obex, Pulvis, adeps, forceps, pumex, ramex, anas, imbrex.

(These [nouns] are of uncertain gender: the hinge of a door, the rim of anything, ashes, the bolt of a door, / dust, fatness, a pair of tongs, a pumice stone, a duck or drake, a gutter tile.)63 To prepare students for their first acquaintance with authentic classical texts, they were soon being exposed in ‘Lily’ to tempting references to the most famous authors, as in ‘Cicero oratorum eloquentissimus’ (‘Cicero, the most eloquent of orators’) and ‘Lego Virgilum, prae quo caeteri poetae 61   S. Shaw, Words made visible (1679), title-page, sigs A2r–v, and pp. 1, 22, 91, and pp. 1–92 passim; for modern comment on Shaw, see Dawson, Locke, Language and EarlyModern Philosophy, pp. 52, 58, 60. 62   Most of the following examples are taken from the 1567 edition of A shorte introduction and Brevissima institutio reproduced in Flynn’s 1945 edition (see above, n. 38) and English additions or translations are mostly from William Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed (1702): Brevissima institutio, sig. Aviv, and Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 1. 63   Brevissima institutio, sigs Aviv–viiv, Bviv; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 1–4, 9.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

sordent’ (‘I read Virgil, beside whom other poets are of small account’); and in the later stages of the Brevissima institutio they were presented with increasing numbers of illustrative examples consisting of short sentences in Latin or one-line quotations, some by humanist authors, but many by Terence, Ovid, Cicero, Plautus, Juvenal, Horace and many others. The Syntaxis in particular, which had been drafted by Lily and heavily revised by Erasmus, was stuffed with such citations.64 Two points deserve to be made here. First, it was the emphasis on the use of sentences taken from the best classical authors which was one of the main differences between ‘Lily’s grammar’ and the earlier grammars and phrasebooks prepared by Englishmen like Stanbridge and Whittington who had coined their own examples, sentences which were in many cases frowned on by purists like Ascham.65 Secondly, as Lily stressed in his Carmen de moribus, these sentences were intended to provide material for the first entries in the commonplace-book which students in most schools were encouraged to keep from a very early stage of their education, so that they would always have to hand a supply of sentences which were exemplary both in style and content.66 A limited proportion of these sentences had direct relevance to students’ own lives or experience. In elegant Latin, they were urged to work diligently, reverence their elders and obey their parents. Ovid was cited to show that ‘ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes emoliit mores nec finit esse feros’ (‘to learn the liberal arts faithfully softens men’s manner and stops them from being brutish’).67 There was the occasional reference to an English city such as Canterbury and York alongside scores of Mediterranean ones, and even a brief mention of a current king. The example of an ablative absolute in the 1549 version was ‘Vivat Edouardus sextus, quo rege, perpetua felix est Britannia’ (‘Long may Edward VI live, who being king, all England is still for ever happy’), though by 1557 this had been replaced by ‘Quantus erat Iulius Caesar, quo imperatore, Romani primum Britannium ingressi sunt’ (‘How worthy a man was Julius Caesar, under whose conduct the Romans first entered into Britain’) (later editions all retained this example).68 64   A shorte introduction, sig. Cviiv; Brevissima institutio, sig. Eiiiv; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 41; Brevissima institutio, sigs Eiir–Givr. 65   Mary T. Crane, Framing Authority: Sayings, Self and Society in Sixteenth-Century England (Princeton, NJ, 1993), pp. 82–3. 66   Ibid., pp. 86–7; Moss, Printed Commonplace-books, pp. 1–2, 83–94, 215–16. 67   Brevissima institutio, sig. Eiiv; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 38. A number of Norton editions of ‘Lily’ in the seventeenth century contained a representation of the seven liberal arts on the title-page. 68   A shorte introduction (1549), sig. Cviiir; (1577), pp. 39–40, and (1567) sig. Cviv; for English cities, see ibid., sigs Eiiir, Fivv (x2).

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


Since ancient authors had written primarily for adults, however, the extracts from their works inevitably reflected adult as well as ancient attitudes. There was cynicism, as in Ovid’s statement that ‘you shall have many friends as long as you are prosperous’.69 There were many references to falling in and out of love and the wiles of Cupid, and some frank remarks about naked lovers; and Cicero was quoted as saying that the desire to copulate for procreation’s sake was common to all living creatures.70 There was ennui – ‘I am weary of life’, ‘I am weary of wedlock’ – and the occasional piece of political wisdom, as in Virgil’s assertion that ‘the duty of a king is to spare the weak and keep down the proud’.71 (One must remember that the ‘King’s grammar’ was composed at a time when the prime model for humanist imitation, both linguistic and cultural, was the Rome of the late republic and the early empire – not Periclean Athens or the early republic, but the age of Cicero and Augustus.72) There were references to the temples of Diana and Vesta, to the penates (the household gods) and the bacchanalia (rites of Bacchus), to fortuna, as in Persius’ ‘ignavus precibus fortuna repugnat’ (‘fortune rejects slothful prayers’), and to the importance of winning renown through outward virtue, as in Cicero’s boast: ‘Ego meis maioribus virtute praeluxi’ (‘I have excelled my ancestors in virtue’).73 What there was not was much sign of a recognition that these sentences were being read in a Christian school as part of an avowedly Christian education. One obvious exception to this claim was the insertion of a role for ‘God’ into the section near the start of the ‘accidence’ on the optative mood, which expresses a wish: ‘The optative wisheth or desireth, with these signs, “would God”, “I pray God”, or “God grant”.’74 There were also a handful of occasions on which Christian examples were used to make a grammatical point, to which we will come shortly. But the disparity between pagan materials and Christian context was actually increased by some changes in ‘the King’s grammar’ between the 1540s and the 1560s which deserve more attention than they have received. Essentially they 69

  Brevissima institutio, sig. Eiiir ; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 39.   Brevissima institutio, sigs Bviir, Eiiv, Evr, Eviv, Eviir; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 10, 38, 47, 51, 54; even the ‘godly’ Stockwood left in amorous examples: The treatise of the figures (1713) sigs A7r, B8r. 71   Brevissima institutio, sig. Eiiir; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 39. 72   J.R. Milton, ‘“Delicate Learning”, Erudition and the Enterprise of Philosophy’, in Jill Kraye and M.W.F. Stone (eds), Humanism and Early Modern Philosophy (London, 2000), pp. 159–60, 168. 73   Brevissima institutio, sigs Eivr, Fvir, Bviiv, Bviiir, Eviiiv (twice); Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 42, 77, 12, 13, 58, 59. 74   Brevissima institutio, sigs Biiv, Bvv and elsewhere. 70


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involved the modification in the 1540s of some Catholic catechetical material which had been placed in the early humanist grammars in use in England from the 1510s to the 1530s, and then the removal of most of that modified material by the 1570s. For the first boys admitted to St Paul’s c. 1512, John Colet wrote a ‘catechyzon’ which they had to memorize. This consisted of several items in English – the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Ten Commandments, the Seven Sacraments, and a series of three prayers on love of God, self and one’s neighbour; these were followed by ‘Precepts of living’ (in English only), and then the Creed, Lord’s Prayer and Ave, all in Latin this time, and two new prayers in Latin, one to the Virgin Mary, and one ‘ad puerum Jesum’ (‘to the young Christ’). The inclusion of the prayers to Mary, and the statement at the start of the section on the sacraments that ‘I believe also that by the seven sacraments of the church cometh great grace to all that taketh them accordingly’, confirm that this is orthodox Catholic material. Nor was the decision to include such material in a grammar confined to England: in the composite edition of Despauterius’ different treatises, known as the Commentarii grammatici, which was widely used in early modern France from the 1530s, we find a series of questions and answers on penitence, sin and confession by Despauterius himself, plus the Creed and Decalogue in Latin, and a series of standard formulae such as the five precepts of the Church, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, eight beatitudes, four cardinal virtues, and so on. As late as 1539, Colet’s catechetical material was still being reprinted in London as the opening section of Paules accidence – that is, the ‘accidence’ then in use at St Paul’s.75 By comparison, what we find in an early version of ‘the King’s grammar’ in 1542 is a mixture of some material with a distinctly Catholic flavour and some with a more Protestant character.76 One change made by the editor or editors of An introduction of the eyght partes of speche published in 1542, 1543, 1544 and 1546 was to leave out the English version of the credal material and the prayers in English which Colet had provided at the start of his ‘accidence’, and instead, at the end of the new ‘accidence’, to use a version in elegant Latin verse of much the same material, which Erasmus had composed at Colet’s request for use by the boys of St Paul’s. Thus for much of the 1540s the official grammar included Christiani hominis institutum per Erasmum Roterodamum, which provided a version 75   J.H. Lupton, A Life of John Colet (1909), pp. 286–90; [J. Colet], Paules accidence (1539), sigs Aiir–viv; Despauterius, Commentarii grammatici (Paris, 1537), pp. 19–21, and (Lyon, 1563), pp. 22–5. 76   [Lily], An introduction of the eyght partes of speche (1542) (STC2 15610.6), sigs Fiiv–ivr, Iiir–vr.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


in Latin verse of the Creed, a discussion of all seven sacraments, and brief treatments of love of self and of one’s neighbour, and of confession, illness and death.77 By contrast, another change made by the editors was to replace Colet’s ‘precepts of living’ (also at the start of his ‘accidence’) with some ‘godly lessons for children’ (in the middle of the new ‘accidence’) which were different from Colet’s ‘precepts’ in a number of ways. First, each lesson was given in both English and Latin: ‘It is the first point of wisdom to know thyself. Primus est sapientiae gradus, teipsum noscere.’ Secondly, where Colet’s precepts had been a mixture of piety or devotion and morality, offering a pointed message in a few words, for example ‘Fear God … Subdue thy sensual appetites … Flee foul language’, the ‘godly lessons’ were much longer and more complex. Thirdly, in the opening half of the ‘godly lessons’, most examples were taken directly from the Bible. This use of texts from the Bible and in the vernacular as well as Latin might well have been a Protestant initiative, though one should note that the texts chosen were not controversial, and the Latin versions of them were taken from the ‘Vulgate’ translation of St Jerome.78 Fourthly, in the second half of the ‘godly lessons’ there were some parallels with Colet’s advice to students when they were told to be subject to the king, reverence their elders, help the weak and poor, and avoid drinking wine and sporting gay garments. But, as we will find with many humanist-inspired school texts, some of these ‘lessons’ had a classical rather than a Protestant ring: ‘It is true honour to be worshipped for virtue’, and ‘It is true glory to be well reported for virtue’; ‘there is no stronger defence than faithful friends’ and ‘friendship is the spice of life’.79 In the ‘King’s grammar’ of 1549 we find another variant. The mixture of classical and scriptural sources in the ‘godly lessons for children’ remained in the middle of the ‘accidence’, but at the end the Veni creator (the Latin canticle which Colet insisted his students at St Paul’s sing each morning) was added as a Carmen sive canticum matutinam in schola (song or morning canticle for school). Erasmus’ Latin verses on credal material (which by then were being widely used elsewhere in Europe) were replaced by new versions in Latin verse of the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed and Ten Commandments, though the division of the Decalogue in Exodus 20:1–17 77   As previous note, and see John B. Gleason, John Colet (Berkeley, CA, 1989), pp. 230–31. 78   Jerome’s commentaries and translations were cited frequently by Despauterius, which, as we saw earlier, was probably known to the editors who produced the ‘King’s grammar’ in the early 1540s. I have not been able to track down the copy containing the scriptural quotations described by Flynn in ‘The Grammatical Writings of William Lily’, p.105, but his description confirms how fluid the text was in the early 1540s. 79   [Colet], Paules accidence, sigs Avr–v ; [Lily], An introduction, sigs Fiiv–ivr.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

was still the Catholic rather than the Reformed version. To balance that, the next two Latin prayers, on baptism and the Lord’s Supper, tackled just the two sacraments recognized by Protestants, and the Precatio pro lege Dei servanda led the student to beg help in obeying God’s law rather than avoiding the cardinal sins and practising regular confession. Also added by 1549 was an Exhortatio ad pueros by Gregory of Nazianzus, and a Latin verse prayer in which a pupil begged God for help with his studies.80 By the late 1560s, however, there had been a further twist, in that much of the material added in the 1540s had been dropped. The three pages of ‘Godly lessons for children’ disappeared altogether, perhaps because by then the short official catechism of 1549 was widely available and regarded as more suitable. Also dropped were the Veni Creator and the Latin prayer in which the pupil begged God for help in keeping his Law. Their disappearance is harder to explain, unless it was a combination of Protestant caution over Catholic ritual and printers’ efforts to cut corners. It was probably not hostility to prayers in Latin as such, for from the late 1560s many editions of ‘Lily’ had a new oratio matutina (in Latin) placed at the end of the ‘grammar’ as well as new Latin prayers for master and pupil and new ‘graces’.81 The new versions in Latin verse of the Apostles’ Creed, the Ten Commandments and Lord’s Prayer, together with the Latin verses on Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, survived in quarto editions from 1549 to the late 1560s, only to be dropped from most of the octavo editions after the early 1570s, again perhaps because by then versions of Nowell’s catechism in Latin, which included and explained these formulae, had started to circulate, or because of pressure on space.82 (It should be noted, however, that the edition of 1597, of which the type was left standing for some time, was an exception in including the Latin versions of the staple formulae, though as was speculated earlier this may have been a straight copy of an earlier edition.)83 From the 1570s, therefore, only a handful of non-classical items survived in ‘Lily’. The student’s prayer in Latin and English versions were now put together at the very start of the ‘accidence’, while placed at the end were the precepts on manners in the Carmen de moribus which William Lily had written for his students at St Paul’s. Placed at the end of most editions of the ‘grammar’ were some Latin ‘graces’ and other prayers in verse for use in school, plus the oratio matutina just mentioned. The two items in the ‘accidence’ are curious: the first is eminently Christian, but bears hardly any direct reference to the content of the grammar; 80

    82   83   81

[Lily], A short introduction of grammar (1549), sigs Civv–vir, Dviiir– Eiiiv. [Lily], Brevissima institutio (1567), sigs Hvv–vir. This is based on a comparison of the 1574 edition with the 1567 (as above, n. 38). See above, pp. 133, 137.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


while the second is hardly Christian at all. In the prayer, the student was encouraged to praise and thank God and beg for increased wisdom. The English version of this prayer is reminiscent of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer in places: ‘O almighty Lord and merciful Father, maker of heaven and earth, which of thy free liberality givest wisdom abundantly to all that with faith and full assurance ask it of thee, beautify by the light of thy heavenly grace the towardness of my wit.’ On the other hand, the stress on the role of divine grace in enhancing the natural powers with which the student had already been endowed, and enabling him to shine ‘in good life’ and ‘doctrine’, and the closing clauses, ‘so that thou which worketh all things in all creatures mayst make thy gracious benefits shine in me, to the endless glory and honour of thine immortal Majesty’, could have come from either a Catholic or a Protestant pen.84 The same might be said of the other Latin prayers and graces and the Oratio matutina placed at the end of the ‘grammar’, with the possible exception of the clause in the verse entitled Puer ante lectionem in which the pupil begs Christ for help in learning the most pure doctrines of the Holy Word.85 In the Carmen de moribus, or to give it its full title, ‘A schoolmaster’s precepts or treatise in verse concerning manners’, William Lily imitated Cato’s Distichs in urging his young pupils at St Paul’s to memorize a series of pieces of good advice in pure Latin. Do not lie in bed in the morning; get up and ‘Templa petas supplex et venerare Deum’ (‘go humbly into the holy spaces and worship God’). Be sure you wash your face and hands, wear clean clothes, and comb your hair. Do not dawdle on the way to class, and be there promptly; greet the master and fellow pupils in order, and sit in your allotted place. Be sure to have ready a penknife, quills, ink, paper and libelli (‘small books’), and take good care of them. Pay attention, repeat what you have read and think about it, and ask if you don’t understand; there is nothing so difficult that diligence cannot overcome it. If asked to speak, do so neither too fast nor too slow; the ideal is in between (‘medium virtus’). Don’t spend your spare time on trifles, or use vile language. There are social comments too: those who are nobly born should not be rude about the parentage of others. But the nearest Lily got to a spiritual comment was in suggesting that a slothful student would suffer from a guilty conscience, and later, when urging students not to swear ‘by the sacred titles of Almighty God’ (‘numina sacra Dei magni’), to remind students that ‘the tongue is the gate of life and of death too’. The only authors mentioned in the Carmen were ancient Romans: 84

  [Lily], A shorte introduction (1574), sig. Aviv (the English and Latin versions of this prayer had usually been printed at separate points of the grammar before this edition); A shorte introduction (1577), sigs Divr–vr. 85   Ibid., sigs Lviii r–v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

to understand correct grammar and to speak well, avoid the foolish authors who disgraced the Latin tongue, Lily tells his pupils, and cultivate instead the most famous writings of men like Virgil, Terence and Cicero. One might ignore all this as a light-hearted exercise, but Lily has been credited with being one of the first supporters of the moral epigram in Renaissance England, along with More, Heywood and others. Moreover, in naming pagan authors such as Virgil and Terence, Lily was departing from the advice of his patron, Colet, who had urged students to begin reading in works by Christian authors with a good Latin style, such as Prudentius and ‘Mantuan’. Lily’s verse was also used sufficiently often for William Hayne to choose it as the basis for one of the extended exercises in construing and translating into English in his Lilie’s rules construed – a work which as we have seen sold in tens of thousands of copies during the seventeenth century.86 In short, the limited amount of distinctively Protestant material in ‘the King’s grammar’ of 1549, such as the Latin verses on baptism and the Lord’s Supper, had disappeared by the 1570s, leaving only a few neutral prayers and graces and some moralistic advice on manners. This was a contrast to the standard grammar used in France, which retained catechetical formulae inside the covers of the grammar, and which did not shy away from regularly citing the Fathers or using scriptural material as examples in the grammatical sections. Such examples in Despauterius included pointing out that some biblical names in their original form did not decline, but Latinized forms could (Iesus, Iesu, Iesum); in a section on numbers Noah’s great longevity was compared to Christ’s youth when he asked questions in the Temple; and as an example of a simple question and answer, the choice fell on ‘Quem quaeritis? Iesum Nazarenum’ (‘Whom do you seek? Jesus of Nazareth’).87 By comparison, the withdrawal of catechetical material from the official grammar used in Elizabethan and Stuart England merely highlighted the dearth of scriptural or ecclesiastical material in the body of that text. It was not as though there had been a total refusal by English humanists to use such material to support a grammatical point. Throughout the official grammar we find isolated examples of material that were definitely, or could be taken as, Christian in origin. Examples include the following (in translation): ‘God is the chiefest good’; ‘Faith is accounted the foundation 86

  Mary T. Crane, ‘Intret Cato: Authority and the Epigram in Sixteenth-Century England’, in Barbara K. Lewalski (ed.), Renaissance Genres: Essays on Theory, History, and Interpretation (Cambridge, MA, 1986), pp. 160–65; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 128; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 89–92; 87   Despauterius, Commentarii grammatici (1563), pp. 67–8, 101, 262, 10 (this is a paraphrase of John 20:15).

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


of our religion’; ‘What is now a doing in England? They are discussing religion’; ‘The King commanded heresy to be rooted out’; ‘A pious king is an ornament to the commonwealth’; ‘The king and the queen are blessed’, and ‘It is profitable for a Christian commonwealth that the bishops be learned and godly.’ (In his alternative grammar, probably written in the 1640s, John Milton felt the need to replace ‘Lily’s’ flattering references to kings, princes and bishops with quotations from Cicero.88) In one short section of the Syntaxis we even find a clutch of examples of this sort, almost as if Lily or Erasmus or a later editor had decided to beef up the Christian content at that point.89 Christ was very occasionally mentioned by name, either in tandem with the Virgin Mary (as examples of proper nouns) or by himself. ‘Christus sedet ad dexteram Patris’ (‘Christ sits at the right hand of [God] the Father’) was taken from a Latin version of the Apostles’ Creed. ‘Daemona non armis, sed morte subiegit Iesus’ (‘Christ subdued the demons not by force but by death’) and ‘Iam Maria audito Christum venisse cucurrit’ (‘When it was heard that Christ was already come, Mary ran’) were paraphrases of scriptural material.90 There was even ‘Nil desperandum Christo duce, et auspice Christo’ (‘Nothing is to be despaired of, Christ being our captain and our leader’), though this was a conscious or unconscious adaptation of a line from one of Horace’s Odes (‘Nil desperandum Teucro duce et auspice Teucro’) which also became a popular motto among English landed families.91 It was perhaps less a refusal to mention the name of Christ than a freezing of the text of the official grammar at a point in the early sixteenth century when it reflected the attitudes of Lily and his co-authors in choosing their illustrations from the best authors of ancient Rome and the most reputable Catholic authors of Christian formulae. There are occasional but clear indications of concern among both ‘godly’ and conformist teachers at the overwhelming preponderance of references to pagan gods and sanctuaries over references to the one God and of his Son’s sacrifice for sinful man. In his translation of sections of the official grammar in the 1590s, William Hayne took care to refer to pagan deities not just as ‘gods and goddesses’ – the literal translation – but 88

  Brevissima institutio, sigs Eviv (three references), Eivv, Eviiiv, Fviv, and Shorte introduction (1567), sig. Cvr; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 52 (three references), 59, 73, 45; McDowell, The English Radical Imagination, pp. 108–9. 89   Brevissima institutio, sig. Fiiv. 90   Ibid., sigs Avv, Dviiiv, Fiv, Fiiv; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, pp. 62, 65. There is also the curious case of the migrating filius: in some versions this is placed in a paragraph about nouns ending -ius, in others put in the previous paragraph on nouns ending -us, alongside Deus: cf. Shorte introduction (1567), sigs Aviv and (1574) Aviiiv. 91   Brevissima institutio, sig. Fiiv; Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 65; H.H. Huxley, ‘Horace and Heraldry’, Greece and Rome, 17 (1948): 26.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

as ‘the heathenish gods and goddesses’. And where Virgil had written (and been cited in ‘Lily’ as saying) ‘In primis venerare deos’ (‘first worship the gods’), Hayne changed this to Deum (‘God’).92 Moreover, if we compare Charles Hoole’s revision of ‘Lily’ with the original, we find that, as part of his general rule of clarifying and simplifying ‘Lily’, Hoole left out a significant proportion of the quotations from Cicero, Virgil and Ovid which he deemed unhelpful or superfluous, but found space to add many new examples of grammatical rules in operation, of which many were scriptural or Christian in origin. Examples (in translation) include ‘Fear God. Honour the King’ (used three times by the loyalist Hoole, and this in the 1650s); ‘God’s Law is as sweet as honey’; ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’, and ‘God’s word remaineth for ever’. For the quotations which in ‘Lily’ had been taken from Cicero and Virgil to demonstrate the use of prepositions with gerunds ending in -dum, Hoole substituted ‘Christ died to redeem us’ (‘Christus moriebatur propter nos redimendum’); and as an example of simple conjunctions, Hoole replaced ‘Socrates taught Xenophon and Plato’ by ‘Peter and John did pray and teach in the Temple’.93 Starting from a totally different standpoint, in 1648 the Ranter Abiezer Coppe wrote a parody of ‘Lily’ which was designed to highlight the spiritual emptiness of ‘humane’ learning compared to the powers given the saints through inner regeneration.94 The examples from Hayne’s and Hoole’s printed texts may have reflected a much wider practice among teachers, of ensuring that their pupils understood the difference between the ancients’ polytheism and Christian monotheism, and trying to raise levels of awareness of Christian teaching. But in the absence of clear evidence to that effect, and given the limited time which many of those teachers with large classes were able (or perhaps inclined) to give to checking what individual pupils understood by the sentences they were learning, we cannot be confident about that. In this situation, a huge amount depended on what other texts were studied in the classroom, and how much time pupils spent in school prayers, attending church services, and learning the catechism. And what we will see later in this chapter and in the next two chapters is that pupils in many English grammar schools may have spent less time on specifically Christian texts, and less on communal worship and mastering catechisms than did many of their peers in Catholic and Protestant schools abroad. 92   Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 1 (my emphasis), and see pp. 12, 13. On ‘gods’/ ‘God’, see Brevissima institutio, sig. Fiv, and Hayne, Lilie’s rules construed, p. 60; see also ibid., p. 62. 93   Hoole, The Latine grammar, pp. 6–7, ‘10–11’ [recte 14–15], 226–7; 196–7, 200–201, 238–9, 252–3 and passim. 94   McDowell, The English Radical Imagination, pp. 99–109, 114–15.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


* * * During the sixteenth century there was already a divergence between more cautious teachers like Lily and Melanchthon who believed that children should acquire a thorough acquaintance with the rules of Latin grammar before they were exposed to classical texts, and those teachers such as Erasmus, Vives, Ascham and Mulcaster who wished to see students attempting a classical or approved humanist text as soon as was practicable. The latter anticipated later theorists and teachers in England, such as John Locke in the later seventeenth century and John Clarke of Hull and others in the eighteenth who argued that little or indeed no acquaintance with grammar was needed; students should start with ‘some easy and pleasant book’ or a literal translation, and tackle the rules of grammar as the need arose.95 But for much of the early modern period, most teachers in England probably favoured a strategy somewhere in between: students were encouraged to acquire the mastery of a fair number of words and rules from ‘Lily’ before they were given some simple set texts to read to give them practical demonstrations of the theory; they could then extend and refine their mastery of the theory by tackling additional texts in tandem with mastering or revising the later sections of their approved grammar.96 There were half-a-dozen elementary or fairly rudimentary Latin texts with which students in the lower forms of grammar schools were likely to have become familiar. Of these, three – ‘Cato’, ‘Aesop’ and Culmann’s Sententiae pueriles – were designed primarily to promote the fluent reading and comprehension of Latin, while the other three – Evaldus Gallus’ Pueriles confabulatiunculae, Cordier’s Colloquiae and Castellio’s Dialogi sacri – were used to encourage the speaking of Latin. Given that limited parental funds or their offspring’s limited aptitude for Latin grammar meant that many schoolboys did not reach the upper levels of a grammar school, it cannot be doubted that these titles were, with ‘Lily’, the Latin texts with which most students would have gained some familiarity during the early modern period. This is confirmed by evidence from curricula both at leading schools such as Winchester, Eton, Westminster, Merchant Taylors’ and St Paul’s, and provincial ones like Tideswell in Derbyshire, Guisborough in Yorkshire,

95   Padley, Grammatical Theory: The Latin tradition, p. 16; Educational Writings of John Locke, ed. Axtell, pp. 266–7, 277–8; John Clarke, A dissertation upon the usefulness of translations of classick authors (1734), pp. 3–20. 96   J. Brinsley, Ludus literarius: or, The Grammar Schoole (1612), pp. 89–125; Brinsley, Cato translated grammatically (1612), sigs A4v–5v, A7v–8r; C. Hoole, Catonis disticha de moribus … Cato’s distichs concerning manners (1708), sigs A2v–3r (a reprint of the original text of 1659); Hoole, New discovery, sigs A9r–v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

St Bees in Cumberland and Newcastle upon Tyne,97 and from the teaching manuals and other publications of the period. Brinsley thought highly enough of these six authors to attempt helpful versions of the first five of them for use in the lower and middling forms. Hoole’s method was for the usher to teach ‘Lily’ to the first and second forms every morning, and Sententiae pueriles to the first form and Pueriles confabulatiunculae and then Cordier to the second form in the afternoons; meanwhile, the third form spent their mornings revising and refining their mastery of ‘Lily’ and starting ‘Aesop’, and their afternoons finishing Cordier and starting Castellio or ‘Mantuan’ (to whom we’ll come in Chapter 4). Hoole also published his own versions of a number of these texts, some of which sold well in the late seventeenth century. Indeed, the evidence from the pattern of repeat editions of these titles from the mid- or late sixteenth century to the late seventeenth century and beyond also confirms both the popularity and the longevity of all six of these titles. ‘Cato’ and ‘Aesop’ in particular may well have passed through even more editions than the most commonly used works of Cicero or Ovid, which were studied in the middling or upper forms. Let us take each trio in turn. * * * Of the three designed mainly for reading and comprehension, ‘Cato’ and ‘Aesop’ had roots in classical soil, whereas the Sententiae pueriles was a Lutheran work. The Disticha Catonis was a shorter, simpler work than Aesop’s Fables, but beyond that, the two had much in common. Both had been used as a text book in the Middle Ages, but were taken up with new vigour by the humanists; the versions used in early modern England both owed much to the editorial work of Dutch humanists, and use of both appears to have peaked in the seventeenth century. That having been said, the history of the two texts as educational tools in early modern England does vary in some intriguing ways, and the comparison with Culmann’s Sententiae is also instructive. The Disticha Catonis was a collection in four short books of moral platitudes, truisms and exhortations in Latin verse de moribus – that is, concerning manners or behaviour. They had probably been composed c. 400 AD by Dionysius Cato (though they were later often attributed erroneously to Marcus Porcius Cato, the censor); a preface was also found in the first surviving manuscripts, which stated: 97   Baldwin, Shakespere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 119, 347–8, 358, 370, 377–8, 385–7, 430–31, 433; anon., The schools-probation … for the use of Merchant-Tailor’s School (1661), pp. 10–13, 27–8; T.H. Rowland, ‘Curriculum of the Royal Grammar School, Newcastle-on-Tyne’, Research Review 3 (1952): 37.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


When I observed very many men to mistake grossly in point of manners, I thought we were to help and inform their judgements; chiefly that they might live gloriously, and attain to honour. Now dear child, I will teach thee how thou mayest order thy behaviour.98

Its popularity as a first Latin reading book spread steadily from the Carolingian Empire in the seventh century to much of Western Europe in the later Middle Ages; and once printing became available, it was regularly printed either by itself or with other ‘wise sayings’. Erasmus told his fellow humanist Guillaume Budé that in his opinion, ‘Cato’ said far wiser things than the ‘Doctor Subtilis’ of the scholastics, Duns Scotus; and in 1513 he produced a corrected and annotated version of ‘Cato’ and a number of related texts, of which he was quite proud.99 During the sixteenth century ‘Cato’ was recommended by many other educational reformers, both abroad and in England, and among Catholics as well as Protestants. It was strongly backed by reformers such as Luther, Melanchthon and Beza, for example. Luther thought it ‘a special grace of God that Cato’s little book’ had ‘been preserved in schools’ because it contained ‘good words and fine precepts which are very profitable in this life’. Together with Aesop’s fables, he wrote, there were ‘next unto the Bible’ no better works than these ‘natural and excellent books’, which, like Erasmus, he thought were ‘better than all the tattered sentences of the philosophers and lawyers’. Similarly, in the Saxon Visitation Articles of 1528 Melanchthon recommended the study of a verse or two of ‘Cato’ every day by firstformers.100 There was the occasional complaint from the Calvinist side; but in 1591 no less a figure than Theodore Beza published a youthful effort, Cato Censorius Christianus, which consisted of a series of his own Latin verses on those vices which both the pagan ‘Cato’ and the high Calvinist Beza condemned, such as pride, idleness, mendacity, blasphemy, drunkenness, avarice and so on.101 In England, ‘Cato’ became popular both with adults seeking clear models for the didactic epigram then coming into fashion,102 and with 98

Hoole’s translation in his Catonis disticha, p. 1. The Collected Works of Erasmus 3 (1976): 2–4, 307. 100   Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, p. 378; Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 136; Anton Schindling, Humanistiche Hochshule und freie Reichsstadt: Gymnasium und Akademie in Strassburg 1538–1621 (Weisbaden, 1977), p. 179; M. Luther, Colloquia mensalia (London, 1652), p. 532; J.W. Richard, Philip Melanchthon: The Protestant Preceptor of Germany, 1497–1560 (New York, 1898), p. 134; Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, p. 188. 101   For a Calvinist complainer in France, see below, n. 108. There was nothing equivalent to Beza’s work printed by an English Calvinist. 102   Crane, ‘Intret Cato: Authority and the Epigram’, pp. 165–9. 99



Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

teachers seeking uplifting material in good Latin. It formed part of the young Prince Edward’s early education, and soon figured in the curriculum of the lower forms of a growing number of Tudor grammar schools. To feed this demand, there was probably a reliance on copies imported from the Continent, but large segments of Erasmus’ version of ‘Cato’ were also published in England in perhaps half-a-dozen editions between c. 1525 and 1598. These editions comprised different combinations of the Disticha, in Latin, with Erasmus’ notes, with some or all of the following items: the proverbs of ‘the seven Greek sages’, in a traditional collection edited by Erasmus; other precepts of the sages in verse, from Ausonius’ Ludus septem sapientum; the moral maxims called Mimi Publiani which purported to have been extracted for school use from the plays of Publilius Syrus (then referred to as Publius) and Isocrates’ Paraenesis ad Demonicum. Erasmus’ own Christiani hominis institutum (itself based on John Colet’s precepts) was also included in some sixteenth-century versions of ‘Cato’, but not in those of the seventeenth.103 In the early seventeenth century, when ‘Cato’ was entered into the ‘English Stock’, sales of this Latin only version increased rapidly: it was printed a further twenty times in London, Oxford, and Cambridge between 1607 and 1727, and copies were still for sale in the 1760s.104 Why were teachers in England, as elsewhere, so keen to use ‘Cato’? On the one hand, some teachers evidently accepted the convention that ‘Cato’ provided a good opportunity for students who had mastered some of the basic rules of grammar laid out in ‘Lily’ and acquired a limited amount of vocabulary, to apply their skills to the ‘construing’ and ‘parsing’ of a short sentence or couplet from classical times. Brinsley, for example, placed special emphasis on this technical side of the operation, claiming to have published his Cato translated grammatically in 1612 so that students might come to a better ‘understanding, construing, parsing, making, and proving the … Latin’, and also ‘for continual practice of the grammatical analysis and genesis’. Hoole recommended tackling two to three distichs at once, and analyse them following the instructions in the Introduction to his English-and-Latin version of ‘Cato’; at the end of his English-andLatin version, Hoole also placed an extensive exercise worked through in detail, ‘Cato construed grammatically’. Hoole made it clear, however, that he encouraged such use of ‘Cato not only as a means of speeding students’


  STC2, vol. 1, p. 216; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 595–9, 602–3.   STC2 4841.5–48, 4849.1–6, C1501–10D (though note that six of the editions in this sequence are the Hoole version: C1505, 1506, 1506aA, 1508, 1509 and 1510A), and ESTC N27141, T194406, T162825. 104

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


understanding of a Latin text, but also as teaching them at the same time sound morals and good manners.105 For although in origin a pagan work, ‘Cato’ could be presented to students in such a way that there were Christian elements. The author of the preface which appeared in the first surviving manuscripts of ‘Cato’ expressed the desire to help train people to ‘live gloriously and attain to honour’, which could bear a Christian construction. In England, Richard Taverner (echoing Erasmus) pointed this out in 1540 in his notes on its opening lines, ‘Deo supplica. Parentes ama. Cognatos cole. Magistrum metue’, with its echoes of the Ten Commandments: The first reference is to God, the next to the father and mother, the third to the rest of thy kinsfolk. We make supplication unto God with our prayers and sacrifices. We love our parents while we observe and obey them. We embrace our kinsfolk with offices of humanity and with using their company. And after all these, the child must fear and stand in awe of his master unto whose correction he is committed.

The whole work, Taverner told the ‘tender youth of England’, was very suitable for their ‘education in virtue and learning’.106 Similarly, in the preface to his version of ‘Cato’, Hoole strongly recommended the work because it ‘instructeth [students] in the moral art of learning’. Later he broadened this point: ‘this is the end of all our learning, that we may know and do our duty both to God, ourselves, and other men, and persuade those men with we converse to do so too’, and in his description of how his students used his version of ‘Cato’ on Monday and Wednesday afternoons he included an example of turning the opening sentence of Book 1 into a series of questions and answers on the nature of God.107 The text of ‘Cato’ was for the most part, however, far from Christian: it was Stoic with a Christian patina, as in the references to God, rather than the gods. Indeed, in the standard Latin version in use in England there were very few references to ‘God’, and those that there were had to rub shoulders with allusions to Venus and Janus, or must have sounded odd to a Protestant ear: ‘Thure Deum placa, vitulum sine crescat aratro’ (‘Appease God with incense, let the calf grow for the plough’); and ‘Mitte arcana Dei, coelumque inquirere quid sit: Cum sis mortalis, quae sunt mortalia cura’ (‘Do not enquire into God’s secrets, or what is in the sky [or heaven]; being mortal, desire mortal things’). Not surprisingly, a French 105   Brinsley, Cato translated grammatically, title-page and passim; Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A2v–5r, and pp. 1–21, 52–70. 106   Catonis disticha moralia … cum annotationibus R. Taverni (1553), sigs A2r, A3r–v. 107   Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A3v–4v, B1r, and pp. 4–5.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

admirer of Calvin, Matthurin Cordier, left out some of the original distichs as ‘unchristian’.108 In addition, most of the distichs and other wise sayings concerned adult life, which caused Mulcaster and others to condemn them as ‘too serious for little ones’. Students aged nine or ten were urged to look after their households well, use money wisely but not meanly, cultivate friendship, give wise advice, keep their word, and not to fear death. On the one hand they were told to shun prostitutes, but on the other advised that if they liked reading about ‘love and wanton sighs’, they should read Ovid. The sayings were also centred on outward behaviour, on piety rather than introspection. There was barely any mention of sin, or of conscience: ‘true wisdom’ and a life free from vice was equated with reading and memorizing the distichs, and then pursuing glory and honour, acting prudently, and avoiding excess.109 It was probably thought by grown-up teachers that the children who read ‘Cato’ would benefit from learning the following life lessons: be content with little; silence is golden; keep your word; don’t lose your temper where there may be a doubt; don’t start what you can’t finish, and to gain wisdom, read good books and remember what you read. In this way, ‘Cato’ helped spread a form of secular wisdom and a generic morality among young people of different social levels in early modern England, from the young Prince Edward to the students at Stratford-uponAvon grammar school. And even if the lessons learnt from ‘Cato’ were based on a very different world from the one in which students had to live their adult lives, teachers like Brinsley and Hoole were confident that memorizing ‘Cato’ would provide students with a store of ‘matter, words and phrases’ which they could ‘use upon any occasion’. As Shakespeare demonstrated, some of the phrases of Cato, Publius and Isocrates would linger in the mind long after they had left school.110 What is also striking, for a work designed to be the first Latin text read by schoolchildren, was the number of editions of ‘Cato’ published which were either completely in English, or in Latin and English. Those in English only may have been intended for use in schools in tandem with a copy of the Latin version, though the extra cost of such an operation perhaps militated against that happening often. But in the case of most of 108   Ibid., pp. 20–21, 8–9; Cordier is cited in Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 599. 109   Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A3v–4r, pp. 8–9 and passim. 110   Ibid., sig. A5r (citing Brinsley also); Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 121–2; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 10, 26, and see index under Cato. Thomas Hearne was sufficiently interested in the ‘Cato’ he had acquired in his teens in 1696 (a 1679 Cambridge copy, now in the Bodleian Library, at 8o Rawlinson 629) to collate it with ‘an old manuscript above 400 years old in the hands of Mr Dyer of Oriel College’ (note on reverse of title-page).

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


those English-only copies published in the mid-sixteenth century, based on Erasmus’ text, and of those seventeenth-century attempts to provide a translation in better quality verse,111 one may assume that they were aimed either at children who were not attending a grammar school, or at adults who would welcome some morally uplifting reading in good English verse but with a classical aura. There is an intriguing variant on this in John Brinsley’s Cato translated grammatically, published in 1612, which was written to help those currently in school, but was also advertised as being of use to those who had left school but who were ‘desirous to recover or keep that which they got in the grammar-school or to increase therein’.112 Compared to English-only versions like these, there were far more editions in both Latin and English, most of the sixteenth-century ones being based on the Erasmus version. The first bilingual version was Caxton’s from 1477 to 1483, then there were Taverner’s from 1540 to 1562, Burrant’s from 1545 to 1560, and Corderius’ (which appeared originally in Latin and French) in 1577 and 1584, and Sir Richard Baker’s in 1636.113 But the most striking venture in this direction was Charles Hoole’s parallel Latin-andEnglish text, first published in 1659 when he noted the current shortage of such bilingual texts ‘had made them excessive dear’. In the preface Hoole hoped that his version would ‘take away the dulling disheartenings that do usually befall children’ when confronted by a text in Latin only, but also that it would be beneficial to ‘many at riper years, as well as to little boys’, for example to ‘the weaker sort of country schoolmaster’ with a limited supply of teaching aids, to the ‘young students who come not perfectly grounded to the universities’, to ‘those that have lost their Latin tongue and would recover it by their own industry’, and those who were teaching themselves Latin from books, of which he knew many cases.114 His version passed through perhaps 16 editions in all between 1659 and 1749, having been taken into the ‘English Stock’ from the outset, which was just as well, since sales of the Latin-only version also in the Stock then fell dramatically, perhaps only eight more editions being published in London and two in Cambridge.115 If one asks why Brinsley’s version did not take off, whereas Hoole’s did, one could suggest various reasons. First of all, Brinsley translated only the Disticha, not the other wise sayings in the standard version; and secondly, 111

    113   114   115   N27135, N27136. 112

STC2 4853.5–57, 4861–2, and cf. 4863.5. Title-page of the 1612 edition; STC2 4859, 4859.5, 4860. STC2 4850–63. Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A6v, B1r–v. See n. 104 above for six editions between 1659 and 1695, and for 1701–49, ESTC T112925, N27137, T191395, N27134, N28907, T125336, N27138, N43932,


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

by publishing an English translation separately from the Latin, he raised the difficulty and costs of using copies of each side by side. Thirdly, his focus on the grammatical function of the distichs meant that his text, with its large number of marginal notes on the opposite page to each set of precepts in English, was less convenient to use than Hoole’s note-free text, which had English and Latin couplets and sentences in numbered sequences on opposite pages. Fourthly, Hoole did provide an alternative grammatical version, but placed it at the end; in ‘Cato construed grammatically’, the words of the standard Latin text and of his own English translation were rearranged and placed on alternative lines, so that a student could see even more clearly the meaning and function of the words in the two languages.116 Perhaps the main reason for Hoole’s success, however, was that by the late seventeenth century there was a much wider acceptance among provincial and private teachers that the use of bilingual texts was a faster, and therefore a cheaper, way for students to master Latin. While the teachers in leading schools with generally very able or perhaps slightly older pupils were able to persist with a purist position that a student should have the Latin-only version, because having an English text available would make them lazy, other teachers who had cut their teeth teaching in provincial or private schools, like Brinsley and Hoole, took a different line: students learnt Latin much quicker, and their morale remained higher, if they did not become disheartened.117 A corollary of his success was that tens of thousands of copies of the highly moralistic and not particularly Christian sayings in ‘Cato’ were still circulating in late seventeenth-and early eighteenth-century England, and students were still being urged to commonplace them, memorize and imitate them.118 * * * To judge from its publishing history and other indications such as school curricula and student graffiti, what were known as ‘Aesop’s Fables’ were even more widely used in early modern English schools than ‘Cato’s Disticha’. The original fables were centuries older than the Disticha, having perhaps been composed by a slave called Aesop in Samos in the 116

  These conclusions are based on a comparison of Brinsley, Cato translated grammatically (1612), and Hoole, Catonis disticha (1708). Hoole made space for the construed version by omitting the item by Isocrates usually included in the ‘English Stock’ version. 117   Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 105–22; Hoole, Catonis disticha, sigs A5r–B4v; Clarke, Dissertation upon the usefulness of translations, pp. 8–10. 118   Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 33, 43–5, 47.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


sixth century BC. They were then transmitted orally for some time before being written down. In the first century AD a Romanized Greek, Phaedrus, wrote Latin verses based on the fables (and other material), and a couple of centuries or so later a prose version appeared which was attributed to an Emperor ‘Romulus’. It was this prose version, which substituted (the Roman) Jupiter for (the Greek) Zeus, which came to be widely used in the West as an early reading book for those learning Latin. By the late Middle Ages, some versions of ‘Aesop’ had also acquired long commentaries, to ensure that pupils drew the correct conclusions about each fable, and an occasional Christian reference, for example to a parallel piece of wisdom in the Bible.119 During the Renaissance and the Reformation, the fables, still mostly attributed to Aesop but some acknowledged to be from other sources, were warmly approved by Erasmus, Luther, Melanchthon and many others, and so continued to be used in the lower forms of Latin schools in the West, while a Greek-and-Latin version was adopted in the middle or upper forms where students were learning that language too. Thus pupils in the second grade at the Strasburg gymnasium read ‘Aesop’ in a Latin translation by Joachim Camerarius first published at Tübingen in 1538 (a reworking of an anthology of Aesopic fables in good Latin prose assembled by the Dutch humanist Martin van Dorp for use in schools in the Netherlands); while those in the fifth year studied a Greek version, probably the one first printed by Aldus Manutius in Venice in 1505, which consisted of a Greek text of 147 fables edited by Planudes in the early fourteenth century with a Latin translation by Aldus himself, and which became the standard version across Europe through to the eighteenth century.120 In early modern England, too, the fables of ‘Aesop’ were widely praised for their didactic potential, by men like Sir Thomas Elyot, John Brinsley, Sir William Davenant and John Locke, and were soon prescribed in a growing number of school curricula.121 The market for school texts in Latin was initially met by a mixture of Continental and home-produced copies. There was a copy of Camerarius’ version in Lord Lumley’s library, and Shakespeare appears to have studied ‘Aesop’ in that version too.122 119

  David G. Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, The Library, 5th ser., xxvii (1972): 117–25; Mark Kishlansky, ‘Turning Frogs into Princes: Aesop’s Fables and the Political Culture of Early Modern England’, in Susan D. Amussen and Mark A. Kishlansky (eds), Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Early Modern England (Manchester, 1995), pp. 341–2, 356. 120   Richard, Melanchthon, p. 135; Schindling, Gymnasium und Akademie in Strassburg, p. 179; Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, pp. 118, 120. 121   Ibid., 117, and see below, pp. 166–7, 171; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, index under ‘Aesop’. 122   Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 607–40; Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, pp. 118–20.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

But such imported copies were soon being supplemented by a few editions of another variant of the Dorp anthology which were printed in London between the early 1530s and the end of the century.123 The picture becomes much clearer after 1600, for between 1614 and 1732 approximately 35 editions of this same version of the Fables were published by the Stationers’ Company in London as part of the ‘English Stock’; and copies were still for sale in the 1760s at the same price as a century before: 7s. for a baker’s dozen.124 In addition, a dozen editions of the same Latin text were published at Cambridge between 1628 and 1677, and perhaps three at Oxford between 1655 and 1673; and between 1657 and 1731 there were also several editions of an enlarged Latin-and-English version by Charles Hoole which incorporated the same Latin text.125 Some sense of the scale of the enterprise can be seen in the deal struck in 1631 to resolve the festering dispute between London and Cambridge over printing of ‘English Stock’ items: the deal included permission for Thomas Buck at Cambridge to print 12 000 copies of ‘Aesop’s Fables’ in three runs of 4000 copies each.126 Well over 50 editions of the revised Dorp version of the Fables comprise an even more pronounced case than the Disticha of an early sixteenth-century humanist text which was adopted in growing numbers of English grammar schools, and which changed little thereafter. Printers in England were, however, slower than their Continental counterparts to produce their own copies of ‘Aesop’ in Greek or Greek and Latin. The first was in 1657, the standard Planudes-Aldus text, which was then reprinted every few years in London and Oxford for use in schools like Westminster and Eton through to the late eighteenth century.127 To gauge the possible impact of ‘Aesop’ in English grammar schools, we need to distinguish those translations and re-workings which were in Latin (or Greek) from the more familiar ones in English, partly because they stemmed from different sources, and partly because most of the English copies were targeted at different readerships from the Latin. By 1500 there were already several translations of ‘Aesop’s Fables’ in European 123

  Ibid., pp. 119–20; STC2 170.7–71a.3, 172.2.   STC2 172.3–74.5 and Wing2 A711A–28.B, and 729A–29AB (but excluding entries in next note below; and note that A719A was an edition of Hoole); ESTC N29361, T208342, T164531, T84700, N16212, N29365, N42313, T164528; see also the Stationers’ Company advertisements for schoolbooks of c. 1695 and 1766. 124


  STC2 172.9, 173.7, 174, A713, 714, 716, 717, 718, 718A, 720, 721, 725 (Cambridge), A 712, 716A, 722A (Oxford), and A691, A719A, A702A, A719, and ESTC N14850, N16212, T167880 (editions of Hoole). 126   See above, p. 37. 127   Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, pp. 118–19; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 194; Wing2 A715, A726, A729C, A730, A730A, and ESTC T84712, 84715, 170769, 170770, 170767, 170732.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


vernaculars: in fact, William Caxton’s translation of 1484, the first into English, was made from a French translation of a German translation of the ‘Romulus’ collection. This version, which included simple woodcuts but lacked any ‘morals’ summarizing the point of the fable, was printed about ten times between 1484 and 1591, and a handful of times thereafter.128 But during the late sixteenth century and increasingly during the seventeenth, a number of alternative versions and paraphrases also appeared in English: in print and manuscript, in verse and prose, with or without woodcuts or engravings, but usually ‘moralized’ – that is, with ‘morals’ added, some of which became increasingly political during the seventeenth century. These different versions ensured that the fables were reaching new categories of readers all the time. Thus the often very loose adaptations of individual fables by authors such as Spenser, Sidney, Lyly and Jonson, and later by Marvell and Dryden, were aimed at adults with some prior knowledge of the original as well as appreciation of contemporary English verse, whereas the versions of much larger numbers of fables by ‘R.A.’, William Barret, John Ogilby and Francis Barlow were designed to entertain an increasingly broad band of adult readers among the middling as well as the gentry and professional ranks. In the hands of Ogilby and Roger L’Estrange especially, some of the fables acquired a loyalist, Tory twist, provoking a rival Whig version by Samuel Croxall which also sold very well in the eighteenth century, though the format and illustrations chosen for many of these editions made them too large and expensive for genuinely popular distribution.129 By contrast, the Latin version of ‘Aesop’ most commonly used in early modern England from the 1530s to the eighteenth century – the revised Dorp version – was from the outset targeted largely at schoolboys, and changed but little. This was an anthology chosen more for the quality of the Latin prose than the authenticity of the fables. It combined a number of fables adapted from ‘Romulus’ by William of Gouda, an almost equal number of Greek origin translated by Adrian de Baarland, a prose paraphrase of Avianus’ fables (dating from c. 400 AD) by William Harmanns, and selected fables drawn from fifteenth-century Italian humanist authors and ‘interpreters’ such as Lorenzo Valla, Politian and Laurentius Abstemius, and from Aldus’s Latin version of Planudes’ text and Erasmus’ Adagia in the 128   R.T. Lenaghan (ed.), Caxton’s Aesop (Cambridge, MA, 1967); Kishlansky, ‘Frogs into Princes’, pp. 339–40, 342, 357. 129   Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, pp. 116–17, 122–5; Annabel Patterson, Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History (Durham, NC, 1991), pp. 59–108; Kishlansky, ‘Frogs into Princes’, pp. 339–46. For Ogilby’s speciality of selling expensive folios of editions of the classics and the Bible to the well-educated and well-heeled, see below, pp. 313–18.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

early sixteenth century.130 As a result of editors presenting these selections from different authors in separate blocks, there was some overlapping, with the same fable appearing in two or more different versions. In what became the standard grammar school version there was a limited amount of adding of ‘new’ fables and some deleting of ‘old’ ones over the course of the first century, and this in turn required revisions of the index to help teachers and students find their way round a text comprising in the end well over 400 fables. But all these changes were remarkably few, especially considering that different versions of old fables were being rediscovered and new ones being written at the time. Moreover, whereas some late medieval versions had long commentaries attached to each fable, and some sixteenth-century English versions had a brief guide to the point of the fable at the start as well as the end, the Dorp version had, on the whole, much shorter ‘morals’, placed at the end only. In the ‘morals’ of William of Gouda’s opening section, it is true, we frequently find lines of Horace, Ovid and other classical authors quoted (and even on one occasion a whole sonnet by ‘Mantuan’) to reinforce his point, reflecting what else his pupils were reading or likely to read soon. But most of the other ‘interpreters’ merely added a phrase such as ‘haec fabula significat’ or ‘indicat’, and then a couple of sentences or a single pithy line.131 The ‘morals’ in this Latin version also barely changed in content after the 1530s, so that Valla’s and Erasmus’ and other Italian and Dutch humanists’ take on the message of individual fables was perpetuated well into the eighteenth century in English grammar school education. It is not hard to understand the popularity of ‘Aesop’ in English grammar schools. For schoolchildren, the fables must have represented a break from memorizing the rules of Latin grammar into a world of fantasy, with animals speaking and portraying human characteristics. (My impression, based on a fairly extensive sampling of copies of these and other school texts, is that the covers and opening pages of Latin ‘Aesops’ are among the most heavily scored with student names and graffiti.132) Teachers like 130   Aesop, Aesopi Phrygis et vita et … fabellae (1535), sigs *4r–v; Hale, ‘Aesop in Renaissance England’, pp. 119–20; Kishlansky, ‘Frogs into Princes’, pp. 342–3, 357. For details of the print history of this version, see n. 123 above. In the earlier editions, such as the 1535 and 1568 (STC2 171 and 171.5), attribution was made to the ‘interpreters’ in the prefatory material and in the headers and headings of each section; but in the ‘English Stock’ version this was usually dropped in favour of a simple list of ‘interpreters’ at the start. 131

  These comments are based on a comparison of Aesopi Phrygis et vita et … fabulae (1535) (STC2 171), Aesopi fabulae lectori non minorem fructum, quam florem ferentes (1568) (171.5), and Aesopi Phrygis fabulae iam recenter… emendatus (1621) (172.6); see also Kishlansky, ‘Frogs into Princes’, pp. 342, 357. 132   See, for example, the many graffiti over a period of time in the British Library’s copy of the 1621 edition of the standard school ‘Aesop’. A more scientific sampling of such

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


Brinsley and Hoole welcomed the fables as a lively and attractive means of helping beginners to extend their vocabulary and see Latin construction in operation: Hoole devoted many pages of his New discovery of the old art of teaching schoole to showing how such exercises could be performed by third-formers using just one fable. Some teachers also praised the fables as a source for other exercises such as collecting aphorisms and materials for the composition of ‘themes’.133 Both religious reformers like Luther and educational theorists like Brinsley, Hoole and Locke also welcomed the fables because they conveyed useful lessons, which the reader was encouraged to apply to his or her own life. Richard Reynolds, author of the Foundacion of rhetorike (1563), praised the ‘godly precepts, wise counsell and admonition in Aesop’. By studying ‘Aesop’s Fables’, wrote Brinsley, students ‘learn to embrace the virtues therein taught, and to flee the vices … to behave themselves wisely and discreetly in the whole course of their life’. Hoole suggested that the fables contained ‘many good lectures of morality’ which, because of the unusual way in which they were presented, ‘do insinuate themselves into every man’s mind’.134 John Locke possessed six copies of the Fables in his library, and in Some thoughts concerning education picked out ‘Aesop’ for particular attention and praise. For a child’s first reading text in English, ‘I think Aesop’s fables the best, which being stories apt to delight and entertain a child, may yet afford useful reflections to a grown man; and if his memory retain them all his life after, he will not repent to find them there, among his manly thoughts and serious business.’ But he also urged parents or tutors to use a Latin edition of ‘Aesop’ for a child’s first efforts to read Latin too, by getting them to write an English translation on one line, and the Latin words which corresponded to them in another line overhead.135 Despite their popularity in Protestant England, many of the original fables were based on observation of nature or on the folk humour of a pre-Christian world, and even where a fable was written later, or a ‘moral’ added a more modern dimension by mentioning a current proverb or point of law, this was very rarely a Christian dimension, and certainly not a Protestant one. Thus the divine figures who were regularly mentioned, or appealed to by the characters in the fables for help or arbitration in graffiti in school texts could be very instructive. 133   C. Hoole, The usher’s duty (in A new discovery of the old art of teaching schoole, 1660), pp. 59–65, 83–99; Hoole, Aesops fables, English and Latin (1668); Crane, Framing Authority, p. 86. 134   Ibid., p. 286 n.41. For Luther, see above, p. 157; J. Brinsley, Esops eables [sic] translated grammatically (1617), sig. A2v, and sigs A2r–5v passim; Hoole, The usher’s duty, pp. 59–60. 135   J. Harrison and P. Laslett, The Library of John Locke (Oxford, 1971), p. 69; Educational Writings of John Locke, ed. Axtell, pp. 259, 271–2.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


a dispute, are Greek gods such as Apollo, or the Roman deities Jupiter, Juno and Venus. When the frogs decide they want a king to rule over them, it is Jupiter to whom they appeal, and who (contemptuously) sends them first a log, then a heron (or in another version, a serpent).136 When Juno is called on to arbitrate between the peacock and the nightingale, she says to the peacock (which feels humiliated by its croaky voice): ‘You have different gifts from the gods: the nightingale excels in singing, you with your fine plumage’; and the moral is ‘Let us gratefully accept what the gods have given us … They do nothing rashly.’137 That teachers were aware of a discrepancy between pagan and Christian is shown by the parallel English-and-Latin edition prepared by Charles Hoole to speed up the process of mastering Latin grammar: Hoole left the Latin words for ‘gods’ (dii or superi) unchanged on the right-hand page, but changed them to the English ‘God’ on the left. However, this version sold relatively few editions compared to the standard Latin-only one (which was the reverse of the case with Hoole’s bilingual ‘Cato’), which leaves us little the wiser about what most teachers did in this situation.138 Indeed, teachers who were in holy orders also had to cope with the fact that in the very small minority of cases where recognizably Christian figures had been included in a later fable, there was often an anti-clerical edge: the close-fisted bishop who is told by a jester that his blessing is not worth a brass farthing; the greedy priest who ends up eating the fruit he had previously pissed on; and the wicked son who tells his father that he has heard many preachers who urged the pursuit of virtue better than he ever did, but he was not going to follow their admonitions any more than his father’s.139 Moreover, the growing political element that can be traced in the looser adaptations of some fables in English verse and prose in the seventeenthcentury received little exposure in the ‘morals’ in the standard Latin prose version. From the very outset no countenance was given to popular discontent with the established order. For example, in the fable of the frogs wanting a king, the ‘plebs’ were condemned as fickle, and warned that, if successful in getting any changes they sought, they would live to regret it. On other occasions too, the lower ranks were often referred to in condescending, unflattering terms, such as stolidi (‘stupid’) or vulgus (‘rabble’), and the nearest to equality of treatment in the advice that was offered balanced the assertion that the poor should be patient in adversity and content with their 136

  Hoole, Aesops fables, English and Latin, pp. 150–53, 52–3, 48–9, 36–7 (gods and goddesses), 14–17, 180–81 (two versions of the frogs’ fable). 137   Ibid., pp. 48–9. 138   Ibid., pp. 14–15, 48–9; and see Brinsley’s comments on the point of certain fables in the epistle dedicatory of his Esops eables, sigs A3r–v. 139

Hoole, Aesops fables, pp. 116–19, 134–5.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


lot, with the exhortation to the powerful to be clement and the rich to be generous to those less favoured than themselves.140 In fact, the overwhelming majority of ‘morals’ in the form in which they survive in the standard Latin school version reflected an early form of Stoicism rather than any other philosophy or creed. The wise man accepts that the natural world is controlled by reason, which is identified with the divine wishes and manifests itself as fate or providence, and so aims to live in harmony with nature. Many ‘morals’ stress the need to accept what fate has sent you, as in Juno’s advice to the peacock, or in the fable of the frog who tries to become as big as an ox by puffing out his body, and, ignoring the pleas of his family, finally bursts in the effort; the moral is don’t try to make yourself into something bigger than nature intended. Other ‘morals’ were based on paradox: don’t expect gratitude from those you help, and don’t forget that wealth brings problems as well as pleasures; or they urged the need to pursue moderation: avoid excess, and avoid all forms of dissension with other people (they usually reflect your own pride); or they combined fatalism and moralism: the young should listen to the old, because they will be old one day; and don’t be proud when fortune shines on you, because tomorrow it may not.141 While there were obvious overlaps between these forms of advice and Christian exhortations to accept God’s will and suffer adversity patiently, there were also significant differences. In the Stoic ideal, a wise man could achieve a state of harmony with the divine will on earth: the pursuit of such harmony through action and thought was virtue – the only good. But in the Christian view, man could achieve little or nothing on earth without direct help from God, through grace, and the highest good was defined in spiritual terms: to praise God and try, though inevitably failing, to walk in his ways. The Stoic had even less in common with the double predestinarian view of divine providence which said that man’s spiritual fate had been decided before the world was created and without reference to any efforts he might make to follow the divine plan. There is little evidence to link those teachers who were high Calvinists with use of the standard Latin version of ‘Aesop’ in early modern English schools.142 Indeed, it was a leading episcopalian teacher and classical scholar, Christopher Wase, who published a revised version of Fabularum Aesoparium libri quinque in 1668 and 1672, and it was a Catholic French scholar, Pierre Danet, whose heavily annotated Delphin



Ibid., pp. 2–3, 16–19, 114–15.

  Ibid., pp. 24–5; 4–9, 20–21, 26–7 and passim. 142   Brinsley is a possible exception, but as we shall see, he left out the great majority of the fables printed in the standard school version, and in his teachers’ handbook, Ludus literarius, devoted much less space to the deployment of ‘Aesop’ than of other texts.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

edition was reprinted in England in full or in part many times in the decades after 1688.143 One further twist to the story of ‘Aesop’ in early modern English schools deserves mention. This was part of that wider trend in some quarters, already noted, towards making the learning of Latin easier by making classroom texts available in both Latin and English. There had been isolated ventures of this kind in 1585 and 1602 by William Bullokar and Simon Sturtevant, before both Brinsley and Hoole prepared English texts to be used in tandem with the standard Latin school version, though in distinctly different ways. Brinsley’s attempt to facilitate ‘the more certain, easy and speedy means of attaining the Latin tongue’ was limited in scope. The text he published in 1617 was in English only, so, as with ‘Cato’, a student needed two copies – the ‘English Stock’ Latin text, and a Brinsley – before he could compare them easily. Brinsley also translated only the opening 10 per cent of the fables in the standard Latin version: possibly these were the only ones studied in detail in his school. Certainly he claimed that ‘happy experience’ showed many students had learnt by the use of such a translation how to make a ‘report’ of the content and point of each fable, and the arts of ‘construing, parsing, making Latin [turning English into Latin], getting phrase and the like’. But the plethora of notes with which he (again) adorned his text meant that his text appeared fussy as well as being incomplete, and it was reprinted only once.144 Hoole’s aim was much the same, but he was more typical of mid-seventeenth-century authors in putting as much emphasis on correct English grammar as Latin. His version of the fables was published ‘so that little children, being used to write and translate them, may not only more exactly understand all the rules of grammar, but also … learn to imitate the right composition of words, and the proper forms of speech belonging to both languages’. Unlike Brinsley’s, his version provided the full 400 fables, and for the students’ convenience placed the texts in English and Latin on opposite pages, each broken down into numbered sentences, and uncluttered by notes. This version was also immediately taken into the ‘English Stock’, and despite its larger size and higher price (16s. for a baker’s dozen), sold moderately well in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and was still for sale in the 1760s.145

143   Wing2 P1958, P1958A (Wase), and P1959, 1959A, 1959B (Delphin), and ESTC under ‘Phaedri Augusti Caesaris’. 144   Brinsley, Esops eables, sig. A4r; and for the 1623 edition, see STC2 188. 145   C. Hoole, Aesop’s fables, English and Latine (1668), title-page; for details of editions, see above, Chapter 3, n. 125, and for prices, the advertisements of c. 1695 and 1766.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


Two further efforts were made to provide Latin-and-English versions for students. The anonymous Aesop explained (1682) offered a selection of the ‘most choice, witty, and facetious fables’ in Latin and English verse as well as Latin prose, and promised help in understanding both the rules of grammar and the different meters used in Latin poetry; but this triple approach did not catch on.146 The other was much more interesting, for it was by John Locke, whom as we have seen owned several collections of fables and prized them highly for the lessons they taught. Failing to find an interlinear version in Latin and English of the type he wanted, he set to and composed his own: one of his last projects was the publication of such a version, which finally appeared, without attribution, in 1703, and again in 1723 but with his name attached. The preface apologized for the literal character of the English which the exercise required. It was designed ‘for the help of those that have a mind to understand Latin books, but have not the opportunity or leisure to learn that language by grammar’; it was, he believed, perfectly possible to learn a language ‘without first beginning with the rules of grammar’, as was common when learning French. Although the inclusion of simple woodcuts of a few dozen of the animals mentioned in the fables was designed to make the work ‘still more taking to children, and make the deeper impression … upon their minds’, the work could also be used by adults who did not have access to a teacher.147 The impact of these Latin-and-English versions of ‘Aesop’ was possibly less than that of the equivalent versions of ‘Cato’ described above, because by the mid-seventeenth century there was already a growing surge of new, looser, smoother English translations of the fables, especially in verse; and whether the English in them was intended to mirror the Latin version or was largely independent of it, these aimed to provide entertainment as well as (in some cases) political provocation. But, taken all together, the different versions of ‘Aesop’, whether in Latin, English or both, do reinforce the point that this was another classical text in a humanist form that was widely available in later Stuart and early Hanoverian England. Moreover, to judge from various indicators, not just of schoolroom use but also of wider awareness, such as allusions to ‘Aesop’ in the House of Commons (by Sir Henry Marten in 1628) and in political treatises (such as Locke’s Second Treatise),148 as well as in the spate of political squibs with titles like Aesop at Westminster, Aesop at Richmond, Tunbridge, Bath and so on, which appeared in the 1690s, the fables were widely known to a variety


  Wing2 A727, title-page.   Aesop, Aesop’s Fables, in English and Latin, interlineary (1703 and 1723), titlepage and sig. A2r; Educational Writings of John Locke, ed. Axtell, pp. 266–7, 277–8. 148   Cited in Patterson, Fables of Power, pp. 83–4, 136–7. 147


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of readers.149 The ubiquity of the fables made it seem natural to Jonathan Swift to give ‘Aesop’ a pivotal role in summarizing the relative merits of ancient and modern wisdom in his satirical Battle of the books. * * * There was a third Latin text which was used in the lower levels of a number of English grammar schools by the middle third of the seventeenth century: Culmann’s Sententiae pueriles. This was the work of a Lutheran teacher, Leonhard Culmann, who drew on material taken from many previous authors, and published his selection at Leipzig in the early 1540s. This soon passed through 25 editions in Germany, and was later reproduced in England and America until well into the eighteenth century.150 Like ‘Cato’ and ‘Aesop’, it filled a useful niche by offering a graded course for those in the early stages of learning Latin by providing series of sentences of two words, followed by sentences of three words, of four, and so on, all arranged handily in alphabetical order: for example, Libenter disce (‘learn willingly’), and Magistratum metue (‘fear the magistrate’). In all there were about 900 ‘secular’ phrases. These could either be memorized, with their vernacular equivalents, at the rate of two each day (as in Culmann’s Germany), or used as a source by students seeking sententiae for their commonplace-books, or as a basis for simple exercises in class. In addition, the booklet contained about 300 sententiae sacrae to be learned on Sundays and holy days, and a section on daily conduct which was probably taken from a German catechism.151 In the form used in England, the Sententiae pueriles differed from the older works we have just been considering in three ways. It incorporated sayings by ‘wise men’ drawn from some Christian as well as classical sources; it was specifically designed to familiarize students with ‘true religion’ – approximately a fifth of the English version was devoted to ‘Holy sentences to be taught scholars on holy days’; and yet it seems to have taken longer to take hold, and even then was not as widely used. Even allowing for the flimsiness of these little 40-page octavo booklets, it is surprising to find hardly any copies dating from the sixteenth century in the major British libraries. On the basis of school curricula and other indicators such as its possible impact on the phrases used by Spenser and Shakespeare, we must conclude that copies were circulating in England in 149

  Wing2 A734–41.   Matthias W. Senger, Leonhard Culmann. A Literary Biography and an Edition of Five Plays (Nieuwkoop, 1982), pp. 23–8, 53–9; Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, pp. 188–90. 151   Senger, Culmann, pp. 54–8. 150

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


the Elizabethan period, probably printed abroad, for although the title was entered to a publisher there in 1570, then ceded to the Stationers’ Company in 1584, no copies printed in England survive before c. 1600. In 1620 the title was listed in the ‘English Stock’, but again we do not find evidence of much effort to publish it, even though Brinsley was strongly advocating its use in the 1610s as being worth its weight in gold for containing ‘many wise sayings of most learned men’ which students could memorize and thus have ‘both matter and phrase … flow into [their] remembrance’.152 The first clear evidence for extensive use emerges from the ongoing tension in the early 1630s over who was to supply the lucrative market for school texts, when Thomas Buck in Cambridge, with the Stationers’ approval, printed three enormous print runs of 6000 copies each. Evidence survives of two London editions in 1639, though once Hoole’s bilingual version appeared, reprinting of the Latin-only version may have declined, perhaps only eight editions in Latin being printed between 1658 and 1751 compared to perhaps 13 in Latin and English.153 To facilitate students’ use of this text and mastery of the moral lessons it contained, English translations were made by both Brinsley and Hoole. Brinsley praised Culmann’s work ‘because it hath been gathered with much care and advice to enter young scholars’, and was ‘for Latin and matter every way meet for them’. Of the examples he gave in Ludus literarius of the best way for inexperienced teachers to deploy the first Latin readers used by students, Brinsley chose Culmann’s work for an extended example of how a two-word phrase such as ‘Amicis opitulare’ (‘help friends’), or a three-word such as ‘Amor vincit omnia’ (‘love conquers all’), could be turned into a question-and-answer session which would both speed comprehension and encourage the pupil to reply in Latin sentences. Brinsley also published a version of the complete text in his usual mixture of translation and marginal notes: Sententiae pueriles, translated grammatically passed through three editions between 1612 and 1622, though it does not appear to have been printed thereafter, perhaps because of a dearth of Latin copies with which to use it, at least before the mid-1630s.154


  Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 591–5; Senger, Culmann, p. 59; STC2 6106.3, 3774–74.3; Brinsley, Ludus literarius (1612), p. 142. 153   STC2 6106.3–7.3; Latin only editions are in Wing2 C7477, 7477AB, AC and AD, and ESTC N26144, T176412, N483547, N21857; Hoole’s bilingual version is in Wing2 C7476, 7476A, B and C, 7477A, and ESTC N36329, 140742, T177771, N36518, T140743, N26145, N21855, N21856; see also David McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, 1992), vol. 1, p. 206. 154   STC2 3774–77.5; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 121, 142–4; Brinsley, Sententiae pueriles, construed grammatically (1612), sigs A2v–3r.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


Hoole’s version ‘for the first enterers into Latin’ provided a bilingual edition, with the Latin originals in the right-hand column or page with his English translation to the left, as follows: Be helpful to thy friends. Honour good men. Respect thy kinfolks. Use diligence. Drunkenness makes men mad.

Amicis opitulare. Bonos honora. Cognatos cole. Diligentiam adhibe. Ebrietas dementat.

If the focus on virtue, moderation, friendship and honour sounds very similar to ‘Cato’, Culmann’s selection reflected some features of his own age, not least the misogyny and double standards of adult males: A woman is always wavering and unconstant. We learn our wives’ faults after the marriage. A wife that hath lost chastity hath lost all things.

Varia et mutabilis semper foemina. Uxorum vitia post nuptias discimus. Uxor, quae pudicitiam amisit, omnia perdidit.155

Hoole, like Brinsley, included the ‘Holy sentences to be taught scholars on holy days’, which contained a much higher proportion of statements of a distinctly Christian kind than the phrases studied on weekdays: We can do nothing without God. Absque Deo nihil possumus. Sin is derived to us from Adam. Ab Adamo peccatum in nos derivatum est.

This section also contained a much higher proportion of statements about the Bible, such as: Nothing is to be added to the Word of God. When the Word of God is lost, all things are lost.

Ad verbum Dei nihil addendum. Amisso verbo Dei omnia amittuntur.

But Culmann’s chosen format tended to work against direct quotations from the scriptures. Instead we find close paraphrases, such as:


C. Hoole, Sentences for children English and Latine (1684), sigs A1r, D2v–3r.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools

A tree is known by its fruits. He that hath Christ by faith hath all things. The cross is the trial of our faith. God is a spirit, and to be worshipped in spirit.


Arbor ex fructibus cognoscitur. Christum qui fide habet, omnia habet. Crux est probatio fidei. Deus est Spiritus, et in spiritu adorandus.

As in many elementary catechisms, the emphasis in this section of Culmann’s work was on God’s nature, power and mercy, faith in Christ as a gift from God, good works as the fruit of faith, and on the punishments sent for sin. The assertion that ‘the number of God’s people is very small’ and that all things are done by God’s ‘counsel’ (Brinsley’s translation of consilium) or ‘decree’ (Hoole’s) had an evangelical ring; but there was nothing overtly polemical which might explain why Culmann’s collection was soon banned from Catholic countries. Indeed, in the section of ‘sacred’ sentences we find many which like the sentences studied on weekdays were improving or moralizing: ‘Evil company is to be avoided’; ‘We must be slow to be angry’; and the concluding section of ‘rules for children’s behaviour’ were matters of politeness: cut your food into small morsels, and don’t clean your teeth with your nails while at the table (do it later).156 Gerald Strauss may have been unduly pessimistic when, considering the use of ‘Cato’ and Culmann in many German schools, he suggested that ‘for the great majority of schoolboys these sayings contained the sum of the education they received’, and that, while offering some social benefit, they ‘conferred little of practical worth or spiritual profit upon those who copied and recited them’.157 While this may have been true of some English schoolboys, especially if they did not stay the course beyond the lower forms of the grammar school, it was not true of all of them. When Peter Wentworth delivered a stinging attack on Elizabeth I’s handling of parliament in 1576, he said: ‘Mr Speaker, I find written in a little volume these words in effect, “Sweet indeed is the name of liberty and the thing it self a value beyond all inestimable treasure.”’ The little book was probably Culmann’s Sententiae pueriles, and the phrase was ‘Libertate nihil dulcius’. Not all English students who had been exposed to Culmann would necessarily have agreed with the context or the way in which Wentworth used the phrase (as he soon found to his cost), but it is

156   Ibid., sigs D2v–E3r, E3v–8r; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 131, 142–4, 149–50; see also Brinsley, Sententiae pueriles, pp. 35–41. When paraphrasing scripture, neither Brinsley nor Hoole provided references to suitable ‘proof’ texts as was done in a growing number of contemporary catechisms. 157   Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, pp. 188–91.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

instructive that he chose a phrase which he could reasonably expect his fellow MPs to recognize.158 * * * There was another type of Latin text that was in fairly constant use in the lower forms of early modern English grammar schools – the dialogue or colloquy. The dialogue had a long history as a form of literature, and featured in a number of the fables attributed to Aesop. But it became a tool much favoured by humanist teachers to improve both the reading and speaking of correct Latin, and to provide instruction or edification at the same time. By the sixteenth century, Peter Burke has suggested, there were at least four types of dialogue in use: catechetical, disputational, conversational and dramatic. Elements of one or more of these can be found in many of the Latin dialogues or colloquies which then circulated round Europe: the Paedogogia which Mosellanus prepared for theological students in Germany, the Colloquia familiaria which Erasmus wrote for older schoolboys and Latinate adults, and the Exercitatio linguae Latinae which Vives composed for the scions of the aristocratic families he tutored in Spain.159 Despite Erasmus’ high reputation, and the regular use of his works in some leading schools, this was presumably with imported copies, since his Colloquia familiaria was not published much in England until John Clarke of Lincoln produced a new annotated version in 1631. This then passed through perhaps 15 editions in the next eighty years, and from the 1650s faced competition from several editions of Helvicius’ selection of colloquies from Erasmus, Vives, Schotten and Cordier, and from the 1670s from another selection set in parallel Latin-and-English texts: Familiar forms of speaking was composed ‘for a private school’ but soon notched up a dozen editions when ‘published for common use’.160 Before these works took hold, the three most popular sets of dialogues were also among the most simple and yet innovative: Evaldus Gallus’ Pueriles confabulatiunculae, Mathurin Cordier’s Colloquiae and Sebastien 158

  Cited in Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, p. 1, and see pp. 33–4; Mack mentions other possible sources, but ‘little volume’ suits Culmann best. 159   P. Burke, ‘The Renaissance Dialogue’, Renaissance Studies, 3 (1989), 1–12; Green, Christian’s ABC, pp. 17–20, 54–7, 60–64; H.R. Guggisberg, Sebastian Castellio, 1515–1563: Humanist and Defender of Religious Toleration in a Confessional Age, tr. and ed. B. Gordon (Aldershot, 2003), pp. 30–31. 160

  For Clarke’s version, see STC2 10452–3, Wing2 E3191–96B, and ESTC (under 1704, 1706, 1709, 1711); for Helvicius’ version, Wing2 E3203A–4A, and ESTC under 1704; for Familiar forms of speaking (1678), also known as Familiares colloquendi formulae, see Wing2 F352–52G, and ESTC. For another selection of Erasmus’ colloquies, this time in Greek, Latin and English in parallel columns, see James Shirley’s Introductorium (1656).

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


Castellio’s Dialogi sacri. All these authors came from strong humanist backgrounds and wrote in the mid-sixteenth century, though the peak of their influence in England was as part of the ‘English Stock’ in the seventeenth century. The three are also of interest because while the first work was perceived as having Catholic traits, the other two were more obviously examples of the fusion of humanist and Protestant aims in early modern European education, both being published first in Geneva. Moreover, despite the late surge of Erasmian versions, their popularity persisted in many schools into the eighteenth century. Pueriles confabulatiunculae was the work of the rector of the Latin school in Weert, in the Netherlands, who was also author of a Latin–Dutch word list known as the Dictionariolum Latinogermanicum, published in Antwerp in 1566. Evaldus Gallus evidently intended his short dialogues for young schoolboys: the choice of vocabulary and the word order were framed to facilitate comprehension rather than foster Ciceronian style, and he was not above lightening a serious exercise with some examples of schoolboy humour. He even poked fun at himself: in one of the dialogues a student is made to explain that he was born in Weert, where there were two teachers, one fat, one lean, and that his own teacher, while having lots of pupils and being of great learning, was poor because he did not like to ask for higher wages. The first dialogue imitated Erasmus in offering youngsters a series of polite greetings and exchanges for different situations, ranging from the opening ‘Salve’, ‘Habeo tibi gratiam. Salve tu quoque’, ‘Bonus dies’ or ‘Bonus vesper’, through offering, accepting or rejecting an invitation to a meal, to requests to the teacher for permission to leave the room ‘ut purgem alvum’ or ‘ut vadam mictum’. The next few dialogues covered everyday schoolboy situations, such as reluctance to get up in the morning, arriving late or unkempt at school, an argument over a penknife, absenteeism, punishment for speaking in the vernacular rather than Latin inside school, and wishing to be outside playing games on a fine day. But then the dialogues switch to a few scenes in the home and the tavern; a rather unusual one about a boy who is the servant of a devout master who is teaching him godly ways, and finally some miscellaneous exchanges in which edifying matter, such as ‘Quis sermo auditu gravissimus?’ ‘“Venite benedicti”’ (‘Which speech is most delightful to hear?’ ‘“Come ye blessed”’) was mixed up with scatological schoolboy humour, such as ‘Ubi pedunt vulpes?’ ‘Paululum supra poplites’ (‘Where do foxes fart?’ ‘Just above their haunches’).161

161   Gallus, Pueriles confabulatiunculae: or childrens dialogues, (tr. John Brinsley) (1617), fols 1r–3v and passim; Gallus Pueriles confabulatiunuclae, or childrens talke … After the method of Dr Webbe (1627), pp. 161, 164 and passim; C. Hoole, Childrens talke (1659), pp. 1–5, 86–9 and passim.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Copies of Pueriles confabulatiunculae were probably soon imported into England, for in the opening decades of Elizabeth’s reign its use was recommended for the first form at Westminster and the third form at Norwich, and it was also on the list of titles to be used at the school set up by Grindal at St Bees in Cumberland in 1583.162 The London printer Thomas Orwin entered the title in the Stationers’ Register in 1593, but no English-printed copy is known to survive for the sixteenth century or the first years of the seventeenth century, perhaps because copies were worn to pieces.163 From that point, however, there survive a few copies of contrasting versions and some other tantalizing clues. In 1617 John Brinsley published an English translation of the first 21 dialogues, noting they had ‘through long custom [been] accounted by many very fit for the entrance of young scholars to learn to speak and talk in Latin’; his pupils presumably had a Latin text with which to compare his translation. Next, in 1627 Joseph Webbe published a parallel Latin-and-English version of most of the dialogues, as part of his project of making bilingual versions of commonly used school texts widely available, for which he had secured a 31-year patent from the Crown.164 But both of these versions were rather difficult to use, and neither proved popular enough with teachers to warrant a repeat edition; and since Charles Hoole, writing in 1652 but already with years of teaching experience in the North of England, said that Gallus ‘with us [is] commonly taught in Latin only’, we may surmise that the print run of 6000 copies made by Thomas Buck at Cambridge in arrangement with the Stationers in London was in Latin only.165 Hoole was also convinced that ‘colloquies are most suitable to children … and excellently profitable to attain liberty of discourse’, and his own bilingual version was ready by 1652. But it was apparently not until 1659, just after Webbe’s patent had expired, that he published it, through the Stationers, as Childrens talke, to provide a ‘cheap and pleasant’ way to help ‘young-smatterers’ in the Latin tongue. In his general handbook for young teachers, published in 1660, Hoole explained how this version could be used by the usher with second-formers on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons ‘instead of lessons’: the first time just read a conversation through; the second time construe it, and encourage students to vary the printed answer, from singular to plural, or changing the addressee. His bilingual version


  Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 724, and index under Gallus.   STC2, vol. 3, p. 201. 164   Gallus, Pueriles confabulatiunculae (tr. Brinsley), fol. [33]r; STC2, vol. 2, p. 443 (under 25170.5) 165   McKitterick, History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1, p. 206; Hoole, Childrens talke, title-page and sigs A3v–4v. 163

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


achieved at least four editions by 1697.166 In 1666 yet another version, this time in Latin and Greek, and again of the first 21 dialogues only, was published at Oxford, by William Jackson, a schoolteacher at Northleach, who gave an autographed copy to the Bodleian Library. Repeat editions from presses in Oxford, Cambridge and Dublin suggest some demand for Jackson’s version, perhaps as a follow-up to the use of an English-andLatin version in a lower form.167 The survival of copies of the versions made by Brinsley, Webbe and Hoole gives us an opportunity to compare three authors’ attitudes to such a work. Brinsley was sufficiently impressed to wish to make a translation of the first half available, but objected that ‘there are sundry speeches unmeet to season the children’s minds, whereof some are popish, others profane and filthy’, which he either omitted or ‘translated them in the best and most modest sense’. There were also, he complained, a few whole dialogues at the end which were also ‘unsavoury, popish, or both’; these he altogether avoided, and recommended Cordier’s Dialogues as much more suitable for students who had reached that point. By contrast, Webbe and Hoole did not see the need to censor Evaldus Gallus’ text: in fact, Hoole welcomed the humorous elements in the original when he noted that young children ‘like not being serious long’.168 If we look more closely at Brinsley’s alterations, we find that there was a pattern. He omitted a student’s rude comment about the teacher keeping them indoors on a fine day (‘ut omnes dii, deaque praeceptorem nostrum magno donent infortunio’; ‘may all the gods and goddesses cast some great misfortune on our master’), avoided the dialogue on the quality of the beer offered at different taverns, and shunned the scatological humour at the end. What he seems to have regarded as ‘popish’ is also intriguing. A boy’s request to leave the schoolroom ‘ut catechizanti respondeam sacerdoti’ (‘that I may answer the priest in the catechism’) was left out, as was the whole of the dialogue in which a servant boy explains how he is encouraged by his pious master to read good books, attend sermons and ‘colloquiam doctorum virorum’, and to say his prayers regularly. It was presumably the inclusion in this dialogue of ‘Our Father’, the Creed and several other prayers in Latin, and the reference to the boy praying while his master ‘sacra fecit’ (‘made a sacrifice’) which upset Brinsley. But Webbe and Hoole not only left all this in (though Hoole hinted that the master might have been a priest when he translated sacra fecit as ‘saieth Mass’), 166

  Ibid.; C. Hoole, The ushers duty (in A new discovery of the old arte of teaching schoole, 1660), pp. 50–51; Wing2 H2671–3. 167   Ibid., G182–4; the Bodleian copy is shelved at Linc. 8o B. 147. 168   Gallus, Pueriles confabulatiunculae (tr. Brinsley), fols [32]r–[34]r; Hoole, Childrens talke, sig. A3v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

they also included in full the boy’s prayer to Christ for forgiveness of sins, and for Christ to ‘strengthen me in every good work’: ‘do not … cast me off as a reprobate, when thou shalt render to every man according to his works. Amen.’169 Webbe came from a Catholic background, but Hoole, though probably a royalist, was no Catholic sympathizer: the list of books he recommended for use in grammar schools in the late 1650s included the Westminster Shorter Catechism. However, like Webbe he seems to have felt that English students did not need to be protected from the letter or the spirit of Evaldus Gallus’ little dialogues, even if some of them did lean towards a form of Christianity which gave more prominence to the role of the priest and of good works than his more ‘godly’ colleagues would have approved. The relatively small sales of the Sententiae (compared to the other set texts being considered in this chapter) may have been due to its author’s background or attitude, or to the fact that another set of colloquies for schoolboys had already become established with that conservative body – the grammar school teachers of early modern England – namely those of Mathurin Cordier. * * * By the early 1530s, Cordier was middle-aged, with an established reputation as a humanist teacher in Paris, where he had published a wellreceived tract correcting errors in the ways the French spoke Latin. He had also numbered among his pupils the young Calvin, who later (in a preface to one of his scriptural commentaries) expressed fulsome gratitude for the care and inspiration of his former tutor. Cordier’s leanings towards reform led to his being labelled a Lutheran in the mid-1530s, and he left Paris, first for Bordeaux, and then in 1537, at Calvin’s invitation, for Geneva, where the reformer was anxious to turn the Collège de Rive into a centre of evangelical-humanist education, like the Gymnasium in Strasburg. A year later, Calvin’s expulsion ended that experiment, and Cordier moved to the Collège of Neuchâtel, which over the next few years he turned into one of the leading Protestant schools in French-speaking territories, and then to Lausanne. As a result, despite various efforts to tempt him back to Geneva, he did not finally return there until 1559. It was there in 1563 that Henri Estienne published the work by which he is best known today – his Colloquiorum scholasticorum libri quatuor.170 169   Compare Gallus, Pueriles confabulatiunculae (tr. Brinsley), fols 3v, 27r and passim, with Hoole, Childrens talke, pp. 5, 49, 77–87 and passim, and Gallus Pueriles confabulatiunuclae … After the method of Dr Webbe, pp. 147–60 and passim. 170   E.A. Berthault, Mathurin Cordier et l’enseignement chez les premiers Calvinistes (Geneva, 1970), pp. 11–14, 22–6, 32–7, 61–2. Calvin’s praise was occasionally exploited by

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


The 228 conversations which comprise this work were in some ways similar to Galdus’ confabulatiunculae in being designed for students who had recently started to learn Latin, and in tackling ordinary, everyday boyhood experiences in school. Thus fellow pupils discussed preparing for and coping with lessons; problems with time-keeping; buying, forgetting and borrowing books and pens; keeping warm, borrowing money and obtaining extra food; parents’ occupations, and visits home or to the market. But, as Brinsley noted, Cordier’s work was designed for students who had reached a more advanced standard of Latin: it included, for example, not only verses from ‘Cato’, but also many references to Virgil, Terence, Horace and Ovid.171 It also was more sober and serious, and the third and fourth books included some dialogues between master and students which contained a higher proportion of pious exhortations about hard work and duty alongside exchanges about getting permission to go home or into town. The work proved popular across Europe, and in England at least 30 editions of Cordier’s colloquies in Latin may have been printed in London and Cambridge between 1584 and 1741 (from 1607 as part of the ‘English Stock’). Moreover, print-runs of 3000 copies (twice the normal maximum) were permitted from the outset.172 There are plenty of indications that many of these copies of Cordier’s colloquies were used in English grammar schools over two centuries, both as an exercise in construing, two or three lines at a time, and for practising conversation; given the time such exercises could take, it is not surprising that some teachers did not expect all 200 dialogues to be used.173 However, it should come as no surprise to learn that both Brinsley and Hoole, following on their interest in ‘Aesop’, ‘Cato’ and Culmann, had a crack at making Cordier more accessible: Brinsley through an English translation in Corderius dialogues translated grammatically translated (at least three editions between 1614 and 1636) and Hoole in Martinus Corderius’s School-colloquies (accepted at once by the Stationers’ Company, and passing through perhaps 15 editions

English publishers, as on the title-page of the 1678 Cambridge edition of the Colloquiorum scholasticorum (Wing2 C66288A). 171   See above, n. 168. 172   Berthault, Cordier, pp. 61–2; Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 136. The English editions are based on STC2 5759.1–61, Wing2 6285A–90C and ESTC under Cordier, checking copies from each decade; for size of editions from 1584, see STC2 5759.1. 173   See Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 383–7, 724–7, and index under ‘Corderius’; M. Cordier, Corderii colloquiorum centuria selecta: or, a select century … By John Clarke (1765), p. iii; ‘J.M.’ suggested a hundred was ‘as much, or more than is usually taught … in schools’: Maturini Corderii colloquiorum centuria selecta (Dundee, 1792), sig. A2r.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

between 1653 and 1732).174 Brinsley’s English translation was published to help those in ‘our common country-schools’ with some little smattering of Latin to a ‘speedy attaining to the knowledge of the … writing and speaking Latin’, but also for those who had lost what little they had and ‘are desirous to repair the same’. Hoole’s bilingual version was published ‘that children by the help of their mother-tongue may the better learn to speak Latin in ordinary discourse’, just as (experience had showed him) having parallel texts in English and Latin had helped them read and write English more readily.175 What is striking in this instance, however, is that Hoole’s version was in turn superseded by a number of new versions targeted at schools or ‘beginners in the Latin tongue’, which either promised an even quicker way to master Latin or provided grammatical notes to help beginners understand the original text. Moreover, these new versions soon outsold the original Latin-only. William Willymott, assistant master at Eton for several years and then master of a private school in Isleworth for a while, was the author of many school textbooks, including long-lasting editions of Cordier’s colloquies and Phaedrus’ fables. The first surviving copy of his ‘select century’ of Cordier’s dialogues ‘for use in schools’ is of the third edition of 1716, but this had reached 12 editions in England by 1780, and several more in Scotland and Ireland. Willymott selected a hundred of Cordier’s originals, added helpful notes in English to the more difficult phrases in Cordier, and at the end added a ‘parsing index’ (by ‘S.P.’) and Cordier’s pious address to his students.176 John Clarke also reduced the number of dialogues to a Select century, which he deemed ‘the choicest’ and ‘as many as are necessary for boys to read’; and offered a very literal English translation of each – more literal than Hoole’s, but too literal for some of his critics, who also accused him of frequent tampering with Cordier’s original text. Nevertheless, this version was printed well over 30 times between 1718 and 1798 in England alone, mainly in London, but also in provincial presses in York, Leeds, Huddersfield, and Exeter, as well as further afield in Ireland and North America.177 Other variations on Cordier’s original text or on Willymott and Clarke’s efforts were published 174   STC2 5762–64.2 (Brinsley), Wing2 C6284B–85aA, C6291–3AB, and ESTC (Hoole). 175   J. Brinsley, Corderius dialogues translated grammatically (1636), title-page and sigs v A2 –3r; C. Hoole, Martinus Corderius’s School-colloquies (1657), title-page and sig. A3r. 176   Mathurin Cordier, Selecta colloquiorum Maturini Corderii centuria, notis anglicis … a Gulielmo Willimot (3rd edn, 1716), title-page and passim; see also ODNB under William Willymott. 177   Cordier, Corderii colloquiorum centuria selecta: or, a select century … By John Clarke (1718–); for critics, see next note.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


by John Stirling (a clergyman-teacher in the Home Counties), Samuel Loggon (a clergyman-teacher in Hampshire), and ‘J.M.’ (also a teacher, to judge from the preface). Stirling’s text stressed the importance of students learning the vocabulary first, and reordered the words in Cordier’s text to aid comprehension, as well as offering English translations; Loggon had the printer put the original Latin text on the opening pages and his literal translation on a much later page, to discourage laziness; while J.M. produced a hybrid of Willymott and Clarke, at the same time as returning to Cordier’s original text whenever possible.178 Together these five versions passed through scores of editions between the 1720s and the 1790s in England and Scotland. However, despite Cordier’s reformist leanings and his contacts with Geneva, his dialogues are not the place to look for a clear statement of Protestant, let alone Calvinist, theology. Throughout the four books there are occasional references to God’s great goodness towards mankind, and students in particular, and to divine support being needed for any human plan to succeed. There are some pious exhortations: obey the fifth commandment which demands obedience to masters as well as parents, memorize the catechism before you need to repeat it, pay attention in sermons, thank God for His blessings, pray regularly to be delivered from ignorance, bear hardship patiently, and act charitably – many of which can be found in medieval treatises and sermons. Scripture texts are sometimes cited, usually to support a duty or define vice and virtue, but there is also a good deal of deferring to the wisdom of the ancient authors studied in class: ‘heathen philosophers’, ‘enlightened by the Spirit of God’ utter many things agreeable to His Word, ‘which thou shalt be able to see at length, if thou shalt follow the study of learning’. The fourth and final book is said to contain ‘more grave matters, especially in manners and in Christian doctrine’, but contains little on spiritual matters. Thus, in the third dialogue of Book Four, which starts with Claudius asking Quentin, ‘Why ought we to hear the Gospel diligently?’, the answer is: ‘That we may learn to worship God according to his will’ and ‘that we may live soberly and justly’ – nothing about a sense of guilt for sin or effectual calling through the Word preached. Indeed, whenever a dialogue seems likely to lead to a deeper discussion, Cordier shies away by having one of the speakers say, ‘let us leave these things to wiser men’, ‘do not meddle with the searching of too high matters’ or ‘we will take counsel of this at another time’. Once again, we are back to a mid-sixteenth-century example 178   See the prefaces and texts of Cordier, Corderii colloquorum centuria selecta: or a select century … By John Stirling (1736–); Mathurini Corderii colloquia selecta: or, select colloquies … By Samuel Loggon (1745–); Maturini Corderii colloquiorum centuria selecta. A select century (preface signed by ‘J.M.’) (1746–).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of elementary humanist instruction that concentrated on promoting good outward actions and good Latin, and reached a large number of readers across the British Isles well into the eighteenth century.179 * * * Sebastian Castellio is better known today for his clashes with Calvin and his early promotion of freedom of conscience, but contemporaries probably remembered him more for his translations of the Bible into French and Latin and his educational works. Born in 1515 in Savoy (where the French form of the family name was Chastillon or Châteillon), he was educated in Lyons, where he became fluent in Latin and Greek, and acquired his Latinized surname. In 1540 he moved to Strasburg to sit at Calvin’s feet, and in 1542 he was invited to Geneva to become rector of the Collège de Rive (vacant after Cordier’s resignation) and a preacher just outside the city. He accepted, and devoted his weekdays to teaching the ancient languages, his Sundays to preaching, and his few spare hours to translating the Bible into French and preparing educational texts. The translation of the Bible led to conflict with Calvin, who had already agreed to recommend another translation (by a relative), and who pointed out faults in Castellio’s translation of the New Testament which the latter refused to accept. But as early as 1543 the first three parts of his Dialogi sacri were printed, and in 1545, when increasingly fraught relations with Calvin had led to his moving to Basle, Book Four appeared. In its final form the work contained 137 dialogues – 90 on the Old Testament and Apocrypha, and 47 on the New – in each of which a story was told through a dialogue between scriptural characters, starting with the Fall in Genesis 2 and 3, and finishing with the Last Judgment in Matthew 25. During Castellio’s lifetime over 20 editions appeared, in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, but he continued to revise the work for many years. The edition of 1565 was the basis for the scores, perhaps hundreds, of editions which appeared in many parts of central and Northern Europe over the next two hundred years, especially in German- and English-speaking areas.180 Castellio’s work borrowed from existing genres such as the dialogue and the ‘history of the Bible’, but was innovative in being designed for 179   The following form of citation is based on Brinsley’s 1636 version, but should apply to many other editions of the original full text of Cordier: bk 1, colloquies 23, 50, bk 2, nos 21, 45, 65, and bk 4, no. 4 (exhortations); bk 2, no. 8, bk 3, no. 2 and bk 4, nos 1, 30, 38 (scripture texts); bk 2, no. 30 (heathen authors); bk 4, nos 3, 19, 30 (shying away). 180   Guggisberg, Castellio, pp. 9, 18–19, 25–33, 174, 176–9, 233–5, 239, 245, 247, 261; on later editions, see also F. Buisson, Sébastien Castellion: Sa Vie et son Oeuvre (2 vols, Paris, 1892), vol. 1, pp. 176–9, and vol. 2, pp. 341–52.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


a different kind of user and use. As already noted, most of the dialogues circulating in the early sixteenth century had been aimed at older pupils, and deployed classical or contemporary subject matter rather than specifically biblical or Christian material. On the other hand the late medieval and early sixteenth-century ‘histories’ of the Bible which offered a selection of stories from the scriptures, were mostly in the vernacular and targeted at poorly educated adults rather than children, often using visual aids to drive home the message.181 It is significant, then, that in the open letter to Cordier with which Castellio prefaced the Dialogi sacri he hinted at the time they had spent together, presumably in Strasburg, and their shared concerns: We have often opined, perhaps you will remember those times, that there are no good beginners’ books for use by either teachers or pupils. That is, an introductory Latin book which leads students gently, and without them noticing, towards the more difficult aspects of the language. It also disturbed us that in the teaching of this important language in the school that we had to use books which were not only were of little service to the teaching of religion, but positively hindered it.

Cicero was difficult but inappropriate, wrote Castellio, while Terence was easier but immoral. Why should students not have a textbook which not only demonstrated the subtleties of an elegant classical Latin, but also used the Bible to do so? Castellio’s dialogues were carefully graded from simple to quite difficult; and while the first part appeared with a French translation to help beginners translate the Latin, the others did not. Moreover, with each subsequent revision, especially through introductory and concluding notes and marginal notes, it was the moral and civic dimension of the stories rather than the linguistic function that was reinforced by Castellio: the dialogues were intended not just to encourage students to understand and speak Latin, but also to teach them mores Christianos (Christian behaviour).182 In terms of a Bible-based dialogue in Latin for use in schools, Castellio would soon prove to have cornered the market across much of Europe. In England the Dialogorum sacrorum libri quatuor was printed at least 181   In the late sixteenth century, Bible stories or abridgements in Latin did appear in Germany in continuous prose, for example the anonymous Historia passionis … Iesu Christi (1551), Fabricius’ ten volumes of Historiae sacrae, Camerarius’ Historiae Iesu Christi and his lives of the Apostles, and a number of other abridgements or epitomes, all reproduced in J.M. Reu, Quellen zur Geschichte des kirklichen Unterrichts in der evangelischen Kirche Deutschlands zwichen 1530 und 1600 (4 vols, Hildesheim, 1976), vol. 2. Castellio’s work sold more widely. 182   Guggisberg, Castellio, pp. 31–2; Castellio, Dialogorum sacrorum libri quatuor (1605), sig. A1v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

ten times between c. 1560 and 1601 before becoming part of the ‘English Stock’; and we find evidence not only of its being recommended regularly for use in the lower forms of grammar schools, but also of perhaps 15 further editions appearing in London and Cambridge between 1605 and 1739.183 It was also periodically translated into English, as in 1610 and 1715. The earlier translation, by someone we know only as ‘J. D.’, was published as Good and true. A holy collection made out of the Old and New Testament. Each dialogue was ‘accompanied with pithy sentences as moral observations’, and the whole was intended for ‘the instruction of English learners’ in ‘the English schools’ as well as ‘the comfort of ‘godly minds’.184 The author of the later translation (again anonymous, probably a layman) designed it partly to help boys using the Latin version, but also ‘for [the] delight and instruction’ of ‘the English reader’ beyond the grammar school’s rooms.185 The same goals were also pursued in a joint Latin-and-English edition of Part 1 (mirroring Castellio’s initial Latin and French version) which was published in 1743 by Daniel Bellamy the elder, a pious and gifted author who supported himself by his writings. He took the task seriously: after each dialogue he added two to three pages of his own ‘explanatory remarks (never before published) in order to enlarge the ideas of children and render their earliest studies not only instructive but entertaining’. The work was dedicated to the Prince of Wales, and preceded by an essay on the value of a liberal education in that degenerate age: tutors should teach their charges the principles of honour and honesty using stories from ‘the great men of antiquity’ – such stories always make a strong impression on the young, he argued – but never forgot that the ‘chief end of all their instructions’ was to go one step further and confirm their pupils ‘in the principles of their most holy religion’.186 By then, there had also been over a score of editions of the Latin-only version in Scotland and Ireland. Indeed, the Dialogi sacri was still regarded with sufficient enthusiasm as a vehicle for mastering Latin in Scotland that a new edition which appeared there in 1750 was soon being reprinted regularly in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Like some recent editions on the Continent, this one was designed to get back to Cordier’s original text by 183

  STC2 4770–76.7; Wing2 CCC3732–34CA; see also ESTC under Castellion; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 724–5, and index under Castalio. 184   Castellio, Good and true (1610), title-page and sigs A2r–v. In fact, J.D. may have been one of the ‘godly’ himself, in view of his tendency to translate Castellio’s term pii (‘upright’ or ‘righteous’) as ‘godly’, as on pp. 53 [recte 35], 50, 55, 91, 93, and some adjustments to Castellio’s original text, for example adding ‘affliction’ on p. 417. 185

  The History of the Bible collected into One Hundred and Nineteen Dialogues by Sebastian Castalio (1715), sigs [A2]v–[3]r. 186   [Castellion], Youth’s scripture-remembrancer (1743), title-page, pp. vii–viii and passim.

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


removing the accumulated errors of a century and more. But it also added notes in English to help beginners translate the harder phrases, and ever mindful of students’ broader education in the classics, drew their attention to parallel usages in Cicero, Horace and Virgil.187 It comes as something of a surprise, then, to find that the doctrinal content of the Dialogi sacri was neither as extensive nor as Calvinist as one might have imagined from the Geneva connection. Nor did the dialogues represent a thorough preparation for the close study of the Bible in its original languages onto which older students would graduate, since their prime function seems to have been to raise children’s awareness of stories in the Bible. The stories chosen were drawn mainly from the historical books of the Old Testament and the Gospels in the New, not the prophetic books of the Old Testament and the doctrine-laden Pauline epistles. Castellio also could not resist some good stories from the Apocrypha, which many Bible scholars shunned. The use of Latin for his dialogues was in a sense a step backward towards the Vulgate (though Castellio’s style was much more Ciceronian); it was also not without practical problems, since, as Castellio wryly noted, there was no proper Latin name for God. He rejected calling Him ‘Jupiter’ as unseemly, and settled instead for the Hebrew ‘Jehovah’.188 The chosen format imposed other restraints too: Castellio had to focus on persons and events for which a spoken dialogue could be constructed from holy writ – Adam and Eve, Toby and Raphael, Mary and Gabriel, Christ’s miraculous powers of feeding the five thousand or healing the sick – without leaving him open to the charge of tampering with holy writ by paraphrasing too freely. This meant no Ten Commandments (unless it was used by the compositor as a filler for the last sheet of a new edition), no Lord’s Prayer, no crucifixion and no resurrection, and only limited treatment of many controversial issues such as Church discipline or the sacraments. Castellio did to some extent get round these problems by adding to later editions the kind of materials added in the Geneva Bible and some annotated editions of the classics: a descriptive argumentum before each dialogue; an instructive or prescriptive sententia after it, and some marginal notes to provide an explanation of or more specific comment on a particular word or phrase. (Most subsequent editions outside Geneva included the first and second of these additions, but not the third, which were perhaps considered a distraction.) Thus the first dialogue on the Fall had as its ‘argument’ ‘how the servant tempted Eve, and Eve then tempted 187   Buisson, Sébastien Castellion, vol. 1, pp. 178–9; [Castellion], Dialogorum sacrorum libri quatuor … ad optimas editiones summo studio recogniti, ac notis Angicis in rudiorum gratiam illustrati (Edinburgh, 1750), preface and passim; for later editions of this version, see ESTC. 188   Castellio, Dialogorum sacrorum libri quatuor (1605), sig. A1v.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Adam, to steal the forbidden fruit, and God condemned all three to eternal damnation’; while its ‘sentence’ was ‘Because of the disobedience of one man, death entered into the world. [So] learn obedience, young man.’ But even so, it did not prove easy to fit a number of distinctively Protestant or Calvinist emphases, such as justification or the ordo salutis, into this three-part framework. It is true that there were many dialogues taken from the Old Testament and some from the New which Castellio used as opportunities to show God leading his own (suos) through trials or other adversity to final felicity – a theme often preached by the ‘godly’ in England; and in a handful of dialogues taken from the New, Castellio was able to highlight the role of Christ and the Holy Ghost in bringing those with a weak faith to salvation. But the majority of the sententiae in the Old Testament section and many in the New were about God favouring the righteous (pii) – ‘they that fear God and work righteousness’ – over the wicked or slothful (impii, ignavos et diffidentes), as in the last dialogue of all, in which Christ the judge separates the sheep from the goats according to their actions and ‘rewardeth every man according to his deeds’.189 Castellio was certainly encouraging knowledge of the Bible story and familiarity with the Christian message on faith and good works, but resisting the temptation to stray into matters of confessional debate. In the English context Castellio’s dialogues were more advanced than the scripture quizzes of the Guinness Book of Records type that became popular in some quarters for use with the young: for example, how many books and chapters were there in each Testament, who was the oldest man mentioned, and who was the strongest? On the other hand, in terms of doctrine they were much less advanced than the dialogue-catechisms of Nowell or Hammond or other catechisms in Latin or English, which were used with more advanced students from the 1570s to the early eighteenth century, and which had many supporting proof references in the margin which they could follow up in their own Bibles.190 Castellio’s work thus occupied a middling position, roughly alongside the growing number of intermediate, ‘proof’ catechisms in which scripture texts were printed in full in the body of the text or the margins to ensure that catechumens learnt a verse of the Bible to corroborate the main thrust of each answer.191 189   On Castellio’s alterations, see Buisson, Sébastien Castellion, vol. 1, pp. 154, 159–61, 170–73; for a typical English edition, see Castellio, Dialogorum sacrorum libri quatuor (1667), pp. 1–2, 7–8, 10–11, 13, 18, 21, 25, 33, 154, 190 and passim. 190   Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 151–4; The Christian’s ABC, pp. 189–93, 200–201. 191

  For proof catechisms, see Green, ‘The Bible in Catechesis, c. 1500–c. 1750’, in New Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume III: The Early Modern World, c. 1450–c.1750, ed. Euan Cameron (forthcoming).

Uses of Latin in the Lower Forms of Grammar Schools


The Dialogi sacri was evidently adjudged to retain some value as a Latin text for those who attended the lower forms of grammar schools, but beyond that its main achievement may have been to help persuade those teachers and clergymen who had grown up with it, and those publishers looking for a new steady seller and aware of developments in France and elsewhere, that readers with no Latin at all might welcome, or benefit from, having access to a selection of Bible stories in their vernacular language. Certainly the steady sales of ‘Castellio’ may help to explain the appeal of the ‘histories of the Bible’ in English which appeared from the 1670s to the 1730s and beyond, ranging from cheap and cheerful booklets like Nathaniel Crouch’s Youths divine pastime, through Samuel Wesley’s poetic version of Old and New Testaments ‘adorn’d with sculptures’, to Isaac Watts’s thematic and chronological abridgement of the Bible in his Short view of the whole scripture history, which passed through 26 editions between 1732 and 1820. Although many of these ‘histories’ suffered from the same limitations of coverage as Castellio’s textbook, the more serious of them, it may be suggested, filled a niche in the English market parallel to the one Castellio’s text had for some time filled in the Latin one.192 However, whereas the Pietists in eighteenth-century Germany proceeded from Bible stories (such as Johann Hübner’s very popular Bible histories for children) to Bible reading as an integral part of their campaign to increase Bible knowledge, the English Protestants were, despite the efforts of the Bible societies to distribute cheap Bibles, less organized or certainly less centralized (as usual), and to judge from the persistence of sales of books of Bible stories, possibly less successful in persuading the literate laity to move onto reading the Bible itself.193 * * * There were other uses to which Latin was put in the lower forms of English grammar schools, both endowed and private: a student’s first direct exposure to the style of Cicero in the form of Sturm’s selection of the simpler letters which Cicero wrote to family, friends and associates; reciting the school’s prayers and singing its anthems where they were also stipulated to be in Latin; and mastering the Prayer Book catechism in its Latin form. The first of these we will defer to the next chapter, where

192   Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 158–62, 154–5; for the background, see Ruth B. Bottigheimer, The Bible for Children From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present (New Haven, CT, 1996), chaps 2–3. 193   Ibid., pp. 40–41; Gawthrop and Strauss, ‘Protestantism and Literacy in Early Modern Germany’, Past and Present, 104 (1984): 43–55.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

the full force of Ciceronianism is described, and the others to Chapter 5, where school worship and catechetical practice is treated. What we have already seen in this chapter is that the priority given to imparting the technicalities of Latin grammar and the innate conservatism of most teachers led them to deploy the officially approved ‘King’s grammar’ – a hybrid, idiosyncratic, demanding form which, despite the obstacles it posed, survived as the standard grammar through to the mid-nineteenth century. In many schools, however, hard-pressed masters or ushers resorted to a handful of texts written by teachers with experience below the top tier of grammar schools, such as Hayne, Stockwood, Brinsley and Hoole – experience which helped them make ‘Lily’s grammar’ comprehensible and assimilable to their pupils. Even the first reading texts – ‘Cato’, ‘Aesop’ and Culmann – were subordinated to the need for students to show understanding of and fluency in the use of the rules of Latin, through construing and parsing. All of these texts, and the dialogues of Gallus and Cordier (and even Castellio), also had a moral dimension – in humanist eyes, an invaluable tool in catching the young before they became set in their sinful ways, and in helping them memorize a store of wise sayings for daily use later in life. But the morality and social attitudes in these works were usually those of classical times, and such elements of Christian instruction as there were were broad and generic rather than distinctly Protestant. Moreover, the texts approved by humanists, whether inherited from earlier centuries or composed in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, remained largely unchanged, and continued to dominate the school textbook trade until well into the eighteenth century, despite the rising interest in the teaching of English grammar and literature in school. What we have also frequently encountered is the growing readiness of authors and teachers to use English translations of set texts to help students master Latin grammar, whether those students were in school or had left, or even never attended, a grammar school. The creation and distribution of many bilingual versions and English-only versions of approved school texts was a significant element in that wider surge of versions of both elementary and more ‘adult’ classical texts (to which we will come later), and also of texts by humanists like Erasmus, which reached unexpected heights in the later seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. By these means, not only those who had memorized their ‘Lily’ were exposed to a humanist agenda.

Chapter 4

The Uses of Latin and Greek in the Senior Forms and Universities

Once a mastery of the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary had been achieved, students in English grammar schools proceeded to the middling forms, and if sufficiently capable and assiduous, to the upper forms. Here they encountered a variety of new exercises, such as double translation, the writing of ‘themes’, participation in plays, the composition of Latin verses in different metres, and the writing and delivery of declamations and orations. They also encountered at a much more profound level a variety of original texts from the ancient world, and in some schools, humanist handbooks on rhetoric and logic. The bones of this programme were much the same as that practised on the Continent, where the humanist curriculum that was widely adopted in the late fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries placed a much greater emphasis on Cicero’s epistles and orations than had the medieval curriculum, and also on ancient Roman histories as well as the poetry of Virgil, Ovid and Horace. It also promoted the study of Greek and of Greek literature as means of improving style and further broadening the range of instructive and edifying material to which students were exposed. However, while at the elementary stage of a humanist education, as we saw in Chapter 3, there had been much overlap between the techniques and texts used in different countries – an official Latin grammar, Aesop’s Fables, Cordier’s Colloquiae and so on – at the intermediate and advanced stages differences of taste or purpose become clear. All humanists were agreed on the primacy of Cicero’s prose for style and sentiment, and Virgil’s poetry was widely admired and its author accepted as a protoChristian: neither posed problems. But the poetry of Ovid, Horace and Catullus caused concern in some quarters. The Jesuits praised Ovid’s verse highly for its facility, but insisted on removing any obscenities: as 

  Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 111–25, 203–34; Robert Black, Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2001), esp. chap. 4; G. Snyders, La Pédagogie en France aux XVIIIe et XVIIIe siècles (Paris, 1965), pp. 142–4; Kristian Jensen, ‘The Humanist Reform of Latin and Latin Teaching’, in Jill Kraye (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 72–7.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

late as the 1690s Ovid’s poetry and Horace’s odes were still being used only in selections or expurgated form in Jesuit schools. While the purity of the Latin in Terence’s comedies was also welcomed in many schools, some teachers frowned on the bawdiness of the content, and others either completely banned them or bowdlerized them. Similarly, while some histories such as those of Sallust and Livy and later Tacitus and Caesar were widely studied, there were variations from country to country and between different types of reader. Moreover, in schools run by religious orders, sacred or ecclesiastical history was given equal status with secular. The first Greek texts studied were usually a grammar such as Clenardus, first printed at Louvain in 1530, and then a text such as Aesop’s Fables (this time in Greek) and Isocrates’ speeches, with those students who showed promise being moved on to Homer’s poetry. But the Jesuit programmes of the late sixteenth century began to reduce the number of ancient Greek poets recommended, and to substitute hymns written by Christian authors accustomed to writing in Greek. School curricula in some countries were clearly designed to produce a higher level of competence in Greek and a basic command of Hebrew, and also introduced a more significant quota of Bible study or confessional literature into secondary education than did the equivalents in others. It should be pointed out that we are not necessarily comparing like with like. Where classes were as large as a hundred or more, as in some Continental schools, or it proved hard to obtain sufficient copies of school textbooks, the nature of the instruction and the forms of testing were likely to be different from those where class size was 50 or well below, or sufficient copies were available for the master to be able to skip dictation and proceed straight to his explanatory praelectio and for the students to move quickly to analysis, memorizing and imitation. Where the teachers were members of religious orders, they were also likely to some extent to have different priorities in grooming students to those career teachers or clergyman-teachers who lived full-time in the community. And where the 

  Ibid., pp. 73–8; Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 169–71, 182–3, 222–3, 247–8.    See below, pp. 206–12.    See below, pp. 237–40; Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 222–3, 270–71; Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 151–63, 179. See also Henri-Jean Martin, Print, Power, and People in 17th-Century France, tr. David Gerard (Metuchen, NJ, 1993), pp. 59, 63–4, 129–35, 344, 422–3, 447. 

  Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 172, 272.   Ibid., pp. 279–88, 303; see also below, pp. 254–61.    Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 119–20, 175; Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 56–61; see above, pp. 60–61; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 13–14. 

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


secondary schools came to be reasonably well supplied with teachers or the local universities were relatively new creations, students might spend an extra two years at school mastering subjects they would have begun to study at university in another country, resulting in a contraction in many faculties of arts on the Continent to certain core activities. These differences between countries should be kept in perspective: the fruits of the studia humanitatis in school and university life would have been recognizable to any scholar or young gentleman travelling from England across Lutheran, Calvinist and Catholic countries in early modern Europe. On the other hand, the differences may prove significant when trying to gauge the impact on their adult attitudes of the particular forms of education imposed on English adolescents. What became characteristic of school and college education in some Calvinist states and Jesuit institutions by 1600 was different from what would still be the norm in countries like England and France a century later. In both those countries in the late seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries we find that criticism of old methods, greater emphasis on scientific subjects and vernacular languages, and an increase in schools designed for those intended for careers in the army or trade rather the church or law, had begun to undermine the humanist systems of the sixteenth century. But in both, the case for preserving a distinctively humanist status quo was still advanced by powerful educational lobbies. In late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century France these included Bossuet, Fénelon and other senior churchmen, for whom Latin remained the international language of the Church and the scholarly world, and the study of pagan authors, purged of licentious or irrelevant material, regularly reinforced Christian morality on virtue and vice. With their stories of heroes sacrificing themselves for liberty, patrie and the public good, their depictions of the simple, frugal, sober life of the countryside, and their enchanting mythological tales, classical texts were more easily absorbed by and better adapted to the capacity of the young than the works of the Fathers or Schoolmen. Moreover, careful analysis of those works not only helped to purify students’ style of speaking and writing, but also helped train their minds in preparation for the more serious and demanding subjects, such as theology, that would follow later in life. In post-Restoration England too, men well placed in different walks of life, Clarendon, Dryden and 

  A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 33–4, 54–5, 62–9, 116–18, 156–8, 289–91 358–9, 564.    Snyders, Pédagogie en France, pp. 60–66, 74–8; but see Peter Burke, Languages and Communities in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2004), chap. 2, and Burke, ‘Translations into Latin in Early Modern Europe’, in Burke and R. Po-chia Hsia (eds), Cultural Translation in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 65–80.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Dr Johnson among the laity, and John Fell and Richard Bentley among the clergy and teachers, would have agreed with these sentiments, even if in other respects they felt that English education differed markedly from that across the Channel.10 This chapter deals mainly with the upper forms of English grammar schools, but there is a certain amount of overlap with the experience of university life of those sons of the nobility, gentry and richer middling ranks who attended a college for a year or two. Compared to many universities on the Continent, Oxford and Cambridge retained much autonomy, and were in general slow to change their ways: humanist ideals were certainly evident in some faculties, but did not produce fundamental change in university curricula or structures in the late sixteenth century. What did change in England was the social composition of the undergraduate body, due to the influx of sons of the gentry and well-to-do merchants into university on a scale without parallel on mainland Europe. This led in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods to a bifurcation between on the one hand the traditional degrees for aspiring graduates and professional men (clergy, lawyers, doctors), and on the other a more general course of studies for those intending to spend only a year or two at university. This latter contained less logic and rhetoric and more moral philosophy, poetry and history (as in the upper forms of their grammar school) and new subjects deemed to be of potential use to gentlemen such as modern languages, geography, military history and science. This pattern began to change after the major disruptions of the universities in the 1640s and 1650s, and the rise of the new science in the later seventeenth century, especially in Cambridge. But classics retained a strong grip in Oxford for most types of undergraduate, and in some colleges like Christ Church Oxford actually grew stronger in the eighteenth century.11 For well-born or well-heeled students, the experience of reading with a fellow or hired tutor, attending a lecture on the finer points of some text, and being catechized in a group probably had many parallels with experience at a leading school or a school with a dedicated and able teacher. By this means the experience of classical literature and humanist ideals was extended beyond the years 10

  For the education and interests of these men, see the relevant entries in ODNB; on Clarendon, see below, pp. 301–5. 11   The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, esp. chaps 1, 4.1 and 10, vol. 4, esp. chaps 1 and 5, and vol. 5, esp. chap. 17; E.G.W. Bill, Education at Christ Church Oxford 1660–1800 (Oxford, 1988), passim; Morgan, History of the University of Cambridge, esp. chaps 6, 9, 12–15; John Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Age of Enlightenment: Science, Religion and Politics from the Restoration to the French Revolution (Cambridge, 1989); Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 48–51; Nicholas Keene, ‘John Fell: Education, Erudition and the English Church in Late Seventeenth-century Oxford’, History of Universities, xvii (2003): 62–101.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


of adolescence into those of early adulthood for many of the sons of the landed and commercial elites; and at two points in this Chapter – when looking at drama and encomiastic verse – we shall see how developments at school and university may have interacted quite closely. Previous historians of classical education in English institutions have quite correctly focused on the academic exercises undertaken and the more advanced skills acquired in the upper forms and at university. Given the constraints of space in this monograph, and the fact that a number of contemporary school timetables tended to specify authors rather than subjects for each session, the approach adopted here focuses on the texts used, and in particular the light which the publishing history of the most commonly reproduced texts, combined with contemporary comments from teachers and taught, can throw on the character of the education received in different periods and in different schools in early modern England. As in Chapter 3, the texts most often used in the middling and upper forms have been established by combining evidence of the ideal as stated in school statutes and educational handbooks and of the practice as reflected in students’ purchases and repeat editions of works. Where possible, a number of copies of each of the texts designed for use in schools has been examined for signs of change over time and of student response, or for evidence of ‘bowdlerizing’ of the text by an editor or publisher. A comparison of some early modern editions with twentieth-century editions of classical texts, even allowing for obvious differences over the texts available to the editors in the two periods, suggests few clear signs of censorship of the most commonly used texts in England, as was the case in many Continental schools and colleges at this time.12 The most commonly occurring titles in England were of works in prose by Cicero, used especially for developing a stylish prose for both writing and speaking Latin; and works in verse by Terence, the exemplar of Latin comedy, and by Ovid, Virgil and Horace, masters of different types of poetry. We shall also look at three other categories of school text encountered by older students: histories of ancient times; the supplementary works and technical aids which students were urged to acquire or borrow; and Greek texts. In each case we will try to explore in what ways and for what purposes these particular texts were studied, and start to assess what impact they may have had on adolescents being raised in a Protestant environment. * * *


A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 572–3.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Not all of the works of Cicero had been accepted as part of a Christian education during the Middle Ages, but works like Somnium Scipionis, De officiis, De amicitia and De senectute, in which Cicero had transmitted Greek philosophy and which were deemed to prefigure Christian wisdom, were widely admired by churchmen such as Ambrose and Jerome for their Stoic view of otium, or withdrawal from the world. Medieval scholastics had also adopted the four ‘virtues’ of prudence, justice, fortitude and moderation described in De officiis into Christian teaching as the four cardinal virtues, alongside the scripturally based Christian or theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. In late Renaissance Italy some of Cicero’s philosophical works were relatively neglected, but his letters and speeches were held up as a model of purity compared with the barbarisms which the humanists felt had crept into Latin writing and speaking during the Middle Ages. In the North, however, Erasmus and many other teachers thought all of Cicero’s writings were of great value. He was seen as the ideal of a civilized man: highly educated yet humane, a brilliant orator, a stylish letter writer, and a serious moral philosopher, who not only discharged his civic duties responsibly but also enjoyed a refined leisure. His works were admired as much in Protestant Germany as Catholic France, and by Calvinists in Geneva and Scotland as well as Jesuits elsewhere.13 Of the works by Cicero mentioned in English educational treatises, school curricula and university statutes, the most commonly mentioned fall into three groups: his letters; his philosophical works, and especially the De officiis; and the speeches through which he had made his name during his own lifetime. Of these the speeches – and some rhetorical works by or attributed to Cicero – were strongly recommended to students in the most senior forms and at university, while the shorter letters were used with intermediate students, and the essays and longer letters with a mixture of intermediate and advanced students. However, whereas selections of Cicero’s letters and the philosophical essays were relatively modest publishing projects, the complete letters ad familiares, and especially the full corpus of speeches, required major outlays of time and capital; and it is noticeable that Cicero’s speeches were printed only occasionally in early modern England, at least by comparison with the major Continental publishing centres.14 As we saw in Chapter 1, the realization that Cicero’s complete works were a potentially lucrative product came relatively late 13

  Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 215–34; Black, Humanism and Education, pp. 262–70; A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 572–3; Robert A. Maryks, Saint Cicero and the Jesuits (Aldershot, 2008). 14   For Continental editions of Cicero’s speeches in Cambridge libraries, see H.M. Adams, Catalogue of Books Printed on the Continent of Europe, 1500–1600 (2 vols, Cambridge, 1967), vol. 1, pp. 275–8, 285–7.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


to the members of the English print trade, in the 1570s and 1580s. There were then rival editions of individual works such as the Offices and some of the letters and the speeches; but the first attempts to produce a complete set of works of Cicero proved abortive. The situation did not stabilize until after 1600 when the works of Cicero in most demand in English schools – the letters and the essays – were formally entered into the ‘English Stock’. But there would be another flood of competitive publishing of his works, including more editions of the speeches this time, in the closing decades of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries, with a wider audience in mind. Until these later editions appeared, study of Cicero’s speeches was probably confined to interested adults and those schools which could afford the expensive imported or locally produced versions.15 Let us focus here on first the letters, then the essays, which we can be confident were widely used in schools. Writing letters in early modern times was not a chore but an art. A properly written letter made allowances for the type of recipient and subject, and (as the statutes of Rivington pointed out in 1566) could not just inform or request, but chide, exhort, comfort, counsel and lament. The best letter writers would, moreover, use all the rhetorical means at their disposal to achieve their desired end.16 Guides to letter writing were available in English for those with little or no Latin, such as Angel Day’s The English secretary, which passed through nine editions between 1586 and 1635; but these were largely based on classical models.17 For the most accomplished letter writing was considered to be that of ancient times, and its greatest exponent Cicero. Over 800 of Cicero’s letters survive today, and those known in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were sorted into four collections based on the addressees: his intimate friend Atticus, scores of friends and relations (ad familiares), his brother Quintus, and Marcus Brutus. In England only the epistolae familiares were published often: between 1571 and 1595 there were a dozen editions by rival London publishers. Divided into 16 books, usually with a short argumentum before each letter and the occasional marginal note by Continental humanist scholars, the epistolae familiares formed a substantial volume, however, and many of the letters were better suited to advanced students


  See above, pp. 35, 46; STC2 5308–12; Wing2 C4315–19; ESTC under ‘Cicero, Orationes’. 16   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 420–21; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chap. 38. 17   STC2 6401–8; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 416–20.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

than beginners, so that in some schools only the simpler letters in Book 14 were used regularly.18 From the average schoolteacher’s standpoint, the best alternative was the selection of 120 letters made by Johannes Sturm, mostly from the ad familiares and ad Atticum collections. These had been graded by Sturm for length and difficulty from very short notes of a few lines at the start to substantial epistles of several pages at the end, and also provided with an elaborate rhetorical commentary. Published first in Strasburg in 1541, Sturm’s selection was soon known in England, where Sir Roger Ascham (who counted Sturm ‘the dearest friend I have out of England’) used it when teaching his royal and noble pupils. Indeed, in an imaginary address to Cicero he claimed that Cicero’s works were then ‘as well read, and your excellent eloquence is as well liked and loved and as truly followed in England at this day, as it is now, or ever was since your own time, in any place of Italy’.19 The Sturm version was soon recommended at major schools like Eton and new ones like Aldenham, and recommended in handbooks for teachers by Kemp, Brinsley and Hoole. In 1612 in his Ludus literarius, for example, John Brinsley praised Sturm for providing ‘the choicest of [Cicero’s] epistles, and most fit for children’; ‘this one book rightly used, may sufficiently furnish for making epistles so far as shall be needful for the grammar schools’. He also strongly urged less experienced teachers to use something close to the method of ‘our learned schoolmaster, Mr. Askam’ with those who had mastered their ‘Cato’ and Culmann.20 The first copies of the Sturm selection that were used in England were almost certainly imported, but demand grew to the point where the Stationers stepped in, and between the 1620s and the 1720s at least 20 editions of the Lambinus version were printed in London and Cambridge as an official title of the ‘English Stock’.21 Although this was easily the most reprinted form, a quartet of contrasting supplements or alternatives did appear. In 1611 (under the Stationers’ aegis) William Hayne offered a simple analysis of Book 1 of Sturmius’ selection, in English; and in 1627 18

  STC2 5295–300.4; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, p. 24. A selection by Cordier which began with the letters in book 14 of the epistolae familiares was published in 1575 with the notes translated into English by T.W. (STC2 5307); see also Fleming’s Panoplie of epistles (1576) (STC2 11049). 19   Anton Schindling, Humanistische Hochshule und freie Reichsstadt: Gymnasium und Akademie in Strassburg 1538–1621 (Weisbaden, 1977), pp. 178–9, 188–9; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 15; ODNB under Ascham; Roger Ascham, The scholemaster (1570), fol. 48r, and see sig. Biiir and fol. 12r. 20   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 291–3, 348, 366, vol. 2, pp. 253–61, 269; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 145, 167–8. 21   STC2 5301.8, 5303, 5303.4–3.6; Wing2 C4299B–304C, ESTC under ‘Cicero, Epistolarum’.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


Joseph Webbe (who had published an English translation of Cicero’s Familiar epistles in 1620) published under his own patent Lessons and exercises out of Cicero in which he applied to Cicero’s letters to Atticus his method to speed up the mastering of Latin.22 By contrast there was a selection of letters of Cicero and the younger Pliny made in usum scholae Westmonasteriensis (1657) which was reprinted a few times over the next few decades; though, as was usual in books produced for use in Busby’s time, it was in a ‘correct and chaste edition’ which made no concessions to beginners by way of translation or helpful notes. In his handbook for teachers published in 1660, Charles Hoole understandably preferred the Sturm selection as being ‘more easy to begin withall’; the Westminster selection could be used later together with Textor’s Epistles.23 By then, Hoole had published his own alternative: a Century of epistles English and Latine. Selected out of the most useful school authors, which included over 50 from Book 1 of the Sturm selection and a score each of letters by Pliny and ‘Textor’. Hoole probably had provincial grammar schools in mind, for as usual he provided matching English and Latin texts on opposite pages, ‘by imitating of which children may readily get a proper style for writing letters’. This alternative had passed through a few editions by 1700, and was still for sale as an ‘English Stock’ item in the 1760s.24 We are (for once) in a reasonably good position to know how a classical text was deployed through the detailed accounts provided by contemporary tutors. Ascham’s method, as described in The scholemaster in the 1560s, was designed for his own well-born students and for teachers with plenty of time for the individual student, but is still worth noting. Once a student had mastered some of the basics of grammar, the master should read one of the epistles of Cicero ‘gathered together and chosen out by Sturmius for the capacity of children’, explain its meaning, construe it into English, and when the child understands it, be encouraged to translate it first into English (in one paperbook), and then an hour later from that English into Latin (in another). The master should then comment on the difference between the pupil’s Latin and Cicero’s original. Such exercises in double translation should be continued until the student could see the links between the rules in his grammar book and the practice of Cicero for himself.25 Most schoolteachers had less time than Ascham for individual students, but some 22   Only one edition of each appeared: STC2 5304 (Hayne, Certaine epistles of Tully verbally translated) and 5306.5 (and see 5305); for Webbe’s patent, see STC2, vol. 2, p. 243, and above, pp. 50, 141. 23   Wing2 C4299–99AB; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 36; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 144–5. 24   Hoole, Centuria epistolarum Anglo-Latinarum (1700), title-page; Wing2 C2667–70. 25   Ascham, Scholemaster, fols 1v–2v, and see 31r–v.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


tried to adopt a similar approach. Brinsley devoted several pages of his handbook to showing how Cicero’s letters could be used for translation and imitation. Realizing that the typical student found it hard to ‘invent variety of matter [out] of his own head’ for a letter, he told them not just to translate Cicero’s letters back and forth, but also compose a letter in English in the style of Cicero and then translate that into Latin too. Hoole recommended double translation of Cicero’s epistles every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, though he too devoted several pages of his handbook to showing how this exercise could be extended to help students compose polished and persuasive letters in English as well as Latin.26 In those grammar schools with reasonably good resources, students who had successfully negotiated the Sturm selection were then expected to study different collections of letters by Cicero, Pliny and other ancient authors, and any specialist treatise on letter writing on which they could lay hands. The treatises they were most likely to encounter were neoCiceronian works edited or composed in the first half of the sixteenth century by Catholic humanists. Erasmus’ De conscribendis epistolis was widely recommended, but since it was not published in England after 1521, had to be used in imported copies.27 Georgius Macropedius was a slightly younger contemporary of Erasmus and another product of the devotia moderna; he became a renowned teacher in the Netherlands from the 1520s to the 1550s before retiring to a house of the Brethren of the Common Life. His Methodus de conscribendis epistolis supplied a typology and a series of rules for composing letters based on ancient models, but while his illustrative examples were drawn mainly on classical materials, he did use some scriptural ones too, which required some knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. This passed through a dozen editions in England between 1576 and 1649, though as one of the teachers in Brinsley’s dialogue conceded, it needed ‘an ancient learned master to understand’ it and deploy it successfully.28 The selection of neo-classical Epistolae composed as models for students by Jean Tixier (‘Ravisius Textor’, the French humanist teacher who became rector of the University in Paris in 1520) was a modestly sized octavo volume which sold steadily after being entered into the ‘English


Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 148, 156, 165–71; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 144–

51. 27

  Ibid., sig. A12r and p. 201; R.R. Bolgar, ‘The Teaching of Letter-Writing in the Sixteenth Century’, History of Education, 12 (1983): 245–53; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, pp. 271–5; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 15 and 184n.; STC2 10496. 28   STC2 17175.7–76.9 and Wing2 M229A; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 166–7; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, pp. 265–71.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


Stock’, perhaps 18 editions between 1616 and 1697.29 But it is instructive that it was a much simpler guide to letter writing – John Clarke’s Epistolographia – that Hoole recommended fourth-formers in grammar schools to look at first. Published as part of Clarke’s Formulae oratoriae, this short guide passed through several editions between 1630 and 1694,30 and like Hoole’s Century, would probably repay close study by those scholars interested in early modern English literary style at an intermediate level of education. All of these humanist authors clearly admired Cicero, for in the full canon of his correspondence there was great variety of style, tone and content; and he exhibited the full range of his rhetorical tricks, which teachers encouraged their students to analyse and emulate in successive years. But even the shorter, simpler letters of the Sturm selection, when used with relative beginners, taught not only practical rhetorical skills, but also how an honourable man took moral decisions in the real world, how he approached matters of duty and patria, and yet remained humane in his relations with his family and friends.31 The fact that Cicero was a pagan appears to have bothered most English humanist teachers no more than it had bothered medieval churchmen or those Jesuits who came to regard him as ‘Saint Cicero’. As Ascham put it: ‘Blessed be God and his son Jesu Christ whom you never knew, except it were as it pleased him to lighten you by some shadow.’32 * * * Another exercise which students in middling and upper forms were required to undertake regularly was the writing of a ‘theme’ – a type of essay, usually on a moral topic. Students would be given a title, usually an exordium commending or disparaging a person or thing, and have a week to develop their case, using a carefully stipulated framework but filling it in with suitable arguments and materials of their own. While many teachers ensured their students read treatises like Aphthonius’ Progymanamasta for suitable structures, and consulted suitable dictionaries, anthologies and handbooks (a number of which we will examine later) for suitable amplification,33 29

  STC2 20761.3–62.4; Wing2 T1317bA–17DA.   STC2 5363, 5354.7–58 and Wing2 C4468bA–69A; Hoole, New discovery, sig. A10r and p. 155. 31   Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 217–32. 32   Ascham, Scholemaster, fol. 62r; see also above, n. 13. 33   Watson, English Grammar Schools, chap. 26; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chap. 39; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 15–16; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 24–32; see also below, pp. 241–54. 30


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

it was acknowledged that there was no substitute for studying the writings of ancient authors, and above all Cicero, who, as always (in humanist eyes), provided benchmarks for technique and moral teaching in the one package. Some tutors and schoolteachers began with his charming dialogues De senectute (‘on old age’) and De amicitia (‘on friendship’); others opted for Somnium Scipionis – on those who have served their country well meriting a heavenly reward after death – and Tusculanae disputationes – a discussion on the conditions for leading a happy life.34 But the text most often recommended and studied in school was De officiis, often referred to in England as ‘the Offices’ or ‘the Duties’. At one level, this comprised three books of moral advice written specifically for his son, then a student at Athens, on the behaviour appropriate to his position and on the duties of a Roman gentleman. But at another, Cicero was writing a work of practical ethics in which he betrayed his concern with the political and social ambiguities of his age, and the difficulty of taking moral decisions when honourable conduct clashed with beneficial or expedient action. While schoolmasters focused on the first level, theorists and thoughtful adults looked more at the second. As a result, this became one of the most frequently reprinted classical works in early modern England – well over 40 editions in Latin, nine in Latin-and-English, and over a dozen in English between the mid-sixteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries.35 The bibliographical history of the Offices is unusual in that at first there were more bilingual editions in Latin-and-English than in the original Latin. There was the version by Robert Whittington, publisher of many grammars in the 1510s as well as of translations of Erasmus and Cicero in the 1530s, including The thre bookes of Tullyes offyces in 1534 and 1540. This translation was criticized by Nicholas Grimald in his Marcus Tullius Ciceroes thre bokes of duties, which first appeared in English in 1556 but ran through seven editions when the Latin was also included from 1558 to c. 1600.36 Grimald was highly regarded as a humanist scholar in his own day, not only for his Latin poems and plays, but also his translations, paraphrases and commentaries on a number of classical and humanist texts. Though closely associated with reformers under Edward VI, Grimald dedicated his Duties to the Marian diplomat Bishop Thomas Thirleby, 34

  Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 229, 310, 312, 327, chaps 14–19, vol. 2, pp. 601–3; Ascham, Scholemaster, fol. 31r; anon., The schools-probation … for the use of Merchant-Tailor’s School (1661), sig. D4r. 35   As previous note; Cicero, ‘On Duties’, ed. M.T. Griffin and E.M. Atkins (Cambridge, 1991), pp. xii–xxvii. The estimates are based on STC2 5265.7–73, Wing2 C4290–97, and ESTC under Cicero (Latin only); STC2 5278–9 and 5281–7 (Latin and English); STC2 5281, 5288–9, Wing2 C4309–13, 4322, and ESTC under Cicero, L’Estrange and Cockman (English). 36   STC2 5278–9; 5281.8–87.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


explaining that he himself had read Cicero’s text five times, noting new points each time, and had become so convinced that nothing indicated ‘the pathway to all virtue’ better, ‘only Scripture excepted’, that he wanted it to be available to more than just the best-educated reader.37 The first Latin-only versions of De officiis to appear in England, complete with doctissimorum virorum annotationes (notes of most learned men) such as Erasmus, Melanchthon, Lambinus and Paolo Manuzio, were not published until the 1570s, by which time it was printed with other, shorter philosophical works by Cicero in a medium-sized octavo, copies of which, to judge from inscriptions, clearly changed hands (unlike the ‘Lily’, which was flimsier and used longer).38 After a period of intense rivalry between printers over copyright and the notes being provided, what became the standard version appeared in 1606, with relatively few notes apart from Erasmus’s argumentum before each book, borrowed from one earlier version, and an index rerum et verborum taken from another. Under the banner of the ‘English Stock’, this passed through over two dozen editions between then and the 1680s, at which point new more scholarly or more heavily annotated versions began to appear, including one by Minell.39 A shift from mainly Latin-and-English editions of the Offices in the period c. 1530–80 to predominantly Latin-only versions for much of the next hundred years may be in part an optical illusion. In the early and mid-sixteenth century, Latin copies were certainly being imported from the Continent for use in royal and aristocratic households and some grammar schools. But not only was the demand for such copies probably rising fast by the 1570s, as many re-founded or new grammar schools started teaching a flood of extra pupils (as we saw in Chapter 2), but also there may have been a shift in the way in which Cicero’s Offices was being used in school. In some Elizabethan and early Stuart schools, such as Westminster, Merchant Taylors’, Rotherham and Newcastle, the text was used at an intermediate stage of education to help students compare the rules of grammar and rhetoric they had learnt so far with Cicero’s practice, as well as a basis for commonplacing.40 For such relative beginners, either imported Latin-only texts or home-produced Latin-and37   Marcus Tullies Ciceroes thre bokes of duties, translated by Nicholas Grimald (1558), sig. Ciiv; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 125–7; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 15–16; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 24–32. 38   STC2 5265.7–66. 39   STC2 5266–67.4; Wing2 C4290–95; for rival versions, see C4286, C4297, and ESTC N4536, T138388, T111295. 40   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 354–5, n. 9; anon., The schoolsprobation (1661), sig. D4r; Hoole, New discovery, p. 301; T.H. Rowland, ‘Curriculum of the Royal Grammar-School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’, Research Review, 3 (1952): 37.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

English texts would do: Baldwin came to the conclusion that the version that Shakespeare had studied at Stratford Grammar School in the 1570s was probably the bilingual one by Grimald which was used quite widely by ‘country schoolmasters’.41 By the end of the sixteenth and during the seventeenth century, however, the Offices may have been used in a growing number of schools by older students as a guide to essay style and as a bottomless well of quotable quotes for themes and speeches. The statutes at Eton c. 1560 specified study of the Offices in the top two forms, at Rivington (1576) and Sandwich (1580) in the fifth out of six forms, and at Aldenham (c. 1600) in the top form.42 It is also notable that while the ‘English Stock’ version dropped the preliminary pages of notes by leading humanists printed in late Elizabethan copies, it retained the full index of rerum et verborum in which students could quickly chase down the great man’s thoughts on particular topics, such as virtus (virtue or valiantness), honestas (honesty or honorableness), amicitia (friendship), officium (duty or office) and iustitia (justice or social virtue), which formed the largest entries in the index.43 For, whatever version of the text was used, a large tranche of English adolescents were exposed to Cicero’s distinctive and persuasive brand of Stoic moralizing on the nature of a happy life, the duties of an honourable man, and the immortality of the soul as a reward for the virtuous. Its supporters were many and varied, from Ambrose and Erasmus to the ‘godly’ Brinsley, who while aware that Cicero wrote ‘by the light of Nature alone’, agreed with ‘the most learned who prefer it before all others of this kind’ because it ‘doth so divinely point out the true pathway to all virtue, and guide unto a right course of life, as if he had received direction from the sacred Scriptures themselves’.44 Writing in 1680, Sir Roger L’Estrange, an ultra-loyalist who knew the print trade intimately, commented that Cicero’s Offices was ‘one of the commonest school-books that we have’, and ‘as it is the best of books, so it is applied to the best of purposes’ – training youth in the study and exercise of virtue.45 In his translation of 1699, Thomas Cockman was clearly targeting the well-born 41   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 2, p. 585; Brinsley’s concern was still primarily grammatical: Brinsley, The first book of Tullies Offices translated grammatically (1616), ‘An admonition to the loving reader’. 42   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 354, 386–7; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, p. 12. 43   This analysis is based on the 1629 and 1648 editions of De officiis Marci Tullii Ciceroni Libri tres. 44   Brinsley, First book of Tullies Offices, sigs [A]3r–v. 45   Tully’s Offices … Turned out of Latin into English by Roger L’Estrange (1680), sig. A6r.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


undergraduates who were his students at Oxford. Though Cicero was a ‘heathen’, his Offices had been: at first designed for a person in your circumstances, a student in an university, a young gentleman of great hopes, one from whom his country did expect to receive benefit, and his friends no small comfort and satisfaction.

Cockman wanted his pupils to carry on reading their copy of the Latin original in tandem with the notes he had provided in English to explain Cicero’s purpose ‘for the young and less-knowing sort of people’. This way ‘you will find … all the more useful parts of virtue so clearly set before you’, the pursuit of which would lead to acquiring a good reputation and leading as happy a life as was reasonably possible.46 This readiness to use the reading and re-reading of a ‘heathen’ philosopher as the basis of good behaviour may have left a deep mark on the views of many of the educated elite, and especially the gentry, in England. Editions of the Offices were far more numerous than those of the conduct books by Castiglione and others which circulated among adults in the Tudor and early Stuart periods, and we can detect their mark in various places. There are the letters of advice written by fathers to sons and grandsons which were a feature of the late Tudor and early Stuart period. Thus the proud Elizabethan gentleman William Higford in his Advice to his grandson urged on him the four moral virtues taken straight from Cicero’s Offices.47 Even more explicitly, we find that the one book named by Richard Earl of Carbery for his son to study (in the 1650s) was ‘Tullies’ Offices’: We begin with it when we are boys, yet it will become the oldest and gravest man’s hand. A most wise and useful book, where you shall have excellent philosophy excellently dressed. And those that are skilful in the language say, that the whole Latin tongue is there with all its purity and propriety.48

Then there was the studious young Robert Sanderson, educated at Rotherham Grammar School at the end of the sixteenth century. He came to admire the Offices so much that he read it over at least twenty times, and had memorized it before he made his reputation as a preacher, lecturer and author on cases of conscience, in the operation of which he allowed for the power of ‘innate light’ (from the laws of nature) and ‘acquired light’ (from 46

  Tully’s three books of Offices, in English (1699), pp. i–ix.   See the extended comment on Higford’s Advice below, pp. 330–34. 48   ‘Richard Earl of Carbery’s Advice to His Son’, ed. Virgil B. Heltzel, Huntington Library Quarterly, 11 (1937): 84. 47


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

moral teaching) as well as of ‘infused light’ (from scripture).49 We can also see the impact of Ciceronian ideas on the need for virtuous citizens to pursue an active life and of concepts such as salus populi suprema lex in the vocabulary of a number of the political pamphlets written by and for members of the educated elite from the late sixteenth to the mideighteenth century.50 Moreover, by then, through the popular translations by L’Estrange and Cockman, Cicero’s moral philosophy had, as in the late Tudor period, become available not just to readers with some Latin but to many more who had no Latin at all.51 * * * Terence’s plays were well known in the medieval classroom, but not used anything like as much as they would be later in the humanist schools of the sixteenth-century Netherlands and Germany. Terence was highly prized for his polished verse and also seen as a source for moral instruction in the way in which prudence and humanity tended to moderate the extremes of behaviour in his plots. In his own widely acclaimed edition of Terence’s plays, Melanchthon argued that the plays had originally been a means to inform and influence the people to virtue; but Terence was still ‘a master of both oration and life’, who held up ‘a looking glass for directing life’ which helped ‘form the judgement on affairs of the world better than most of the books of philosophers’.52 With their colourful depictions of domestic conflict and of aristocratic young men involved in seduction, fornication and other forms of vicious behaviour, however, these plays were not without their critics. Loyola banned Terence’s comedies from Jesuit schools in 1553, and though after his death they made a limited return (either in an expurgated version or restricted to older students’ use), they were banned again for good in


  Izaak Walton, The Lives of John Donne [etc.] (Oxford, 1973), p. 398; Thomas L. Cooksey, ‘Robert Sanderson’, in DLB 281: 274–83. 50   Markku Peltonen, Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1995), passim, though not all admirers of Cicero were neorepublicans: for example, Carbery and L’Estrange were both strong loyalists. See also Peter N. Miller, Defining the Common Good: Empire, Religion and Philosophy in Eighteenthcentury Britain (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 14–16, 22–92, and Reed Browning, Political and Constitutional ideas of the Court Whigs (Baton Rouge, LA, c. 1982), chap. 8. 51   See below, pp. 311–13. 52   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 322–3; John R. Schneider, Philip Melanchthon’s Rhetorical Construal of Biblical Authority (Lewiston, NY, 1990), pp. 36–8; M.W. Senger, Leonhard Culmann (Nieuwkoop, 1982), pp. 162–5.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


the 1570s.53 Among the English ‘godly’, Laurence Humphrey included Terence’s plays in his ideal curriculum only because Cicero had admired him so much, but he too confined their use to those of ‘riper years and judgement’ and warned teachers to take corrective measures against ‘any filth’ that was encountered. This was echoed by other ‘godly’ teachers. John Stockwood denounced Terence’s plays as unedifying for young pupils, and John Brinsley warned that ‘all filthy places’ in the poets should be passed over or warily expounded; he actually left Terence out of his list of staple school authors.54 From the 1590s there was also a safe Protestant alternative to unexpurgated Terence – the Terentius Christianus prepared by Cornelius Schonaeus. Schonaeus was born in Gouda c. 1540, taught in the Netherlands, and from 1592 published 17 plays which were written in the style of Terence but on strictly biblical themes. An edition of two of Schonaeus’ plays, on Toby and Judith, was soon printed in England, in the Latin preface of which the purity of Terence’s style was contrasted with the impurity of his material. This edition was recommended by Brinsley, and evidently met a need in some quarters, since about a dozen editions of these two plays were produced between 1595 and 1660, though interest faded after that.55 The admirers of Terence’s works were legion, however, and so well entrenched in England that they proved capable of shrugging off this challenge. As early as the 1480s John Anwykyll, master of Magdalen College School, had published a collection of sentences for translation drawn from Terence as Vulgaria quedam abs Terencio in Anglicam linguam traducta, which had passed through perhaps seven editions by the late 1520s. By then at least three editions of the comedies in Latin had been published in England and in Paris for sale in London, and a Latin-and-English version of Andria was published c. 1520 by John Rastell, a barrister and playwright and also Sir Thomas More’s brother-in-law.56 Cardinal Wolsey, who had employed boys from St Paul’s to perform a pageant before the court at Greenwich in 1527, in the next year specified the study of Terence in the third out of the eight forms at his new school at Ipswich, as did other


  Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 168, 182; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 250–52; for mixed views on Terence in France, see Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 137, n. 80. 54   F. Watson, The Old Grammar Schools (London, 1916), p. 94; ODNB under John Stockwood; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 45, 121. 55   Nouvelle Biographie Générale, xliii: 580. The anonymous author of the 1632 edition may well have been English since he also cited Lily’s ‘Grammar’: Schonaeus, Terentius Christianus (1632), sig. A1v; STC2 21821–4; Wing2 S879–82. Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 121, 156; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 322–3. 56   STC2 23904–8, 23885–85.5, 23894.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

curricula of the 1520s and 1530s.57 Then in 1534, just after contributing to the pageant for the coronation of Anne Boleyn, Nicholas Udall published his Floures for Latine spekynge selected and gathered out of Terence. This was reprinted five times before being enlarged by John Higgins and published as Flowers or eloquent phrases of the Latine speach in 1572 and 1581, meaning several thousand copies of these choice phrases were available for memorizing, inscribing in commonplace-books or putting in compositions.58 Udall is noteworthy on various counts: he was later headmaster of Eton and Westminster; and in the same year that he was paid for putting on performances of plays at court (1537), he published one of the earliest surviving comedies in English, Ralph Roister Doister, which has echoes of Plautus and Terence, and may have been performed by the boys of Westminster.59 Even before Sturm began to encourage the performance on stage of all the comedies of Plautus and Terence in the four upper grades of the Academy at Strasburg, when students were aged about 13–16,60 the boys at Westminster had begun to perform plays by the same authors during the Christmas period at the instigation of their headmaster in the mid1540s, Alexander Nowell. By the 1560s Ascham was actually complaining about too ‘many bold bawdy Phormios’ and similar plays being performed in grammar schools.61 Indeed, in some leading English schools boys continued to be introduced to Terence at a lower level than in Strasburg: in the 1560s the curricula at Eton and Westminster specified that every Monday and Tuesday at 9 a.m., students in levels two and three would read Terence with the usher, and level four would do the same with the master (there were seven levels in all).62 So when the boy in the induction to The magnetic lady says, ‘I learn’d Terence i’ the third forme at Westminster’, 57

  J.A. Froude, A History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth (12 vols, London, 1856), vol. 1, pp. 62–5; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 124 and chap. 6, passim. 58   STC2 23904–8, 23899–901.7, 23902–4. 59   See ODNB under Nicholas Udall; see also below, nn. 86 and 88. 60   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 292; Lewis W. Spitz and Barbara Sher Tinsley, Johann Sturm on Education: The Reformation and Humanist Learning (St Louis, MO, 1995), p. 282; Jean Sturm, Classicae Epistolae, ed. Jean Rott (Paris, 1938), pp. 62–4, and see p. 50n. 61   Ian Lancashire, Dramatic Texts and Records of Britain: A Chronological Topography to 1558 (Toronto, 1984), p. 204; Paul Whitfield White, Theatre and Reformation: Protestantism, Patronage, and Playing in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 105, 216n. For performances of Terence and Plautus at Cambridge from the 1510s and 1520s, see Records of Early English Drama: Cambridge, ed. Alan H. Nelson (2 vols, Toronto, 1989), vol. 2, pp. 711–13. 62   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 14–16.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


he was probably reflecting Ben Jonson’s own experience, as well as being deployed to provoke a knowing chuckle from some in the audience. An early start can be found in other schools, but it soon became more common to start Terence a little later – in the fourth form out of six, as at Rivington, Sandwich, Merchant Taylors’ in London and Rotherham.63 Whether the comedies were studied sooner or later, the demand rose steadily, as too from the 1580s did the supply of editions printed in England, in a Latin-only version with ‘arguments’, notes and other apparatus borrowed from abroad. From 1611, when it was officially transferred to the ‘English Stock’, the Comoediae sex in Latin was reprinted every five or six years throughout the seventeenth century and into the early eighteenth.64 Despite the ready availability by the 1650s of Schonaeus’ alternative, Charles Hoole still strongly recommended the study of the original Terence for exercises in translation, construing, parsing and commonplacing. Fourth-formers were to read Terence ‘constantly every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for forenoon lessons’, he argued, taking at first about half a page at one sitting, and then more, until they knew him ‘so thoroughly as to make him wholly their own’. Beyond the technical reasons for studying the comedies, Hoole had other reasons: Terence, of all the school authors that we read, doth deservedly challenge the first place, not only because Tully himself [Cicero] hath seemed to derive his eloquence from him, and many noble Romans are reported to have assisted him in making his comedies, but also because that book is the very quintessence of familiar Latin, and very apt to express the most of our Anglicisms withal.65

Hoole also believed that ‘the matter of it is full of morality’, showing how ‘some men are more apt to be carried away by passion than others’, how the ‘towardly and hopeful’ youth can be drawn away by evil company, and how a knavish servant can hoist himself with his own petard. Indeed, ‘the several actors therein, most lively seem to personate the behaviour and properties of sundry of the like sort of people even in this age of ours.’ Hoole clearly expected teachers to set the language used in the plays in context, and remind their scholars ‘of the true decorum of both things and words’, as some teachers certainly had done in sixteenth-century Italy 63

  Stuart Gillespie, Shakespeare’s Books (London, 2001), p. 480; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, index under Terence; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, p. 13; anon., The schoolsprobation, sig. D4r; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 164–5; for a slightly earlier start, see ibid., p. 300, and Rowland, ‘Curriculum of the Royal Grammar-School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’, p. 37. 64   STC2 23886–9.9, Wing2 T729–46 and ESTC under Terence; from the 1630s the marginal notes were often left out in the copies I was able to examine. 65   Hoole, New discovery, p. 137.


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and Wolsey had instructed the teachers at Ipswich to do. But Hoole also advised fellow teachers to encourage the acting out, both in class and in hall, of the play then being studied: When you meet with an act or scene that is full of affection and action, you may cause some of your scholars, after they have learned it, to act it, first in private amongst themselves, and afterwards in the open school before their fellows.66

For such performances there were by then many precedents and a growing choice of helpful texts in print. The full text of all six comedies was among the first complete classical texts to be made available in parallel English and Latin texts. Terence in English (1598) was the work of an elderly student, Richard Bernard, before he turned to focus on his duties as a ‘godly’ pastor. In the preface, Bernard described Terence as being ‘as ethical as Plato’ in that he taught men how to avoid vice and practice virtue; and after each scene he added choice examples of formulae loquendi and further moral observations on the characters just seen. Six editions were printed between 1598 and his death in 1641.67 Terence’s comedies were also one of the projects undertaken by Joseph Webbe under the patent granted him by Charles I for publishing classical texts to help teach schoolboys Latin by a new method.68 And when sales of Bernard and Webbe faltered, another bilingual version was published in 1663, this time for the ‘English Stock’, prepared by the indefatigable Charles Hoole. This was not Hoole’s most successful venture, but both the Bernard and the Hoole were known to Laurence Echard when he was preparing his new English translation, which (he hoped) would be ‘of great use … to school boys and learners’, and in turn sold perhaps nine editions between 1694 and 1741.69 In addition to interest in bilingual versions, there was also clearly widespread demand in England for editions which offered new notes, such as those in the Minell and Delphin edition. In Chapter 1 we encountered Jan Minell, a teacher at the Erasmus school in Rotterdam in the midseventeenth century who earned a European following for the editions of staple classical texts to which he added notes culled from the various 66

  Ibid., pp. 137–43; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, 251–3; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 15–16. 67   See ODNB under Richard Bernard; Terence in English (1598), sig. q2r; STC2 23890–93 and T751; Kent Cartwright, Theatre and Humanism (Cambridge, 1999), p. 19. 68   STC2 23896–8. 69   Hoole, New discovery, p. 138; Wing2 T736, 737, 741; Terence’s Comedies made English (1705), pp. xxi–xxii; Wing2 T749–50A, and ESTC (3rd–9th edns, 1705–41); see ODNB under Laurence Echard.

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commentators then available to scholars. In the case of his Terence, these probably included the commentary on the comedies of Terence begun by the well-known London teacher Thomas Farnaby, and finished and revised by Meric Casaubon, the classical scholar and divine who published it in Amsterdam in 1651. Despite costing almost three times the standard school version because of its extra content, the Minell edition of Terence’s comedies was published at Cambridge in 1676 and half-a-dozen times in the next half-century, and was still advertised as part of the ‘English Stock’ in the 1760s. Perhaps it was busy teachers who bought copies for their own use to help them explain points of style and context to their students.70 The Delphin editions we also encountered in Chapter 1: these were prepared for the Dauphin, the son of Louis XIV, and published with suitably regal standards in terms of paper quality, illustrations and weighty scholarship. The Delphin Terence was first published in England in 1687, but can be traced in seven more editions between 1709 and 1749, despite its high price.71 Individual copies of the Delphin range of classical editions appeared in the libraries of richer schools for students to consult, perhaps bought by the teachers, perhaps donated by alumni or fond parents; but the targets for this range probably included older, wealthier readers too. More representative of school use at the upper end of the ladder was the edition in usum Scholae Westmonasteriensis (in 1736) with extra scholarly notes, while at the lower there was John Stirling’s helpful new version (in 1739), ‘with the words of the author placed in their natural and grammatical order, in the lower part of the page’ and many other useful features for those who had only recently started to learn Latin. In 1745 a long-serving second master at Charterhouse, Samuel Patrick, produced a modified version of the popular English version of Terence by Laurence Echard in a form ‘adapted to the capacities of youth at school’.72 Terence’s plays continued to be a favourite text among teachers for showing students how classical Latin should be spoken clearly and correctly. When the students at the Royal Grammar School at Newcastle upon Tyne came to Terence, the headmaster, Hugh Moises, was evidently wont to give lively renditions of Terence’s text to entertain his pupils. In the mid-eighteenth century, James Townley, with the help of his friend 70   Binns, Intellectual Culture, p. 194; Wing2 T742, 745, 745A, and ESTC (1708, 1719, 1730). 71   STC2 T744, 746, and ESTC (1709, 1718, 1723, 1731, 1749). ESTC also lists versions by Maittaire (1713 and 1729), Leng (1701 and 1702) and Hare (1724). 72   For the Delphin editions of Terence, Horace and Virgil in the Library of King’s School Gloucester by the 1690s, see Corpus Christi College Oxford, Wase Papers, CCC390/2, fol. 205v; Publii Terentii Cartaginiensis Afro comoediae sex (1736); P. Terentii comoediae sex: or, the six comedies of Publis Terence (1739), title-page and passim.


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David Garrick, encouraged dramatic performances at Merchant Taylors’ including his own versions of plays by Terence and Seneca; and William Ward, when Terence was being performed at Beverley Grammar School in the 1750s, wrote linking speeches in English to help those in the audience with little or no Latin to follow the scenes.73 Although its moral content was by then cited less often as justification for studying Terence, his spiky humour continued to reach a wider audience than the student body alone, not only through regular productions and translations of his plays, but also in the plots and swagger of comedies by Chapman and Jonson and in a number of Restoration plays.74 * * * It is worth pausing here a moment to enlarge on the subject of drama in schools and colleges, both because of its inherent significance and because it represented a parting of the ways among English teachers. It has been known for some time that the medieval religious interludes and rituals such as the Boy Bishop and the Lord of Misrule which had been acted at the universities since the mid-fifteenth century at least, were replaced during the sixteenth century by performances of the works of Terence, Plautus and Seneca, and also new plays in Latin by Continental humanists and English authors. The majority of the almost 150 plays which constitute the corpus of Anglo-Latin drama dating from the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were written and performed by members of the universities, and the century from 1540 to 1640 in particular represented a golden age of university Latin drama.75 These performances were not only the highlight of royal visits, but also (a recent college history suggests) ‘the most popular and well-attended public events of early modern Cambridge’. If they included music, dancing and spectacle, Latin plays in Oxford and Cambridge could attract large audiences, including townsmen and women; competition for tickets sometimes led to violence. So much depended on their success that colleges like St John’s, Trinity and Queens’ competed to have the best facilities. New plays were also coveted enough to be copied or plagiarized by many aspiring dramatists who witnessed them. In these ways, Latin plays, J.W. Binns has argued, made ‘a powerful impression on the wider world beyond the universities’.76 73

  See ODNB under Hugh Moises, James Townley (1714–1778) and William Ward (1708/9–1772). 74   Gillespie, Shakespeare’s Books, pp. 481, 486–7; see also below, p. 320. 75   Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 120–22. 76   Records of Early English Drama: Cambridge, vol. 2, pp. 710–22; Alan H. Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres (Cambridge, 1994), chaps 2–3; Sarah Bendall, Christopher Brooke

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


Some of the new Latin plays then performed at university were neoclassical, favouring episodes in Greek mythology or Roman history in a classical form or style, but others were more topical, tackling contemporary events such as the dramatic expansion of the Ottoman Empire, or attacking the faults of the Roman Church, as in the play performed by members of Christ’s Cambridge in 1545 when Matthew Parker was ViceChancellor.77 Many authors felt able to tackle both Christian and pagan themes. One was Nicholas Grimald, whom we have encountered as a translator of Cicero: he wrote eight dramas, including Christus redivivus (on the Resurrection) and Archipropheta (on John the Baptist), which were published in Germany – perhaps through the contacts of John Bale, a great supporter of Protestant drama and then in exile there.78 Notwithstanding this Protestant element, the spread of Anglo-Latin drama met with some opposition. In Elizabethan Cambridge, John Rainolds switched from participation to hostility towards student drama; and the future ‘godly’ minister, Samuel Fairclough, refused on principle to take a woman’s part in the comedy Ignoramus presented by Queens’ College Cambridge before James I – the king’s favourite play.79 Milton attacked university drama for demeaning both the intellectual pursuits of the scholar and the calling of the young divines whom he had seen prancing around the stage using ‘antic and dishonest gestures’.80 This was part of a growing ‘anti-theatrical prejudice’ in some quarters against the theatre in the capital and elsewhere, epitomized by John Stockwood’s and John Rainolds’s attacks on the moral turpitude of actors and the sinfulness of plays which diverted people away from studying the Bible.81 Even though the stage in the university, as in the town, had for a while been used for Protestant propaganda in England as it had been abroad,82 from the closing decades of the sixteenth century a rising tide of suspicion and hostility led to attacks on virtually all forms of

and Patrick Collinson, A History of Emmanuel College, Cambridge (Woodbridge, 1999), pp. 77–9; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 124–5, 138–40. 77   Ibid., pp. 120–25; ODNB under Matthew Parker; White, Theatre and Reformation, pp. 106–7, 142–6. 78   Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 125–6, 491 n. 26; see also ODNB under Nicholas Grimald and John Bale. 79

  See ODNB under John Rainolds and Samuel Fairclough (1594–1677).   McGregor, English Radical Imagination, pp. 64–5. 81   See ODNB under John Stockwood and Rainolds; Jonas Barish, The Antitheatrical Prejudice (Berkeley, CA, 1981), chaps 4–6. 82   Andrew Pettegree, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion (Cambridge, 2005), chap. 4; Senger, Culmann, chap. 4; for Schonaeus, see above, p. 47. 80


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

drama in England. In turn this provoked satirical attacks on puritans and sectaries, both on the London stage and at Cambridge in the 1630s.83 There had always been, however, a number of motives for acting at university. As was pointed out by William Gager, the leading Latin dramatist at Oxford in the late sixteenth century, members of colleges acted to entertain themselves and others in the university, to test their voices, their memories and their temperaments, and to enhance their knowledge of the work of classical and other authors. Taking part in one of those memorable occasions, when no expense was spared in staging a play before a royal or aristocratic audience or just the senior dignitaries of the university, could improve career prospects too.84 When Griffith Higgs was nominated as chaplain to Elizabeth of Bohemia in 1627, it helped that he had a reputation not only as a scholar and an orator, but also as an active participant in amateur theatricals (acquired when an undergraduate) – an enthusiasm he shared with the young queen. A young Richard Busby acted in a play performed before Charles I and Henrietta Maria at Christ Church in 1636 and even had some notion of making the stage his career, before he decided to return to Westminster as headmaster a few years later.85 What also deserves attention here is the number of teachers who having attended a university where such plays were performed, then encouraged some form of drama in the schools in which they taught. Some of their motives for doing so – encouraging familiarity with the texts chosen, testing a student’s ability to speak clearly and remember his lines, and impressing his peers or any adults present – were probably much the same; in other cases teachers may have tailored drama to suit the particular conditions in the school to which they were appointed. A few schools clearly developed a strong tradition of dramatic performances. At Eton, plays in either Latin or English were performed at Christmas and ‘in the long winter nights’.86 At Winchester, payments for putting up and taking down a stage, for extra candles and for carrying the organ from the Chapel to the Hall and back survive in school accounts from the 1570s to the 1590s. This source can be supplemented by references to regular acting in a Winchester student’s notes of college life in the 1560s, and echoes of isolated incidents, as in 1623, when a pupil aged 11 acting in a play was accidentally stabbed and fatally wounded, which we know because 83   McGregor, English Radical Imagination, pp. 131–2, 54–6; Bendall, Emmanuel College, p. 79. 84   Ibid., p. 78; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 121, 136–9. 85   See ODNB under Griffith Higgs and Richard Busby. Catching the eye of a powerful patron this way did not always work, as Barten Holiday found in 1621 (ibid.). 86   Maxwell-Lyte, History of Eton College, pp. 118, 159; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 324; White, Theatre and Reformation, pp. 105–6.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


a schoolfellow wrote an epitaph which has survived.87 At Westminster, dramatic and musical traditions were encouraged by the school statutes and by headmasters and instructors like Udall and Nowell, and surfaced again with Lambert Osbaldeston, whose period as headmaster overlapped with Busby’s last years as a pupil.88 At Merchant Taylor’s (as Bulstrode Whitelocke remembered), successive headmasters Richard Mulcaster and William Hayne encouraged their boys ‘often to act in plays and public shows, to breed in them the better confidence, elocution and behaviour’. Like the boys from Westminster and Eton, they appeared quite regularly in performances at court.89 Later, Mulcaster is also said to have written halfa-dozen Latin plays for his pupils at St Paul’s to perform, as well as Latin orations to mark special occasions.90 Similarly, in the early 1600s George Chapman, a professional playwright and translator of Homer, wrote a series of plays for various groups of young actors to perform in London, including the Children of the Chapel and the Paul’s Boys.91 But it was not just schools near the court or of long standing which supported drama.92 When appointed headmaster of Shrewsbury in 1561, Thomas Ashton took the dramatic tradition of St John’s Cambridge, where he had been a fellow, to the new school, knowing the bailiffs of Shrewsbury already had an interest in theatrical productions. Under Ashton, ‘the highest form of the school was required to perform one act of a play each Thursday, and much effort was put into the annual Whitsuntide production in the open space known as the Quarry’, some of the plays being written by Ashton, including one on the Passion of Christ which lasted all the holidays and attracted a large audience of local nobles and gentry.93 Latin plays were encouraged by the founders at Sandwich in the 1580s, and St Saviour’s in Southwark in the 1610s,94 though in areas 87

  Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 323–36; VCH Hants., vol. 2, p. 312; H.H. Hudson, ‘A Schoolboy Tragedy at Winchester, ca. 1623’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 11 (1937): 153–4. 88   See above, n. 61, and ODNB under Nicholas Udall, Alexander Nowell and Lambert Osbaldeston. 89   The Diary of Bulstrode Whitelocke 1605–1675, ed. Ruth Spalding (British Academy Records of Social and Economic History, new series, XIII, Oxford, 1990): 46–7; White, Theatre and Reformation, pp. 105, 216 n. 25; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 324. 90   Ibid. Mulcaster’s move to St Paul’s coincided with the revival of the Children of Paul’s as a unit of actors, though this was apparently the work of Edward Pearce, the choirmaster in the adjoining cathedral: see ODNB under Richard Mulcaster. 91   See ODNB under George Chapman (1559/60–1634). 92   White, Theatre and Reformation, pp. 67, 102–6, 118, 207 n. 3. 93   Ibid., pp. 104–5; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 5–6; 11–12, 22–3; see also ODNB under Thomas Ashton (d. 1578). 94   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 315, 319.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

with a low proportion of Latinate parents and other viewers, the plays performed in public may have been in English or a mixture of Latin and English. This was perhaps the case with some of the tragedies and comedies written by Ralph Radcliffe. Radcliffe was a close friend of Roger Ascham, but also a protégé of Thomas Cromwell, and his pupils performed at least once a year for public audiences in the lower part of the priory at Hitchin, in which he had been allowed to set up a school.95 The pageants performed by the boys at Ipswich in 1582 and 1595 to commemorate Elizabeth’s coronation were probably in English, as was William Hawkins’s Apollo Shroving, written for classroom production at Hadleigh in Suffolk as an academic ‘by-exercise’ for the Shrove Tuesday of 1627. The play celebrated the rewards of good discipline, and offered two roles to a young Joseph Beaumont – the future poet and head of college.96 At nearby Bury St Edmunds in 1639 and 1640 the High Master was allowed £6 13s. 4d. on two occasions to defray the costs of the scholars putting on plays for the High Sheriff and others to attend. In this context, Ben Jonson’s comment on early Stuart schoolmasters that ‘they make all their scholars play-boys’ has a certain force.97 Acting in schools was still frowned on by some teachers in the midseventeenth century. At King’s Canterbury in the 1650s, the hall where plays had been performed was demolished.98 But at the Restoration, drama was soon restored there, and elsewhere. In the hall of Merchant Taylors’ School, plays were resumed by 1664, though with a caveat that the expense – £17 10s. 9d. for erecting the stage and seats – was not to be a precedent. At Westminster there was a longer lapse: Latin plays were possibly not revived there until Knipe’s period as headmaster (1685–1711), but the tradition then became vibrant again.99 Dramatic performances may have persisted or been revived in many schools because they drew in a wider audience than students alone. We have already noted the plays about Latin grammar – written in English but with many Latin tags – which were

95   White, Theatre and Reformation, pp. 103–4, 215n; see ODNB under Ralph Radcliffe. 96   I.E. Gray and W.E. Potter, Ipswich School 1400–1950 (Ipswich, 1950), p. 46; see ODNB under William Hawkins (d. 1637). 97   R.W. Elliott, The Story of King Edward VI’s School [Bury St Edmunds] (Bury St Edmunds, 1963), p. 61. For similar expenses paid by Southampton civic authorities, see Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 324, where Jonson’s Staple of newes, act 3, scene 2 is also cited. 98   Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 79–80, 119, 132–3, 139–47, 170. 99   H.B. Wilson, The History of Merchant-Taylors’ School (2 vols, 1814), vol. 1, pp. 343–4; ODNB under Thomas Knipe; F.H. Forshall, Westminster School Past and Present (London, 1884), pp. 467–83.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


performed before local dignitaries in Leicestershire in the 1670s.100 Arthur Kynnesman, the long-serving headmaster of Bury St Edmund’s School from 1715 to 1745, continued the tradition of performing school plays to audiences of parents and local gentry, and wisely instituted a collection after each play to raise money to buy books for the school library. Meanwhile, as part of his reforms at Gresham’s School at Holt in Norfolk, John Holmes encouraged both drama and oratory, and encouraged annual school performances of plays on general themes such as the ‘History of England’ which soon attracted significant numbers of the leaders of local society.101 A few teachers took their interest in the stage even further: Thomas Johnson, who taught in various schools between 1689 and 1718, prepared editions of Sophocles’ plays for the press; and John Smith, usher of Magdalen College School at much the same time, wrote a play and prologues and epilogues for professional actors, including one for a performance of Jonson’s Volpone at Oxford.102 It was ironic that the play acting which became well established in Protestant schools in early modern England increasingly lost any doctrinal or ecclesiastical dimension, either perpetuating the classical tradition represented by Terence, Plautus and others, or moving steadily towards the didactic and the secular, as in plays on Latin grammar or English history. It was the more ironic in that drama was used for confessional purposes for a longer period by many Protestants abroad, and was regularly used by some Catholics in England and abroad to support the Church against its enemies. We find this in the ‘subtly coded dialogues and dramas’ devised by the circle of Sir Thomas Elyot, and also in the school plays performed by English recusants in subsequent decades. For the latter, acting became ‘a form of role-playing directly relevant to the experience of a persecuted minority, and could be used as a means of training the youthful actors – as well as the audience, and even the authors – to exhibit exemplary behaviour during real-life moral crises’.103 Although the Jesuits frowned on Terence, they were ready to continue the medieval tradition of mystery 100

  See above, pp. 144–5.   See ODNB under Arthur Kynnesman and John Holmes (1702/3–60); also on Holmes, see above, pp. 103–4. 102   See ODNB under Thomas Johnson (d. 1746) and John Smith (1662–1717); see also James Townley’s later works (ibid.). 103   Pettegree, Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion, chap. 4; Andrew Pettegree, ‘Humanism and the Reformation in Britain and the Netherlands’, in N. Scott Amos, A. Pettegree and Henk van Nierop (eds), The Education of a Christian Society: Humanism and the Reformation in Britain and the Netherlands, Thirteenth Anglo-Dutch Historical Conference, 1997 (Ashgate, 1999), pp. 6–7; Alison Shell, ‘“Furor Juvenilis”: Post-Reformation English Catholicism and Exemplary Youthful Behaviour’, in Ethan Shagan (ed.), Catholics and the ‘Protestant Nation’ (Manchester, 2005), pp. 192–4; Shell, ‘Autodidacticism in English Jesuit 101


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and morality plays and to enter new areas by tackling themes such as the struggle between heresy and reason, as well as composing plays based on scriptural topics and saints’ lives. In France, where such school plays became extremely popular in the seventeenth century, dramas stressed the duty of loyalty and steadfastness, comedies urged a reformation of manners, and musical interludes and ballets were introduced to portray what one recent scholar has called ‘an eclectic Christian stoicism’.104 In later seventeenth- and in eighteenth-century France, it is true, a higher proportion of ‘profane’ topics were tackled: plays were written and performed to celebrate God’s help in Louis XIV’s victories. Aided by ballet and lavish sets, these were performed, often in French, in theatres which were the only suitable arenas in many of the towns where Jesuit colleges were situated. But the object of such theatre remained edification: as a French Jesuit Ratio put it in 1692, a properly devised and performed play could produce ‘an astonishing effect among spectators, and even do more to guide them to religion than the sermons of the greatest preachers’.105 Such opportunities were largely missed in England after the late sixteenth century.106 * * * The appreciation of Latin and Greek verse in a variety of forms other than drama, such as pastoral, epic, elegiac and lyric verse, together with the ability to imitate their finest features, were qualities that advocates of a humanist education were also anxious to foster. To that end students from the third forms upwards were given some familiar exercises, such as double translation and selecting memorable examples for their commonplacebooks, and some new or more advanced ones, such as identifying and emulating different poetic metres and rhetorical devices, turning a verse they had just read into other verses using similar words and phrases or into another language or form. As they abandoned ‘Lily’ and ‘Cato’ for Ovid, Virgil and Horace, and if they persisted to the top forms moved on Drama: The Writings and Career of Joseph Simons’, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, 13 (2001): 34–56. 104   Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 163–76, at p. 169. 105   Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education, vol. 1, pp. 126–7; Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, pp. 473–503, at p. 478; Judi Loach, ‘The Consecration of the Civic Realm’, in Andrew Spicer and Sarah Hamilton (eds), Defining the Holy: Sacred Space in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Aldershot, 2005), pp. 277–300. 106   The didactic and historical plays put on by the Oratorians at Troyes were perhaps closer to the English pattern: see Jean-Jacques Kihm, ‘Théâtre et Pédagogie au Collège des Oratoriens de Troyes aux XVIIe et XVIIIe Siècles’, in Actes du 95e Congrès National des Sociétés Savantes: Section d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine 1 (Reims, 1970): 115–21.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


to Homer and Hesiod, the emphasis shifted increasingly from mastering rules of grammar to imitating and devising endless variations on existing verses and composing new ones.107 But before we turn to examine them closely, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the view of some influential humanists like John Colet and reformers like Thomas Becon, that wherever possible, Christian poets should be read rather than pagan ones.108 This view never achieved anything like majority support, but in postReformation England, it did surface from time to time. In 1582 the privy council urged the bishops to ensure that teachers avoided heathen poets such ‘as Ovid de arte amandi, de tristibus or such like’, and used an approved new Latin verse history of England instead. In 1650 the pious master of Gonville and Caius College urged teachers of Greek and Latin to use texts by Christians, not by ‘heathenish authors … whose writings are full of the fables, vanities, filthiness, lasciviousness, idolatries and wickedness of the heathen’. And in 1666 the king, at the suggestion of Convocation, recommended the use of James Duport’s translation of the Psalms into Greek hexameters ‘for the better imbuing boys’ minds alike with piety and Greek learning’.109 At grassroots level there was also some support for works by Christian authors like Mancini, Palingenius, and above all ‘Mantuan’. Domenico Mancini was a scholar and a poet who, though born in Rome, surfaced in Paris in 1482 and in London in 1483. His Latin verses, De quatuor virtutibus, printed first in Paris in 1484, consisted of a conventional late medieval recital of the four virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Magnanimity. There were a couple of translations into English, in 1520 and 1568, but in late Tudor England, perhaps because of the parallels between those virtues and the moral teaching in Cicero’s Offices, it became recommended reading in the original Latin version for schools as far apart as Bangor, Shrewsbury, Bury St Edmund’s and Harrow. It passed through four editions in England between 1584 and 1638, when its admirers included Catholics like Ben Jonson and Sir Kenelm Digby, but not the ‘godly’ Brinsley or the episcopalian Hoole.110

107   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, index under Ovid, Virgil and Horace, and chaps 40–44; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 10–11, 34, 183, 189–90; anon., The schools-probation, pp. 8–15. 108   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 373–5; see above, pp. 47, 118–19. 109   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 11, 42–3 (and for some school statutes citing Christian poets, p. 6 and 182n); James Duport, Dabides emmetros (Cambridge, 1666), sig. [A2]r. 110   See ODNB under Domenico Mancini; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 642–3; Binns, Intellectual Culture, p. 116.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

‘Marcellus Palingenius’ was probably the pseudonym of Pietro Angelo Manzoli, who was active in Italy in the 1530s, when he published Zodiacus vitae: 12 books of poems on the life of man, based on the signs of the Zodiac, but popularizing many major philosophical ideas. His verse was considered good rather than outstanding, but in some circles its content earned him sobriquets such as ‘most learned poet’ and ‘most Christian poet’, even if nearer home he was later charged with heresy.111 Many English readers were introduced to his work by a translation into English by Barnabe Googe – a kinsman of Sir William Cecil, and author in his own right of early examples of English pastoral verse. Googe evidently thought that the ‘pleasure and profit the diligent reading of virtuous poets doth minister to the godly and Christian mind’ was so evident that he did not need to spend space in his prefaces justifying his translation of ‘this virtuous poet’ who combined ‘virtuous style and godly sense’.112 However, when Archbishop Parker quoted Palingenius on the title-page of the second edition of his Flores historiarum in 1570, he did so from a Latin edition, perhaps the one published in London in 1569 – the first of perhaps nine printed between then and 1639. Most of these Latin editions carried a liminary verse ‘to the instructors of Christian youth’ which praised the author as a Christian poet free from the trappings of pagan mythology, and it was recommended for use in schools as far apart as Southwark, St Bee’s, Durham and Aldenham.113 Some scholars think it has clear echoes in Shakespeare’s writing, as in Palingenius’ comparison of the world with a stage. But though patronized by good Protestants like Googe and Parker, Palingenius’ verses in their concern for the moral life, nobility of mind and free will had more in common with the philosophical poems of the high Middle Ages than the 39 Articles or Calvin’s Institutes.114 Much the most widespread example of exposure to Latin verse by a Christian author came through the Adolescentia, seu bucolica of Giovanni Baptista Spagnuoli, though ironically this exposure was very much a dry run for students’ first taste of Virgil. For as well as writing in Virgil’s bucolic vein, which led some to call him ‘the second Virgil’, Spagnuoli, like Virgil, hailed from Mantua – hence the nickname of ‘Mantuan’, as in Shakespeare’s affectionate reference to ‘good old Mantuan’ and in many 111

  Palingenio, Marcelli Palingenii Stellati poetae doctissimi (1569); The first thre bokes of the most Christian poet, trans. Barnabe Googe (1560); Gillespie, Shakespeare’s Books, pp. 407–10. 112   Palingenio, The zodiake of life written by the godly and zealous poet Marcellus Pallingenius stellatus (1565), sig, +2r; Binns, Intellectual Culture, p. 115. 113   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 387, 413, 424, 433, 643–53. 114   Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 653–81; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 114–15; but see also Gillespie, Shakespeare’s Books, pp. 408–9.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


other contemporary sources.115 It was a further irony that the works of a late fifteenth-century Carmelite friar became a favourite of Luther and found a warmer welcome in early modern England than in Renaissance Italy. Initially ‘Mantuan’ must have been dictated from or read in imported copies, since there were only a couple of editions in England in the 1520s, by Wynkyn de Worde. But from the 1560s copies of Adolescentia, with the addition of critical apparatus borrowed from Continental scholars and an index, were printed regularly in London, and from the 1630s in Cambridge too – perhaps a dozen under Elizabeth, almost as many under the early Stuarts (as part of the ‘English Stock’), and a further dozen between 1649 and 1707 (still as ‘Stock’ items). The text continued to sell well, even in the 1650s, though the fact that Spagnuoli was a friar was never hidden: the standard title continued to be Baptistae Mantuani Carmelitae adolescentia.116 The high level of sales by then is confirmed by the throwaway remark by Charles Hoole in the 1650s, based on his years of teaching in various schools in the North of England and the London area, that Mantuan’s verse was ‘read in most schools’. Hoole’s own practice in Yorkshire and London was to use ‘Mantuan’ as early as the third form on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, before his students attempted Ovid and Virgil. The fact that he did not turn ‘Mantuan’ into a parallel Latin-and-English text, as he did with so many other texts he used, perhaps confirms his further comment that children found his style and matter very accessible.117 Once they were deemed ready, however, English schoolboys were exposed to original works by classical poets – even if they were pagans – and it would be the poetry rather than the prose of the ancient Greeks and Romans that would dominate their remaining years at school. At Eton and Westminster in the 1560s, on Wednesday and Thursday mornings the fourth-form boys studied Ovid’s De tristibus, the fifth-form boys Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and the top two forms, the sixth and seventh, Virgil, while on Friday afternoons the master read Horace to the fifthformers.118 The practice of Mr Bonner, Hoole’s mentor at the grammar school at Rotherham in early Stuart Yorkshire which was then divided into nine classes, was to give ‘Mantuan’ to the fourth, Ovid to the fifth, 115

  Ibid., pp. 316–20.   Lewis W. Spitz, ‘Luther and Humanism’, in M.J. Harran (ed.), Luther and Learning (Selinsgrove, 1985), p. 74; STC2 22978–9; 22980–89, Wing2 S4784B–90A and ESTC N15826. 117   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 79, 65. 118   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 355, 357. For the situation by the eighteenth century, see Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 55–9, and E.G.W. Bill, Education at Christ Church 1660–1800 (Oxford, 1988), pp. 247–9. 116


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Virgil to the sixth, and Horace to the seventh.119 Hoole’s own modification of this, in a school organized into just six forms, was for the usher to introduce the third form to ‘Mantuan’, and then for the master to proceed to Ovid’s De tristibus and Metamorphoses in the fourth, Virgil in the fifth, and Horace (among others) in the top form.120 To judge from sales, there were some changes in fashion, such as a growing taste for separate editions of Juvenal’s and Persius’ satires in the seventeenth century, in contrasting versions, one heavily annotated by the canny Thomas Farnaby, the other devoid of all notes for the bright students in Westminster School.121 But a strong case for a progression of Hoole’s type being matched in many early modern schools, both elite and provincial, can be made from school regulations and the number of repeat editions of these works published in early modern England.122 * * * Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Fasti, Tristia and Epistolae Heroidum had for centuries been used as school texts by teachers who wore allegorical spectacles which enabled them to discover moral and Christian meanings in Ovid’s account of the legends and customs of the ancient world.123 Literally hundreds of editions of Ovid were printed on the Continent in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and close examination of those produced in France indicates that the Latin editions were intended primarily for use by students.124 In sixteenth-century England too, three of Ovid’s works – the Metamorphoses, Tristia and Epistolae Heroidum – were soon adopted in dozens of school curricula, and if we take editions of these works published in Latin in England and fully incorporated into the ‘English Stock’ by the early seventeenth century, we find that sales of 119   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 298–302; the top two forms spent more time on Greek and Hebrew. 120   Ibid., pp. 164–5, 189, 203. 121   STC2 14889–92, 19777–80; Wing2 J1282–5, P1662 and 1663A. 122   Too many examples to list, but see Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, passim, and Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 17–19; for the seventeenth century, see Rowland, ‘Curriculum of the Royal Grammar-School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’, pp. 37–8, and Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, pp. 133–4. 123   In Humanism and Education in Medieval and Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 238, 248–51, Robert Black takes a more positive view than Grendler, Education in Renaissance Italy, pp. 254–5. See also the notes that follow. 124   Henri Lamarque, ‘L’Edition des oeuvres d’Ovide dans la Renaissance Française’, in Lamarque, Ovide en France dans la Renaissance (Toulouse, 1981), pp. 15–19; Ann Moss, Ovid in Renaissance France: A Study of the Latin Editions of Ovid and Commentaries Printed in France before 1600 (Warburg Institute Surveys, 8, London, 1982), p. 59 and passim.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


Ovid’s poetry almost rivalled those of Cicero’s prose. Sales of the Epistolae Heroidum and De tristibus were slow to take off, but grew markedly from the mid-seventeenth century to the early eighteenth. By contrast, the Metamorphoses was in demand at once, and a new edition was published every three or four years from the 1580s to the 1740s.125 Most of these were in the ‘Stock’ version, which, like the Terence, had no marginal notes or indeed any apparatus, though as so often with the most regularly used school texts, alternatives were composed and published for schools at the top and bottom of the range. For those who wanted scholarly notes (in Latin, of course), three editions with Farnaby’s notes were published from the 1630s, and from the 1690s a handful with Minell’s notes and half-adozen of the Delphin version from the 1700s.126 On the other hand, for those who needed help with the standard Latin text, from the 1610s there was Brinsley’s version of Book 1, ‘translated grammatically’, from the 1720s Nathan Bailey’s version for ‘young beginners’ which added a prose paraphrase in English and translations of Minell’s notes, and from the 1730s John Clarke of Hull’s Latin-and-English version ‘with an English translation, as literal as possible, for the more expeditious attainment of the sense and elegancy of this great poet’. To the charge that translations and other forms of help made students idle, Bailey replied that ‘those that have laboured most industriously at teaching’ found that such aids spurred them on, so they progressed much faster and more confidently than without them.127 In addition to over 80 editions in Latin of these three works published in England between the 1580s and the 1740s, poems by Ovid were available in other works, such as Mirandula’s anthology Flores poetarum, from which Brinsley encouraged young teachers to pick out Ovidian passages for exercises in double translation.128 There was also an early surge of translations into English verse or prose of works by Ovid, which in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries became a flood. Initially some titles such as Heywood’s version of De arte amandi and Marlowe’s of Amores were considered sufficiently risky ventures to be given title125   Wing2 O672–7, O653–5; for Metamorphoses, see STC2 18951–9952.8, Wing2 O680Aa–83 and ESTC (those editions described as ‘ex accuratissmis castigationibus emandata’). The Fasti in Latin were printed separately only occasionally in England. 126   STC2 18954.5, Wing2 O680, 680AC; O681A and ESTC (1706, 1711, 1724, 1731); see also ESTC (1708, 1713, 1719, 1724, 1730, 1744). Delphin versions of the Epistolae were printed from 1702, and of De tristibus from 1719. 127   STC2 18963 and Wing2 O685; ESTC (Bailey’s Minellius Anglicanus in 1724, 1733, 1741 – quotation at p. viii; and Clarke’s Ovid’s Metamorphoses in 1735 and 1741 – titlepage). Bailey also published an English translation of the Minell notes on the Epistolae Heroidum in 1728 and 1744. 128   STC2 17954–5; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 193–4.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

pages stating ‘Middelbourgh or ‘Amsterdam’ even though the copies were probably printed in London. But most translations were considered safe enough to be published in England, and like Golding’s and Sandys’s translations, sold well from the outset.129 Heywood’s and Marlowe’s translations reflect one aspect of the Renaissance love affair with Ovid: a move away from the late medieval allegorical tradition towards literal and rhetorical interpretations. It was certainly the case that the prime focus in teaching Ovid in early modern grammar schools was to enable students to appreciate and imitate his technique, but it would probably be wrong to assume that the older moralizing tradition died out quickly, either in schools or among nonLatinate readers. In their translations Arthur Golding (also a regular translator of Calvin into English) and Sandys (the conformist son of an archbishop) added specifically moral or Christian interpretations either in the prefaces or the texts, which suggests the moralizing tradition was still alive in Elizabethan and early Stuart England.130 The fact that Shakespeare was clearly familiar both with a Latin original and with Golding’s version, that Richard Holdsworth recommended his ‘young gentlemen’ at Cambridge to acquaint themselves with Sandys’s translation of the Metamorphoses, and that Charles Hoole urged his students not only to identify the ‘matter of morality’ in each passage they read but also to use Sandys’s illustrated translation to further their understanding of the Latin text, suggests that even grammar school boys and gentleman undergraduates could be exposed to that tradition. For English schools, we appear to lack the annotations on copies of the standard school texts which have enabled scholars to undertake a close analysis of the techniques used in teaching Ovidian texts in French colleges, so the extent and nature of that exposure may remain unclear. But English teachers, who as far as we can see used unexpurgated versions of Ovid, unlike their French counterparts, were aware of the need to defend the use in class of Ovid’s accounts of the dubious behaviour of the Greek gods; so a moral element was likely to have been retained in school instruction, at least until Hoole’s time.131


  STC2 18931–3, 18935–7; R.M. Ogilvie, Latin and Greek: A History of the Influence of the Classics on English Life from 1600 to 1918 (London, 1964), pp. 12–13; see below, pp. 319–20. 130   G. Braden, The Classics and English Renaissance Poetry. Three Case Studies (New Haven, CT, 1978), chap. 1; Raphael Lyne, Ovid’s Changing Worlds: English Metamorphoses, 1567–1632 (Oxford, 2001), chap. 1; Ovid’s Metamorphosis Englished … by George Sandys, ed. K.K. Hulley and S.T. Vandersall (Lincoln, NB, 1970), p. xi. 131   Moss, Ovid in Renaissance France, passim; Ann Blair, ‘Ovidus Methodizatus: The Metamorphoses of Ovid in a Sixteenth-century Paris College’, History of Universities, 9

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


It is also not clear if students were expected to get through all 15 books of Metamorphoses. Shakespeare was more familiar with the earlier books than the closing ones; and John Clarke of Hull focused on the first six or seven books, which he recommended going through twice with students.132 Hoole’s advice on how to use Ovid with fourth-formers suggests steady progress rather than great speed. For the first half year (at least) they should study: Ovid’s little book De tristibus wherein they may proceed by six or eight verses at a lesson which they should first repeat memoriter … because the very repetition of the verses, and much more the having them by heart, will imprint a lively pattern of hexameters and pentameters in their minds and furnish them with many good authorities.

They should then construe these verses, parse every word, explain what tropes and figures they found, and scan each verse, and thus armed, attempt to write a verse in similar metre in English. The same pupils should spend the second half of the year performing much the same mixture of memorizing, construing, parsing, and identifying tropes and figures on sections of the Metamorphoses chosen by the teacher, but in this case they should then undertake other exercises: strive … to turn the fable into English prose, and to adorn and amplify it with fit epithets, choice phrases acute sentences, witty apophthegms, lively similitudes, pat examples and proverbial speeches, all agreeing to the matter of morality therein couched … [then] return into proper Latin … [and then] turn the same into most variety of English verses.133

However, even if schoolboys did not reach the end of these texts, they had been given a taste of Ovid’s talents as poet and story-teller, and could read more of his works at university or in adult life. And the sales of more scholarly texts and of generously illustrated translations of a wide range of his works, and the many allusions to reading and examples of imitating Ovid among the educated elite, confirm that this happened frequently. By the eighteenth century, tales from the Metamorphoses were also among the (1990): 73–96; Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 138; Gillespie, Shakespeare’s Books, pp. 394–400; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 161–2. 132   Jonathan Bate, Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford, 2001), p. 23; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 53. The fourth-formers at Winchester who were taught by fifthformers to memorize 12 verses a week on Saturday mornings did not begin serious study of Ovid until later: Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 153–4. 133   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 156–7, 161–2.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

most common themes to be found on the tapestries hung on the walls of the houses of the educated elite.134 * * * Among humanists across Europe, the poetry of Virgil was highly prized: for Dante, he was simply il nostro maggior poeta as well as a prophet of Christianity. In the sixteenth century, the Aldine Press of Venice alone produced over a score of editions of the Aeneid, the Eclogues (or Bucolics) and the Georgics together, in inexpensive small octavo or duodecimo imprints with little or no commentary, for use by schoolboys and general readers. Many leading presses also printed editions for scholars and teachers consisting of thousands of pages on which a few lines of text were surrounded and overpowered by slabs of paraphrase and commentary derived from old and new scholarship.135 But whereas medieval teachers saw Virgil’s poetry as a means of penetrating the divine mysteries and used allegory to unlock the poet’s wisdom, most Renaissance teachers spent more time on the quality of the verse, and accepted that it taught secular rather than theological lessons. As one influential Italian humanist wrote in the 1480s of the Aeneid: ‘Virgil’s poem portrays every kind of human life, so that there is no class, age, sex, or finally no condition which could not learn from it the entirety of its duties’.136 There was still the occasional effort to recruit Virgil into the Christian ranks, as by Alexander Ross, the polymath master of Southampton grammar school in 1616 and minister of a local parish a few years later. In 1634 he published Virgilius evangelisans. Sive historia domini et salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi Virgilianis verbis et versibus descripta, which was described recently as ‘a brave attempt to turn Rome’s greatest epic poet into a Christian prophet’.137 In England, sales of home-produced copies of Virgil’s main works in Latin were quite high in the late sixteenth century and steady in the early and mid-seventeenth century, but then doubled to more than 30 134

  Ogilvie, Latin and Greek, pp. 12–33; Colin Burrow, ‘Re-embodying Ovid: Renaissance Afterlives’, in Philip Hardie (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 303–4, 318–19, and see chap. 20, Christopher Allen on ‘Ovid and Art’. For tapestries, see also below, p. 340. 135   M.C. Howatson, The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (Oxford, 1989), p. 595; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 240–50; Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites, p. 178. 136   Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 237–9. 137   See ODNB under Alexander Ross; STC2 24826–7. Though this was one of Ross’s shorter efforts, it met the same lukewarm response as most of his works, though it is instructive to note from his other writings that Ross was at least aware of the need to show students how to reconcile Aristotelianism and neo-Stoicism with current Christian belief.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


editions during the century after the Restoration.138 The Latin version of Virgil’s works used most often in late Elizabethan and early Stuart schools was based on Paolo Manuzio’s edition, and had only a modicum of apparatus, such as argumenta at the start of each book and occasional marginal notes explaining words or phrases in the text and referring to other works by Virgil and other Greek and Roman authors.139 From the 1650s, perhaps as a result of competition from Farnaby’s much more fully annotated version and Ogilby’s aggressive marketing of his versions, the ‘Stock’ version sprouted an engraved title-page and a wider range of marginal notes ‘by various authors’, though those added were still mostly explanatory or cross-references.140 Then from the 1680s the Stationers also began to produce the very heavily annotated version of Minell, who had clearly seen a copy of Farnaby’s version among others. Despite costing twice as much as an ordinary edition, this passed through at least five editions between 1682 and 1733. But from 1687 there was another rival, the Delphin edition, which, as usual, boasted high levels of scholarship in the supporting apparatus and a prose paraphrase in parallel columns with Virgil’s original text. Costing slightly less than Minell (in the octavo version), at least ten editions were published in England between 1687 and 1735.141 On the other hand, there were simpler aids for teachers anxious to get results and adults wanting to teach themselves Latin, such as John Stirling’s versions in the 1730s, which had a number of features designed to help students understand Virgil’s meaning, recognize his scansion and identify simpler rhetorical devices – a method he claimed was ‘so well received by the public’ he did not need to expatiate upon its usefulness.142 Despite being published in a single volume, Virgil’s poetry was probably not read in its entirety by most schoolboys. Students at a Jesuit college in the 1560s were supposed to begin with sections of the Eclogues, before moving onto some books of the Aeneid, and finally some of the Georgics and more of the Aeneid.143 A comparable progression from Eclogues to Georgics to Aeneid was probably found in England. By the eighteenth century, students who persisted to the highest forms at elite institutions 138

  This pattern can be easily tracked in STC2, Wing2 and ESTC under ‘Virgil Opera’.   See STC2 24790, 24791, 24793. 140   See Wing2 V599, V601bA; Farnaby’s version seems to have had limited sales: STC2 24794 and Wing2 V601A; for Ogilby, see below, pp. 313–18. 141   Wing2 V603, 606, and ESTC for 1703, 1716 and 1733 editions; V604, 606–7, and ESTC for 1707, 1710, 1712, 1718, 1722, 1727 and 1735 editions; I have extrapolated the price differential back from the 1760s. 142   ESTC 1732, 1733, 1737 1741, 1749; P. Virgilii Maronis Opera: Or the Works of Virgil with the following improvements … by John Stirling (London, 1741), sig. [A]2r. 143   Grendler, Education in Renaissance Italy, pp. 240–43. 139


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

such as Eton and Winchester appear to have ploughed through the whole of Virgil, Horace and the Iliad at least once.144 But if we want to see how Virgil was handled in a provincial school or a private grammar school, it is worthwhile looking again at Charles Hoole’s methods, since he knew these milieux well. In his schools, Virgil as ‘the prince and purest of all Latin poets’ was given to the fifth form ‘to be constantly and throughly read’ on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. ‘They may begin with ten or twelve verses at a lesson in the Eclogues’, then memorize, construe, parse and scan them, and identify tropes and figures (as with Ovid), but also in the case of proper names give their history and etymology. Rather than memorize the conclusions reached in class, they should try to examine each eclogue over and over again for themselves. Next they should approach the Georgics with the master’s help, but if they could master that, they could be left to their own devices with the Aeneid. As they read Virgil, students could also be encouraged to ‘relate a pleasing story’ from it in good English prose, and then to turn this into elegant verse in Latin or English.145 If it helped his students, Hoole was evidently quite happy to let students use any translation of Virgil on which they could lay hold. Writing in 1659, he noted: There are several translations of Virgil to English verse, by the reading whereof young scholars may be somewhat helped to understand the Latin better. But of all the rest Mr Ogilby hath done it most completely, and if his larger book may be procured to the school library, the lively pictures will imprint the histories in scholar’s memories, and be a means to heighten their fancies with conceits answerable to the author’s gallant expressions.

Ogilby’s larger and lavishly illustrated edition of Virgil had appeared in folio in 1654, and as we shall see in Chapter 6, helped to create what proved to be a voracious market in the second half of the seventeenth century among those adults for whom the stirring stories and moral and patriotic sentiments in Virgil’s works – empires rose through valour and virtue – may have had a strong resonance.146 * * *


  Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 53–4. For a more sceptical estimate, at least for the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, see R.R. Bolgar, ‘Classical Reading in Renaissance Schools’, Durham Research Review, 6 (1955): 18–26. 145   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 178–80. 146   Ibid., pp. 179–80; see also below, pp. 313–18.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


As one recent commentator has noted: Horace’s popularity as a school author is not difficult to account for. His poetry, especially the Odes, comes in manageable instalments; he excels in pithy and memorable expression; and he is, particularly when judicious selection is practised, an improving writer; a copious source of easily digestible moral instruction urbanely imparted.147

However, it is almost certain that in many smaller urban or rural grammar schools with limited resources and time, the study of Horace was less common that that of Terence, Ovid and Virgil, at least until the late seventeenth or early eighteenth centuries. Horace had for most of the Middle Ages been treated as second best to Virgil, but during the Renaissance his poetry was much more widely appreciated for its polish, wisdom and good morals: in the mid-sixteenth century one Italian commentator observed that ‘Horace’s intention is to bring man to perfection, filling him with those moral virtues that make him perfect, in effect rational and, as a consequence, blessed.’148 In sixteenth-century England too, Horace enjoyed increasing respect among the intellectual and literary elite, both for his verse and his guide to poetry, the Ars poetica. Some of them had become familiar with Horace’s work through Continental editions in Latin, such as Sir Thomas Wyatt during his diplomatic missions, others through Thomas Drant’s first translation of the Sermones into English, published in 1566. But for some time there was no single received text of Horace’s corpus in Tudor–Stuart England: Ben Jonson owned two Continental editions dating from the 1580s, and Dryden for his verse translation probably consulted at least half-a-dozen editions printed in the Netherlands, Germany and France between the 1570s and the 1680s.149 When editions of Horace’s Poemata omnia did begin to appear in England in Latin – once again in the early 1570s – there was the usual element of competition between printers, with different notes being offered in different editions.150 But since in England the poems of Horace were usually combined with the ‘Satires’ of Juvenal and Persius, and were published unexpurgated, this was not a small or a cheap work, and may not have been targeted primarily at the school market. After an early flurry 147   E.J. Kenney, ‘“A Little of it Sticks”: The Englishman’s Horace’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, p. 189. 148   Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 253–4. 149   STC2 13805; C. Martindale and F. Hopkins (eds), Horace Made New. Horatian Influences on British Writing from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 27, 64, 127–8, 294. 150

STC2 13784–90a.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of about 11 editions of different versions between 1574 and 1614, new printings of the edition annotated by John Bond, master of the grammar school at Taunton, appeared only every ten years or so from 1620 to 1670.151 Whether this levelling off in sales was a cause or a consequence, this was one of the few significant classical titles to remain in private hands outside the ‘English Stock’.152 Occasionally publishers in the midseventeenth century provided parallel Latin and English texts of some of Horace’s poems, stressing on the title-pages that those selected contained ‘much morality and sweetness’ or were ‘the fullest fraught with excellent morality’; but these were rare.153 Then from the 1670s the pattern that we have seen already emerged again in the case of Horace: occasional editions with the Minell notes, a significant number of Delphin editions (ten between 1690 and 1740), and also a striking number of new revisions and editions from the 1690s to the 1740s and beyond, probably mainly intended for scholars.154 To balance these, there were more parallel Latinand-English versions, such as the one published in 1712 with the bonus of the notes of a leading English classical scholar in translation. This was enterprisingly published in 24 parts, and then sold as sets as well from 1713 to 1725.155 This pattern of steady rather than spectacular sales before an upturn at different levels in the early eighteenth century tends to fit in with what we know about the study of Horace in schools. At leading schools such as Eton, Winchester, Westminster and Harrow which could maintain a steady supply of teachers of above-average scholarship, Horace was probably always studied by the most senior pupils. Dryden (a Busby student at Westminster) knew Horace so well he often quoted him from memory, though not always accurately. By the eighteenth century, students at these institutions were forced to go through the poems two or three times in 151

  STC2 13784–96.5 and Wing2 H2777–8. For expurgation of editions used in French schools, see Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 138 and n. 86. 152   See above, p. 38. It is possible that ‘godly’ dislike, especially of the unexpurgated version used in England, played a part; but one would have expected a different chronology of editions if that had been the main reason. 153   Odes [and epodes] of Horace, translated by Sir Thomas Hawkins (1635 and 1638; STC2 13802–3); Selected parts of Horace, translated by Sir Richard Fanshawe (1652, Wing2 H2786). 154   Minell: Wing2 H2779 and ESTC under 1706 and 1726; Delphin: Wing2 H 2780, 2765 and ESTC under 1694, 1705, 1711, 1717, 1722, 1727, 1734, 1740. Other new editions: ESTC under Horace from 1690 to 1750. 155   The serpentine publishing history of The [Odes and] Epodes of Horace in Latin and English with the translation of Dr Bentley’s notes can be traced through ESTC. For another parallel text, see The Odes, Epodes and Carmen Seculare of Horace translated into English prose (1730; ESTC T32903).

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


class, and analyse them, memorize large chunks of them, and try to write elegiac verses in his style. For one headmaster of Eton, mastering the art of ‘longs and shorts’ by analysing and imitating the verse of Horace was tantamount to being civilized: ‘If you do not write good longs and shorts, how can you ever be a man of taste?’156 Acceptance in provincial schools was more measured. Brinsley referred to Horace as ‘that difficult poet’, one of the ‘hardest … school authors’, and strongly recommended his pupils to use the notes of another provincial teacher, John Bond; and Hoole too implied that students might need Bond’s help to ‘encourage [them] to proceed in him’. (It is worth noting that while Bond’s version passed through 20 editions, only five of those were within England).157 On the one hand, Hoole’s treatment of Horace is similar to that of Ovid and Virgil: sixth-formers should memorize some of his poems ‘as affording a rich mine of invention’, and construe, parse and scan them, and then turn an ode or epistle into a verse in English, Latin or Greek. On the other, compared to his comments on Terence and Virgil, there is a lack of warmth in Hoole’s commendation, and also for the first time a hint of selection by the master, in that students were supposed at first to approach ‘what you best approve’. Since Hoole also encouraged these same sixth-formers to have ‘a taste of’ Juvenal, Lucan, Seneca, Martial ‘and the rest of the finest Latin poets’ during their afternoon lessons, it seems unlikely that he was anxious for his students to master the whole of Horace’s output.158 The rise in the number of new editions and different versions in Latin or Latin and English in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, however, may indicate that in those schools which were anxious to imitate the model of the elite schools, more scholars were being given Horace. By then Horace was also recommended reading for some undergraduates and in some dissenting academies.159 It would also appear, however, that in later Stuart and Hanoverian England, Horace’s verse was read for pleasure by many adults in the original. Figures as diverse as Horace Walpole and William Cowper reminisced fondly of studying Horace when young. Perhaps they had come to appreciate his lyricism, wit, moderation and self-deprecation more in later years than they had at school, or perhaps some of them felt the appeal of the rural idyll of the life of the gentleman farmer living on a Sabine farm, a safe 156

  Martindale and Hopkins, Horace Made New, pp. 127–31; Ogilvie, Greek and Latin, p. 40; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 48–58; Kenney, ‘The Englishman’s Horace’, pp. 185–7. 157   Brinsley, Ludus literarius, p. 122; Hoole, New discovery, p. 198. 158   Ibid., pp. 197–8, 203; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 51–3. 159

Ogilvie, Latin and Greek, pp. 40–43.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

haven from the storms of politics and the volatility of the capital. Based on an increasingly solid platform in the grammar schools, Horace became for many Englishman ‘one of us’.160 * * * The ability to compose original verse – either extemporary or suited to some occasion such as commendation, congratulation or commemoration – were qualities which many schoolboys were encouraged to develop. When he witnessed the exercises in versification performed by the boys at Westminster at the election of scholars to university places, John Evelyn was ‘wonderfully astonished’ at the standards reached under Busby. But able students in provincial schools often did well too, with the right encouragement. The young Simonds D’Ewes claimed to have composed 2850 verses in Latin and Greek while a pupil at Bury St Edmunds in the early seventeenth century; and William Lilly while at Ashby-de-la-Zouch learned how to ‘make extempore verses upon any theme, all kinds of verses, hexameters, pentameter, phaleuciacs, iambics, sapphics, etc.’. This was the more creditable in that his teacher, John Brinsley, took the view that writing verses was ‘rather for ornament’ on an occasion of rejoicing or commiserating ‘than for any necessary use’.161 We have an unusual opportunity to judge what impact the study of classical verse could have on a moderately able and well-educated student in a provincial school in an epitaph written in 1706 by Edmund Isham, the future sixth baronet, then still a pupil at Rugby School, recently revived by Dr Henry Holyoake. The epitaph, which survives in the family papers, was written on the death of a local clergyman who had been a long-standing friend of the Ishams. Richard Richardson was born in Northamptonshire, educated at Oundle and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and served as vicar of Brixworth and then Lamport from 1663 to 1706. What marked him out from many other English clergy of the period were his varied interests and publication of a number of works in Latin, including De stylo Latino formando, and his close friendship with a powerful local gentry family – the Ishams of Lamport. Richardson had acted as tutor to the Isham boys in the early 1670s, and accompanied two of them as far as Paris at the start of their grand tour in 1676. On returning home, he wrote 160

  Ibid., pp. 44–7; Kenny, ‘The Englishman’s Horace’, pp. 184–5; Martindale and Hopkins, Horace Made New, p. 199. 161   The Autobiography and Correspondence of Sir Simonds D’Ewes (2 vols, London, 1845), vol. 1, p. 102; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 34–6; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 190–98 (quotation at 191); see also Hoole, New discovery, pp. 159–61, 181–2, 186–8.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


regularly to Thomas Isham, usually in Latin in letters replete with classical allusions, keeping him abreast of what was happening at Lamport while Thomas was away. It was appropriate, therefore, that when Richardson died, his epitaph should be written by another young Isham, and that his teacher commended this youthful effort: Epitaphium Domini Richardsoni Lamporti Rectoris Hospes miretur, lachrymis accedat obortis, Huic tumulo ne quis justa referre neget Conditus est in tuo virtus aeterna Richardson, Saturni fertur qui renovasse dies. Vicit amicitia Pyladen, devicit Oresten; Aemula Virgilii carmina docta nitent Vir fuit omnigena pietate insignis, asylum Pauperibus semper sub penetrale fuit. Quo mors atra fieret: quam dira exultet eodem Omnem Iustitiam contumulasse rogo.162

It is composed in elegiac couplets, and is (I am reliably informed by Professor Estelle Hahn) quite Virgilian in style and sentiment.163 In line 3, Richardson is praised for his virtus aeterna, in line 5 for the quality of his friendship, in line 6 for his Latin verses – his learned songs emulated those of Virgil – and in lines 7–8 for his piety in general, and charity to the poor in particular. In the last lines Isham bemoans ‘how in her dreadfulness, Death may boast that she has buried all Justice in the same tomb [as Richardson]’. But there is no mention of the Christian God, and not a word on Richardson’s faith or prospects of salvation. Nearly 200 years after the break with Rome, and a young gentleman is being patted on the back by his teacher (himself in holy orders) for commemorating a family friend in terms which Virgil would have understood and perhaps even applauded. Perhaps this verse was just a school exercise tossed off on demand, but perhaps the young Isham really did think that listing the gentlemanly qualities of virtue, outward piety and charity was sufficient consolation to offer on the death for a Christian clergyman. If so, he anticipated by over two centuries Newman’s dictum that in England ‘liberal education makes not the Christian … but the gentleman’.164 162

  The Diary of Thomas Isham of Lamport (1658–81), ed. Sir Gyles Isham (Farnborough, 1971), pp. 16–19. The version in the text adopts minor alterations of the printed transcript as suggested by Professor Estelle Hahn in a personal communication, 1 December 2005. 163   Ibid. 164   J.H. Newman, The Idea of a University, ed. I.T. Ker (Oxford, 1976), p. 110.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

In many contemporary manuscript collections, in the prefaces of many published works, and on hundreds of funeral monuments, we can see this ability to compose a suitable verse being demonstrated, not just among early modern scholars and authors, but also among the more Latinate of the social elite in the years after they had left school. To take just one example, Brian Duppa, a senior churchman and tutor to the sons of Charles I (to whom he was held up as a model of a gentleman), found time on the death of Ben Jonson to contribute to and edit Jonsonus virbius – a collection of poems by 30 ‘friends of the Muses’.165 The disposition and the requisite skills to write such verses may often have stemmed from the enthusiasms of a particular teacher or even a tradition established at a particular school, but they were in many cases nurtured at university where the prestige of publicizing a polished verse gave the next generation of schoolmasters among the current undergraduate body a clear impression of what was held in high esteem by the educated elite of the day. Christopher Johnson, appointed Master of Winchester College in 1560, was himself a Latin poet of some reputation, and in addition to reading the comedies of Plautus with his older students, introduced them to a fullscale study of poetry and rhetoric. The kind of ‘theme’ he set might include a question such as, ‘What effect has the poetic chorus upon you?’, which required empathy as well as technical insight. The students Johnson sent on to New College included Richard Wills, whose De re poetica was the first formal defence of poetry known to have been published in England.166 Eton played a similarly important part in sending budding Latin poets to King’s College Cambridge in the 1560s. These included Abraham Hartwell, who in 1565 published his Regina literata – an account in Latin verse commemorating Elizabeth’s visit to Cambridge – and Giles Fletcher the elder, who wrote Virgilian eclogues, allegorical verses on topical matters, and an elegy called ‘Adonis’ on the death of a fellow poet, Walter Haddon.167 In the 1570s and 1580s a number of students from Westminster School (where William Camden was a poet of some calibre) went to Christ Church, where they gathered around William Gager, who wrote Latin plays on figures of classical myth and history, a paraphrase in Ovidian style on 165   See ODNB under Brian Duppa; see also Leicester Bradner, Musae Anglicanae: A History of Anglo-Latin Poetry 1500–1925 (New York, 1940), chaps 1–4, 7–8; Binns, Intellectual Culture, chaps 3–6, 10; David F. Foxon, English Verse 1701–1750 (2 vols, Cambridge, 1975), index under ‘Latin poems’. 166   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 321–42, vol. 2, pp. 711–14; ODNB under Christopher Johnson; R. Wills, De re poetica, trans. and ed. A.D.S. Fowler (Luttrell Reprints, no. 17, Oxford, 1958), pp. 1–5 and passim. 167

  Bradner, Musae Anglicanae, pp. 56–7; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 36, 423, 656, 661; ODNB under Abraham Hartwell (c. 1541–85) and Giles Fletcher the elder (c. 1546–1611).

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


the story of Susanna and the Elders, and patriotic odes on contemporary events in the style of Horace.168 In succeeding decades there developed a range of Latin verses associated with university life at both Oxford and Cambridge: act verses, complimentary lines to the Queen and leading courtiers, commemorative volumes on the death of leading figures such as Sir Philip Sidney and Sir Christopher Hatton, the summaries of disputations which formed part of the formalities for a degree, and the Carmina quadragesimalia or Lenten poems composed by members of Christ Church Oxford.169 Many of the best-known poets of the day, such as Crashaw, Herbert and Marvell, would publish their earliest verse in Latin and Greek in university volumes. One particular form of verse associated with the universities is worth notice. The writing of encomiastic verse comparing the virtues and wisdom of the monarch and leading courtiers to those of heroines and heroes of ancient and biblical times can be traced back to the 1570s, but soon became well established, and persisted through to the mid eighteenth century, being either delivered orally to welcome a visiting dignitary or sent in a printed form to the court.170 The poets who composed the Latin eulogies for Elizabeth and commendations of James I on his accession in 1603, for example, were a mixture of professors of Greek and Latin, college fellows, noted alumni and undergraduates, who speedily filled two volumes with odes, epigrams and epitaphs written in a variety of styles and readily combining classical and Christian metaphors. One phoenix has died, another has arisen; Phoebus has succeeded Phoebe. The virtues of Elizabeth, sometimes described as the English Deborah, the female David, who had resisted popish fraud and made the Word of God flow pure, and in whose reign religion, piety and faith were intertwined, were also stated broadly and traditionally: ‘Vera parens patriae, patrona piissima Musis, / Iustitiae cultix, sobrietatis amans’ (‘true parent of her country, most pious patron of the muses, cultivator of justice, lover of sobriety’).171 The universities also began to issue anthologies on public events: Cromwell’s peace with the Dutch in 1654, military victories in 1702 and 1703, and the end of the Seven Years’ War. In the century after 168

  See ODNB under William Gager; Bradner, Musae Anglicanae, pp. 61–6; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 121, 127–31, 135–7. 169   Ibid., pp. 36, 40–42, 170, 173; Bradner, Musae Anglicanae, pp. 60–61, 65–7, 99–101; Bill, Education at Christ Church, pp. 247–9. 170   Stella P. Revard, ‘The Latin Ode from Elizabeth I to Mary II: Political Approaches to Encomia’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, pp. 156–64. 171   Oxoniensis Academiae funebre officium, in memoriam Honoratissimam, Serenissimae et Beatissimae Elisabethae (Oxford, 1603), and Threno-thyiambeauticon, Academiae Cantabrigiensis ob damnum lucosum, & infoelicitatem foelicissimam, luctosus triumphus (Cambridge, 1603); Revard, ‘Latin Ode from Elizabeth I to Mary II’, pp. 164–6.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

the Restoration, Oxford issued a stream of loyalist anthologies offering congratulation or condolence on royal births, deaths, marriages and accessions; many were composed by students sent up from Westminster to Christ Church, as in the late sixteenth century.172 The marriage of Mary in 1677, the accession of William and Mary in 1689, Mary’s premature death in 1694 and the accession of George III were all occasions for further volumes of Latin poems from the universities. While Mary, the daughter of James, Duke of York who married William Prince of Orange in 1667, was alive she was compared to Venus for beauty, Pallas for spirit and Juno for her authority, while William was likened to Mars, Hercules and Hector for his martial accomplishments. Their marriage united the Belgic and British Lions; the ocean between England and Holland was now a pacific sea, protected by Neptune. The university poets also compared Mary to Elizabeth, for her virtues, and for being another pious defender of English Protestantism and champion of European Protestantism against the Catholic threat from abroad. But the heavenly metaphors were gaily mixed: for one author, Mary now had her seat in heaven next to Elizabeth; for another, Boadicea and Eliza would welcome Mary into the Elysian fields. William was likewise urged to dry his tears and set forth to fight against the French: Achilles had lost his Briseis and Patroclus but fought on, and so should William, by recapturing Namur – lost to the French in 1692, just as it had been temporarily lost to the Spanish a century before.173 At its peak during the seventeenth century, this tradition of royal encomia not only demonstrated the high premium still placed on writing Latin verse in the style of poets such as Horace, Virgil and Pindar, both as part of undergraduate studies and for selected public occasions, and the willingness of university poets to use an ancient language and pagan or mythical imagery to make political points about current issues, but also showed that university poets, from undergraduates to vice-chancellors, were keen to show off their Latinate learning and (if printed) be immortalized in print. The use of the universities’ own presses suggests that there was perceived to be a market, probably among their own alumni in the first instance, but also among the members of the learned communities on the Continent, for whom the use of Latin meant that the sentiments of educated English commentators could be readily absorbed. These encomia were neither homogeneous nor uncritical in their attitudes towards royal policy, but their political sentiments were usually of a strongly supportive nature – loyal to the monarchy and to Protestantism.174 172

  Bradner, Musae Anglicanae, pp. 100, 206–8.   Revard, ‘Latin Ode’, pp. 166–9. 174   Those who took the Pindaric ode further in the English language mostly had court connections or were conservative in religion: Ben Jonson, Michael Drayton, Abraham 173

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


What is also pertinent for our purpose here is that those schoolteachers, governors and parents who had attended a university would almost certainly have encountered such verses, and known that the current crop of schoolboys who aspired to do well at school and gain a place at university would have to be prepared to write such a verse or give an appropriate speech that would impress listeners. There was therefore a strong incentive to encourage students like the young Edmund Isham to write verses for public or semi-public consumption. The preponderance of verse over prose in the upper forms of English grammar schools in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries retained a strong pedagogical justification, but had more uses than one. When the old boys of Westminster had a dinner in 1728, not only was there a performance of Terence’s Phormio for old time’s sake, but also Latin and English verses and epigrams were read celebrating the coronation of George II and Queen Caroline the previous year.175 * * * The study of ancient Greek and Roman history was another feature of humanist education found in many parts of Renaissance Europe. Studying ancient histories not only provided context for the events and attitudes described in the prose of Cicero and the poetry of Virgil, but also provided yet more opportunities for students to appreciate the literary style and moral wisdom of the ancients, and in particular to fill their commonplacebooks with endless examples of the rewards meted out to the virtuous and the penalties for vice. It is advisable, however, to distinguish between the study of history at different levels and in different countries. While the most learned readers in early modern Europe were attracted to those historians who were interested in the hidden causes of major events in the past or who offered shrewd advice on politics and policy-making in contested situations (as in the best Greek historians, and Polybius, Livy and Tacitus among the Romans), there were many less demanding readers who continued to look to historians for that combination of pleasure and profit which could be readily derived from reading the ‘lives’ and ‘characters’ penned by Plutarch, Suetonius and Curtius, or if they had more specialized tastes such as military strategy and tactics, turned to Caesar and Polybius.176

Cowley, John Dryden, Alexander Pope and Thomas Gray. 175   Forshall, Westminster School, pp. 512–16. 176   Peter Burke, ‘A Survey of the Popularity of Ancient Historians, 1450–1700’, History and Theory, 5:2 (1966): 135–52; The History of the University at Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 327–45; see also below, p. 240.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

English tastes were, as usual, idiosyncratic, not only at the level of the specialist and the general reader, but also in school. While the works of Sallust and Livy circulated very widely on the Continent, the former mainly in Latin and the latter in translation also, those reading them in England had to rely on imported copies since neither author was often published there. Editions of the histories of Tacitus and the commentaries of Caesar in both Latin and the vernacular rose to a peak on the mainland during the seventeenth century, but apart from a few editions of a translation of Tacitus from the 1590s to the 1620s, publication of both authors’ works remained at a low level in England until the 1690s, when sales of Caesar in particular suddenly took off, with several new versions in Latin and in English as well as many repeat editions.177 The study of history in English schools also got off to a slow start. The school regulations and educational handbooks of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries did not say much about the study of ancient history: when mentioned, it was as a supplementary exercise for students in a higher form.178 While Livy’s works were strongly recommended for use in schools by Erasmus, Vives, Elyot, Ascham and many others, and we know they were studied in Italian and French schools and colleges, the rarity of editions published in England suggests only limited demand there outside elite institutions with access to expensive imported copies. Moreover, whereas the Jesuit ratio studiorum of 1586 recommended the study of Livy, Sallust, Curtius, Justin, Caesar and Tacitus, in England only one of these appeared in print with sufficient regularity to persuade the Stationers to take it into the ‘English Stock’, and that was Justin’s relatively undistinguished abridgement of the history of the world attempted by Trogus Pompeius.179 ‘Justin’ sold steadily from the 1570s to the 1640s and then spectacularly in the second half of the seventeenth century and early eighteenth 177   This is based on a comparison of Burke, ‘Survey’, pp. 135–40, with the relevant entries in STC2, Wing2 and ESTC; for versions of Caesar, see ESTC T136435, 136446, 136450, 136730, 136735, N14833; see also below, pp. 322–5. 178   Most frequently mentioned were Justin, Florus, Caesar and Sallust, for example, at Eton, Westminster, Tideswell, Guisborough and St Bee’s: Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 356, 429–30, 433; Hoole, New discovery, sig. 11r and p. 177; for editions of Florus and Justin by Clarke of Hull, see below; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 12–13. The late start and patchy development of Greek language teaching in English schools (to which we will come shortly) meant that probably only a small number of schoolboys in better-endowed schools read historians like Thucydides, Herodotus and Xenophon before the late seventeenth or early eighteenth centuries. 179   There had been an edition of Sallust’s works in 1601, and it was taken into the ‘Stock’ but published only once: STC2 21622.8–23. For editions of the other historians’ work, see the relevant entries in STC2, Wing2 and ESTC.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


centuries, when the number of repeat editions and new versions came close to those of the works of Cicero and Ovid. By the 1730s, the choice of versions of Justin was wide: the standard ‘Stock’ version; the heavily annotated Delphin version; Thomas Hearne’s scholarly revision based on close comparison of available manuscripts; Michael Maittaire’s lightly annotated version (part of an ambitious project with the enterprising Jacob Tonson to publish new editions of all major Greek and Latin titles in handy duodecimo format, for which he obtained a royal licence in 1713); Nathan Bailey’s reordered text; and a parallel Latin and English text prepared by John Clarke of Hull.180 Since Trogus had focused on the history of Macedonia and the Hellenistic kingdoms, the content of ‘Justin’ was neatly complemented by the only other history added to the ‘Stock’ – Florus’ derivative panegyric of Roman history up to the age of Augustus. And for once the regular editions of this work – in English from the 1610s and in Latin from the 1630s – may have mirrored the pattern of sales of this text on the Continent.181 But in England, by the second quarter of the eighteenth century a variety of alternative versions had again been made available: the standard ‘Stock’ version and the much larger one with Minell’s copious notes, the Delphin version, one by Maittaire with an ‘index of the most memorable events’, one by John Stirling, and a bilingual one by Clarke.182 Stirling explained the value of Florus for schoolboys: Everyone will allow that the knowledge of the history of Rome is absolutely necessary for a scholar … also, that we have nowhere else so much of the Roman affairs in so narrow a compass … The poets, especially Virgil, Horace and Juvenal can never be tolerably well understood without a good acquaintance with the historical part.

But what Stirling also did (like Maittaire and Clarke) was to try to make it easier for students to master Florus, in his case by reordering the original words so that they matched English grammatical order, and by adding many other helpful aids.183 While the Delphin edition permitted an advanced analysis of the original, in most versions history was essentially

180   Burke, ‘Survey’, pp. 141, 146; STC2 24287–89.5; Wing2 J1265A–70B; ESTC T186243, 14555, N31502, N54046, N3151; T121944; T126526; T145556, 188930; N11393; there was also one designed for Merchant Taylors’ pupils: T147715. 181   STC2 11101–5; Wing2 F1370–81. 182   ESTC T176249, N12569, T112797, 146535, N22134, T114760. 183   L. Annaei Flori Rerum Romanorum Epitome … For the use of schools (London, 1738), sig. [2]r and passim.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

a tool for improving the average student’s language skills and filling his commonplace-book.184 This relatively late expansion in the demand for copies of ancient histories for use in schools does not run counter to what we know of developments outside the classroom. It was as a mature adult with the time and the inclination that Gabriel Harvey read his (imported) Livy repeatedly, looking for pragmatic lessons based on past events and examples of ethical and unethical conduct.185 Nor does it contradict the well-documented case for a surge of interest among adults in the English past and the rise of antiquarianism during the Tudor and early Stuart periods, not least because some of that interest focused on Roman antiquities as well as non-Roman events and remains. In addition to Camden’s well-known work on British antiquities (much of it carried out while he was a teacher at Westminster), there is the work written by Thomas Godwin for his students at Abingdon School: Romanae historiae anthologia, sub-titled ‘An English exposition of the Roman antiquities wherein many Roman and English offices are paralleled’. This passed through over two dozen editions between 1614 and 1696, Hoole being just one of the teachers who recommended it as leisure reading to his senior pupils.186 What the late expansion in schoolroom practice did coincide with were the attempts to set up chairs of history at the universities, the issuing of guides to historical study for undergraduates such as Degory Wheare’s Method and order of … reading histories, and a number of new editions of classical histories published by the university presses.187 It coincided with the earl of Carbery’s advice to his son to be ‘a diligent reader of history; that’s the nobleman’s best school’.188 And it also coincided with and perhaps helped to inspire the second wave of antiquarianism, and the huge increase in demand from adult readers in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century for histories of all kinds – ancient and modern, secular and ecclesiastical – works which told a story and took a firm line


  On the pedagogic advantages of Florus, see also The History of the University at Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 341–2, 351–3. 185   Lisa Jardine and Anthony Grafton, ‘“Studied for Action”: How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy’, Past and Present, 129 (1990): 30–78. 186   D.R. Woolf, Reading History in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2000); Rosemary Sweet, Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-century Britain (London, 2004); STC2 11956–64 and Wing2 G985–1000; Hoole, New discovery, p. 203; see also VCH Herts., vol. 2, p. 91. 187   The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 327–57, vol. 5, pp. 514–16, 891; Wing2 W1591A–96; C7692, F1371–6, L2612, S6144–6, T1133. 188   ‘Carbery’s Advice to His Son’, p. 98.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


on what was right and wrong. This was a demand which English authors, editors and publishers would prove only too happy to meet.189 * * * For other exercises in translation but especially for commonplacing and composing, students in many schools were told to supplement the standard classical texts which dominated the contact hours with their teachers with a number of helpful handbooks of more recent provenance. In school statutes, educational treatises, book bills and bibliographical sources, we regularly encounter over two dozen such titles. They fall into four main categories: (1) collections of sentences, verses, phrases, epithets, proverbs and synonyms; (2) dictionaries and thesauruses; (3) handbooks designed to improve students’ skills in rhetorical expression and logical organization, and (4) books on how to write letters or compose ‘themes’ and ‘orations’. The first of these overlapped with students’ own manuscript commonplace-books, in that most schoolboys from a lower or middling form had been urged to collect quotations from authoritative sources which were exemplary in style, usage and content, and arrange them under suitable headings for speedy reference and deployment. This first group also shaded into the second category of the larger dictionaries and thesauruses of which every school tried to keep a supply in that they also frequently cited whole phrases under each word. The third – handbooks on rhetoric and logic – overlapped with some of the more advanced handbooks on writing letters mentioned earlier in this chapter, and with the books of advice on how to construct ‘themes’ and ‘orations’ towards which senior students were also pointed. Of the supplementary works used in England from the mid-sixteenth century, a clear majority were composed by humanists based in late medieval or early modern Italy, France, Netherlands and Germany – again reflecting the cachet of works by learned authors and commentators brought in from abroad. Only from the middle third of the seventeenth century would these imported works be challenged by growing numbers of supplementary works of English origin.190 It is also instructive that the first editions of many of the imported titles to be published in England, 189   For examples of gifts to schools of histories such as Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion, see L.L. Dunan, A History of Colfe’s Grammar School Lewisham (London, 1910), p. 119, and J. Hutchins, The History and Antiquities of Sherborne (London, 1815), p. 139. See also below, pp. 298–99. 190   The sentences in the early Tudor Vulgaria of John Whittington, William Horman and John Stanbridge were by the mid-sixteenth century deemed too colloquial: see above, p. 146.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

like the editions of classical texts we have been discussing, appeared in that period from the 1570s to the 1590s when there was evident rivalry in the rapidly developing schoolbook market in London. Predictably, the more successful of these works were soon subsumed into the ‘English Stock’ and sold well for many years. What is also evident in many of these supplementary works, both the imported and those of English origin, is that when their authors encountered the problem of using words or phrases derived from classical Latin or Greek to describe Christian concepts, there were a number of strategies they could adopt. In the sixteenth century this varied from avoiding Christian topics as far as possible to giving it only limited treatment, or treating the Christian God on a par with the classical deities. But in the seventeenth century we do find at least some authors of best-selling works giving Christian words and concepts much fuller treatment or stating specifically that the classical gods were ‘False Gods’ compared to the one true God. Aldo Manuzio (of the famous ‘Manutius’ family of humanist printers), published his Eleganze della lingua Toscana e Latina in 1557 at Venice, where it was reprinted several times, as well as soon appearing in a French version, also in 1557, and in London in 1573 (with a dedication to Robert Cecil) as Phrases linguae Latinae … in Anglicum sermonem conversae.191 In all perhaps 15 editions of this compact octavo of just under 300 pages were published in England between 1573 and 1636, after 1612 in the ‘English Stock’.192 The text consisted of a series of Latin phrases selected by Manuzio which were – for the first time, the title-page claimed – listed in alphabetical order. Each phrase was then provided with an English translation, and several alternatives for the phrase in Latin. Thus ‘Ad Ciceronem me contuli’ was translated as ‘I have given myself to Cicero; Tully is my whole study’, and followed by a dozen variants on the phrase, such as ‘Uni Ciceroni meum studium dicavi’. To help a student find a suitable phrase for his Latin exercise, an index in English was also provided. What strikes a modern reader is the extent to which Manuzio’s selection reflected the classical world’s preoccupation with honour, courage, virtue and performing one’s duty as a good citizen. Wealth is prized as a means of sustaining an honourable life and as a source of liberality, but not at the cost of honesty. The only references to God or the gods are to their supporting role: ‘God is present with the afflicted’; ‘God is at hand in adversity.’ It is not God’s will or foreknowledge, but the inconstancy of fate or their evil destiny which brings men down. Virtue is learnt through


  Manuzio, Phrases linguae Latinae: English Linguistics, no. 252, preface.   STC2 17278.8–85; copies from early editions survive in school libraries at Shrewsbury, Dulwich and Westminster: see library holdings in ESTC. 192

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


study or following in the steps of one’s ancestors, and ‘“vita beata in virtute posita” – the happy life consisteth in virtue’.193 A large selection of sententiae (pithy maxims) and apophthegms from Cicero, Demosthenes and Terence had already been made by Petrus Lagnerius for those studying law in France in the 1530s, to help them add wit and edge to their dry legal style, and (he hoped) encourage them not just to speak well, but to live well too. Working in the Erasmian tradition of moral exempla, he arranged his examples under headings such as God and nature, all things seeking their own good, man’s love of himself and his children, respect for parents, praise of learning, and virtues and vices. The work soon sold well in France, was expanded several times, and was published in several other countries, including England, where it passed through seven editions between 1575 and 1648.194 It was recommended strongly by Brinsley, though when using extracts from it in his handbook he chose only Cicero’s references to the one God, Deus, not one of the many in the Sententiae to the gods, Dei.195 Two other works imported into Elizabethan England may have forced similar tactics on teachers like Brinsley. Octavius Mirandula, an Augustinian canon, compiled his selection of Illustrium poetarum flores from two dozen Latin poets’ work. In the preface a fellow humanist described Mirandula’s selection as sweet-smelling and never-fading flowers gathered from the fields and woods of poetry, and containing many insights into natural and moral philosophy, and virtue and vice. After publication in Venice (1507), Lyons (1512) and in a reorganized version in Strasburg (1538, just after the arrival of Sturm), this became the most widely used commonplacebook of the early modern period. The first edition of which a copy printed in England survives is dated 1598, but by 1611, complete with its original preface describing Mirandula as an Augustinian, this was a ‘Stock’ title, and remained so until the 1690s.196 Mirandula did opt to include headings on ‘God’ and ‘Christ’, but in these sections sought a middle path by using a mixture of Christian poets such as Claudian and Boethius, and of nonChristian ones such as Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Martial, who when cited


  Manuzio, Phrases linguae Latinae (1573), pp. 12–13, 42–3, 48–9, 73–4, 107–11, 266–72 and passim. 194   Sententiae Ciceronis, Demosthenis ac Terentii: STC2 5318.3–19 and Wing2 C4321; Erasmus’ own Adagia were published only rarely in England after the 1550s. 195   Sententiae Ciceronis, Demosthenis ac Terentii (1630), pp. 1–3, 184–91; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 153–6. 196   STC2 17954–5; Wing2 M2219–20; Moss, Printed Commonplace-books, pp. 95–8, 172, 189–90, 215–17.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

on God as creator, governor and punisher of evil, referred as often as not to the gods.197 A similar form of synergy was evident in Simon Pelegromius’ collection of synonyms, Synonymorum sylva, which appeared in London in 1580 in a version in which the original Flemish headings had been translated into English by H.F., who dedicated the work to Secretary Walsingham. This version passed through perhaps 16 editions in England between then and 1668. This work seems to have been envisaged as a supplement to Manuzio’s Phrases, to which regular references are made. But Pelegromius’ background as a Catholic monk as well as a humanist was reflected in some of the headings and entries which he added. These included ‘Pope’ (to which H.F., probably with Walsingham’s blood-pressure in mind, added ‘the Bishop of Rome’); under this we find ‘Summus Pontifex … Papa … Pontifex Maximus’. Other headings included ‘God … speed’, under which we find ‘Mercurio dextro’, and ‘God willing’, under which there was both ‘Diis adiuvantibus’ (‘with the gods’ help’) and ‘Favente Christi nomine’ (‘with the name of Christ supporting’).198 The authors of some other supplementary works avoided this tension by concentrating steadily on classical concepts and sources. Earlier in this chapter we encountered Jean Tixier, the editor of a collection of model letters who rose to prominence in the University of Paris in the 1520s. In England his collection of synonyms and related phrases, Epithetorum … epitome, had already sold a few editions (in a revision by Hadrianus Junius) before it too was entered into the ‘English Stock’ and enjoyed modest success thereafter, in all passing through perhaps 11 editions between 1579 and 1682.199 The Prosodia of Heinrich Smet, ‘Smetius’, physician to the Elector Palatine and professor of medicine at Heidelberg, provided an alphabetical listing of useful Latin phrases which doubled as a handy aid to identifying their authors. This had already sold several editions abroad before being entered in the ‘English Stock’ in 1614. A dozen editions followed: four in the original version between 1615 and 1635, and eight in an enlarged version between 1640 and 1681.200 Supplementary works composed by Englishmen did begin to appear, and some sold moderately well, such as dictionaries in Latin and English. Withals’ Shorte dictionarie ‘gathered of good authors’ in the early 1550s and regularly upgraded thereafter was targeted at ‘children and young


  Mirandula, Poetarum illustrium flores (1598), pp. 159–65, 212–39.   STC2 19556–64, Wing2 P1067–67B; Pelegromius, Synonymorum sylva (1580), pp. 28–9, 50, 156–7, 265. 199   STC2 20762.5–65; Wing2 T1317DB–17F. 200   STC2 22646–50; Wing2 S4016–19. 198

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


beginners’, and spawned later imitations.201 Thomas Cooper’s huge Latin– English Thesaurus (1565) was at the opposite end of the scale, and as we saw in Chapter 1, provided many examples from the major classical authors of authentic ancient usages of concepts such as ‘virtue’. But the size and cost of works like his, and others which later authors like Rider, Holyoake, Wase and Littleton claimed were even more comprehensive or useful, meant that copies had to be chained for the whole school (including the teachers) to consult, as at Northwich in 1585 and Coventry in 1628. Demand for such expensive items was never going to be high enough to warrant many repeat editions.202 This provoked the composition and sale of works which were less ambitious but which more schools and some students could afford, such as Thomas Thomas’s Dictionarium, which through its 14 editions between 1587 and 1644 became the standard intermediate Latin–English dictionary of its time.203 Since these dictionaries were being used primarily to help students translate the Latin texts from ‘Lily’ to Horace which we have been examining or to write imitative verses or sentences, it is not surprising that even the largest of them either had little to say about the Christian ‘God’ or His son. Most either avoided Christian categories altogether or treated God under the same heading as the pagan gods.204 As with so many of the supplementary works recommended to them, students were regularly steered towards non-Christian words and concepts. The same was even true, though to a lesser extent, of Thomas Draxe’s Calliepeia: or a rich store-house of proper, choise, and elegant Latine words and phrases, published for ‘for the use and benefit of scholars’, which Draxe had ‘collected (for the most part) out of all Tullies [Cicero’s] works’. This reliance on Cicero and a recommendation by Brinsley may have helped it to sell perhaps ten editions between 1607 and 1662. But the compiler, a Calvinist clergyman, suffered from the same difficulty as Continental authors in finding good examples when it came to headings like God, repentance, faith, godliness, heaven and hell; and he chose to omit categories such as 201


STC2 25874–87. See above, pp. 1–3, and STC2 21301.5 (for John Rider’s Bibliotheca scholastica, 1589), STC2 21032–36b and Wing2 R1441A–43 (for Riders dictionarie corrected and augmented by Francis Holyoake, 1605–59), Wing2 1016–17 (for Christopher Wase’s Dictionarium minus, 1662–75), Wing2 L2563–65A and ESTC for Adam Littleton’s Dictionarius quadripartitus (in various versions, 1678–1723), and Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 391–2. On chaining in seventeenth-century Lancashire, see W. Blades, Books in Chains (London, 1892), pp. 35–6, 41, 47. 203   STC2 24008–24017.5 and Wing2 T974A. From the fifth edition this also had a dictionary of Greek words as a supplement. 204   For example, T. Cooper, Thesaurus (1565), sigs Mm6r–v; John Rider, Riders dictionarie, corrected and augmented (1640), sigs K3r, Mm5r, Vv1r; Christopher Wase, Dictionarium minus (1662), sigs G3r, Q3r. 202


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Christ and concepts such as ‘sin’ and ‘Spirit’.205 Shorter works like Thomas Farnaby’s Phrases elegantiores ex optimis autoribus seclectae (1625?) enlarged as Phrases oratoriae elegantiores (1631), the same author’s selection of ‘descriptions, comparisons, allusions’ etcetera in his Index poeticus (1634), John Clarke’s collection of proverbs organized in Erasmian fashion, in Paroemologia (1639), and Charles Hoole’s short Vocabularium parvum for beginners (1657) side-stepped the problem by avoiding a separate category for ‘Deus’ and leaving out Christ altogether.206 Only three supplementary works produced in England sold well above the average, and all of these were unusual in one respect or another. The first was Politeuphuia, Wits commonwealth, which sold more than 30 editions between 1597 and 1722. This was edited by Nicholas Ling but based on the reading and collections of a London grocer, John Bodenham, and was recently described as ‘a conventional moral commonplace-book collecting excerpts mainly from the Fathers and from classical authors as it pursues its way through affinities and opposites on the road from God to Hell’. It is mentioned here because some teachers recommended it for use in school, and a few later editions had ‘for the use of schools’ inserted on the title-page. But as a potential school text it was unusual in being entirely in English, and it was probably targeted as much at non-Latinate adults wanting a ready collection of pithy sayings. Ling opted to avoid Protestant authors, and did not mention Christ, original sin, faith or repentance under ‘Religion’. The section on ‘virtue’ is biased towards classical rather than Christian sources; that on ‘peace’ covers politics not spiritual matters; and some of the entries in the sections on ‘heaven’, ‘prayer’ and ‘religion’ have a semi-Pelagian ring to them: ‘A good life begetteth a good death and a good death a glorious inheritance in heaven’; ‘Let prayer ascend that grace may descend’; and religion ‘is a justice of men towards God’, ‘the ground of all other virtues, and the only means to unite and reconcile man unto God for his salvation’.207 The second native product was unusual in being an example from an elite school of a teaching aid designed to make life easier for students rather than pushing them to their individual limits – the Scholae Wintoniensis 205   STC2 7176–7 and Wing2 D2144–44A; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 186–7; Draxe, Calliepeia (1613), pp. 123, 177, 216–17, 235–6, 392. 206   T. Farnaby, Phrases [oratoriae] elegantiores: STC2 10706.4–708 and Wing2 F461–63; Farnaby, Index poeticus (1634), sigs A11r, B1r (and Wing2 F451–53D, and ESTC under 1704, 1713 and 1728); Clarke, Paroemologia (1639) p. 87 (and Wing2 C447A); C. Hoole, Vocabularium parvum (1657), p. 1 (and see Wing2 H2696–7 and ESTC under 1703, 1728 and 1748). 207   See ODNB under John Bodenham; STC2 15865–90.3; Wing2 L2336–48; ESTC under 1707 and 1722; Moss, Printed Commonplace-books, p. 209; Hoole, New discovery, sig. A10v and pp. 163, 165, 182; [N. Ling], Politeuphuia (1608), sigs 4r, 12r, 182v.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


phrases Latinae of Hugh Robinson, chief master of Winchester from 1613 to 1627. However, it was not the author who published it, but his son Nicholas in 1654; and it may have been both its innate value as a store of phrases for English schoolboys trying to compose an essay or speech in Latin and its appeal for teachers from lesser institutions which helped to see it through a dozen editions by 1685. Robinson’s negotiation of the frontier between pagan and Christian was not unlike those already discussed: a heavy concentration on the classical gods, a combination of references to ‘gods’ and ‘God’ when tackling phrases like ‘God forbid’ or ‘to offer sacrifice’, and only the occasional specific reference to Christ, as under baptism.208 The third home-grown text that sold unusually well was Francis Gregory’s Onomasticon brachu, sive nomenclatura brevis Anglo-LatineGraece. This was unusual, first of all, in having Greek as well as Latin examples. Gregory had studied and then taught at Westminster School under Dr Busby before becoming the headmaster at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, and later a popular preacher and a royal chaplain. His glossary of words in three languages in parallel columns was first published in usum scholae Westmonasteriensis in 1651: the printer was William Dugard, the loyalist headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ who turned editor of school texts and publisher in the late 1640s; and the bookseller was Richard Royston, an active disseminator of royalist works. By 1662 it had already reached its ‘eighth edition’ (in a slightly enlarged form), and by 1694 its ‘twentieth edition’, before being incorporated into the ‘Stock’ and passing through a few more editions in the eighteenth century.209 But Gregory’s work was unusual in another way, in that he gave Christian words and concepts a much fuller airing alongside nonChristian, perhaps because students learning Greek were more likely to be exposed to a Greek New Testament at some stage. The first four sections, occupying two-and-a-half pages, cover ‘Of the true God’ (the qualities of God, mostly positive ones such as ‘infinite’, ‘perfect’, ‘blessed’, holy’, ‘merciful’), ‘Of God the Father’ (‘unbegotten’, ‘Creator’), ‘Of God the Son’ (partly his attributes such as ‘Redeemer’, and partly events in his life, ‘stable’, ‘manger’, ‘baptism’, ‘crucifixion’, ‘resurrection’, ‘judge’), and ‘Of the Holy Ghost’ (‘the Sanctifier, ‘the Comforter’, giver of ‘grace’, ‘faith’, ‘hope’, ‘love’). Then there followed a page-and-a-half of ‘False Gods’ – the ‘Gods’ and ‘Goddesses’ of the elements, of wine, war and love, and so on – but with no explanation of wherein that falseness consisted. Most of the 208

  Wing2 R1681A–89; ODNB under Hugh Robinson (1583/4–1655); [Robinson], Scholae Wintoniensis phrases Latinae (1654), pp. 39, 166–7, 310. 209   See ODNB under Francis Gregory; Wing2 G1897A–902B, and ESTC under 1701, 1707, 1710, 1714, 1757 and 1769.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

rest was preoccupied with providing words in three languages for parts of the body, medical conditions, clothing, food, kindred, household matters, time, the elements, birds and beasts, herbs and husbandry; but the sections on the understanding, will and affections, and on education, ‘a church’, and ‘virtues and vices’ repay closer study. ‘Of a Church’, for example, clearly has a traditional parish church in mind, since the words selected include the following: pew, bell, vestry, chancel, statue, organ, liturgy, monument and escutcheon. Gregory also opted to include under this heading ‘Priest’ (sacerdos), ‘Deacon’ and ‘Bishop’ (the Latin Presbyter was included, but translated as ‘Elder’), ‘Confession’, ‘Anthem’, ‘Liturgy’, ‘Godfather’ and ‘Eucharist’. The section on virtues included the cardinal virtues and the standard vices, rather than spiritual sins, such as presumption.210 In other words, Christianity was given a much more prominent place than usual, but it was of a distinctly conservative brand. Moreover, even Gregory did not explore the precise nature of the relationship between its ethical teaching and that of the classical world. The growing success of home-produced works did not mean the end of the importing of helpful supplementary texts from abroad. An even later recruit to the ‘English Stock’ which had become popular when many older titles were fading was written by a Jesuit. Paul Aler’s Gradus ad Parnassum offered students a thesaurus of synonyms, epithets and poetic phrases culled from writers both ancient and modern, to help students compose an essay or a speech in Latin. Like Gregory, Aler included headings such as Deus, Deus pater, Deus filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus, Christus and Jesus, to which he added headings on fides (faith) and Maria, mater Iesu Christi. In so far as there was a theological slant in the words and phrases selected for these and other entries, it was inevitably Catholic; and given that the title-page of most editions described the work as being written ‘ab uno e Societate Jesu’, teachers and students who bought copies should have been under no illusions about this. Perhaps teachers were more impressed by the benefits to be derived from the trilingual approach than concerned by the slant put on the Christian elements.211 In fact, Aler was not the only Jesuit whose works were brought over and used almost unchanged in England: the Prolusiones academicae, a discussion of history, oratory, poetry and tragedy by Famianus Strada, was published three times at Oxford between 1631 and 1675; and the Dissertationes academicae by Peter Olivier was reprinted at Cambridge in 1674. The commandeering of Aler’s work also coincided with the importing from France of edifying


  [Gregory], Onomasticon brachu (1654), pp. 1–4, 27–9, 34–5.   Wing2 G1472A–72E and ESTC under Paul Aler (11 editions between 1701 and 1750); [Aler], Gradus ad Parnassum (1680), pp. 172, 252–3, 318–19, 398, 492–3. 211

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


works such as Fontaine’s ‘History of the Old and New Testament’.212 In so far as English schooling remained in touch with Continental practice, it was not necessarily with that of fellow Protestants. * * * In the last few decades considerable time and ingenuity has been devoted to exploring how far the intellectual development of leading figures of the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods was shaped by their formal training in rhetoric and logic.213 The tendency has been to identify and analyse the half-dozen or so works most often recommended to help older students master the arts of thinking logically and writing persuasively, and then to seek evidence for those texts having been studied intensively at school.214 Other scholars have started to distance themselves from this approach.215 On the one hand, Lawrence Green has suggested that a basic training in elocutio began long before the senior forms of a grammar school, and relied less on imported specialist texts than used to be thought; while on the other, Peter Mack argues that the teaching of rhetoric in Elizabethan grammar schools was neither systematic nor complete. Certainly a number of basic, generic skills were imparted – many of which were simultaneously deployed to pursue moral wisdom, Mack notes – but advanced study of rhetoric and logic was deferred to university or Inn of Court.216 If we wish to pursue the experience of an average student in an average grammar school, we can build on these revisions. First, as we saw in Chapter 3, awareness of rhetorical devices at a fairly basic level should 212

  J.W. Binns, ‘The Decline of Latin in Eighteenth-century England’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, p. 173; Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 159–62. 213   For older studies, see Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 31–7, and Wilbur S. Howell, Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500–1700 (New York, 1956); for newer ones, see Brian Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric (Oxford, 1988); Neil Rhodes, The Power of Eloquence and English Renaissance Literature (Hemel Hempstead, 1992); Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, and the two volumes on British Rhetoricians and Logicians in DLB 236 (2001) and 281 (2003). 214   Skinner has conceded that it was ‘conscientious students’ in the ‘best’ schools who were most likely to master these texts: Reason and Rhetoric, pp. 65, 211. 215   While the introductory and concluding essays in DLB 236 and 281 give more space to the more advanced rhetorical accounts of the day, both volumes provide some account of the work of authors of simpler handbooks too. 216   Lawrence D. Green, ‘“Grammatica Movet”: Renaissance Grammar Books and Elocutio’, in P.L. Osterreich and T.O. Sloane (eds), ‘Rhetorica Movet’: Essays in Honour of Heinrich Plett (Leiden, 1999), pp. 73–115; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, chap. 1. Very little is known of the schooling received by Mack’s sample of Elizabethan courtiers, politicians, clergy and authors (chaps 4–8), and it is probably safe to assume that they too were affected much more by study of rhetoric at university or Inn of Court than school.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

have begun at an early age, with the usher’s exposition of ‘Lily’s section on ‘figures’ and Stockwood’s De figura.217 Secondly, that awareness should have been steadily expanded in the middling and advanced forms as the master in his praelectio drew students’ attention to rhetorical devices in the passage of Cicero, Terence, Ovid and Virgil which they were studying on that particular day. Whether there was less need for this when plentiful copies of sound editions including short biographies and helpful marginalia were available, and whether less able or conscientious ushers and masters skipped this part of their duties, is hard to say.218 Thirdly, the specialist works on rhetoric and logic most often recommended were increasingly described as either too long or too advanced for use in many grammar schools, and it would appear likely that it was only in the second quarter of the seventeenth century that easier, cheaper alternatives became available for use in the middling and upper forms of grammar schools. Cicero’s treatises on rhetoric and oratory and Erasmus’s De copia verborum are good examples of works highly commended but infrequently reproduced in England.219 Erasmus’ work had originally been designed for use in England, and was widely recommended there and widely used abroad in the sixteenth century. But it passed through surprisingly few editions in England, and in the 1650s Hoole (who clearly knew and admired the work) bemoaned that it was so little used in grammar schools. Perhaps it was too large and expensive, for despite Colet’s part in its genesis, Erasmus may have had more advanced students in mind than those at St Paul’s; nor could he resist expanding it in subsequent editions.220 Similarly, Thomas Wilson’s Arte of rhetorique, like his Rule of reason, was probably used much more by undergraduates and lawyers than pupils in the average grammar school.221 The same was almost certainly true of Charles Butler’s edition of Omer Talon’s Rhetoricae, and English printings of Seton’s Dialectica and Ramus’ Logike. We find Butler’s work being criticized as too difficult by one teacher, John Barton, ‘Master of the Free-school in


  See above, pp. 132–3, 139.   See above, pp. 192, 224; in New discovery, Hoole says relatively about praelectio compared to the authors of some earlier teachers’ handbooks. 219   STC2 5290–91 and Wing2 C4298 (Cicero, De oratore); STC2 5323.5–23.7 (Rhetoricum ad Herennium – doubtful attribution to Cicero); STC2 10472–3 (Erasmus, De copia verborum 10472–3). 218


  Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 437–9; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, pp. 77–8, 82–5; Hoole, New discovery, p. 152. 221   T.F. Baumlin, ‘Thomas Wilson’, in DLB 236: 282–95; STC2 25799–806, 25809–14; Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric, p. 53.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


Kinfare in Staffordshire’, and simplified by another working in a London school but with ready access to the press, William Dugard.222 Before then, there was one work which might have filled the gap. Joannes Susenbrotus, author of Epitome troporum, was a schoolmaster in early sixteenth-century Germany. Though himself a Catholic, the author was indebted to Melanchthon’s rhetorical writings, and included examples of figures of speech from not just classical authors, but the Bible as well. His work became widely used in North European, and especially Protestant, schools. The Epitome was recommended as a guide to elocutio in the early Elizabethan period in schools like Eton and Westminster, but as Lawrence Green has pointed out, the relative dearth of editions printed on the Continent may have made it hard to find copies to import into England. It may also have been deemed unsuitable for classroom use: the statutes for Aldenham in 1600 said that the master should use Susenbrotus only ‘at his discretion’ with senior forms after 4 p.m. A handful of editions was printed in England between 1562 and 1576 (for metropolitan schoolboys’ use?), then after long gaps another half-dozen appeared under the Stationers’ imprint between 1608 and 1635.223 But then English editions of the Epitome disappear, perhaps in part because of the increased availability of works written and published in England. These included two intriguing works by provincial teachers. In 1634 John Barton, based in the West Midlands, noted that ‘all schools have complained’ ‘how difficultly and defectively young scholars have apprehended’ the art of rhetoric. To remedy this he published his own Art of rhetorick concisely and completely handled, which was aimed at ‘such as have had a smatch of learning’. The work was also unusual in deploying examples out of the Bible rather than classical texts.224 The other was Manuductio in aedem Palladis (1641) – a work targeted at inexperienced teachers by Thomas Horne, who on the basis of teaching in various schools


  For Butler, see STC2 4196.5–200.5 and Wing2 B6264–67A (for another version, see STC2 23659.3–62); for Seton, see STC2 22250–57.5; for an English translation of Ramus’ Logike (1574–1626), see STC2 15246–8, and for a Latin version, 15241.7–4.3 (1574–92); Margo Todd, Christian Humanism and the Puritan Social Order (Cambridge, 1987), chap. 3; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 289–300. For Barton and Dugard, see the following paragraphs. 223   Moss, Printed Commonplace-books, pp. 140–41; STC2 23437–43; Green, ‘Grammatica Movet’, pp. 105–10; E. Beevor et al., The History and Register of Aldenham School (1938), p. xx. 224   K. Narveson, ‘John Barton’, DLB 236: 40–46; ODNB under John Barton (c. 1605–75); Barton, Art of rhetorick (1634), sigs A5r–7v (this was the only edition).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

had concluded that not all pupils were suited for education in eloquence, and should be carefully screened for rhetorical training.225 But neither of these texts had as much success as another group of homegrown works: Thomas Farnaby’s Index rhetoricus, Thomas Stephens’s Troposchematologia and William Dugard’s Rhetorices elementae. For his handbook ‘accommodated to schools and the education of the young’, Farnaby surveyed the best authorities, both ancient and modern ones such as Sturm, Suarez, Keckermann, Scaliger and Vossius. As well as passing through perhaps 17 editions in England between 1625 and 1728, his Index was that rarity – an English schoolbook that achieved repeat editions on the Continent.226 Although Farnaby’s work probably met a need in many schools in the England of his time, it is notable that almost as many editions – 13 between 1648 and 1767 – were sold of Thomas Stephens’s simplification of Farnaby’s Index which he had prepared for use at Bury St Edmunds. Stephens not only left out a number of rhetorical devices which he presumably thought superfluous for the average schoolboy, but also added verses in English designed to help students comprehend and memorize what was left. The work was still retailing in 1737 (the ‘13th’ edition), at 4d. a copy.227 Dugard’s text was also a simplification, this time of Butler’s version of the Ramist Rhetoricae. The result was a compact little work in the question-and-answer format familiar to students, designed initially for use in Merchant Taylors’, but probably reaching a much wider audience through the 16 editions published between 1648 and 1741.228 The frequency of the repeat editions of these three titles suggests that simpler rhetorical textbooks may have been circulating fairly widely in grammar schools from the second quarter of the seventeenth century, but not before. A similar conclusion may be reached about those handbooks designed specifically to help students prepare stylish and persuasive ‘themes’ and ‘declamations’ or ‘orations’. Composing a ‘theme’, as we saw when looking at the study of Cicero’s philosophical essays, was a regular part 225

  G.M. Boswell, ‘Thomas Horne’, DLB 281: 145–53; Wing2 H2811–12; Horne, Manuductio in aedem Palladis (1641), passim. 226   R. Serjeantson, ‘Thomas Farnaby’, DLB 236: 108–16 (and p. xxiii for reprints abroad); STC2 10703–6, Wing2 F454–60, and ESTC under 1794 1713 and 1728; Farnaby, Index rhetoricus (1625), title-page and sig. A2r; for references to its use, see Note in English Linguistics, no. 240 (1970). 227

  This is based on a comparison of the 1704 edition of Farnaby’s Index and the 1737 edition of Stephens’s Troposchematologia (price on title-page); for other editions of the latter, see Wing2 F464A–67A and ESTC under 1707, 1717 and 1724. 228   E. Skerpan-Wheeler, ‘William Dugard’, DLB 281: 77–84; Wing2 D2468–70E and ESTC under 1705, 1712, 1721 and 1741; Dugard, Rhetorices elementae (1648), title-page and sig. [A]3v. For similar works by other authors published by Dugard, see DLB 281: xxii.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


of the weekly schedule for students in the middling and upper forms of most grammar schools. ‘Declamations’ or ‘orations’ were similar, but were delivered orally, and often tackled a controversial subject, with one boy deputed to uphold the case for and the other against a proposition.229 These oral exercises can be found at an early date in the London area, for example at St Paul’s, for whose students Lily wrote addresses to be given to passing dignitaries, and at St Bartholomew’s churchyard, where John Stow remembered open-air debates between Opposers and Answerers.230 But later, probably at the insistence of school patrons who had heard such exercises in the capital and of graduate teachers familiar with the role of debates and orations at university, these practices became common in schools outside London too, as at Bristol Grammar School in 1574 when Elizabeth I was passing, and at Lincoln in the 1620s before dignitaries of the cathedral and city. Some school founders established prizes for those who performed best in such public displays.231 Presumably it was considered good practice for those occasions later in life when a justice of the peace, a lawyer, clergyman or burgess had to give a formal welcome to the bishop or lord lieutenant or the judges on assize, or deliver a charge to the Grand Jury. In 1583 the young Thomas Crewe, born into a humble family but educated at Shrewsbury School, was chosen to deliver an oration to the Lord President of the Council of Wales – a foretaste of his future career in the law and politics which climaxed in his acting as Speaker in the House of Commons in the parliaments of 1624 and 1625.232 For help in structuring and amplifying themes and orations, only two handbooks achieved enough sales in England to be considered as likely to have been used widely in grammar schools. Aphthonius was a Greek rhetorician of the fourth century AD, and his text was the only one of the supplementary works regularly recommended and re-published in England which actually dated from ancient times, albeit in a Latin translation from the Greek by Agricola and Cataneo which had often been reprinted abroad. 229   See above, pp. 201–2; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, chaps 39–40; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 16, 184n. 230   See ODNB under John Lily; John Stow, A survey of the cities of London and Westminster (2 vols, 1720), vol. 1, bk 1, p. 124. 231   C.P. Hill, The History of Bristol Grammar School (Bath, 1951), pp. 20–21, and see pp. 41–4; for Lincoln, see next paragraph below under John Clarke; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 454–65; for prizes at Sandwich in 1580, see Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 603–4. 232

  Oldham, Shrewsbury School, p. 23; ODNB under Sir Thomas Crewe (1556–1634); Steve Hindle, The State and Social Change in Early Modern England 1550–1640 (Basingstoke, 2002), p. 28; Richard Cust, ‘Reading for Magistracy: The Mental World of Sir John Newdigate’, in McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England, chap. 10.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

This Progymnamasta was deemed of great benefit ‘for easy entrance into themes, or understanding, matter and order’, and perhaps 17 editions were published in England from the early 1570s to the mid-1680s, the majority as part of the ‘English Stock’.233 From the 1620s, for help with constructing orations there was John Clarke’s Transitionum formulae, called Formulae oratoriaae by the third edition. This was targeted specifically at schools, and designed to provide ‘practical examples of the link-points by which a theme, oration or declamation is fashioned into a discourse’. While the theoretical part of the Formulae was partly derived from other scholars’ work, Clarke also printed some of the orations for local dignitaries which he had written in the 1620s for his best pupils to deliver; and the result was well received – 11 editions were sold between 1628 and 1672.234 The need for an easy guide for students led to a third publication, with the instructions this time in English: Obadiah Walker’s Instructions concerning the art of oratory (1659). This was written for a young friend, perhaps an undergraduate at Oxford, and was published again in a much-enlarged version in 1682.235 The production of detailed handbooks such as Clarke’s and Walker’s, together with the new guides to rhetoric mentioned earlier by Farnaby, Stephens and Dugard, indicate that many teachers and tutors in midseventeenth-century England still saw the need to prepare students who had reached the top forms of a grammar school or the first years in college for the kind of extended exercise in prose or oratory which they might have to perform later at university or in the world of politics or law. But whereas most teachers still saw the classics as the best guide to those skills, a number of them also saw the need to temper the wind to the many shorn lambs in their care. * * * The teaching of Greek had not been widespread in the Middle Ages, and had not been insisted on by the first humanists in Italy. But by the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries it was becoming much more common, both North and South of the Alps, whether as a means of gaining direct access to the glory that was Greece or in pursuit of New Testament and patristic studies. Luther’s ‘little Greek’, Philip Melanchthon, who began his career 233   STC2 700–706.5; Wing2 A3529–41; Binns, Intellectual Culture, p. 238; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 121, 184; Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, index under Aphthonius; Skinner, Reason and Rhetoric, pp. 29–30; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 27–9. 234   STC2 5363, 5354.7–56; Wing2 C4468bA–69A; E.A. Malone, ‘John Clarke’, DLB 281: 48–57; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 39–40. 235   Wing2 W410–11.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


as a professor of Greek, helped his mentor to many insights into the Greek New Testament as well as helping to train new generations of theologians with above-average levels of competence in that language.236 In England the evidence suggests a late and rather patchy pattern of adoption of teaching Greek in schools. It took longer to convince the propertied elite of the value of studying Greek as well as Latin: as late as the 1590s the Earl of Northumberland told his son that learning Greek was a waste of time.237 Moreover, for many years there was a shortage of instructors. Those princes and princesses and the children or protégés of humanist households who acquired some Greek were mostly taught by family tutors, seconded if necessary from Cambridge, where youths who showed some attraction to that language were being taught intensively by tutors such as Richard Croke, Thomas Smith and John Cheke.238 In 1561 there was still a sufficient dearth of graduates able to teach Greek that the foundation statutes for Merchant Taylors’ School stipulated (as had Colet’s for St Paul’s fifty years before) that the master should be learned in Latin and also in Greek, ‘if such may be gotten’.239 This situation did begin to change, so that even provincial schools’ statutes of the later Elizabethan and Stuart periods stipulated that headteachers should be skilled in both Latin and Greek, and in some cases laid down which Greek grammar and texts were to be used and what exercises performed.240 By 1607, for example, the master of Merchant Taylors’ was conducting regular examinations in Greek grammar and Greek texts for students in levels four to six. But when those in the sixth form were to be examined, the master was told to find a text by opening at random either a Greek Testament or Aesop’s Fables in Greek or ‘some other very easy Greek author’.241 Moreover, although the ideal of teaching Greek was widely expressed by 1600, the reality was probably not achieved evenly across the country. What evidence we have tends to point to a high level of competence being encouraged at schools like Winchester, Westminster and Eton. Thus John Harmar, regius professor of Greek in the late 1580s, moved to become headmaster and warden of Winchester College from 1588 to 1613, and in his will divided his Greek books between 236

  A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 9–11, 35–7, 460–62, 570–74.   Advice to his Son by Henry Percy Ninth Earl of Northumberland, ed. G.B. Harrison (London, 1930), p. 67. 238   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, chap. 2. 239   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 487–8. 240   Ibid., pp. 490–93; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 17–20, 35–42, 185–7, 190–92. 241   Anon., The schools-probation, pp. 14–15 (my italics); Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 498–9 (though see 488). 237


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

New College and Winchester College.242 Westminster was the launchpad for a number of textbooks designed to help students master Greek, from Edward Grant’s Graecae linguae spicilegium (1575) (a simplification of Clenardus’ standard grammar) and William Camden’s revision of this, Institutio Graecae grammatices compendiaria (1595), through to Richard Busby’s Graecae grammatices rudimenta (1647) and Francis Gregory’s Onomastikon brachu (1651) and Etymologikon mikron (1654), and Thomas Knipe’s edition of the Greek grammar of Apollodorus Atheniensis (1686).243 Outside London, Greek was probably taught to a moderately high level, for a while at least, at schools like Shrewsbury, Ashby-de-laZouch and Rotherham, or where there was either an enthusiastic teacher or generous gifts were made of expensive Greek texts and dictionaries, as at Kington in Herefordshire and Witney in Oxfordshire.244 But at many others, where neither of these applied, there was quite possibly little Greek taught or none at all. Compared to the number of copies of ‘Lily’ published each year, or to the number of supplementary or alternative grammars prepared by provincial teachers to make life easier for their students when learning Latin, we find very few examples of the equivalents to help teach Greek.245 Moreover, although the numbers of teachers able to teach Greek and of students willing to learn it continued to increase for much of the seventeenth century, this did not mean that familiarity with the Greek New Testament necessarily increased to the same degree. Two experienced teachers, Brinsley and Hoole, both recommended that students start their translation exercises with the Greek New Testament, and specifically the Gospel of John, since that was the easiest.246 But while teachers who were encouraging pupils to enter the ministry might urge them to greater familiarity with all of the New Testament, other teachers who were fond of Greek poetry and plays were likely to steer their senior pupils in that


  See ibid., pp. 498–9 for Eton; ODNB under John Harmar (c. 1555–1613).   STC2 12188, 4511; Wing2 B6220, G1897B and 1892, A3532; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 496–8. 244   Ibid., p. 500; ODNB under Andrew Downes and William Lilly; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 300–302, 134–7, 169–77, 180–81, 195–7; Penelope E. Morgan, ‘The Library of Lady Hawkins’ School, Kington, Herefordshire’, in The National Library of Wales Journal, 14:1 (1985): 46–62; M.A. Fleming, Witney Grammar School 1660–1960 (Oxford, 1960), pp. 15–20, 147–53. 243

245   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 19. Examples of provincial Greek grammars include those published by John Toy while headmaster of Worcester in 1650 (see ODNB entry), and by John Holmes as master of Holt in Norfolk in 1735 (see The Greek grammar in ESTC). 246   Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 226–9; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 130, 135, 164.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


direction.247 After all, budding ordinands and academics could still, as in the Tudor period, begin to study or polish their Greek at university, as the young John Conant did at Exeter College in the late 1620s.248 What is notable about Greek studies from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth is the crop of new editions of Greek poets like Homer and Hesiod, playwrights like Aristophanes, Sophocles and Euripides, and historians like Thucydides and Herodotus, most of which were published by the university presses in Greek and Latin editions with the latest notes from abroad, and at least in part with older schoolboys and undergraduates in mind.249 It is also noteworthy that while the ‘godly’ Brinsley, writing in the 1610s, showed no interest in speaking Greek, in the 1650s the dramatist and occasional teacher James Shirley and the career teacher Charles Hoole both showed more concern about getting pupils to speak Greek to each other, and with ‘oratory and poetry’. ‘I may seem to differ from some others’, wrote Hoole, in insisting that the fifth form spend less time on Greek grammar and more on ‘some lively patterns of oratory’ such as Isocrates and Greek histories, but these would be of more use to them in later life when the need arose to be ‘expert in speaking and doing’.250 We can add a little to this picture by looking at which texts were published most often in England with schoolboys in mind. Most of the Greek texts used in England before the 1580s must have been imported, for whereas Latin texts could be set in normal type, Greek required a specialized typeface to which only a few publishers in Tudor England had access.251 It was not until the 1580s and 1590s that a pair of grammatical works were being reprinted with sufficient regularity to suggest that the ‘King’s Printer in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew’ had access to Greek type. The first surviving copy printed in England of the Greek grammar used widely on the Continent, Institutiones linguae Graecae by Nicolaus Cleynaerts or ‘Clenardus’, is dated 1582, and though labelled editio decima, was quite possibly the first published in England. By 1612 the patentee had printed a ‘twelfth’ edition, but this seems to have been the last, for by then an alternative was well established in his portfolio. Camden’s Institutio 247

  Ibid., pp. 174–7, 195–7; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 519–23; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 40–42, 52–5, 64–6. 248   See ODNB under John Conant (1608–1694). 249   Homer’s Iliad from 1648 and Odyssey from 1664; Hesiod’s Works from 1659; the tragedies of Sophocles from 1665 and of Euripides from 1703; the comedies of Aristophanes from 1695, and the histories of Herodotus from 1679 and Thucydides from 1696: see Wing2 and ESTC under relevant authors and works. 250

  Hoole, New discovery, pp. 171–2; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 504–5.   Ibid., p. 490; David McKitterick, A History of Cambridge University Press, vol. 1 (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 41–4, 102–3, 120–21, 182–6; Harry Carter, A History of the Oxford University Press, vol. 1 (Oxford, 1975), pp. 21, 26, 30, 33–4, 38, 44. 251


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Graecae grammatices compendiaria had been designed for Westminster, but was soon being used in many other schools as the Greek partner to ‘Lily’, the organization of which it mirrored. Three editions of this were printed in the late 1590s, two in the 1600s, three each in the next four decades (and a pirate edition in Rouen in 1633), four in the 1650s, three each in the 1660s and 1670s, but five in the 1680, and six in the 1690s and 1700s, and either four or five for the next four decades, and so on until the nineteenth century. It became known as the ‘Eton grammar’, as opposed to the Westminster preference for the forms of Busby and Dugard.252 Meanwhile, the ‘English Stock’ had gained control of two works. One was Posselius’ Familiarum colloquiorum libellus Graece et Latine, which was the most commonly used dialogue among those learning Greek from scratch. At least a dozen editions may have been printed between 1622 and 1733, demand having been strongest in the 1650s and 1660s, with Hoole among its supporters.253 The other was a set of speeches in Greek by Isocrates, the Athenian orator. At first Ad demonicum, Ad Nicoclem and Nicoclis were published with Plutarch’s De educatione puerorum, later with other items by Isocrates instead, including more speeches and some letters. But only a handful of editions are known to have been published in Elizabeth’s reign, half-a-dozen under the early Stuarts, and half-a-dozen from the 1660s to the 1690s.254 This may indicate low survival rates of these fairly flimsy little works or relatively low demand for this version. Certainly greater interest was shown in a revised edition with more critical apparatus prepared by Georgius Sylvanus and approved for publication in England by eminent scholars at Oxford in 1676; the seventh edition of this appeared in 1731.255 Few of the Greek works published regularly for use in schools had any Christian significance. The ‘Stock’ did contain the ‘middle’ version of Alexander Nowell’s Catechism in Latin and Greek, which was published every decade or so from 1575 to 1687, and the Prayer Book catechism translated into Latin and Greek by William Whitaker, but this was published perhaps only four times between 1574 and 1633.256 A Greek-and-Latin 252

  STC2 5400.5–404; 4511–17.7, Wing2 C365–72B, and ESTC under ‘Camden, Institutio’; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 500. The existence of such grammars and related works probably helped enterprising authors and publishers like George Chapman and later John Ogilby to teach themselves enough Greek for their translations. 253   STC2 20128.3–28.7, Wing2 P3016A–20A, and ESTC under ‘Posselius, Familiarum colloquiarum’; Hoole, New discovery, p. 137. 254

  STC2 20054–55, 20055.5–56.5 and 14274, 14276.5; Wing2 I1077A–B, 1078–78B.   Wing2 I1075–6A, S6327–27A, and ESTC T150082. By then Westminster had its own version: ESTC N70811, T147351. 256   STC2 18726–9, 18711a–c, and Wing2 N1537–9; the ‘larger’ Nowell in Greek and Latin was published only once, in 1573. 255

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


translation of the Westminster Shorter Catechism was prepared by John Harmar, and published in 1659 with some of the author’s Greek and Latin verses on religious topics. Harmar had learnt his Greek at Winchester and Magdalen College, and then taught and wrote grammatical works for the different schools at which he taught from the 1620s to the 1640s before he was appointed Professor of Greek at Oxford in 1650. Owing to the change of regime in 1660, Harmar’s translation was only re-published twice, though it was probably used among better-educated nonconformists.257 Outside the ‘Stock’, some well-established schools, such as Bury St Edmunds and Whitgift School in Croydon, from the 1670s (or perhaps earlier) had an edition of the Prayer Book catechism published in Latin and Greek, together with morning prayers in Latin and evening prayers in Greek; while teachers at Eton, Merchant Taylors’ and Ipswich School had a similar work printed for their students which also included the Church of England’s order of confirmation in Latin and Greek. These publications confirm that Greek was being taught at such schools in sufficient numbers to warrant fresh editions, though at a simpler level than Nowell’s ‘middle’ catechism. The inclusion of the order of confirmation – in theory administered to boys aged about 12–14 at the end of the seventeenth century – also gives a clue to the age of the students who were expected to use this form.258 The pattern of sales of Greek texts for schools both inside and outside the ‘Stock’ would thus appear to confirm that the students who reached a really advanced stage of Greek learning in England were still limited in number and mostly confined to a few leading schools, and that the focus of those who reached a moderate level was probably as much on speaking Greek and on Greek poetry and oratory as on biblical studies. * * * The teaching of Hebrew at university level developed in those parts of Germany and the Netherlands that came under the influence of humanist scholars such as Reuchlin, Erasmus and Melanchthon. But even in Protestant countries, not all teachers thought it a suitable subject for schools: in Strasburg, Sturm was against teaching it in class, though students who opted to learn it in their free hours were encouraged to do so.259 In English universities, Hebrew studies were sponsored by individual 257


Wing2 K29A–30A; see also ODNB under John Harmar (1593x6–1670).

  Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 192, 612–13, 616–17, 702–3. 259   A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 9–11, 35–7, 460–62, 570–74; Pierre Mesnard, ‘The Pedagogy of Johann Sturm (1507–1589) and its Evangelical Inspiration’, Studies in the Renaissance, 13 (1966): 213.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

scholars and heads of houses, and had made some progress by the time the Authorized Version of the Bible was being prepared; but much remained to be done.260 And in English schools like Merchant Taylors’ and St Paul’s, despite statements of good intent, relatively little had been achieved by 1600.261 During the seventeenth century, Hebrew was taught regularly at a few leading schools like Westminster, St Paul’s and Merchant Taylors’, but not at Winchester or Eton.262 While dean at Westminster in the opening years of the century, Lancelot Andrewes taught the senior boys Greek and Hebrew in his rooms in the evenings; Edward Bernard, the future Arabist and astronomer, learnt Hebrew at Merchant Taylors’ in the 1650s under Dugard; and Thomas Knipe published a Hebrew grammar for Westminster boys in 1708.263 Hebrew was also taught where the master was an enthusiast, like Thomas Ingmethorpe, a clergyman-teacher in Jacobean Durham who translated the Prayer Book catechism into Hebrew for students’ benefit.264 But such instruction was usually confined to those pupils who survived through to the most senior form of all, and might not outlive the enthusiastic teacher’s departure.265 By contrast, we find in Blackburn Grammar School’s statutes in 1600 the view that Hebrew should only be taught ‘if any be willing and fit thereunto’.266 The fact that no Hebrew texts were listed or published in the ‘English Stock’ would tend to confirm that this last view was not uncommon. Mastery of Hebrew was often associated with membership of a ‘godly’ network or having a clerical father. When almost ready for admission to university, John Wallis was sent to a school at Felsted in Essex in the 1630s run by a ‘godly’ teacher, Martin Holbeach, to be taught Greek and Hebrew; the future nonconformist leader Matthew Henry was taught Hebrew at home, by his father – an ejected minister; and another victim of ‘Black Bartholomew’, Benjamin Agas, made plans in his will in 1689 to 260

  The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, pp. 316–18, vol. 4, pp. 450–76, vol. 5, pp. 535–50; see also ODNB under John Rainolds, William Pemble and Victorinus Bythner. 261   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 62, 500, 524–9; Wilson, Merchant-Taylors’ School, vol. 1, p. 39; see also ODNB under Richard Mulcaster. For the polyglot lexicon including Hebrew words which William Malym had prepared for students at St Paul’s by 1581, see ODNB under Malym. See also The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, pp. 307–8, 315–17. 262   Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 34–5. 263   Ibid., p. 36; ODNB under Edward Bernard and Thomas Knipe. 264   See ODNB under Thomas Ingmethorpe. 265   At Rotherham, Bonner taught Hebrew to the top form, the ninth, but this was probably one of the forms Hoole found so small that he collapsed it into the one below: Hoole, New discovery, pp. 302, 191–5, 201. 266   J. Garstang, A History of Blackburn Grammar School (Blackburn, 1897), p. 43.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


offer the generous salary of £50 to a schoolmaster who had to be learned in both Greek and Hebrew and set up a new school at Wymondham in Norfolk, and also to provide £10 apiece to ten scholars ‘being perfect Hebricians’ who were to be sent to Cambridge.267 Christopher Taylor, a Quaker teacher who produced a Latin translation of a Quaker primer for his students, in 1679 also collaborated in producing Compendium trium linguarum (Latin, Greek and Hebrew), which used passages from the Bible only, not classical texts.268 Hebrew was also a staple subject in the curriculum of most Dissenting Academies in the eighteenth century.269 By then, however, many conformists had mastered enough Hebrew for their needs, for example to contribute to the Authorized Version of the Bible in 1611 or Walton’s Polyglot Bible in the 1650s, or in Richard Bentley’s case in the 1680s, to be able to prepare his Hexapla of words in the Hebrew Bible while acting as tutor to Dean Edward Stillingfleet’s son, and using his father’s outstanding library.270 As in the American colonies, however, the more common pattern was probably for students to start learning Hebrew during their first years at university – the main difference being that such studies were pursued vigorously at Harvard and at cognate institutions such as the upper school in the Geneva Academy, whereas in England the organization of Hebrew studies had been slow to develop, and was not confined to students intended for the ministry.271 * * * The works of ancient Latin and Greek authors would continue to dominate the curricula of most grammar schools well into the eighteenth century; and they also still dominated the undergraduate studies of Oxford and were influential at Cambridge, though at the latter the balance was already shifting away from the humanities. But the uses of Latin had begun to 267   See ODNB under John Wallis (1616–1703), Matthew Henry and Benjamin Agas. For other examples, see ODNB under Sir Thomas Bodley, John Milton (teaching his nephews) and Hanserd Knollys, and Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 244–52. 268   See ODNB under Christopher Taylor (1614/15–1686). 269   See below, p. 300. 270   See ODNB under Richard Bentley (1662–1742); see ODNB under Arthur Bedford for the view that the clergy should have at least enough Hebrew to study the Old Testament at first hand, the Psalms being seen as both the key source and an excellent model for the church music he strongly supported. The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 4, pp. 256–69, vol. 5, pp. 535–50. 271   Lawrence A. Cremin, American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607–1783 (New York, 1970), pp. 185–6; Gillian Lewis, ‘The Geneva Academy’, in Andrew Pettegree, A. Duke and G. Lewis (eds), Calvinism in Europe 1540–1620 (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 42–3, 49–50; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 4, p. 463.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

change well before that point in the mid-eighteenth century when some scholars believe that the Latin tradition started to ossify. The insistence on teaching in Latin in the schoolroom had been eroded by the growing use of bilingual, Latin and English versions of classical texts in schools; and the insistence on lecturing in Latin in the universities was taking on a defensive tone after it was dropped in Scottish universities. Equally, the penalties imposed in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries on those students who failed to speak Latin to each other in the playground or in the college hall were by the late seventeenth century less often imposed outside leading schools such as Winchester and Westminster. Whatever conservatives like Clarendon thought, this was a lost cause.272 Although new works in poetry and prose were still being published in Latin and Greek in the early eighteenth century, the use of Latin in university orations was also beginning to be supplemented by orations delivered in English.273 If some of the changes in the classical tradition took the form of contraction (in the case of Latin) or delayed maturity (in the case of Greek), there were at least three other changes between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries which also merit the historian’s attention. One was the growing gap between classical education at its optimum level and at its middling or lower levels. In this chapter we have regularly noted the apparent differences between, on the one hand, the texts studied and the exercises set in schools like Winchester, Eton or Westminster, and on the other, those used in provincial schools where masters had fewer resources but were under pressure to produce good results to match those of the Farnabies and the Busbies. A pupil in an average grammar school probably studied a selection of Cicero’s letters and De officiis, some of the plays of Terence, some of the poetry of ‘Mantuan’, Ovid and Virgil (often with helpful if basic notes, and sometimes using a parallel English translation too). If he stayed long enough, he also probably read an oldfashioned history like Justin, learnt a little Greek grammar, and consulted a handful of the shorter, supplementary works on which he could lay hands to help guide him through the maze of commonplacing and composing essays and verses. Meanwhile, his counterpart at a well-endowed school or with an especially enthusiastic tutor at home or teacher in school had the opportunity to study a wider range of letters and philosophical works by Cicero and others, read more dramatists than Terence, tackled a wider range of verse by Ovid and Virgil and much of Horace and other poets such as Homer (often in texts with a minimum of notes), pored over the speeches of the greatest Greek and Roman orators, and read the more 272   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 316–18; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, pp. 14, 34, 47, 184, 190, 192–3. 273   Binns, ‘The Decline of Latin’, pp. 170–75.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


reputable historians of ancient and modern times and the more advanced handbooks on rhetoric and perhaps logic too, though he would probably have needed less help in constructing his own commonplace-book or composing his own verses, themes and orations. A young John Bramston unwittingly found himself caught between the two camps when he was transferred from a brutal, incompetent teacher in Essex to Farnaby’s school in London. The great man set him to write a theme at short notice, Bramston did his best, but on reading it, Farnaby exclaimed, ‘Oh Heavens! Where hast thou bin bred?’274 The products of the more advanced of these patterns – the optimum – are not hard to trace among the poets, scholars and clergymen of the late Tudor and Stuart periods such as Ben Jonson, John Milton, John Dryden, Lancelot Andrewes, Brian Walton, William Sancroft and Richard Bentley.275 The products of the less advanced are less easy to trace, and probably varied according to how long a student stayed in school and the amount of parental support received. Examples of those who did moderately well would include those provincial schoolboys like Edmund Isham and those county gentry who, when called upon to do so (and with a bit of preparation), could produce an appropriate speech, charge or verse.276 Examples of those on whom a classical education left a mark but not necessarily the confidence to use it often in public included the gentleman farmer William Coe, who kept a diary of his secular doings and spiritual travails. He had been educated well enough in local grammar schools by clerical relatives to be able to include in the diary a number of quotations in Latin from Seneca, Augustine, Bernard and others, and regularly use shorter Latin phrases, such as ‘Jesu, tuam opem’ (‘O Jesus, by your power’) when seeking God’s grace to do better. He also from somewhere had acquired the ability to use Hebrew letters, for example for ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Amen’, and on occasion cited the Bible in Greek.277 Examples also included some of those moderately well-educated merchants who wished to show their classical credentials in the way they described themselves, the way they ran their towns, and the new schools


  ‘The Autobiography of Sir John Bramston’, Camden Society, 1st series, 32 (1845): 101–2. 275   See under the relevant names in ODNB, except for Sancroft, for whom see the entry under John Owen (1563/4–1622?): a large number of his Latin epigrams were copied into Sancroft’s commonplace-book. 276   See above, n. 162 and pp. 252–3. 277   Two East Anglian Diaries 1641–1729: Isaac Archer and William Coe, ed. M. Storey (Suffolk Records Society, xxxvi, Woodbridge, 1994), pp. 27–35; Cambridge University Library, Add. MS 6843, inside front cover, and fols 1v, 11v, 24v, 30v, 55r, 70r, 71v, 79r, 83r, 111r and passim.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

they endowed in their home counties.278 It also included John Bodenham, whose extensive reading furnished the materials for Ling’s Politeuphuia, and the mercer Robert Langham, who in his leisure hours would ‘now look on one book, now on another’, but delighted in stories – ‘the more ancient and rare, the more likesome unto me’.279 A second development was at the level below that of the average grammar school, and that was the growing spread of classical texts in bilingual versions and English translations, which made the wit and wisdom of Cicero, Terence, Ovid, Virgil and many other classical authors available to various groups. These included, on the one hand, those boys who had spent only a short time or none at all at grammar school or university, like the ‘Water-Poet’ John Taylor, and those girls who had been denied a proper Latin education in school, and on the other, those who had attended a good school and even a university, but as adults wished to renew or extend their acquaintance with the classics, like Samuel Pepys, who acquired a set of Ogilby’s translations of the classics and read Ogilby’s translation of ‘Aesop’ to his wife.280 We will see many more examples of the growing availability of translations of classical texts in Chapter 6, especially in the period from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. The impact these may have had on English cultural norms, and in particular on the relationship between classicism and Protestantism, need to be explored further. For a third change was the growing tendency for classical studies, in England especially, to be treated as synonymous with Christian teaching and the Protestant interest. Earlier expressions of concern over the discrepancies between Christian and pagan teaching, by Valla, Colet and Ascham were forgotten, and though a growing number of the ‘godly’ and some conformist clergy would express concerns over this syncretism, most teachers would not appear to have tried very hard to distinguish between ‘pagan’ and ‘Christian’, or explained what to do when they were flatly contradictory. In Chapter 3 we noted the rich vein of moralism in the curriculum of the lower forms, and in this current chapter we have again seen a stress on the strong moral dimension in Cicero, the persistent efforts to see morality in Terence and Ovid, an awareness of the importance of duty and pursuing a civilized life in Virgil and Horace, and the predominance of Graeco-Roman norms of behaviour in the ancient histories and the supplementary, humanist-inspired works recommended to senior students. The longer pupils stayed at school, the more they were exposed to classical morality and ancient concepts of what constituted the good life. 278

    280   279

See below, pp. 336–8, 343–52, and above, pp. 80–82. See above, pp. 23–4, 246. See below, p. 317.

Uses of Latin and Greek in Senior Forms and Universities


It would hardly have been surprising if many among the English laity came to assume that the classical texts which had been selected for the education of the highest-born children in the land and then passed down to every grammar school were not merely compatible with, but reinforced the Christian teaching they heard during Saturday catechizing and Sunday services. Given such an assumption, it is also not surprising to see the ready equation which many grammar school students – at all levels of achievement – drew between classical and contemporary contexts. We can see this in Edmund Isham’s commemorative verse for a family friend and tutor in rural Northamptonshire, in the encomia at the universities which compared current leaders most favourably with classical gods and goddesses, and in the classicism cultivated by the landed elite and urban oligarchies in their style of life especially during the new Augustan age of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. An unforeseen result of the success of the humanist programme of education in early modern England was to impress, not just on the educated elite, but on anyone who could read a translation, the idea that the pagan past and the Christian present were indistinguishable.

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Chapter 5

Protestant Influences in Grammar Schools and Universities

In all West European schools and colleges offering a humanist education, there was a tension between using classical and Christian sources. Where many Greek and Roman authors had described the unpredictable and even reprehensible behaviour of the gods, or equated the good life with virtuous behaviour and moderation, the Bible and other Christian sources spoke of a single, absolutely unchanging God, and of man as incapable through original sin of meritorious actions, though able through divine grace and faith in Christ’s sacrifice to hope for perfect happiness in heaven. That salvation was not to be sought by pursuing the golden mean between extremes in all things here on earth, but by looking upwards at unattainable perfection, and striving to resist the temptations of the dark powers below. Nor was it to be sought primarily by outwardly praiseworthy actions, but by looking inwards to judge one’s feelings by the light of an informed conscience. However, in the previous two chapters we have encountered many texts which in English grammar schools were treated in such a way as to imply that the moral teaching of the Greeks and Romans could legitimately be used as a supplementary reservoir from which to draw examples of correct behaviour in a Christian country. If teachers did spend time explaining the differences as well as the similarities between classical and Christian mores, or showing how to resolve any discrepancies which arose between them, this has not left much evidence in the kind of materials we have been examining in the last two chapters. This did not mean most teachers did not see themselves as good Protestants, and in this chapter we will be asking how much time was devoted each week to the active teaching of Protestant values in early modern English grammar schools. Also, how far did the range and intensity of that religious instruction compare with that found in comparable Lutheran, Calvinist and Jesuit institutions abroad? Two preliminary points must be made. First, grammar school education in England, as abroad, cannot be isolated totally from the religious instruction a student had received before he entered that school, and would continue to receive outside that school at weekends or during the school holidays. Secondly, in England there was not a clear consensus on when and how children and adolescents should


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

be moulded into good Protestants: at least three views emerged, and we must bear these in mind too. * * * In much of late medieval Europe, children not destined for the priesthood or religious orders received little religious instruction in church, home or school. In the fifteenth century, it is true, priests had paid increasing attention to the confessional, and more works were written or printed in Latin and the vernacular for those adults and adolescents who could read. But it was only in the period from the 1520s to the 1560s that children were specifically targeted through the scores of catechisms devised by Lutherans and then by Catholics and Calvinists – short forms, usually in questionand-answer format, which could be used orally when catechumens had little or no skill in reading. That period also coincided with the realization that parents could not be relied on to teach their children the basics (as the first reformers on the Protestant side had hoped), and that major efforts would have to be put into schooling in the vernacular. In some countries, that realization resulted in Church and state acting together, in others separately. In Lutheran Germany, for example, there was a major campaign by ecclesiastical and secular authorities to set up and sustain schools that would put religious instruction in the form of Luther’s shorter catechism and worship in the form of regular daily sessions of saying prayers and singing psalms at the heart of school life, and would take steps to ensure that certain basic requirements of literacy and religious knowledge were met. The bewildering variety of existing schools operating without proper supervision or common standards was replaced, in Gerald Strauss’s phrase, by a ‘more or less rational network of educational institutions’. But while he took a dim view of the results, concluding that the insistence on rote repetition of religious formulae and submissiveness to authority ensured outward conformity but killed inner curiosity, other scholars have reached more optimistic conclusions about the effect of the full range of early forms of Lutheran indoctrination. Inside church this included homiletic sermons on doctrinal staples and hymnsinging which combined edification and spiritual uplift, and outside church it embraced religious drama. Pupils showing promise were sent to an 

  See references cited in Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 2–3, and Ian Green, ‘The Bible in Catechesis, c.1500–c.1750’, in New Cambridge History of the Bible, Volume III: The Early Modern World, c.1450–c.1750, ed. Euan Cameron (Cambridge, forthcoming).    Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, p. 19 and passim; and see Gawthrop and Strauss, ‘Protestantism and Literacy in Early Modern Germany’, Past and Present, 104 (1984): 31–55.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


advanced secondary school to perfect their Latin, learn Greek and Hebrew, and be prepared for studying theology at one of the many universities set up in Lutheran states. Devoting more school time to Bible reading in the vernacular in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, rather than proof of the failure of the ‘first’ Reformation, was possibly in part a reaction against teaching Latin to schoolboys who by then had little or no need of it, as well as part of the wider Pietist campaign to raise standards of understanding and commitment. By Strauss’s own account, the actual time spent on worship and developing religious knowledge in the parish schools was prodigious. What he described as a ‘typical day’s praising and singing’, taken from a late sixteenth-century school ordinance, specified four sessions of worship – at the start of the day, mid-morning, afternoon, and after the last lesson – during which over a dozen prayers and blessings were said (some taken from ‘the school book’ or ‘lesson book’), nearly a score of hymns, psalms and canticles were sung, and the main points of the catechism were rehearsed (with a different article being explained each day). The point here is not simply the number and variety of items, and the regular use of ‘the school book’ which each elementary Lutheran school was expected to have, or the fact that schoolmasters were accountable to officials conducting regular and intrusive visitations, but also the amount of time taken out of each day, and the canny psychology of encouraging the young to learn the Christian message by regular readings and recitations and the singing of verses set to easily memorized tunes. There was an added bonus in that these pupils would lead the community in singing hymns and psalms at Sunday worship in Lutheran churches. In Scotland, as noted in an earlier chapter, it was the clerical Reformers who, in the First Book of Discipline in 1560, had led the way in proposing to establish a uniform system of schools; and it was the Kirk, with the support of Parliament in 1616, 1633, 1646 and 1696, which put pressure on local landowners to subsidize the building of a schoolhouse and pay the master’s salary, and on parents to send their children and (if they could) pay fees. The Scottish system took time to evolve and was never perfectly uniform. Initially frustrated by arguments over who would fund 

  Mark U. Edwards, ‘Lutheran Pedagogy in Reformation Germany’, History of Education Quarterly, 21 (1981): 471–7; James Kittelson, ‘Success and Failure in the German Reformation: The Report from Strasbourg’, Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 73 (1982): 53–75; Kittelson, ‘Luther the Educational Reformer’, in M.J. Harran (ed.), Luther and Learning (Selinsgrove, 1985), pp. 95–114; Rebecca W. Oettinger, Music as Propaganda in the German Reformation (Aldershot, 2001); Christopher B. Brown, Singing the Gospel: Lutheran Hymns and the Success of the Reformation (Cambridge, MA, 2005).  


Strauss, Luther’s House of Learning, p. 231. Ibid., pp. 230–35, and see Brown, Singing the Gospel, chap. 4.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

and staff them (as in similar campaigns abroad), it long remained the case that townsmen and those in richer rural parishes in the south and east were much more likely to set up and sustain a school than the leaders of poorer parishes in the north and west. Nevertheless, in all about 800 separate schools were recorded as in operation at some date between 1560 and 1633, teaching basic literacy to the lower levels, Latin grammar and the classics to the senior ones, and giving special weight to the pupils mastering Calvin’s catechism, or later the Westminster Catechisms, and singing the metrical psalms. The Church continued to play an active role after the 1560s: kirk sessions often paid the fees of poorer children, and found bursaries to send promising lads to university, and ministers and presbyteries kept up continual pressure on teachers to ensure the new system followed the direction set. The readiness of most of the Scottish laity to fund this system and accept a fairly stiff dose of Calvinist doctrine and discipline in adult life in the seventeenth century offers a prima facie case for the cumulative impact of such teaching. In Catholic countries on the mainland too, there were similar campaigns in the middle and late sixteenth century to spread basic education in the vernacular, though in Italy, France and Germany the initial impulse came mainly from the rank and file of the faithful, with the regional authorities joining in only when they saw the success of such ventures or were reassured that they did not threaten existing Church-run institutions. In the mid-1530s a Milanese priest set up a system of schools, the Schools of Christian Doctrine, which met on Sundays and holidays to teach children the catechism and their letters; the idea spread to Rome and the rest of Italy, and to France and Germany, and soon thousands of children were being taught by priests and laymen in a variety of venues. As with earlier experiments in weekday instruction, the children of urban elites tended to fill the space available; in Italy the gap in weekday teaching for the poor was met at the end of the century by a pious member of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, who set up the first Scuole Pie to inculcate good morals and save souls among the poorest children near Rome. This movement also spread across Italy, and in this case also soon had its own order, the Piarists, and its own founder-saint.

  R.D. Anderson, Scottish Education Since the Reformation (Economic and Social History Society of Scotland, Dundee, 1997), pp. 4–10; ‘Schools and Schooling’, in Michael Lynch (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Scottish History (Oxford, 2001), pp. 561–5.    Paul F. Grendler, ‘The Schools of Christian Doctrine in Sixteenth-century Italy’, Church History, 53 (1984): 319–31; Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, chaps 2–3 and part 4; R. Po-Chia Hsia, The World of Catholic Renewal 1540–1770 (2nd edn, Cambridge, 2005), pp. 127–8. For an example of initiative being taken at local level in post-Tridentine Germany, see Jason K. Nye, ‘Not Like Us: Catholic Identity as a Defence

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


In England the pattern of primary and secondary education had already been changing quite fast during the late Middle Ages, as in Renaissance Italy, where many new schools had been set up for children not necessarily intended for a religious life. Many town councillors and leading laymen as well as churchmen evidently appreciated the merits of teaching children both literacy and orthodox Catholic tenets as a counter to Lollard heresy. On the other hand, among these English patrons there was neither the coordinating drive nor the same level of insistence on piety and confessional orthodoxy that was found in the Schools of Christian Doctrine or of the Piarists. Moreover, after the Reformation, English education at primary level remained diverse and only loosely co-ordinated, and the confessional priorities evident in German and Scottish education were not matched. It is true that the authorities in England from the 1530s to the 1560s did issue some educational agenda, describing the roles of parents and clergy as well as schools in ensuring that certain modest targets were met in the form of memorizing a few basic formulae in the vernacular. But both then and in the following decades, there was relatively little followthrough by secular or ecclesiastical government. Hard-pressed bishops and archdeacons confined their intervention to attempts to screening the morals and piety of the men and women who taught in primary and secondary schools, and to ensuring that an officially approved catechism was taught in them. While humanists like Erasmus and reformers like Luther and Tyndale had initially supported the principle that ‘the boy that driveth the plough’ should be enabled to know as much of the scriptures as priests, in England, as abroad, the upsurge of interpretations challenging the official orthodoxy of the Church soon persuaded many magisterial reformers to hedge Bible-reading with safeguards. At the lowest level of English education, humanist influence was minimal and Protestant indoctrination elementary and cautious. From the mid-sixteenth century, much the most widely used text in elementary school and church was the Prayer Book catechism of 1549. But while its authors shared many of the aims of Luther in his small catechism and Calvin in his catechism for children – to impart the basics, and at this stage to stress duties rather than doctrine – the ‘Prayer Book catechism’ was not against Protestantism in Rottweil, 1560–1618’, in Helen Parish and William G. Naphy (eds), Religion and Superstition in Reformation Europe (Manchester, 2002), pp. 47–74.    See above, pp. 72–4, 79–80, 110; Philippa Tudor, ‘Religious Instruction for Children and Adolescents in the Early English Reformation’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 35 (1983): 391–413; Susan J. Wright, ‘Catechism, Confirmation, and Communion: The Role of the Young in the Post-Reformation Church’, in Wright (ed.), Parish, Church and People: Local Studies in Lay Religion 1350–1750 (London, 1988), pp. 203–27; Green, The Christian’s ABC, chap. 3. 

Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 42–4.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

only much the shortest of the three, but also in some respects, such as the limited space given to justification through faith alone, the most cautious. It remained so too, whereas in Scotland, the Kirk was anxious to move students on, and by the 1640s was insisting that they master first The shorter catechism and then The larger catechism, which in 1647 had both been ‘agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster … as a part of the covenanted uniformity in religion betwixt the Churches of Christ in the Kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland’.10 In England the Restoration saw a return to the Prayer Book catechism, so that from the mid-sixteenth century to the late eighteenth century millions of copies were printed for use in primary schools and domestic tuition. The most common formats combined that catechism with other materials: The ABC with the catechisme, which printed the alphabet and numbers in various forms plus a few prayers, and The primer and catechisme. This Protestant ‘primer’ was recognizably from the same stable as those used in medieval England and in sixteenth-century Italy and France, in that it retained alphabets and syllables at the start, followed by the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, graces before and after meals, and prayers for other occasions. On the other hand all of the staple formulae were now in the vernacular, and a number of old prayers such as the Ave Maria were omitted. The fact that both the ABC and Primer were subsumed into the ‘English Stock’ and continued to be published in cheap formats and for a long time in black letter type confirms that the target readers for these works remained children and adults with basic literacy. In 1659 Charles Hoole bemoaned the fact that the ABC had been generally thrown aside during the civil wars and that the ordinary Primer had not been printed, since they contained ‘the very fundamentals of the Christian religion’.11 Having mastered the ‘Prayer Book catechism’, boys were qualified to enter a grammar school, but the vast majority of English grammar school students would continue to have contact with their parish church at weekends and during the holidays. There was a huge amount of destruction of physical objects deemed ‘superstitious’, and a huge reduction in rituals and devotionally based organizations.12 But in England there was a surprising degree of continuity too, for example in priestly vestments and gestures, close adherence to the Church calendar, and church furnishings 10

  Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 20, 62, 65–9, 71, 88–91.   Ibid., pp. 60, 170–77, 186–7, 560–61, 580–81, 702–5; Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 244–6; on Catholic primers, see Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 147–56; C. Hoole, The petty-schoole (part one of his New discovery), p. 20. 12   Robert Whiting, The Blind Devotion of the People (Cambridge, 1989); Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (New Haven, CT, 1992), and The Voices of Morebath (New Haven, CT, 2001). 11

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


and fittings such as fonts and carved seats, many of which survived through to the nineteenth century or beyond. Some existing techniques of instruction were either modified, as with the greater number and variety of sermons, and the scripture texts which replaced the doom paintings and St Christophers on the church walls, or supplemented, as with the increased supply of printed devotional works and larger peals of bells. In quite a few instances, these changes involved increased lay involvement, as in the case of vernacular responses during the services, congregational singing and bell-ringing, and the choice of funerary inscriptions for monuments and tombstones, all of which had a didactic function in the parish context.13 Although there was at the outset a consensus on the need for English children and adolescents to be instructed in the basics of the Protestant version of the Christian faith, whether in church, home or elementary school, by the seventeenth century there was disagreement on the exact point at which this sipping of ‘milk’ should give way to the chewing of ‘meat’ (to use the contemporary terms). Three views of the function of more advanced religious instruction can be detected. At one extreme was the view, found among some ‘godly’ and recusant groups, that just as it was never too soon to teach the young the basics of the faith, so it was never too soon to warn them – in school, home or church – of the dangers of false religion. Thomas Becon thought that the religious training of children should begin at home, in the nursery and even the cradle. ‘Children have souls to save’, wrote Richard Baxter, and as soon as they could speak should begin to learn the basics of the faith and consider the ‘state of their soul and their need for Christ’. Other members of the ‘godly’ believed that if children demonstrated a sense of sin or a conversion or saw visions or spoke in tongues, no matter how young, then they must at once be guided along the further reaches of the pathway to salvation by their elders.14 At the other extreme was the view implicit in statements by laymen that we will encounter in Chapter 6, but also clearly articulated by Edward Hyde, the staunchly episcopalian first earl of Clarendon, that while children needed to be drilled in the basics and trained in virtue and piety, they also needed to be protected from the ‘fumes and dark notions 13

  These themes will be explored in my Word, Image and Ritual in Early Modern English Protestantism (forthcoming). 14   Norman Wood, The Reformation and English Education (London, 1931), pp. 176–9; Richard Baxter, A Christian directory (1673), p. 917; S.R. Smith, ‘Religion and the Conception of Youth in Seventeenth-century England’, History of Childhood Quarterly, 2 (1975): 493–516; C. John Sommerville, The Discovery of Childhood in Puritan England (Athens, GA, 1992), chaps 1–3. For the recusant equivalent, see Alison Shell, ‘“Furor juvenilis”: Post-Reformation English Catholicism and Exemplary Youthful Behaviour’, in Ethan Shagan (ed.), Catholics and the ‘Protestant Nation’: Religious Politics and Identity in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2005), pp. 185–206.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of religion’ to which they would be exposed by too early a stress on the demands and difficulties of the faith. Only when they were old enough to make up their own mind about harder topics, perhaps as late as 20, should they be confronted with difficult or controversial material.15 In between was the view of senior figures in the established Church that the rite of confirmation marked a transition from one level of understanding and commitment to another: from being able to repeat the phrases of the Prayer Book catechism to undertaking the performance of the vows made on their behalf at baptism by their godparents, and showing themselves ready to participate in holy communion. The Church had not fully thought through the transitional period between first catechizing, aged six or seven, and full membership, through admission to communion in the mid-teens. From the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century the use of a more advanced catechism or other forms of preparation for confirmation at about the age of 12–14 became more common, as did the performance of the rite of confirmation. Those who did not attend a grammar school could be prepared for confirmation in church, while schoolboys could be prepared as part of their studies.16 * * * We are now in a position to look in more detail at the forms of piety and indoctrination which pupils attending an early modern English grammar school would have experienced collectively, young and old together. We will also look at the types of instruction given to those who persisted into the higher forms at school and went to university for a year or two. As before, a glance at the practice elsewhere puts this collective worship and instruction in post-Reformation England in perspective. In Catholic Europe, both before and after the Reformation, leading humanist teachers were as keen on instilling piety as learning into adolescent pupils. In fifteenth-century Italy, Vittorino da Feltre took his pupils to mass every day, and insisted that they confessed, took communion, and fasted when the Church required. All staff and students attended daily mass at Eton in the late fifteenth century, and said prayers and sang antiphons throughout the day. John Colet’s new endowment at St Paul’s in 1512 had an inscription on the facade of the new building: ‘Schola catechizationis puerorum in Christi opt. max. fide et bonis literis’ (‘School for the instruction of boys in the faith of Christ the Best and Greatest and in good literature’). His endowment provided funds not only for two masters, but 15

  See below, pp. 301–5.   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 33–5, 125–8, 134–5, 195–6; J. Clarke, Bishop Burnet as Educationalist (Aberdeen, 1941), pp. 56, 58. 16

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


also for a chaplain to say mass daily and catechize the children, and for a school chapel. Over the high master’s chair in that chapel was placed what Erasmus described as a ‘beautifully wrought figure of the child Christ’, and over that ‘the countenance of God saying “Hear ye Him”’, added at Erasmus’ suggestion. The students were obliged to prostrate themselves three time a day, morning, noon and evening, and say prayers specified on the ‘table’ (a small wooden slab held in the hand). These prayers at St Paul’s included several by Colet and Erasmus which outlived the Reformation and were still being said in the early twentieth century.17 Later, in Italy, France and Germany during the Counter-Reformation, pious laymen and clergy ensured that many existing communal schools and a significant proportion of the new schools were placed in the hands of religious orders such as the Jesuits, Barnabites, Piarists or Somaschi, to increase religious knowledge at both elementary and advanced levels. The result was an insistence on students devoting time not just to the study of catechisms in the classroom, but also in their leisure hours to liturgical texts such as the Officium Beatae Maria Virginis and to edifying works such as saints’ lives and, at more advanced levels, the Bible and the Fathers. Dramatic performances by schoolboys abroad were also more likely to be on confessionally or spiritually uplifting themes than on purely classical tales. As Paul Grendler noted of Renaissance Italy: ‘Schooling became more available in the late sixteenth century than ever before. And it was more overtly religious.’18 The Jesuit contribution is particularly striking, It was quite late, in the 1540s, that Ignatius Loyola switched his movement’s focus from conversion of adults to secondary education, when he realized that adding a powerful religious imperative to the civilizing mission of the humanists would bring many benefits to the Church as well as the Jesuits, in Italy and elsewhere. The combination is evident in the inscription over the entrance to the college at Rome: ‘School of Grammar, Humanities, and Christian Doctrine, free’. The Jesuits proved particularly effective in sponsoring such colleges all over Europe and further afield. By 1579 there were 144 Jesuit colleges; by 1616 this had risen to 444 colleges and 100 seminaries worldwide, and by 1749 to 669 colleges and 176 seminaries and schools. The numbers of successful supplicants to join the Jesuit order rose in proportion: from 3500 members in 1565 to 15 500 by 1626 and 20 000 by 1710. Nor do these totals include the tens of thousands of secular clergy trained by the 17

  Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, pp. 333–4; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 39, and for other schools pp. 40–42; H. Lupton, A Life of John Colet, D. D. (London, 1909), pp. 152n., 266n., 276–8, 289–90; John B. Gleason, John Colet (Berkeley, CA, 1989), pp. 222–3. 18   Grendler, Schooling in Renaissance Italy, p. 232 and part 4 passim; see also above, nn. 5–7.

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Jesuits, many of whom rose to be cardinals and bishops in countries across Europe; nor does it count the tens of thousands of ex-Jesuit pupils who rose to become heads of state, magistrates and officials.19 In France it was not just the Jesuits but other orders of regulars who were soon sponsoring the creation of collèges to teach humanities and philosophy to the sons of well-to-do merchants and the middle or lower echelons of the professions. In their other role as town councillors these parents were persuaded to find the majority of the funds for building the premises and paying the salaries of new secondary schools. By the 1780s there were 340 such collèges in France, of which 170 were collèges de plein exercise – providing not just the standard six years of grammar and humanities teaching, but two years of philosophy as well.20 The Ratio studiorum drawn up by the Jesuits in the 1590s, the most influential of the various schemes drawn up by that order, was particularly detailed and demanding. It specified daily recitals of the rosary and daily attendance at mass in church or chapel, attendance at sermons on holy days and twice a week during Lent, and at weekly expositions of doctrine and recitals of the Litany of the Blessed Virgin on Saturday evenings, and monthly confession (made during school hours but at a time agreed between teachers and confessors). Students would also have been expected to join in the rituals and singing during the mass. Lessons would begin with prayers, said kneeling and bareheaded, in which the students asked the Virgin and angels to intercede on their behalf for help with their studies. Teachers were also to ensure there was a sacred painting hanging in the classroom, and were to recommend for students’ private reading wholesome, spiritual works such as the lives of the saints. Students who anticipated entering an order or the priesthood and wished voluntarily to meditate or perform acts of austerity were encouraged to do so. If we add together the half to threequarters of an hour spent with fellow pupils in the college chapel attending early morning mass each weekday, the time taken by attendance at other services on Saturday and Sunday, the time learning and being tested on a catechism, probably one of the versions of Peter Canisius’ catechism or later the Roman Catechism, and the hours devoted each day to collective and individual prayers and to edifying reading or spiritual exercises, we have a sizeable proportion of a student’s week – perhaps equivalent to two to three hours a day compared to the four to six hours which they spent on weekdays actually being taught in class. Moreover, a number of the forms in which they were taught – catechisms, sermons and literature

19 20


Hsia, The World of Catholic Renewal, pp. 32–3, 79–80, 118–19, 227–8. Brockliss, French Higher Education, pp. 20–24, 42–8.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


– contained explicit references to the differences between Catholic and Protestant teaching.21 If we turn to Protestant Europe, and look at the Ordre de l’Ecole of 1559 for the Geneva Academy, both for the lower forms in the schola privata and for the students in the more famous upper section, the schola publica, we soon find that they are more explicit and much more demanding than anything drawn up for English schools in the Protestant era. It had taken Calvin eighteen years to persuade the city fathers of Geneva to set up an Academy there, and the Council kept a close eye on the personnel and costs of the resulting institution. This consisted of a lower school, the schola privata, consisting of seven classes of boys who studied a fairly typical humanist curriculum, and an upper school, the schola publica, in which adolescents and young men destined for the ministry were taught a combination of biblical scholarship and bonae literae by professors of Hebrew, Greek and Arts. On three days, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the younger boys were marched to the temple in four crocodiles (from the four quarters of the town) by a teacher who would then take a roll-call. With the senior students, who had arrived independently, they would then join in the service and listen to the sermon given by Calvin or another scholarly preacher to a mixed congregation of adults and children, scholars and non-scholars. For the youngest students on Saturdays there was also recitation of the part of the catechism to be dealt with the next day, and an explanation of it by the teacher, and for older pupils in the schola privata, study of the Gospel of Saint Luke in Greek or one of the Epistles. On Sunday afternoons these students were again marched to church for the afternoon sermon and catechism class, and also had to meditate on and record the sermons they heard. The lower school spent Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the classroom, with the first lesson beginning with the school prayer (published with Calvin’s Catechism), which each pupil had to recite in turn. An hour-and-a-half later, breakfast was taken, ‘accompanied by prayers’. After further morning lessons each boy recited the Lord’s Prayer and ‘some brief prayers of thanks’, and went home to dinner. In the afternoon, students spent a whole hour in assembly singing psalms; then lessons, a short break (begun with prayer), more lessons, and finally assembly, at which row by row the pupils recited in 21   Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education, vol. 1, pp. 163–205; Brockliss, French Higher Education, p. 57–8; see also A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 340–43. The editions of the Ratio studiorum consulted were by Edward A. Fitzpatrick (St. Ignatius and the Ratio Studiorum, New York, 1933) and the Latin–French edition by A. Demoustier, D. Julia et al. (Ratio Studiorum, Paris, 1997). On stressing confessional divides, see Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education, vol. 1, pp. 164–5, though see also 179–80; Nye, ‘Not Like Us’, pp. 50–55, and Erika Rummel, The Confessionalization of Humanism in Reformation Germany (Oxford, 2000).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

French the Lord’s Prayer, the (quite long) Confession of Faith laid down in the school statutes, and the Ten Commandments. After the Principal gave the Blessing, they all dispersed to begin their homework.22 Even for the youngsters in the schola privata, therefore, the number of hours devoted to religious exercises and the level of concentration required by listening to public sermons or memorizing the Genevan Confession of Faith were set at a high level. Students in the schola publica faced a yet more demanding programme. In addition to the sermons and services already mentioned, about half their time each week was devoted to improving their Hebrew, Greek and Latin, studying the Old Testament, and hearing the Bible expounded on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons by two persons designated by the Company of Pastors. One student in 1564 reported that 200 people, including ‘the most brilliant students in the entire school’, were present to hear Calvin himself expounding the Book of Ezekiel on the first three days of alternative weeks ‘according to this year’s programme’, and Beza explaining the Catechism in Greek in the intervening weeks. In the mornings, the professor of Greek commented on ‘some book of philosophy which has to do with morals’, and some poem, speech or history, ‘choosing the most pure’; history was preferred because it showed students God’s providential purposes at work. Meanwhile, the professor of Arts was to encourage students to hone their skills in dialectic and rhetoric, so they could debate with dissenters and persuade their hearers of the truth of the Gospel message. Potential ordinands had to give trial sermons on Saturday afternoons before experienced preachers, and accept their criticism humbly. Indeed, it has been suggested that under Beza’s close supervision of the Academy in the closing decades of the sixteenth century, the teaching of theology ‘became more and more technical, a training for controversialists, where once it had been an induction for fledgling pastors and future elders’.23 Both the Genevan ordinances and the Lutheran ones cited earlier may not have been followed to the letter, but certainly reflect the authorities’ intentions. A closer parallel to the pattern in English schools may be found in the early history of the Strasburg Academy, where Johann Sturm perpetuated the teaching tradition of Agricola, Erasmus and Melanchthon, and taught alongside irenic reformers like Capito and Bucer. Sturm believed that in a school, the knowledge and preservation of true religion was best 22   Le Livre du Recteur de l’Académie de Genève, ed. Suzanne and Sven Stelling-Michaud (6 vols, Geneva, 1964–80), vol. 1, pp. 68–71; Gillian Lewis, ‘The Geneva Academy’, in Andrew Pettegree, A. Duke and G. Lewis (eds), Calvinism in Europe 1540–1620 (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 35–63, at 40–42. 23   Ibid., pp. 42–51, 60–61; Le Livre du Recteur, vol. 1, pp. 71–3.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


guaranteed by guiding students through a close study of classical languages and literature, and only to a lesser extent by learning a catechism, studying the Bible and singing psalms. The number of catechisms a student learned should be kept to the bare minimum, he thought; passages of the Bible were studied primarily as exercises in language; otherwise Bible study was confined to holidays, though older pupils could read commentaries at home; learning Hebrew was voluntary, and again not studied in class, but privately. However, even the prestige of Sturm could not prevent him from having to give ground in the 1560s to his rivals, the Lutheran preacher Marbach and the Company of Pastors, who forced the teachers in the academy to give up the Bucerian catechisms of the 1530s for strictly orthodox Lutheran catechisms. This confrontation reflected less a latent tension between (what one recent historian called) ‘the humanists’ pursuit of wisdom and the reformers’ drive to pure doctrine’ than power struggles within Strasburg, over who should dominate the Church there, and who should control the education of those likely to become preachers. Whether in Catholic France, Lutheran Germany or the patchwork of allegiances in the Rhineland and Switzerland, the secular authorities and the leading clergy increasingly saw the need to stress the confessional distinctiveness of their schools and to ensure the correct training of new generations of orthodox preachers and pious magistrates. Though Sturm was eventually forced out of the Academy in Strasburg, humanism survived, albeit in a city held in a firm Lutheran embrace.24 Compare all this with the English situation. Between the Royal Injunctions of 1536 and the canons of 1604, the onus of religious instruction in the basics of the faith was shifted from ‘parents and masters’ at home to the ‘clergy’ in church, and then from 1571 to ‘schoolmasters’ in class as well. Catechizing was to be at least once a week, either in school or church, but no details of how many hours or on which days; the catechism used had to be an officially approved one, in English or Latin, but exactly which Latin version was not stated. The Royal Injunctions of 1559, followed by some episcopal injunctions in the 1560s and 1570s and Canon 79 of 1604, decreed that on other weekdays schoolteachers should teach their pupils 24   This paragraph is based on Jean Sturm Classicae Epistolae, ed. Jean Rott (Paris, 1938), pp. 44–5 and passim; Pierre Mesnard, ‘The Pedagogy of Johann Sturm (1507–1589) and its Evangelical Inspiration’, Studies in the Renaissance, 13 (1966), 200–219; Robert Faerber, ‘La Pensée Réligieuse et Théologique de Jean Sturm’, in Strasbourg au Coeur Réligieux du XVIe siècle, Hommage à L. Febvre (Strasburg, 1977), pp. 189–96 (and other essays in the same volume by Kittelson, Hall and Schindling); Anton Schindling, Humanistische Hochschule und freie Reichsstadt: Gymansium und Akademie in Strassburg 1538–1621 (Weisbaden, 1977), pp. 178–80 and passim; Kittelson, ‘Luther the Educational Reformer’, pp. 102–4; Lewis W. Spitz and B.S. Tinsley (eds), Johann Sturm on Education (St Louis, MO, 1995), esp. chaps 2, 9, 12; on confessionalism, see above, pp. 6–7, 14.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

‘such sentences of holy scripture as shall be most expedient to induce them to all godliness’; but neither the sentences nor how often they were to be taught was specified. The canons of 1571 also stipulated that ‘as often as any sermon shall be’ the teacher should send the boys to church to hear it, and afterwards examine them on ‘what they have learned out of that sermon’. But the equivalent canon of 1604 was more carefully worded and possibly less demanding: attendance was required not at every sermon, but at ‘any sermon … upon holy and festival days within the parish’ where a schoolmaster taught, and the subsequent examination should be ‘at times convenient’. Perhaps by then it was realized that schoolboys living at home might go to church with their parents on Sunday, and if there was to be an examination of either a Sunday or a holiday sermon it would be more convenient for it to happen on the next working schoolday.25 We can clothe these bare bones of official policy with details culled from other sources. These indicate a number of conservative features. As in the late Middle Ages, the school year was arranged round the great festivals of the Christian year – Christmas, Easter and Whit.26 Larger schools with their own chapels, like Eton and Winchester, were slow to change their fittings and services to the new order, and also, like the universities, were allowed to continue conducting their services in Latin: the reason given in Elizabeth’s letters patent for this concession was the students’ need to familiarize themselves with that language. However, the practice soon spread to established schools in Canterbury and London and to schools in the provinces such as Thame in Oxfordshire, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Croydon. Where Greek became well established too, we also find prayers in Greek.27 Given that many pre-Reformation schools had woven prayers and antiphons into their working day, it is not surprising to find that many of the founders of new schools insisted on regular prayers being said each day, usually inside the schoolroom, but sometimes in the parish church where it was very close.28 The early Elizabethan statutes of Tonbridge and Sandwich schools, in almost identical language, ‘acknowledging God to 25   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 59, 93–100, 171–2. The fullest discussion of these injunctions and canons can be found in Wood, The Reformation and English Education, chap. 4 (‘The Religious Teaching of Children’); but see also now the works cited above, n. 8. 26   C.P. Hill, The History of Bristol Grammar School (Bath, 1951), p. 26. 27   Maxwell-Lyte, Eton College, pp. 161–2, 174, 220; Wood, The Reformation and English Education, pp. 44–8, 156–60; [Hugh Robinson], Preces (Oxford, 1616), pp. 4–8; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, pp. 9, 126; J.H. Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays (Oxford, 1933), pp. 58–9, 102; see also above, p. 259. 28   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 42–5; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 716.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


be the only author of all knowledge and virtue’, stated that teachers and scholars should start and finish each day ‘devoutly kneeling on their knees’, and ‘pray to almighty God according to the form by the master prescribed on every school day’.29 Where the patron himself prescribed the form, it could have a traditional ring. At Sandwich the patron insisted on an extra prayer each Saturday afternoon, ‘wherein shall be made mention of the church, the realm, the prince, the estate of the town, and the founder and his posterity’. At the school set up by Peter Blundell at Tiverton in Devon in 1604, the scholars every Saturday morning had to say a prayer in Latin thanking God for the founder’s bounty and hoping that having profited from the education he provided, they might through Christ ‘obtain the rewards of a blessed resurrection and everlasting felicity’.30 Where a teacher or cleric was involved in specifying the content or drawing up the precise form of words for school prayers, such as James Pilkington at Rivington, Thomas Lawrence at Shrewsbury and John Donne at Brentwood, these prayers could be quite long and conservative.31 To ensure continuity and perhaps discourage improvisation, set prayers could be written down on a ‘table’ which was then hung where prayers were to be said.32 One exception was at Blackburn, where each September (when the original statutes had been signed) the scholars were to ‘exercise themselves in verses or other exercises generally in praising God’ for moving the governors and benefactors to help the school, and also urging God ‘that others by their example may be stirred up to bestow their goods’ on the school.33 A small minority of grammar schools had prayers three times a day – before school, at the mid-day break and after school34 – but in the great majority of Elizabethan and early Stuart schools prayers were said at the start and end of the school day, ‘distinctly and audibly’. This seems to have remained the norm in England right throughout the early modern period, though after the Restoration, in line with new or revised statutes specifying the raising 29

  S. Rivington, The History of Tonbridge School (4th edn, London, 1925), p. 68; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 602–3. 30   Ibid., p. 603; F.J. Snell, Blundell’s A Short History of the Famous West Country School (London, n.d.), pp. 184–5. For more examples, see Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays, pp. 56–9. 31   Margaret M. Kay, The History of Rivington and Blackrod Grammar School (Manchester, 1966), pp. 170–72, 182–4; Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 20–21; R.R. Lewis, The History of Brentwood School (Brentwood, 1981), p. 43. 32   See above, n. 17; I.E. Gray and W.E. Potter, Ipswich School 1400–1950 (Ipswich, 1950), p. 40; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 622. 33   J. Garstang, A History of the Blackburn Grammar School (Blackburn, 1897), pp. 43–4. 34   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 133, vol. 2, p. 217; The History and Register of Aldenham School, ed. E. Beevor et al. (London, 1938), p. xxiii.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

of students in ‘the principles of the Church of England’, these twice-daily prayers were less likely to have been laid down by the patron or master and more likely to be selected from the Book of Common Prayer.35 A number of founders also specified that a psalm or psalms were to be sung, or said, as an accompaniment to school prayers – a move that was also recommended by various teachers such as Edmund Coote and Charles Hoole.36 Again some of the earlier statutes had a traditional ring to them: at Kirkby Stephen in 1566, the founder specified his own favourite 15 psalms, to be gone through twice a month, and specified that the scholars sing them at the tomb he had just set up in the parish church. Other founders specified a single psalm or approved a school hymn, like the Latin one at Thame in 1575, or left the choice to the master or usher, as at Heath Grammar School in Halifax, where the statutes of c. 1600 said that the boys should ‘sing daily some place of David in metre’ (that is, the metrical version of the Psalms) and ‘with thanks unto God for the founder of the school, and the good benefactors’. As late as 1692 the school statutes at Waitby in Westmorland specified eight psalms which were to be memorized by students ‘to instruct them in their duty to God and man’.37 Scholars were also expected to join in the prayers and psalms when they attended church services as a body. This was normally confined to Sundays and holidays, though where the school was attached to a cathedral, attendance could be daily, and where the founders or governors were conservative, it could also include some weekday attendance.38 Many school statutes of this period, especially for grammar schools based in towns, stipulated that on Sundays and holidays the boys were to ‘frequent divine service’ as a body (some specified processing from school to church two by two); there they would sit in their classes in a part of the parish church arranged between churchwardens and school authorities.39 35   A.M. d’Ivry Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools 1660–1714’ (unpublished University of London PhD thesis, 1969), pp. 145, 151–2; Vincent, Grammar Schools, p. 87; Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 192, 612–13 (under ‘Catechesis’), 616–17 (‘Catechismus’) and 702–3 (‘Preces’). 36   Green, Print and Protestantism, p. 380; Hoole, New discovery, p. 268; see also next note. 37   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 716; Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays, pp. 58–9; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 58; Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, pp. 147–8. 38   Wood, The Reformation and English Education, pp. 136–40, 157, 164–5; D. Robertson, The King’s School, Gloucester (London, 1974), p. 42; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 622; Lewis, Brentwood School, p. 44. 39   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 223, 420, 515, 603–4, 622, and vol. 2, p. 218; Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 45–50; Kay, Rivington Grammar

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


In 1582 Shrewsbury School took over and refitted the Trinity Chapel in St Mary’s for school use; a rent was paid to the church for the use of what became known as the Scholars’ Chapel.40 There is evidence of pews or lofts being allocated to, or even new galleries built for, schoolboys and their teachers in Kent, Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Northumberland.41 In many statutes there was also mention of students taking to church ‘their psalm books and books of prayer’, ‘Prayer Books in Latin or English’, ‘service book’ or ‘Common Prayer books’, and school records occasionally show copies of these works being purchased.42 The steady trend towards the production of copies in smaller, cheaper formats of both the Book of Common Prayer and of Sternhold and Hopkins’s version of the metrical psalms, combined with the enormous sales of these titles from the end of the sixteenth to the early eighteenth century, strongly suggest that these orders were kept.43 Remnants of the medieval practice of teaching boys some Latin so that they could help sing the service may have persisted after the Reformation in a few specialized cases, such as in cathedral and collegiate schools and some London hospital schools. But in general, orders for schoolboys to lead the singing were rare in England, perhaps because adult parishioners soon proved they were more than equal to singing metrical psalms without their help.44 Certainly nothing like the scale of singing in Lutheran and Calvinist schools abroad or in Jesuit colleges seems to have been expected in early modern English schools. While at church, as the canons of 1571 and 1604 indicated, schoolboys were expected to pay special attention to the sermon, on which they were likely to be quizzed the next day; and there is evidence of support for this requirement in school statutes and regulations drawn up by governors and School, pp. 173–4; A. Macdonald, A History of the King’s School Worcester (London, 1936), p. 115. 40   Oldham, Shrewsbury School, pp. 21–2. 41   Woodruff and Cape, Canterbury School, p. 106; Lewis, Brentwood School, p. 44; Watson, English Grammar Schools, p. 49; Beevor, Aldenham School, p. xxiii; Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, p. 155; Vincent, Grammar Schools, p. 89; N.J. Frangopulo, The History of the Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School Ashburne (Ashbourne, 1939), p. 88; E. Gillett and K.A. MacMahon, A History of Hull (Oxford, 1980), p. 208; T.H. Rowland, ‘Curriculum of the Royal Grammar-School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’, Research Review, 3 (1952), p. 38. Some of the galleries were still in use in the nineteenth century. 42   Kay, Rivington Grammar School, pp. 173–4; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 224, 420, and vol. 2, pp. 218, 737; Beevor, Aldenham School, p. xxiii; Macdonald, King’s School Worcester, p. 162; Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays, pp. 64–5 43   Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 247–9, 508–22. 44   Ibid., p. 510 and chap. 9 passim. Coventry was unusual in stipulating that students should be taught ‘grammar and music’: Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 647.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

teachers of both ‘godly’ and strongly conformist persuasions.45 But it is not easy to tell how seriously teachers took this duty. In 1612 Brinsley thought sermon repetition was the practice ‘least thought of in most schools’, and the prim young Simonds D’Ewes complained that one of his better teachers, though in orders, did not cause his students to take notes of sermons or repeat anything they had learned thence.46 Nor can we be certain what students heard on a typical Sunday or holiday, or what they made of it. If preachers knew there would be students in their congregation, did they adjust their vocabulary and material accordingly (as had been done in the sermon written by an adult for the boy-bishop to deliver to the assembled boys of St Paul’s on Childermass Day – 28 December, All Innocents’ Day – from the 1510s to the 1540s),47 or did they simply give the same type of sermon they would normally do for a congregation of mixed age, knowledge and commitment, perhaps lasting an hour or two in the century after the Reformation? The printed sermons which survive from this period suggest long, heavily sub-divided and often quite technical expositions of certain themes were given as a matter of course, though these printed texts are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the sermons actually heard week-in, week-out in an average English parish or on special holidays. Moreover, some bishops exhorted each minister to ‘expound’ and ‘make his people understand’ the catechism in every detail; in print there survive ‘courses of lectures upon the church catechism’, and in manuscript the texts of shorter, simpler catechetical homilies, given by preachers before a mixed congregation of catechumens and parents on the passage of the catechism on which the young had just been catechized. Were students quizzed on these in school the next day?48 The sermon notes which today abound in record offices and university libraries all over England and Wales were mostly taken by adults, to judge from the mature handwriting or the display of technical awareness; many of those taken in a university town or the capital were probably mainly by


  Gerald Bray (ed.), The Anglican Canons 1529–1947 (Church of England Record Society 6, Woodbridge, 1998): 200–201, 372–3; Wood, The Reformation and English Education, pp. 167–8; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 255–8; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, p. 420 (Archbishop Harsnet). 46   Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 43, 224; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 253–4; Brown, Elizabethan Schooldays, pp. 66–7; R.W. Elliott, The Story of King Edward VI School [Bury St Edmunds] (Bury St Edmunds, 1963), p. 54. 47   Lupton, Life of John Colet, p. 278; Tudor, ‘Religious Instruction for Children and Adolescents’, pp. 404–5. 48   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 146–52, 158–65, 202–3; Ian Green, Continuity and Change in Protestant Preaching in Early Modern England (Dr Williams’s Trust, 2009), pp. 14–30, 45–6.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


undergraduates or young ordinands sampling what was on offer.49 There is an isolated case of the notes made by Philip Henry while still a student at Westminster: his mother had to secure permission from Busby for her precocious son to hear sermons outside the precincts of the Abbey, though the manner in which this leave was described suggests how exceptional it was.50 Other than Henry’s notes, there is a perplexing shortage of sermon notes which we can be confident were written by schoolboys, especially in the provinces (though more may be awaiting scholars in family archives). Was the paper on which the notes were written later reused or thrown away? Or was it the case, as at Bristol, that only older boys were deemed able to make proper notes, while younger boys were required to give ‘some other account’, possibly just a verbal report? Certainly the young students of a Dorset vicar in the reign of Charles I, Edward Davenant, were urged to train their memories by rendering an account of the sermon to the teacher viva voce, as John Aubrey reported. When Davenant’s elder son went on to Winchester, where the students did regularly hand in their sermon notes to a teacher, he explained why he had no notes by cockily telling his teacher: ‘If I do not give you as good an account of it as they do, I am much mistaken.’51 At another school, younger students were encouraged to memorize the text on which the sermon had been preached, in English, while older students did the same in Latin or Greek ‘as they are able’.52 While laudable practices, these fell short of full sermon repetition. Moreover, the school timetables which survive appear to have left little or no space on a Monday morning for checking and commenting on these reports, so it is again hard to know how much time an usher or master had to assess or comment on individual reports. Indeed, Mondays were also days of reckoning for those boys who had failed to attend church the day before or misbehaved there. One way or another, English students were unlikely to have been exposed to a fraction of the number of sermons the students at the Geneva Academy witnessed, and the question of how close a grilling they were given on what they had learned from them remains open.53 * * *


  Ibid., pp. 18–19, 24–6, 33.   Matthew Henry, The Life of the Reverend Philip Henry (corrected and enlarged by J.B. Williams, 1974 reprint), pp. 6–7; Dr Williams’s Library, New College MSS. L 203. 51   Cited in Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 89–90. 52   Ibid.; Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, p. 151. 53   Ibid., p. 151; Vincent, Grammar Schools, pp. 89–90. 50


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One difference between Protestant and Catholic schooling was in the study of the Bible. To ensure that their understanding of the scriptures followed that of the Church, students in Catholic institutions were normally exposed to the Bible in one of two ways: through exposition by a priest in church on Sundays and holidays, or through the growing number of proof texts which were carefully selected for insertion into approved catechisms. In Protestant schools, students were exposed to the Word in a wide variety of ways – as a first reading and copying text, through proof catechisms, daily psalm-singing, and translation into and out of various languages, as well as hearing sermons; and from early in their student days, older students were much more likely either to possess their own copy of the complete Bible in the vernacular or to have easy access to one, and later on to have a New Testament in Latin and one in Greek (an Old Testament in Hebrew was probably much harder to come by).54 That having been said, students in most English schools were probably not pressed as hard to familiarize themselves with the language or the teaching of the Bible as were their peers in many Protestant institutions elsewhere; and much of what pressure there was again came from founders or parents and teachers rather than the authorities. In 1547 Cranmer had insisted that the conservative teachers at Winchester College should use scripture readings from an English translation, rather than the Vulgate; but there was (to my knowledge) no general order for all schools to this effect, or even to have a Bible permanently on the premises. Similarly, there is little evidence that in their visitations bishops or archdeacons spent time checking that masters were teaching their students ‘sentences … to induce them to all godliness’.55 There are signs of a very basic form of contact with the Bible in elementary schools and the lower forms of a grammar school, as pupils in a petty school were moved on from the ABC or Primer to reading selected psalms or passages of the New Testament, such as the Sermon on the Mount. Copying passages from the Bible was a standard way for beginners to be taught to write legibly as well. As late as 1652, the foundation statutes of Colfe’s Grammar School at Lewisham stipulated that scholars should once a month copy out John 17:3 (‘And this is life eternal …’), and that those whose writing had improved most by the end of the year


  Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education, vol. 1, pp. 176–8; Green, ‘The Bible in Catechesis’ (forthcoming). The Latin New Testament was likely to be the version by Beza: STC2 2802–14 and Wing2 B2776aA–94; Green, Print and Protestantism, Appendix 1 (under ‘Bible’). Brinsley’s students had an Erasmus or a Beza Latin New Testament. 55   Wood, The Reformation and English Education, pp. 158–61, 165–7; see also above, n. 25.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


should be rewarded.56 But beyond that it was founders or teachers who tended to insist that corporate acts of worship at the start and end of the day should include the reading out loud of a chapter of the Bible by a different student each day. Educational theorists praised this custom for encouraging students to speak audibly and distinctly in front of the assembled school, as well as being beneficial to the hearers. The records of Heath School in Halifax for 1603 show that Dr Farmer had bought a fair English Bible in the largest volume (that is, with a larger typeface than usual, for placing on a lectern) for bible readings at morning and evening prayers.57 Hoole’s directions show him, as usual, trying to get multiple benefits from a single exercise: Let him that is to read take his place at a desk in the middle of the school, and be sure he speak aloud … the lower boys looking upon their English, and the higher upon their Latin Bibles. Those that are able to make use of the Septuagint in Greek may do well to procure them to look upon.58

There is no sign in school timetables of whole lessons being devoted to those ‘sentences of holy scripture’ inducing students to godliness which had been specified by the Elizabethan and Jacobean authorities. From the late sixteenth century some official and unofficial catechisms were issued with proof references or proof texts for each statement, placed either in the margin or in the middle of the text. But the use of such ‘proof catechisms’ did not reach its peak in England until the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; and as late as the 1650s, Hoole still thought it was the usher’s job to give first-formers some proof texts for the section of the catechism they had just been set to master.59 Another way in which students would have become familiar with some approved sentences was through attending church: by looking at the boards or paintings containing Creed, Decalogue, and Lord’s Prayer or other scripture phrases, and by familiarizing themselves with their own copies of the Prayer Book, psalter and Bible (at Rivington, young pupils had to take a psalter and New Testament to church, older students a psalter and complete Bible). Morning and evening services and the Lord’s Supper contained many suitable ‘sentences’; and some teachers showed they were aware that younger pupils needed help to find ‘the lessons and 56

  L.L. Duncan, A History of Colfe’s Grammar School Lewisham (London, 1910), p. 59. For boys in the lower forms at another school who copied the catechism, see Beevor, Aldenham School, p. xx. 57   Watson, English Grammar Schools, pp. 58–9. 58   Hoole, New discovery, p. 267. 59   Ibid., p. 42, but see also pp. 270–71; Green, ‘The Bible in Catechesis’ (forthcoming).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

proper psalms, Epistles and Gospels as they are appointed’ in the church lectionary, which were accessible either within the Book of Common Prayer or in their own copy of the Bible.60 A common form of contact with the Bible in the lower forms of many English grammar schools, to judge from teachers’ comments and the sales of copies, was through one of three little books: Eusebius Pagit’s History of the Bible; briefly collected by way of question and answer, and two anonymous works also in question-and-answer form, The doctrine of the Bible and The way to true happiness. Between them these three works sold perhaps 60 editions during the seventeenth century, and there were many imitations. Pagit’s was the genuine article, recommended by both Brinsley (with reservations) and Hoole, and passing through perhaps 15 editions, while the others were probably published as commercial ventures, to judge from the sentiments on the title-page of The way to true happiness, which sold as many editions as the other two put together, and which suggested that if you acquire knowledge, you will gain faith, which will please God (not much sign of grace there). In all three the focus was on facts and events rather than doctrine, leading to either a dry recitation of prophets or accounts of the Levitical laws ‘which are beyond [young students’] conceit’, thought Brinsley. He also suggested teachers ask students who had just tackled a section of Pagit ‘what virtues are commended in that history, what vices are condemned’. When the authors of these little works did attempt to teach doctrine, it was not always spelt out clearly. Thus at the start of the New Testament section of The way to true happiness, the stress was on Christ’s life and death, and his requiring of faith and obedience from ‘us’ (first-person plural); but under Romans the rather bald message was that Christ had fulfilled the Law for the elect (third-person plural), and by believing in Him, His righteousness would become theirs.61 As with Castellio’s scriptural dialogues, the demands of the ‘history of the Bible’ format limited the range of doctrines that could be highlighted, and the focus, as so often in school texts, was mainly on rewards for virtue and penalties for vice.62 Only at some leading schools and in the handbooks of some innovative teachers do we have indications of intermediate or advanced exercises based on the Bible being stipulated or attempted. At St Paul’s, younger boys were taught to use an English version of the Psalms and Proverbs for 60

  Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, pp. 147–8, 153; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 737. 61   Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 152–4; Brinsley, Ludus literarius, p. 259 ; Hoole, New discovery, pp. 267–8; anon., The way to true happinesse (1640), pp. 56, 68–9 . 62   See above, pp. 184–9.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


some of their first attempts to turn English into Latin prose; at Westminster, fifth-formers turned the same into Latin verse, and at Charterhouse on Sundays, boys in the highest form had to turn a passage from the second lesson which they had had just heard into Greek and Latin verses. The choice of verse may have an odd ring to modern ears, but was perfectly in keeping with the higher levels of humanist instruction.63 An exercise suggested by Brinsley was that on one evening a student should stand up and translate a chapter of the New Testament from Latin into good English, and the next evening another student should translate the same chapter from an English Testament into good Latin, and so on in turn with each new chapter. Meanwhile, the rest of the student body should ‘look on their own Testaments, English, Latin, or Greek, or to harken’. That this was a means of ensuring ‘they may get Religion and Latin together’ was perhaps indicated by his suggestion that the students should begin with John, as the easiest Gospel.64 Hoole adopted a graded approach: secondformers should translate two verses of Psalm 119 into English for their ‘night exercises’ (to be tested next morning); third-formers should every morning turn four to six verses from the Latin Testament into English, and every evening two verses out of Proverbs into Latin; with fourth-formers, the bar was raised to six to ten verses out of the Latin Testament, and with fifth- and sixth-formers, to a dozen verses out of the Greek Testament, or if by the sixth form they had Hebrew, to go through the Psalter.65 Brinsley was certainly one of the ‘godly’, and Hoole was enough of a conformist to recommend the use of both Prayer Book and Westminster Catechisms. But it is notable that in both cases there was an element of selection in which books of the Bible were to be used, and also that the assertive tone in their earlier chapters on matters of grammar and technique of composition – this is the way I do it, and it works – tends to give way to a more theoretical approach in the later, much shorter sections which they devoted to Bible study – this is how it could be done. This may have been due to the relative lateness with which students in early modern England began to read the Bible in the original languages: most students’ Greek was probably little more than basic, and their Hebrew rudimentary or non-existent, so they were steered towards manageable exercises on easy or familiar sections of the Bible. Certainly, a leading dissenter, Richard Baxter, complained that in the grammar school education of midseventeenth-century England there was too little Bible study in the original

63   Baldwin, Shakspere’s ‘Small Latine’, vol. 1, p. 144; Clarke, Classical Education in Britain, p. 42; Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 2, p. 9. 64   Brinsley, Ludus literarius, pp. 261–2. 65   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 52, 58–9, 71, 130, 169, 191, 193.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


languages.66 But it also perhaps reflects the fact that in England, Bible reading at school level was seen as much a matter of language training as of ‘getting Religion’, in Brinsley’s phrase. Rather than being initiated into the secrets of the Bible straight away, English grammar school boys were being prepared for a later stage in life when, if able and willing, they would use the best available texts of the Bible and the most learned commentaries and other technical aids that were then available in print.67 * * * We can gain some further insight into what form religious instruction may have taken by looking at the texts printed for use by students in schools and colleges. In England these printed texts were for the most part catechisms. As students moved up the ladder of grammar school classes in the late sixteenth century, they were probably set to master, first, a Latin version of the Prayer Book catechism which they had already memorized in English at elementary school, and then Nowell’s catechism in Latin and then in Greek.68 The original version of this had been composed by a former teacher and Dean of St Paul’s, Alexander Nowell, but the version most often used was almost certainly the abridgement which appeared later, since the Latin version of Nowell’s ‘middle’ catechism passed through perhaps 22 editions from the 1570s to the 1660s, compared to about nine for the ‘larger’ in Latin, while the Greek and Latin ‘middle’ form sold eight editions between 1575 and 1687, compared to just one known edition for the ‘larger’ equivalent.69 Not only was the Prayer Book catechism which was learnt by younger students much shorter and simpler than its Continental equivalents, but also the form of ‘Nowell’ most commonly used by older students in England was much simpler than Luther’s larger catechism or the widely used Heidelberg catechism or the larger form of Canisius’ catechism used with older pupils abroad. Occasionally other catechisms were specified in England. At Leicester in the early 1570s, Calvin’s catechism was to be studied in English by the youngest students, but in Greek in the upper forms (using imported copies presumably, since no Greek version of Calvin’s 1541 form was


R.B. Schlatter, The Social Ideas of Religious leaders 1660–1688 (Oxford, 1940),

p. 44. 67

  Green, Print and Protestantism, chap. 3.   Carlisle, Endowed Grammar Schools, vol. 1, pp. 158–61; Hill, Bristol Grammar School, p. 28. 69   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 20, 62, 71, 89–90, 189–92, 196, 199, 279, 612–15, 690–93, 702–3. 68

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


published in England until the 1640s).70 To help first-formers master the Lord’s Prayer, Creed and Ten Commandments in English and Latin, and understand what they meant, Hoole recommended his ushers to use Richard Bernard’s Common catechisme – an enlargement of the Prayer Book Catechism which passed through nearly a dozen editions in the early to mid-seventeenth century. While High Master of St Paul’s, Richard Mulcaster published the Catechismus Paulinus – a longer and more detailed version of the Prayer Book Catechism composed in Latin verse.71 At Oxford in 1579 a statute was passed designed to extirpate heresy among undergraduates, which recommended study of Nowell’s ‘larger’ catechism in Latin or Greek, Calvin’s catechism in Greek or Hebrew, and Hyperius’ Elementae Christianae religionis or the Heidelberg catechism (probably in Latin). Except the Nowell, all of these would have to have been studied in imported copies, though Ursinus’ Latin lectures on the Heidelberg Catechism were printed in London and Cambridge in the mid1580s, and either in this version or an English translation, were studied with dogged determination by some aspiring ministers at university in the 1590s and early seventeenth century.72 During the middle decades of the seventeenth century an existing catechism and a new one were made available in a series of translations to enhance students’ linguistic skills. The official Prayer Book catechism was translated into Hebrew by a clergy-schoolmaster in Durham, who published it in the early 1630s, and also into Arabic in the 1670s by a leading Arabist, Edward Pocock. The same catechism (with some prayers) also appeared in 1638 in four languages – English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew – in Catecheticae versiones variae.73 Similarly, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which was published first in English in 1647, appeared in what Hoole called an ‘elegant translation’ into Latin and Greek in the late 1650s (there was also a translation into Hebrew, though this was not published for many years, and then sold only one edition). Hoole’s ideal sequence in 1659 was the Westminster Shorter Catechism in English, Latin and Greek for students in forms two to four, then Nowell’s ‘middle catechism’ in Latin and Greek or the Heidelberg Catechism in form five, and Calvin’s catechism in Greek and the Church of England catechism in Hebrew in the top form.74 Since Calvin’s form was not much more advanced 70

  Ibid., pp. 197, 608–11.   Hoole, New discovery, pp. 41–2; Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 73, 156, 218, 594–5, 686–7. 72   Ibid., pp. 197, 199–200. 73   Ibid., pp. 192, 612–15; Hoole knew of the Hebrew translation only in the 1638 edition: New discovery, p. 201. 74   Ibid., pp. 164, 188; Green, The Christian’s ABC, 192, 197–8, 740–43. 71


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than Nowell’s and the Prayer Book catechism was actually much simpler, this sequence confirms that Hoole’s prime concern in the top form was to hone linguistic skills and comprehension rather than heighten doctrinal insight. Moreover, how many schools adopted his ideal, especially after the changes associated with the Restoration in 1660, is not clear. Certainly the sales of catechisms in Latin, Greek or Hebrew published in England in the decades before and after 1660 were not high, with the exception of a form which originated in Holland and was by a known Arminian – Hugo Grotius’ Baptizatorum puerorum institutio – in the original Latin verse, but with Greek and English translations also in verse. This had been designed for use at Eton, but was then offered to other schools, and passed through perhaps 11 editions in England between 1647 and 1706.75 Students in the upper forms of some schools and in some colleges may have been exposed to difficult doctrine and some matters in controversy in the more advanced catechisms in English to which they were directed, such as Ursinus’ lectures on the Heidelberg Catechism, Hammond’s advanced catechism or the Westminster Larger Catechism. But again there were relatively few repeat editions of these works in England, apart from Hammond’s.76 As in Geneva and Jesuit schools abroad, catechizing in English schools was deferred to the end of the week, sometimes on a Friday, occasionally a Sunday morning, but most commonly a Saturday morning or afternoon. The time reserved in school timetables was often no more than a couple of hours, or even just one – a period Baxter thought a disgrace compared to the time spent on grammar and classical texts during the rest of the week.77 In so far as we can discover what happened, a typical session probably consisted of memorizing a section of the catechism in English or translating it from Latin, perhaps followed by a question-and-answer session to test what had been learnt, either by the teacher or an older student. There are few grounds for thinking that such a session rose above the testing of memory as far as checking if students actually understood the issues raised, though some teachers may have deployed one of the many catechetical forms which added additional questions to a standard catechism in order to elicit a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer which tested a catechumen’s understanding.78 75   Ibid., pp. 199, 658–9; this version also had scripture references by the Eton master who had taught those former pupils responsible for the Greek and English versions. 76   Ibid., pp. 196–201, 660–61, 732–3, 740–43. 77   Lewis, ‘The Geneva Academy’, p. 41; Dainville, Les Jésuites et L’Education, vol. 1, p. 163; Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 178–9; Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, pp. 149–50. For an hour being a mid-seventeenth century practice found in more than one school, see W.E. Brown and F.R. Poskitt, The History of Bolton School (Bolton, 1976), pp. 50–1; Schlatter, Social Ideas, p. 44. 78   Green, The Christian’s ABC, chaps 4–5.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


In the upper forms of English schools (and even in some lower forms by the later seventeenth century), formal catechizing sessions seem to have been reduced from a weekly session to a fortnightly, or even monthly.79 Perhaps the senior students were moving on to private study of the fulllength version of Nowell’s catechism in Latin, or Latin and Greek, or to the forms of Grotius (as at Congleton in Cheshire) or Hammond (as at Newport on the Isle of Wight),80 and the more demanding translating and understanding which use of those forms involved dictated a different pattern of testing than that used lower down the school. Did the authors of any of the catechisms in use in England show any awareness of the need to reconcile the classical emphasis on virtue with the Protestant on grace, or suggest ways of doing so? The simple answer is ‘no’. The elementary and intermediate catechisms that were used most in English schools avoided controversy and taught a simple generic Christianity which was built round four building blocks: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the doctrine of the sacraments The commandments gave catechists a chance to state the importance of trying to walk in God’s way and repent their sins, the Creed encouraged students to state their faith in Christ’s atonement for their sins, and the Lord’s Prayer to thank God for his blessings and beg him to keep them from further sin. But this structure, while pedagogically sound, militated against a free flow of ideas, and the nearest catechumens might get to a statement on grace was the link between the last of the commandments and the first article of the Creed or the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer. This stated that a child was ‘not able’ to keep God’s commandments by himself, but could rest assured that he could ‘walk in the Commandments of God, and … serve him’ through His ‘special grace, which thou must learn at all times to call for by diligent prayer’.81 In Alexander Nowell’s intermediate and full-length catechisms, very little was said about grace: was it thought too difficult for schoolboys? Instead, the stress was very much on faith being coupled with an effort to lead a godly life, by trying to obey the will of God the Father; and on faith as the instrument of justification, not only setting us at liberty from sin and death, but also, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, regenerating and newly forming us to endeavour holiness, so that ‘justitiam … fidem ac bona opera, natura cohaerentia esse’ – ‘justice [or justification], faith


  Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, p. 146; B. Elliott, A History of Kibworth Beauchamp Grammar School (n.p., 1957), pp. 24–5. 80   Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, pp. 149–50; P.W.F. Erith, A Brief History of the Ancient Grammar School at Newport, Isle of Wight (Newport, 1950), p. 29. 81   F.E. Brightman, The English Rite (2 vols, London, 1921), vol. 2, pp. 784–5.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

and good works naturally cleave together’.82 As always, what teachers said orally might have supplemented this account, though by their nature such comments are unlikely to leave many traces.83 What we are left with at this level is a stress on ‘faith and good works’ – a combination of which ‘Saint Cicero’ would probably have approved, though he would not have used the same phrases to describe it. As for the more advanced catechetical forms encountered by some older students, most of their authors also studiously avoided citing classical materials in support of their arguments, and so for the most part denied themselves the opportunity of demonstrating in a systematic way how to tell sound classical ideas from unsound. One exception cited in Chapter 2 was Andrewes’s exposition of one of the staples of catechizing – the Ten Commandments – which was targeted at undergraduates in late Elizabethan Cambridge. Copies of this circulated round the university, but in its printed form, in a substantial folio, it was probably read more by preachers, teachers, catechists and zealous adults than penurious students.84 * * * Given the centrality of doctrine to the debates that took place in the divinity schools, some leading pulpits and in print, there is surprisingly little in the school statutes, educational treatises or student memoirs of the period to suggest that students in the upper forms of English schools, and perhaps anything more than a minority of undergraduates, were shepherded along a route leading to a more advanced understanding of Protestant doctrines. A comparison of English and German experience is again instructive. In Protestant cities in Germany which had an established academy or gymnasium but not a university, local clergy might give lectures on theology and other subjects to older pupils and any members of the public who were willing to attend. But in those cities which did have a reorganized or newly established university, the universities were ‘religious and not secular in their orientation’, according to Lewis Spitz, and they became ‘increasingly agents of confessionalism’ in which the powerful faculties of 82   [Alexander Nowell], Catechimsus, sive prima institutio (1576), pp. 46–7; [Nowell], A catechisme, or first instruction (1570), fol. 50v. 83   We have the comment of William Vincent, headmaster of Westminster in the late eighteenth century, that it was then the custom ‘to explain the sentiment of Sophocles by the text of St Paul’, to compare the teaching of Plato, Socrates, and other philosophers with the doctrines of Revelation, and to show how far classical teachings ‘approach the truth, and how infinitely they fall short of the Word of God’. But Vincent was clearly moving from classical to Christian, whereas here we are exploring teachers who were starting on the Christian side: E.D.W. Bill, Education at Christ Church 1660–1800 (Oxford, 1988), p. 3. 84   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 1, 46, 201–3, 584–5; see also above, p. 116.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


theology were the arbiters of orthodoxy. In both Protestant and Catholic universities abroad, there evolved a powerful synthesis of classical learning and evangelical or scholastic theology, reinforced by what another scholar has called a ‘quasi-monastic’ regime of daily devotions, meals and lessons. Spitz also suggested that the very success of the secondary level – schools, academies and gymnasia – in teaching languages and other humanistic subjects meant that the university arts faculty tended ‘to develop more and more into a philosophical faculty on a par with the faculties of theology, law and medicine’, rather than preparing undergraduates to move onto higher faculties.85 By contrast, in post-Reformation England there were but two universities, and the nearest to theological courses in provincial cities were the sequence of lectures given in some cathedrals and market towns by combinations of local clergy, for adults (lay and clergy) rather than students.86 In Cambridge especially, but in Oxford also to some degree, the Reformation did leave a distinct mark on the character of many of the fellows and the religious life of some of the colleges; but the extent to which the courses changed or to which the theological faculty achieved a position of pre-eminence was arguably less than in many Continental universities. Equally, as noted in an earlier chapter, there remained an overlap between the humanities courses taken in the senior forms at school and the studies of those sons of the gentry and middling sort who attended university for a year or two.87 For those English students eager to gain deeper insight and extend their knowledge of true religion, a few terms at a university or an Inn of Court gave them excellent opportunities to hear some of the best preachers of the day and to talk with some of the most pious and persuasive tutors. At an early stage, committed and intellectually able students like Lancelot 85   Lewis B. Spitz, ‘The Importance of the Reformation for Universities: Culture and Confession in the Critical Years’, in James M. Kittelson and Pamela J. Transue (eds), Rebirth, Reform and Resilience: Universities in Transition 1300–1700 (Columbus, OH, 1984), 54–60; R.A. Müller, ‘Student Education, Student Life’, in History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, p. 341. 86   Conferences and Combination Lectures in the Elizabethan Church, 1582–1590, ed. P. Collinson, J. Craig, and B. Usher (Church of England Record Society 10, Woodbridge, 2003); Collinson, ‘Lectures by Combination: Structures and Characteristics of Church Life in 17th-century England’, in his Godly People (London, 1982), pp. 467–98; P. Collinson, N. Ramsay and M. Sparks (eds), A History of Canterbury Cathedral (Oxford, 1995), pp. 159, 178–83. 87   Morgan, History of the University of Cambridge, chaps 12–15; The History of the University of Oxford, vol. 3, chaps 3, 5, 6, and vol. 4, chaps 1, 4, 10, 17–19; see also above, pp. 194–5. Of course, some students opted to travel to a Scottish university or to a handful of approved universities abroad, depending on their interests, such as theology or medicine: A History of the University in Europe, vol. 2, pp. 416–48.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

Andrewes and Samuel Ward were clearly encouraged to follow an intensive programme of study and contemplation at university.88 But whether this was the norm even then, and certainly later, is open to question. In 1706 Daniel Waterland, dean of Magdalene College Cambridge, drew up a four-year scheme of study for the average undergraduate who intended to enter the ministry; when published, this passed through five editions between 1729 and 1761, and so must have been fairly widely known. Predictably Waterland urged assiduous attendance at college services and regular private devotions, spending half an hour in the morning and again in the evening reading a chapter of the Bible, and ‘at fit seasons’ reading an uplifting book. But his timetable devoted so much time to ‘philosophy’ and ‘classical learning’ on weekdays that the study of ‘divinity’ was consigned to Sundays and holidays, and consisted mainly of reading and abridging printed sermons (to provide a ‘foundation of English divinity’) or reading an edifying book. He was also quite clear that the learning of Hebrew could be left until after a student had taken a degree, and then learnt intensively in a few months; also commentators such as Grotius, Hammond and Patrick need not be tackled until that interval between first degree and applying for ordination.89 If this was how budding clergymen were encouraged to spend their time, then how much time an undergraduate who was aiming at another career or none at all was encouraged to spend hearing sermons or studying the Bible or an advanced catechism is hard to gauge. Much must have depended on the reputation of the college or inn chosen, the degree of parental pressure, his tutor’s lead, and his own inclination; but it remains unclear how far those students who were inclined to minimize the time spent on their devotions or increasing their religious knowledge could be forced to do more. There were ways in which older schoolboys and undergraduates might have come to more advanced doctrinal knowledge – through what they heard outside the classroom, and through what they read beyond catechetical literature in class or in their own time – but in terms of evidence these too are problematic. There are clear cases of students being strongly affected by what was said and done by authority figures such as schoolteachers, tutors and preachers. The eight-year-old Samuel Fairclough, feeling guilty after an episode of pear-stealing with a fellow student, was turned into ‘a true and sincere convert’ by a sermon on the calling of Zaccheus preached by the local lecturer, Samuel Ward, which brought home ‘the terrors of the Law’ and the need for ‘sincere repentance … and an effectual faith’. The impact of the teaching, preaching and counselling of the ‘spiritual 88

  See ODNB under Lancelot Andrewes and Samuel Ward (1572–1643).   Daniel Waterland, Advice to a Young Student (Oxford, 1755), pp. 11–15, 17–22, 25, 27–9, 32–4. 89

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


brotherhood’ at Cambridge and Dry Drayton, which included Laurence Chaderton, Richard Greenham and William Perkins, became legendary.90 But as noted earlier, it is hard to tell what was heard in an average provincial church on a typical Sunday or holiday. One would certainly have expected students to have encountered clear statements of justification by faith alone through grace and the utter uselessness of works in meriting salvation, but what they made of condemnations of adult vices or encouragements to prepare for a sacrament in which they could not take part is beyond recall. Counselling at school level is even harder to pin down. Some teachers who were keyed into ‘godly’ networks received pupils from zealous families and sent them on to suitable tutors at Cambridge and Oxford; others like Eton, Winchester and Westminster provided the early education of a significant number of bishops, deans and cathedral clergy as well as parish clergy.91 Beyond this it is impossible to generalize. The same is true of the treatises and handbooks, other than the advanced catechetical works already mentioned, which English students may have been encouraged or volunteered to read, either in class or in their private time, either owned outright or borrowed from a teacher or school library. A number of approved titles were clearly stated in some Protestant and Catholic school curricula abroad, and copies of some of them were definitely made available in college libraries there: religious works took up 36 per cent of the budget of one French collège in the eighteenth century.92 But it is hard to find the English equivalents. Hoole’s suggestions for thirdformers were fairly conservative: Augustine’s ‘Soliloquies’ or ‘Meditations’ and Thomas à Kempis’s Imitation of Christ (presumably in the expurgated translations printed in England) and the Lutheran Johann Gerhard’s Meditations – all of which ‘they may buy both in English and Latin’, and for fourth-formers he recommended George Herbert’s The Temple and Francis Quarles’s Divine poems and Divine fancies.93 Older students were recommended improving works by Jeremy Taylor or Richard Allestree: Waterland’s recommendations to undergraduates included these and the 90

  See ODNB under Samuel Fairclough (1594–1677), Laurence Chaderton, Richard Greenham and William Perkins. 91   S. Bendall, C. Brooke and P. Collinson, A History of Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1999); W. Sterry, The Eton College Register 1441–1698 (Eton, 1943), p. xxv; Gerald Aylmer, ‘Seventeenth-century Wykehamists’, in Roger Custance (ed.), Winchester College: Sixth-centenary Essays (Oxford, 1982), pp. 281–311; J.D. Carleton, Westminster School: A History (London, 1965), p. 12. 92   Dainville, L’Education des Jésuites (Paris, 1978), pp. 279–88, 303; Henri-Jean Martin, Print, Power, and People in 17th-century France, tr. David Gerard (Metuchen, NJ, 1993), pp. 10–13, 59–68, 73–124, 336–43, 416–21, 446–8. 93   Hoole, New discovery, p. 59, 158; for further details on these works, see Green, Print and Protestantism, chaps 5–7.


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Imitation of Christ, but added Nelson’s Companions for the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, and a number of other recent essays and sermons by Anglican authors.94 The increasing number of libraries which began to appear in provincial grammar schools, as a result of initiative by governors or teachers, and which were swollen by gifts from old boys and local grandees, usually contained some instructive or edifying material, though compared to Catholic school libraries abroad there was probably more to support advanced Bible study and fewer uplifting biographies and devotional aids.95 The library which Thomas Sandes bestowed on the Blue Coat School and Hospital in Kendal in 1670 was particularly rich in Bibles, editions of the Fathers and commentaries published on the Continent in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, as well as English aids to Bible study of a somewhat later period.96 By the 1690s the library of King’s School Gloucester had acquired a number of edifying works by Jeremy Taylor, Richard Allestree and Thomas Fuller, as well as poetry by Herbert, Milton and Grotius, and Samuel Wesley’s Life of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.97 The library at St Bees in Westmorland was given over 750 books in the fifty years after special premises were built for it in 1687, and though strong on classical languages and literature and ‘newer’ subjects, was strongest on patristics, expositions of the Bible, and polemical and edifying works by English churchmen.98 Heversham Grammar School in Westmorland had about 600 books by 1800, and was again well endowed with patristics as well as commentaries, sermons and catechisms by episcopalian clergy of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.99 By the 1770s Kepier School at Houghton-le-Spring 94

  Waterland, Advice, pp. 11–12, 32–4; see also following notes below.   Oakeshott, ‘English Grammar Schools’, pp. 148–9; Ian Green, ‘Libraries for School Education and Private Devotion’, in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, Volume 2: 1640–1850, ed. Giles Mandelbrote and K.A. Manley (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 47–64. 96   There is a copy of the ‘Sandes Library Catalogue 1675’ in the Library of the University of Newcastle, and a short-title list compiled by Alistair Elliot and John Bagnall in University of Newcastle-on-Tyne Library Publications, Extra Series, no. 11 (Newcastle, 1969). 97   Corpus Christi College Oxford, Wase Papers, CCC390/2, fos 205r–6v. 98   There are various catalogues, original ones and copies, of the St Bees Library, including an incomplete modern catalogue (by Alistair Elliot) in the Library of the University of Newcastle; there also is a copy there of R.E.O. Pearson, A Guide to the Provenance of the 17th and early 18th Century Library of St. Bees School (1994). 99   This collection is also now housed in the Library of the University of Newcastle, but the inscriptions in some books suggest they have gone through various hands or institutions during their existence. 95

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


in County Durham had acquired about a thousand volumes, built up from the books of various masters, local clergy, old boys and governors from the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century, and though these were predominantly classical in content, the library was also particularly well supplied with commentaries from various sources as well as sermons, edifying essays and advanced catechisms of native origin.100 We do not know enough about the genesis or the lending patterns of these libraries to be dogmatic about how many students used them (as opposed to teachers and local clergy and leisured laity) or how often.101 But at the least there was plenty of material available for those older students who wished to consult them outside normal classroom hours. * * * Not everyone was happy with this pattern of religious instruction, for example the leading moderate nonconformist Richard Baxter and the evangelical John Wesley, who had been much impressed by what he had seen of Moravian educational practice abroad.102 Baxter had received a patchy education, and much to his regret, had not attended university; but he did manage to make himself into one of the best-read preachers and authors of his day, and to collect a second huge library of aids to Bible study in several languages after the first had been confiscated by the authorities. He was certainly not opposed to the study of ancient poets, orators, philosophers and historians, or indeed contemporary ones. But as we have seen, he thought that grammar school education devoted scandalously little time to catechizing on the basics of the faith, and that it neglected Bible study, especially in the original languages. He agreed with Waterland that complete systems of divinity did not need to be studied until adolescents were old enough to display judgement, but disagreed when he insisted that young men up to the ages of 18–20 should be encouraged to learn not just Latin and Greek, but also Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac and 100   There is an undated typescript of ‘Books from Kepier School in the Library of King’s College’ in the Library of the University of Newcastle; see also R.W. Ramsey, ‘Kepier School, Houghton-le-Spring, and its Library’, in Archaeologia Aeliana, 3rd ser., 3 (1907): 306–33. 101   For overlaps between library contents and library users, and borrowing patterns in general, there is much information in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, vol. 2, mentioned above. Further work on all the libraries mentioned in this paragraph is badly needed. Meanwhile, an excellent start on one dimension of this – historical works – is provided by D.R. Woolf, Reading History in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 2000), chap. 4. 102   A.G. Ives, Kingswood School in Wesley’s Day and Since (London, 1970), pp. 11–18, 62, 235–49.


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Arabic. His estimate of the number and range of educational and improving books which even a poor man could expect to own and read, and his list of ‘the most plain and suitable books of practical divinity’ which young men should master, occupied several folio pages of his Christian directory and put Waterland’s modest lists to shame.103 Baxter’s views on the imbalance between the study of Christian and classical texts were probably not untypical of many of those dissenting clergymen and laymen who in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries set up schools and colleges outside the established framework. The institutions which became known as ‘academies’ went through different phases of development, and were very varied in the quality of teaching and facilities on offer. They also varied in curricula, which could reflect a teacher’s interests, the books available, or whether a particular institution was designed mainly to train future ministers or also to teach boys intending to pursue careers in commerce, law or medicine. Taking students from about age 14 or 15 for four to five years, these institutions overlapped with the provision provided by the upper forms of a grammar school and a first degree at university; and they also (mostly) shared a common willingness to teach Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and to use passages from the classics to develop rhetorical skills and logical thinking. But the best dissenting academies offered a broad curriculum which included modern languages, geography and science, their tutors taught in English, and future ministers were given a wide range of lectures, an even wider list of suitable books to read, and many practical exercises on how to interpret the Bible, prepare and preach a sermon, and lead public prayers. The curriculum at Doddridge’s academy in Northampton, which he designed round that of his own teacher in the 1710s, had as its basis 250 lectures on psychology, ethics and divinity, and in addition students at morning prayer read a chapter from the Old Testament in Hebrew, which Doddridge then expounded, and in the evening a chapter from the Greek Testament was similarly treated, so that the whole Bible was steadily worked through.104 103

  Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 27–8; Baxter, A Christian directory, pp. 921–8.   Irene Parker, Dissenting Academies in England (Cambridge, 1914), pp. 139–46 and passim; H. McLachlan, English Education under the Test Acts: Being the History of the Nonconformist Academies 1662–1860 (Manchester 1931), pp. 300–310 and passim; J.W. Ashley Smith, The Birth of Modern Education (London, 1954), pp. 269–86; W. Turner, The Warrington Academy (Warrington, 1957); V. Murray, ‘Doddridge and Education’, in G.F. Nuttall (ed.), Philip Doddridge 1702–51: His Contribution to English Religion (London, 1951), pp. 104–115; G.F. Nuttall, New College, London and its Library: Two Lectures (Dr Williams’s Trust, 1977), pp. 27–8, 33–9; Doctor Williams’ Library MSS. 28, 129–31, and Wes 5–7; Harris Manchester College Library, Oxford, MS Orton 1; David L. Ferch, ‘“Good Books are a Very Great Mercy to the World”: Persecution, Private Libraries, and the Printed Word in the Early Development of the Dissenting Academies, 1663–1730’, The Journal 104

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


In short, the tutors in dissenting academies by no means wanted to eradicate classical learning, but definitely wanted to switch the spotlight onto Christian, and specifically Protestant, learning. In making the classics serve the Protestant cause more than in most grammar schools and postRestoration universities, the academies offered a form of education that was probably more in line with much Protestant practice abroad. For just as a gulf in the nature of classical studies in English grammar schools and other institutions abroad may have begun to open at the point when students moved from lower to upper forms, so it is possible a gap began to open between religious studies in England and abroad at much the same point in students’ careers. The two may well have been linked: as English students in the top classes spent much of their time reading yet more classical poems, plays and histories and writing even more verses, essays and speeches in imitation of them, and devoted little time to catechisms or edifying literature, inside or outside the classroom, so students in Protestant institutions on the mainland of Europe may have been spending more time on serious study of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek, as well as hearing more sermons and honing their debating skills in preparation for the ministry for which many of them were destined – certainly a higher proportion of time than among those gentry students attending English schools and universities with no particular intention to graduate. * * * Two points may be made as a coda to this chapter. In previous chapters we noted the connections between defence of a classical education and defence of the status quo in Church and state. In Chapter 2 this surfaced in the discussion of the backgrounds and attitudes of the teachers in many grammar schools, both endowed and private. In Chapter 3 we noted the conservatism associated with the content and the use of ‘Lily’s grammar’, and in Chapter 4 we saw it in Latin encomia delivered in the universities. In this chapter too we have seen the close connections between worship in school and church, and the limited amount of controversial matter in the officially approved forms of instruction given children and adolescents. It can come as little surprise then to find that a highly educated and thoughtful layman like Edward Hyde should not only see no great contradiction between studying the classics and training up good Protestants, but also warn against too much doctrinal information being given to children and adolescents. His views are rarely cited, but worth consideration. of Library History, 21 (1986): pp. 350–61; O’Day, Education and Society 1500–1800, pp. 212–15; Jewell, Education in Early Modern England, pp. 115–19.


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Hyde’s own education had not been completely typical, and was completed by informal means through membership of the circles associated with leading lawyers, the playwright Ben Jonson, future parliamentarians, and later and most significantly, the circle of London intellectuals and Oxford dons who gathered regularly at the estate of Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, at Great Tew in Oxfordshire. What Hyde shared with many of these men and many later acquaintances was a lifelong fascination with the classics, and especially with Roman history which helped shape the Stoical moralism of the Jonson circle, and would lead Hyde to consider different Roman models for his own history of the great rebellion. While Hyde’s political ideas underwent some changes between the 1630s and the 1660s, we can see strong elements of continuity in his deep-seated belief in an all-powerful God who intervened providentially, but who expected the individual Christian to stand up for what he believed to be good; in the comfort he derived from his discovery in the Psalms of the many examples of God’s judgments on the wicked and his exaltation of those who suffered; in his preference for New Testament narratives over Pauline doctrine; in his repeated assertion of the need for a rational faith rather than a ‘mere moral’ faith, and (like other members of the Tew Circle) in his stress on the importance of agreeing on basics and the possibility of disagreeing on adiaphora, so that unity in diversity through charity could be maintained. Hyde stood some distance away from the basic assumptions of conservative Lutheranism and high Calvinism, as well as from Laudianism and Catholicism and the almost rationalist, sceptical direction of some in the Falkland circle. At the Restoration he wished above all to preserve the episcopalian Church in England as part of that delicate balance of law and prerogative in the constitution which for him was paramount above considerations of rigid uniformity in doctrine or worship.105 We have a fairly clear idea of what Hyde thought comprised an ideal education through a ‘Dialogue … concerning education’ which he wrote late in life, though it was not published until 1727.106 The choice of a dialogue – a favourite humanist tool to inform and entertain simultaneously – is instructive, as is the fact that the figure who makes most of the running among the half-dozen stock figures is not the courtier, the bishop, the lawyer, the old country gentleman or the alderman, but the ‘old soldier’ who has travelled round much of Western Europe, perhaps reflecting Hyde’s own 105   This paragraph is based mainly on Brian H.G. Wormald, Clarendon: Politics, Historiography and Religion 1640–1660 (Cambridge, 1964), the excellent article on Hyde by Paul Seaward in ODNB, and Paul Seaward, The Cavalier Parliament and the Reconstruction of the Old Regime, 1661–1667 (Cambridge, 1989). 106   Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, A collection of several tracts (1727), pp. 313–48.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


early inclinations to become a soldier and his years in exile. There is a predictably strong element of elitism and sexism. The old soldier is talking of the ideal education for ‘children of persons of quality’ who can afford the expense of up to £100 a year, ‘for good education is chargeable’; he criticized English ‘free’ schools and Jesuit schools abroad which admitted poor children alongside sons of parents with ‘competent fortunes’. And virtually nothing was said about the education of girls.107 The aim of education, Hyde’s old soldier argues, was to ‘dispose … children to wisdom and virtue, whereby when they come to be men, they may tread in the same paths’. The key years for formal education were from age 10 to 20, in three equal stages. Before the age of 10, a boy should acquire literacy, and if interested in books, be encouraged to read, as well as play sports and develop deportment and polite speech. At the age of 10, he should be sent to a grammar school (which while not perfect was better than private tuition), and taught in a class of no more than 30 by a teacher who was not in holy orders (which would distract him from his duties). Three or four years’ education in such a school should suffice for the boy to acquire all the ‘school’ learning he would need, though this education should again include performing ‘ingenious and chaste plays, whether comedies or tragedies’, physical accomplishments such as riding and dancing, and mastering ‘the right notions of those virtues and decencies which they can comprehend’ and of behaviour and courtesy.108 Then, at the age of 13 or 14 (but no later than 16), boys should go to university, where they would at once ‘be instructed in the art of logic and engaged in forms of disputation’; these were useful skills, which sons of the nobility should not be excused from learning. Beyond that, he thought, with a suitable balance of study and physical exercise, everybody should ‘in three years attain to such a measure of university learning, and make such an entrance into the reading of history, or any other science their genius shall dispose them to’.109 Finally, aged about 17, the youth should go to an Inn of Court in London for two to three years to learn something about the laws and customs of the country which would affect their position as major landowners, become acquainted with the relevant statutes that might affect their roles as magistrates or MPs, meet powerful figures (Hyde called the Inns ‘the suburbs of the court’) as well as other gentlemen, and sample the delights of London in a controlled environment rather than 107

  Ibid., pp. 313–14, 318–19, 321.   Ibid., pp. 313, 318–21. 109   Ibid., pp. 321–7. Hyde was not uncritical of English universities, but compared their standards very favourably with those of the most famous universities on the Continent, and defended them against the criticisms of poor behaviour that had led some nobles to send their children to tour the Continent instead. 108

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


living in private lodgings.110 By the age of 20 the young gentleman who had received this three-part education would have a solid foundation of polite conversation, skilful deportment, logical thinking, and knowledge of languages, history and the law, and be perfectly able to decide for himself what to do in the way of further training or self-tuition. What all this left out, as the bishop in the dialogue soon pointed out, was that nothing had been said of ‘inculcating those principles of religion into his youth that may preserve them against those temptations which they may meet’, and against which only God could protect them – itself an interesting choice of words by Hyde, stressing not faith in Christ’s sacrifice or repentance for sin, but protection from temptation. The old soldier’s reply is in effect that at each stage he has stressed the importance of sobriety, innocence and virtue which (he opines in a moralistic fashion) ‘is the first and best tincture of religion’. He had started out by saying that those put in charge of young children at home should be of good character and not use ‘unclean’, ‘loose’ or ‘ill’ language, and that children should take part in the ‘ordinary devotions’ which honest householders would conduct; and at school they should be taught ‘those virtues and decencies which they can comprehend’. Indeed at each stage, Hyde stressed, children’s education should match their level of understanding, and should as far as possible avoid controversy. Children at home should be informed of ‘as much of the mysteries’ of religion as they can comprehend; at university, they should be taught a little about ‘the policy of church-government’, and ‘will hardly avoid knowing more of controversy in religion than I could wish they should so soon be acquainted with’; and at school, university and Inn of Court they should learn that they are ‘obliged to that formal practice and exercise of religion as by the laws are established’. He also warned specifically against those ‘fumes and dark notions of religion’ which resulted from exposing young minds to polemical subjects which they could not understand, and even wished there was in existence ‘a good Negative Catechism’ which taught the young – and reminded the old of – all the things they should not do: all those transgressions for which the doors of heaven would be shut in their face. Nevertheless, he was confident that by the age of 20, through a constant stress on virtue and duty, students should have acquired ‘such a proportion of religion as is most suitable and agreeable to their understanding’, and could travel abroad in their twenties without being seduced by the allure of another Church.111 In the dialogue, Hyde’s ‘bishop’ swallowed all this. It was vital, he said, that throughout a student’s education he should be made ‘conformable to the dictates of wisdom and innocence, by the oversight and direction of 110



Ibid., pp. 327–30. Ibid., pp. 332–3, 315–16, 321.

Protestant Influences in Schools and Universities


good and virtuous men’. He managed to get the Almighty into the act when he said that students should be informed of ‘the duty they owe to God and their dependence upon His providence’. But like the old soldier, he thought young students should not be taught more about divine providence or of controversies ‘until they have understanding and judgement competent to examine the rise and grounds thereof’. He also agreed that when students were travelling abroad, ‘their office is to retain, not propagate their own religion’, but did express the view (instantly accepted by the old soldier) that such students should be better informed of the ‘history of their own church and religion’, that the Reformation was not just the product of Henry VIII’s lust, and that the English Church retained ‘all that is of the essence of the Catholic religion or had unquestionable foundations in antiquity’, and owed no submission to any foreign power under heaven.112 Hyde’s view of religious education, that of a well-placed and genuinely pious gentleman, thus put a high priority on inculcating virtue and conformity to the established Church, and a low priority on detailed doctrinal knowledge and introspection, at least until the student was mature. * * * Hyde’s friends and relations included a number of clergymen, which brings us to the second point. Those students from the ranks of the landed and commercial elites who attended schools or colleges with teachers who were conformist or even conservative in matters of doctrine and ecclesiology were likely to imbibe a strong dose of what later historians would call ‘Anglicanism’: its approved catechisms, its liturgy, its forms of worship and its characteristic appearance. Whether they were zealous or lukewarm, those sons of the gentry and urban oligarchy who attended such a school or college would have heard a good number of sermons by a conformable preacher, listened to a college choir or organist, saw the physical alterations to college chapels and the latest monuments to distinguished alumni, rubbed shoulders with a cross-section of youths who would become the next generation of parish clergy (many of whom were drawn from their own home counties or cities), and heard or read some of the encomiastic verses praising the Crown as defender of the kingdom and of Protestantism of which teachers in many schools and both universities became so fond. It would have been hard not to absorb at least some of the many different elements of the ethos of the established Church. Indeed, one could go a step further and suggest that from the 1650s to the 1750s there was a significant convergence between many of the episcopalian clergy and moderately large numbers of the landed and 112

Ibid., pp. 334–5.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

commercial elites, based in part on their shared educational experiences. More sons of the gentry entered the Church, and eventually more nobles became bishops; at the same time, more clerical dynasties were created, as sons and grandsons followed fathers into the ministry, often combining this with some tutoring of sons of the local gentry. Many full-time teachers in endowed or privately run schools were also in holy orders, though they were as likely to publish works on classical as on Christian themes.113 And in their establishments, those students who had absolutely no intention of taking orders rubbed shoulders with those who did, and in many cases the former would later offer the latter a benefice in their gift, to ensure an erudite sermon and a civilized conversation over Sunday dinner. One could also argue that the doctrinal thrust of the mainstream Church of England – stressing that faith and works were inseparable, and that God had made a new covenant, of grace, with fallen man – could to some extent be reconciled with classical ethics, in which virtue helped reconcile man with the gods. The clergy of the Church of England did not compromise on justification as the high Calvinists alleged, but they may have been prepared to stress those elements which they were confident the laity were likely to understand.114


  John H. Pruett, The Parish Clergy under the Later Stuarts. The Leicestershire Experience (Urbana, IL, 1978), Introduction, and chaps 2, 6; Donald A. Spaeth, The Church in an Age of Danger: Parsons and Parishioners, 1660–1740 (Cambridge, 2000), chap. 2; John Walsh, C. Haydon and S. Taylor (eds), The Church of England c.1689–c.1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 28–9, 87–9, 102–4, 299–316; D.R. Hirschberg, ‘A Social History of the Anglican Episcopate, 1660–1760’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 1976); Norman Ravitch, ‘The Social Origins of French and English Bishops in the Eighteenth Century’, Historical Journal, 8 (1965): 309–25; see also above, pp. 112–14. 114   Green, The Christian’s ABC, pp. 402–21, 511–12, 538–9.

Chapter 6

Assessing the Impact

The simple questions with which we began – ‘What impact did humanism have on Protestantism, and Protestantism on humanism, in early modern English education?’ – clearly need refining. What we found in Chapters 3 and 4 was that the humanist-inspired studies undertaken in the lower forms of a grammar school differed in type as well as level of difficulty from the classical studies in the senior forms and the first years at university. There were also differences, perhaps a growing gulf, between the standards of teaching and the works taught at the best public and private schools in the country, and those at the grammar schools run by ‘the weaker sort of country schoolmaster’ on the lower rungs of the educational ladder. Moreover, given that not all boys progressed from junior to senior forms (due to lack of ability or family circumstances), and the majority of senior boys did not proceed to university, and given that urban and ‘country schools’ of intermediate or lower standard probably outnumbered the best-endowed and private schools, the most widely experienced form of grammar school education consisted of the lessons given at the base and middle of this pyramid. In terms of religious education, we saw in Chapter 5 that different views may have evolved on the nature of the ‘milk’ that would nurture the souls of children and adolescents, up to the point where their digestive systems could absorb the ‘meat’ of more advanced Christian doctrine. Where some, mainly among the ‘godly’ and some recusants, thought it was never too soon to press children to a full understanding of their faith and its consequences for their spiritual development, others, mainly among conformist laymen such as the earl of Clarendon, thought that late adolescence or early adulthood was soon enough. Those episcopalian clergy who prepared the young in their charge for confirmation in increasing numbers may have adopted a position in between. It was also suggested in Chapters 2 and 5 that different approaches may have been adopted to reconcile the Erasmian stress on virtue with the Protestant stress on divine grace. There were two approaches articulated by different groups of clergymen, teachers and authors who regarded education as very much within their purview. The two were not diametrically  

  See above, pp. 120–21, 128, 139, 161, 182.   See above, pp. 273–4, 302–5.


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opposed; nor did they represent a clearly defined or fixed strategy, so much as a tendency or an instinct. But on the one hand, there were those who had reservations about the use of pagan authors or genres in Christian schooling, and who had strong objections to the use of classical sources outside the classroom, especially in the pulpit. Many (though not all) of these individuals were firm Calvinists who took the most uncompromising line on fallen man’s inability to do good, and believed that it was never too soon to bring elect children to salvation, and to develop their knowledge of the Bible in its original languages. On the other hand, there were those Protestants, again mainly clergy, teachers or theorists, who tended to have fewer reservations about a selective deployment of the wisdom of the ancients, whether inside the classroom or, when addressing adults as well as students, in the pulpit or in print, and even on the stage. Many of these believed that good works were an essential component of faith – the fruit by which the health of the tree of faith could be judged; they took a somewhat less jaundiced view of the capacity of human reason after the Fall and of the power of the human will when aided by prevenient grace; and they were very hostile to any antinomian tendencies among double predestinarians. They also, either on doctrinal or pedagogical grounds (or both), tended to be much more ready to find an edifying function in virtually all classical texts, but especially poetry and drama. This approach was likely to have been the more commonly practised of the two suggested so far, given the imbalance between the numbers of conformist and ‘godly’ grammar school teachers. But as with the ‘godly’ approach, the selection of texts and methods was made in a paternalistic way by an expert, usually someone in orders who was highly educated in both the classics and Christian doctrine. The exponents of both the cautious and the more open-ended approaches to the use of the classics did leave themselves open to the charge that they had not taken seriously enough the need to explain to the enquiring minds of those tens of thousands of English schoolboys and undergraduates who had been exposed to large doses of classical morality, exactly when it was safe to use classical ethics and when it was better not to. The main aim of this final chapter is to ask two questions. First of all, how much evidence is there for a third strategy or tendency among many of this better-educated laity – a strategy which treated classical and Christian wisdom as virtually synonymous and interchangeable? Secondly, if there is reasonable evidence for such a strategy, what effect might this have had on the laity’s attitude to the form of Protestantism then on offer in England? How well did the ancients’ belief in qualities such as honour and courage, and their firm belief that virtue deserved reward, coexist with Christian virtues such 

  See above, pp. 110–20.

Assessing the Impact


as humility and obedience, and the Protestant belief that man could no nothing to merit divine reward? In assessing in particular the impact of humanism on Protestantism in England, we need to look not just at those who spent several years at grammar school and university or Inn of Court, but also at those who spent little more than three or four years or none at all, and yet were exposed to classical literature or humanist ideas of one kind or another. For such was the success of the humanist endeavour in using classical texts as the basis for grammar school education that growing numbers of editors, authors and publishers in post-Reformation England were prepared to take a risk on purveying English translations of scores of Greek and Roman works and of classically inspired humanist texts. These texts and translations sold in such large quantities that they reached not only the large numbers of adults who had once been and were perhaps still quite capable of reading Cicero or Erasmus in the original, but also the many who were not, but who wanted to know what all the fuss was about, and had the means and the leisure to find out. In this chapter we will bear in mind these humbler denizens of the republic of letters alongside those who had reached the second-class level of citizenship, and the small minority who aspired to full citizenship of that republic. Such is the nature of the surviving sources that trying to identify the outward forms of piety, let alone the inner beliefs, of people living in a period some distance from our own is bound to be problematic; and trying to assess the impact of one particular influence – what was learnt inside the classroom – among the several that then prevailed is especially difficult. How important were the many types of formal and informal religious instruction outside the schoolroom? How important in shaping youthful minds were influences that had little to do with formal education, such as the stress on lineage and family, civility, and the remaining chivalric values such as honour and hospitality? How important were the various social, legal and economic networks which we now can see criss-crossed each province of England? How important were the aspirations and changing ethos of those expanding urban elites who wished to secure gentry recognition of their value to the community? And how great was the impact on adult gentlemen and ‘middling sorts’ of the moral dimension of many of the plays, poems and other recreational devices of the period, such as Theophrastan ‘characters’ and ‘emblems’, and later on, the oratorios and

  It will be observed that the impact of Protestantism on humanism is not being tackled frontally in the rest of this chapter; but many of the aspects examined do touch on that issue implicitly.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


operas on classical themes? But perhaps there are enough pointers to help us start to gauge the influence of a classical education on the landed and urban elites of Protestant England, and the impact of classicism on many who had received little or no such education. * * * In Chapters 3 and 4 we observed the rising numbers of copies of classical texts published in England in the original Latin, and from the midseventeenth century in Greek as well, targeted either at committed scholars or abler students. We also noted the rising tide of texts published in Latinand-English versions, mainly to help students master Latin quicker, but which, as the title-pages proclaimed, could also be read profitably by non-specialists. For the next few pages, let us concentrate on two other developments: the growing volume of sales of translations into English of many of those same classical texts, and the growing range of other works which were inspired by them or consisted of humanist variations on them. Both of these were the product of enthusiastic editors and authors and commercially minded publishers, targeting probably a mixture of younger or less able grammar school pupils on the one hand, and curious adult readers with little or no Latin on the other. In the case of translations of original works from Latin and Greek into English, there were different phases and a variety of translators involved. After a steady trickle in the early Tudor period by a range of authors including noblemen and scholars, there was a surge of translation work in the third quarter of the sixteenth century, partly by professionals such as Nicholas Grimald and Arthur Golding, but often by young men connected to the Inns of Court who saw value in the political and moral lessons that could be deduced from classical sources. The level of activity had dropped somewhat by the 1580s, but picked up again in succeeding decades, and reached new heights in the middle decades of the seventeenth century, and again from the 1680s to the 1730s. While many of these translators from 

  Some of these queries are addressed in the essays in Kevin Sharpe and Peter Lake (eds), Culture and Politics in Early Stuart England (Basingstoke, 1994); Anna Bryson, From Courtesy to Civility: Changing Codes of Conduct in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1998); Felicity Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1990), and R. Malcolm Smuts, Culture and Power in England 1585–1685 (Basingstoke, 1999). Others are touched on later in this chapter, in Green, Print and Protestantism, chap. 7, and in my Word, Image and Ritual in Early Modern English Protestantism (forthcoming). 

  See above, pp. 50–51, 86–7, 161–2, 181–3.   Bolgar, The Classical Heritage, pp. 506–38; Binns, Intellectual Culture, pp. 125–7;

C.H. Conley, The First English Translators of the Classics (New Haven, CT, 1927), pp. 18–29 and passim; on the 1640s and 1650s, see below; Stuart Gillespie, ‘A Checklist of Restoration

Assessing the Impact


the late sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries were amateurs who only attempted translation once or twice in their lives, others like John Ogilby were professionals, though in both cases translations of the classics were likely to be looser than of the Bible, focusing more on sense than literal word-for-word meaning. A number of translators also worked not from original sources, but second-hand versions, such as Sir Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch from a French version; and an element of authorial input by the translator is evident in the omissions, additions and alterations they made, as in Roger L’Estrange’s reworking of Seneca’s moral essays. Nor were the classical texts selected for translation into English what might perhaps have been expected. There was little Aristotle or Plato, relatively little on rhetoric and science, or before the late 1640s, little of the work of great historians such as Herodotus, Thucydides and Polybius. Aristotelian principles did figure in some new works on logic and rhetoric, such as Sir Thomas Wilson’s Rule of reason (1551) and Thomas Blundeville’s The art of logike plainely taught in the English tongue … for all young students in any profession (1599), but the latter typically incorporated ‘all other modern and best accounted authors’ as well as Aristotle. Blundeville was a man of many interests, including horsemanship, astronomy, navigation and mathematics. In addition to translating Sturm’s advice on educating the nobility, as A ritch storehouse, or, treasurie for nobilitye and gentlemen (1570), he wrote the first English work to deal with the study of history, The true order and methode of wryting and reading histories.10 More predictable, given the bias we have seen in previous chapters on the texts studied in schools, was the rising number of translations of authors like Cicero, Virgil, Ovid, Terence and Horace.11 We have already noted Nicholas Grimald’s version of Cicero’s Thre bokes of duties in parallel Latin-and-English texts – seven editions between 1558 and 1600 – and the distinct increase of editions in English alone, from a handful in the mid-Tudor and early Stuart periods to over a dozen between the 1680s and the 1750s in the translations by Roger L’Estrange

English Translations and Adaptations of Classical Greek and Latin Poetry, 1660–1700’, in Translation and Literature, 1 (1992): 52–67.    Peter Burke, ‘Cultures of Translation in Early Modern Europe’, in P. Burke and R. Po-chia Hsia (eds), Cultural Translation in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2007), pp. 24–35.    See STC2 and Wing2 under the names mentioned. 10   See ODNB under Sir Thomas Wilson and Thomas Blundeville; Blundeville, The art of logike (1599), title-page and passim. 11   For increased numbers of translations of Homer, Juvenal and Martial in the later seventeenth century, see works by Bolgar and Gillespie cited in n. 7 in Chapter 6, and ESTC.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

and Thomas Cockman.12 L’Estrange had been born into an East Anglican gentry family, attended the local grammar school and then Westminster and Eton, and spent a few years at Cambridge and an Inn of Court, before becoming a royalist soldier in the 1640s, pamphleteer in the 1650s, regulator of the press in the 1660s, and a regular writer against Whiggery and Catholicism in the 1670s and 1680s. He acknowledged that Cicero’s De officiis was ‘one of the commonest schoolbooks that we have’, but felt that by being cut up for lessons in Latin syntax, it lost its power as a ‘training of youth in the study and exercise of virtue’. He decided, therefore, to make an English translation of it to ensure that the ‘doctrine rather than the style’ was fully appreciated. In L’Estrange’s opinion, the work was Cicero’s masterpiece: ‘one of the most exact pieces of the kind that was ever written’, a ‘manual of precepts for the government of ourselves in all the offices, actions and conditions of human life’. Composed by Cicero in a ‘loose and troublesome age’ (just like L’Estrange’s), it asserted ‘the force and efficacy of virtue against the utmost rigour and iniquity of Fortune’; it not only gave comfort, but guided the reader ‘into a state of felicity and virtue’ – a clear equation between doing good and achieving felicity by that means.13 Thomas Cockman, by contrast, was an academic who, while he agreed with L’Estrange that the work had ‘always been looked upon as one of the perfectest pieces’ by Cicero ‘and one of the noblest systems of moral precepts that have ever been left us by the ancient heathens’, did distance himself a little from Cicero’s paganism: his ‘rules for the government of our lives in relation to God, our neighbours, and ourselves … are deservedly admired in a heathen, and might well become even a Christian writer’. But he went no further in pointing out the differences between heathen and Christian morals; indeed, he pointed out the debt owed to Cicero by leading contemporary scholars such as Sanderson, Grotius and Pufendorf. For his own version, Cockman consulted the editions of L’Estrange in English and DuBois in French, but his translation was more scholarly, and in some impressions he provided summaries, notes and an index to help his readers.14 While a case has been made for the impact of Cicero’s moral treatises and other works and speeches on writers and politicians who were trying to cope with the challenges facing states and communities in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, further work is still needed to assess how far Cicero’s stress on the cardinal virtues and the duty of an active


  See STC2 5278–9, 5281.8–87; 5288–9, C4309–13, C4322, and ESTC under L’Estrange and Cockman; see also above, pp. 203–5. 13   See ODNB under Sir Roger L’Estrange; [Cicero], Tully’s Offices … turned … into English by Roger L’Estrange (1680), sigs A4r–7v. 14   [Cicero], Tully’s Offices. In English … By Mr. Tho. Cockman (1714), pp. i, v–viii.

Assessing the Impact


life had an impact on that wider readership who purchased entertaining or ‘improving’ works in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.15 Similar patterns of output peaking in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries can be found if we look at translations into English of classical poetry, drama and history, but the later we move, the greater is the evidence of publishers using new ploys such as competitive pricing, eye-catching title-pages and illustrations, and soliciting subscriptions in advance to help pay for them. We have already noted the lavish Delphin editions of Virgil and many other classical authors which originated in Louis XIV’s France and were aimed at readers with deep pockets as well as some Latin. But lagging not far behind were growing numbers of translations into English. Translations of part or all of the Aeneid had not been uncommon in the Tudor and early Stuart period: over a dozen editions of half-a-dozen different versions were published between 1554 and 1634, and a further dozen in another four versions from the 1650s to the 1740s.16 But on top of that was the increasing availability from the 1640s of translations of the complete works of Virgil into English – the Eclogues and the Georgics as well as the Aeneid – a combination which between the 1650s and the 1750s passed through a further two dozen editions in a variety of versions and formats designed to attract a variety of readers.17 Perhaps the patriotism in Virgil’s Aeneid had an appeal at a time when major wars threatened the English state, while the Eclogues and Georgics attracted those who felt that country house and pastoral life was superior to the life of intrigue at court or in the capital. But authors’ and publishers’ ploys undoubtedly played a part too; and the middle phase of the career of John Ogilby is particularly instructive in this respect, and demands a short detour. * * * During the first phase of his career, John Ogilby had been a dancing master in London in the 1620s and a theatrical entrepreneur in Dublin in the 1630s, and in the last, during the 1660s and 1670s, he resumed his theatrical career in Ireland and then became a leading publisher of atlases 15

  Markku Peltonen, Classical Humanism and Republicanism in English Political Thought 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1995); Peter N. Miller, Defining the Common Good: Empire, Religion and Philosophy in Eighteenth-century Britain (Cambridge, 1994), esp. pp. 22–87; Reed Browning, Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (Baton Rouge, LA, 1982), esp. chap. 8. 16   See above, pp. 51, 163–7, 169–72; STC2 24797–812; Wing2 V618–20, 624, 629, 633–4. 17   Wing2 V608–10, 612A, 616–17; ESTC (versions by Dryden, Lauderdale and Trapp mainly).


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

and ‘His Majesty’s Cosmographer and Geographic Printer’ in England. But during the 1640s and 1650s, unemployed and back in England, he not only brushed up what he later termed his ‘small and inconsiderable parcel of Latin’ sufficiently to prepare his own translations of Virgil and Aesop, but also acquired enough Greek to help him translate Homer. In addition, he scraped together enough money and advance subscriptions to produce some lavishly illustrated editions which set the tone for many similar publications over the next half-century and beyond.18 There are many instructive features about his ventures. First of all, there was the timing: the first version of his Virgil translation was entered in the Stationers’ Register in October 1648, and appeared in 1649, the first version of his Aesop’s Fables was published in 1651, and he began work on Homer in the late 1650s, though the Iliad did not appear in print until just after Charles II’s return in 1660, and the Odyssey not until 1665. Thus, when most people – and publishers – had their minds on other matters, Ogilby devoted well over a decade of his life, and risked his wife’s wealth, in making the poetry of ancient Greece and Rome more available in English. Secondly, there was the idea of translating and publishing on such a scale – all of the Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid of Virgil (still published separately, as a rule, when in translation), which meant the resulting volumes were substantial in size and not cheap enough for mass sales, and both the Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer (only attempted once before, and then not a commercial success).19 The Fables were shorter, but Ogilby argued that the public had been fobbed off with inferior translations, and believed the text would be enhanced by illustrations (which, as today, raised the unit cost of production). Aware of the limitations of his linguistic skills, and the fact that he was offering a translation (which some denounced as ‘spoiling the trade of learning, which should be driven among scholars alone’), he cannot have expected large sales among those scholars who usually provided a tranche of purchasers for the classics. Presumably Ogilby calculated that there were other niches in the market: among men who had forgotten most of their Latin and never had much Greek, and (as Hobbes suggested a little later) among women too, many of whom loved poetry, but few of whom could read the classics in the original, because grammar school places were confined to boys. There may even have been a market for the young: Ogilby’s Homer was the first long poem read by the eight-year-old Alexander Pope, who later recalled devouring with rapture


  The best introduction is by Katherine S. Van Eerde, John Ogilby and the Taste of his Times (Folkestone, 1976). 19   Wing2 V608, H2548, H2554, and see STC2 13624–24.5 for the Chapman attempt.

Assessing the Impact


‘that great edition with pictures’, which also inspired him to read Sandys’s Ovid and other translations.20 Thirdly, there was the manner in which Ogilby regularly upgraded his works. The 1649 and 1650 editions of Virgil were published in an octavo of only moderate quality, with no notes or illustrations beyond the eye-catching title-page, with its elaborate pastoral backdrop and gods and goddesses on high – the work of an experienced artist, William Marshall.21 But the next edition, in 1654, and a later one in 1668, while they contained essentially the same translation, were published in a magnificent folio, with the addition of a life of Virgil, a top-class engraving of the poet enthroned among togaclad men and women, some of whom held scrolls of the poet’s work, and a detailed map of Aeneas’ travels drawn up by another distinguished artist, Wenceslaus Hollar. Moreover, the text itself boasted decorated capital letters, and was generously spaced to permit wide margins in which Ogilby provided voluminous notes borrowed from contemporary European commentators and other English translators. Ogilby even applied these lavish touches to an edition of Virgil’s poetry in the original Latin, which appeared in 1658 and 1663.22 Similarly, while the first Aesop of 1651 appeared in four slender quarto volumes, without notes, but ‘adorned’ with 81 ‘sculptures’ (engravings) of modest quality, the next edition, in 1665, was another expensive folio, with much better artwork, full annotations and additional fables, while the folios of 1668 and 1673 were supplemented by fables written by Ogilby himself (entitled Aesopics).23 Both the Iliad and the Odyssey were furnished with notes (which Hobbes admired), and were, like his Latin Virgil of 1658 and the Aesops of 1665–73, printed for Ogilby by Thomas Roycroft, who from the 1660s came to specialize in expensive, high-quality editions of the classics and much else.24 Ogilby’s gamble paid off handsomely, and paved the way for his later career as publisher and royal cosmographer. We can begin to make sense of Ogilby’s achievement if we fit in a few more pieces of the contemporary jigsaw. The growing popularity of visual decoration on the printed page in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods can easily be traced in the rising number and improved quality of engraved title-pages and illustrations in the texts of a number of works


  Wing2 A689; Van Eerde, Ogilby, pp. 31, 26, 43, 149.   Repeat editions of the older Farnaby edition of Virgil’s works in Latin, which had


hitherto appeared with a plain title-page, began to sport a simplified mirror image of the Marshall cut: compare Wing2 V608 and 609 with V601A. 22   Ibid., V610, 613; V600, 601; Van Eerde, Ogilby, pp. 35–40; later editions in octavo also contained the notes and illustrations. 23   Ibid., pp. 31–5; Wing2 A689, 693; A698–9. 24   Wing2, H2548, 2554; Van Eerde, Ogilby, pp. 40–43.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

which tackled both secular and religious topics.25 The late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries also witnessed the rapid adoption in England of the mainland phenomenon of ‘emblems’, as in the Emblemes published by Francis Quarles in 1635, and his Hieroglyphikes of the life of man in 1638. Quarles’s aim was to provide guideposts to the spiritual life, using mottos illustrated with symbolic pictures which required an explanatory set of verses, or ‘epigram’, which reminds us of the classical inspiration of early examples of this genre. (Indeed, there is a link between Quarles and Ogilby in that one of the two English engravers who had copied the plates used by Quarles in the 1630s was William Marshall, who later engraved the title-page for Ogilby’s first Virgil in 1649 and the portrait of Ogilby which appeared in 1649/1650.26) Ogilby’s venture probably also owed a certain amount to his early career and his patrons. The first duke of Buckingham and Sir Thomas Wentworth helped him understand what was commercially viable. The acceptance of dedications by royalist generals and other loyalists in the late 1640s and 1650s enabled Ogilby to make a political point at the same time as publishing his new versions of Virgil and Aesop. Moreover, the hundred patrons assembled by Ogilby to help defray the advance costs of illustrating his 1654 edition of Virgil, each of whom had a plate dedicated to them, included a significant proportion of the old aristocracy, as well as authors like the antiquarian Elias Ashmole and the poet Edward Sherburn. After the Restoration, Ogilby cast his dedications ever wider, while remaining staunchly loyalist. The Iliad of 1660 had a fulsome dedication to the restored Charles II, as did the illustrated Bible of 1660 with which Ogilby was associated, and which made flattering remarks about the piety of Charles’s father and grandfather. Other dedicatees included the duke of Ormond, the earl of Ossory, a royal bastard and the archbishop of Canterbury.27 His loyalist credentials were also evident in parts of his English version of Aesop, such as his swipes at the Rump in his translation of ‘the Parliament of Birds’:

25   Arthur M. Hind, Engraving in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, parts 1 and 2 (Cambridge, 1952, 1955); Margery Corbett and Michael Norton, Engraving in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, part 3 (Cambridge, 1964). Peter Stent acquired a substantial estate in London between 1642 and 1665 by selling everything from small, crude works to top-quality copies of European masters and the best engravings by artists based in England: Alexander Globe, Peter Stent, London Printseller (Vancouver, 1985). See also A. Griffiths and R.A. Gerard, The Print in Stuart Britain, 1603–1689 (London, 1998). 26   Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England, pp. 393–6; Wing2 V608–9. 27   Van Eerde, Ogilby, pp. 18–24, 29, 31, 35, 39–40, 44–7, 73, 89–90.

Assessing the Impact


The birds reduced thus to a popular state, Their king and Lords of prey ejected, sate A frequent parliament in th’ancient wood, There acting daily for the nation’s good.

The ‘grave parrot’ sounds like one of the ‘godly’ when he tells the Speaker ‘Great things for us, Sir, Providence hath done’, but there is a bitter undertone to Ogilby’s description of those: … monarch-hating storks and cranes, who march, Like sons of thunder, through heaven’s crystal arch, When tumult calls, to beat those widgeons down, That vainly flock to readvance the crown.28

The success of Ogilby’s ventures would not have been possible, however, without two other factors: his own skill as a poet, and the ready market for classical works in translation: Ogilby’s translations were vigorous and generally accessible, sticking quite close to the original Latin and Greek, and harking back to the style of Jonson rather than forward to that of Dryden. His reputation as a poet at the time was quite high, and it was only when Dryden and Pope provided smoother, highly polished alternatives and came to dictate poetic fashion that a reaction began against his verse.29 As for the market, Ogilby aimed at various possible targets: the genuinely interested could buy the basic but moderately priced translation of 1649 and 1650, while the curious rich with limited scholarship could buy the increasingly lavish editions of 1654 to 1673 which combined scholarly notes with attractive presentation. Samuel Pepys not only read Ogilby’s Aesop to his wife, but also made a successful bid for other works by Ogilby when they were offered by lottery in 1665.30 There was evidently an appeal also to the socially alert, who wanted the cachet of being named as a subscriber in one of the expensive editions or had one of the engravings named after them. The portrait of Virgil may also have encouraged purchasers to see themselves as devotees of the inspired poet, standing round holding a scroll of his verse. If further proof was needed that Ogilby was a very smart operator, it can be found in his tactics after the Restoration of printing and binding additional dedication sheets into the prefatory material of copies of his works. Although Ogilby had no contacts with Magdalen College, Oxford (of which we know), and the fellows 28   [Aesop], The fables of Aesop (1673), pp. 114–15; for changes between editions, see Van Eerde, Ogilby, pp. 12, 23, 34, and 157 n. 16. 29   Ibid., pp. 146–51. 30   Ibid., p. 86.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

presumably did not need his translation or second-hand notes, in 1662 he succeeded in selling three large folio volumes to the president and fellows – his complete Virgil, his Iliad and the 1660 Bible – at the considerable sum of £13s 6s. 8d.; but to flatter their egos, he made sure that a specially printed dedication sheet was slipped into the preface of each volume.31 Where Ogilby and Roycroft led, others followed, including those who introduced a number of the Delphin classics into England, and also John Dryden and Jacob Tonson the elder, whose fruitful collaboration led to the publication of translations of a wide range of classical works in stylish editions in the 1680s and 1690s. Tonson gave the former Poet Laureate a huge advance of £200 for his projected translation of Virgil’s complete works, for example, which finally appeared in 1697 in an expensive folio edition ‘adorn’d with a hundred sculptures’ (engravings). For this, the top hundred names in society had again been persuaded to part with 5 guineas to have a specific engraving in the volume bear their name and coat of arms, as in the engraving opposite the first Pastoral, which has the arms and title of Lord Somers, baron of Evesham, then Lord Chancellor. It is to be hoped that Lord Somers and the others did not expect these engravings to be brand new, because most of the plates were taken from the Ogilby-Roycroft set, with the names and coats of arms changed at the bottom, and other minor amendments. If, for example, you compare the face that appeared in the seated figure on the right in the first engraving in Ogilby’s 1654 edition of Virgil’s works with that of the seated figure in the first engraving in the equivalent place in Dryden’s edition of 1697, you will find that the face of the latter has been changed to resemble that of Lord Somers.32 * * * If forays such as this helped Virgil’s poetry to enjoy an extended popularity with a broadened readership in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the same was true of many of the works of Ovid, Terence, Homer and other ancient writers. All three of the works by Ovid which sold well in Latin – Metamorphoses from the 1560s to the 1740s and Epistolae Heroidum and De tristibus from the late seventeenth century – had enjoyed an early popularity in different translations, with many more editions in English than in Latin during the reign of Elizabeth, and almost as many thereafter. In 1717 a new translation of the Metamorphoses into English 31   W.D. Macray, A Register of the Members of St. Mary Magdalen College Oxford (8 vols, London, 1894–1915), vol. iv, p. 19, and the relevant copies in the College Library. For similar dedications elsewhere, see Van Eerde, Ogilby, p. 46. 32   The copies examined were in Magdalen College Library. See also the articles in ODNB on John Dryden and Jacob Tonson the elder.

Assessing the Impact


verse by ‘the most eminent hands’, including those of Dryden, Addison, Congreve, Pope and Gay, and ‘adorned with sculptures’ was published by Jacob Tonson, and despite stiff competition passed through several editions in the next few decades.33 Translations of Ovid’s De arte amandi and other poems on the perils of love, after a nervous start which saw the translation by Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Heywood being printed in ‘Middlebourgh’ and Amsterdam, also became quite the vogue in the later Stuart and early Hanoverian periods. Between 1650 and 1750 nearly 20 editions of Ovid’s De arte amandi; or, the art of love were published, to help those who wished to ‘Learn in what place most virgins to discover’. The ‘Art’ was often combined with another translation such as ‘The remedy of love’ (also by ‘the sweet-tongued’ Ovid) or the ‘loves of Hero and Leander’ and other ‘choice poems, and rare pieces of drollery’; while Ovid’s ‘Amours’ appeared half-a-dozen times printed with a translation of Ovid’s ‘Epistles’.34 The market for such works was presumably among moderately sophisticated adult readers who wished to be amused and appear informed as well as to read the latest verse translations by authors like Dryden, Otway, Butler and Aphra Behn. They were also given a nudge towards purchasing a copy by the engravings added by canny publishers and by the works used as fillers. Thus Ovid’s Art of Love, in three books, Together with his Amours, and Remedy of Love, translated into English verse by several eminent hands (and dedicated to the earl of Burlington) was supplemented by ‘The Court of Love, A Tale from Chaucer, and the History of Love’, the whole being ‘adorn’d with cuts’ by Samuel Gribelin junior. A typical example shows Mercury being helped to write a love letter by Diana and Cupid, while in another Cupid drives a chariot. The latter was placed opposite the opening verse of the ‘Art’, in Dryden’s translation, which began as follows (note the mixture of pedagogic and romantic terms): In Cupid’s school, whoe’er would take degree must learn his rudiments by reading me. Seamen with sailing arts their vessels move, Art guides the chariot, Art instructs to love. Of Ships and Chariots others know the rule, but I am Master in Love’s mighty School.   See STC2 18955–68, 18939.5–43, 18977a–81; Wing2 O684–9, 693A95A; ESTC under Ovid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses in fifteen books. Translated by the most eminent hands. 34   For Ars amatoria, Amores, and Remedia amoris in translation, see STC2 18931–3, 18937, 18974–6.2, Wing2 O646, 647A–53, 659, 693, and ESTC under Ovid ‘De arte amandi’, ‘Art of love’, ‘Amours’, and ‘Remedy of love’. The citations are from Ovid, De arte amandi and the Remedy of Love Englished (1662), title-page and p. 3. 33


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

But also note the capitals in: Cupid indeed is obstinate and wild, A stubborn God, but yet the God’s a child.35

As for the six comedies of Terence, these had also long been steady sellers in the original language, and often performed by schoolboys and undergraduates.36 As we saw in Chapter 4, however, the plays had also been available for most of the seventeenth century in Latin and English versions, one by a young Richard Bernard, before he turned to focus on his duties as a ‘godly’ pastor, the other by the hard-working Charles Hoole; there was also an occasional English-only version from the 1620s. But in the early eighteenth century the comedies seem to have become much more popular in English, perhaps because adults found his complex love stories and happy denouements as entertaining as the Jacobethan and Restoration comedies whose authors had regularly plundered Terence for material, or perhaps because of the nature of the version by a young Laurence Echard which appeared in 1694. With notes later revised by Echard and L’Estrange, Terence’s comedies made English reached its ninth edition in 1741 (and was also published in Dublin and Germany). It had a striking cover, depicting actors on an open stage of classical design, with some mythical figures crowning Terence (above) and others displaying the title (below). It also had an enthusiastic and informed preface by Echard which provided a clear guide to what was distinctive about Terence’s language, characterization and plotting, and presented him as ‘the best model for dramatic poets’, one who was not without his faults, but much better than most contemporary English dramatists. Echard also put up a strong case for providing a better English translation and notes than Bernard and Hoole: English had ‘now become so elegant, sweet and copious’ that ‘all good books ought to be translated’ into it ‘for the honour of our language’. Nor did he have trouble reconciling Terence’s plots with his own Christian beliefs (he later became a minister): the vices which Terence depicted ‘were chiefly from the ignorance of the times, but we have no such pretence’, and through this translation the ‘common people’ could see that ‘heathens so plainly out-do us in their morals’ and respond accordingly.37 From the 1720s to the 1740s Thomas Cooke attempted a series of editions and

  [Ovid], Ovid’s Art of Love (1719), frontispiece, title-page and sig. B3r.   See above, pp. 206–12; ESTC under Ovid. 37   See STC2 23890–98; Wing2 T736–7, 741; T749–50A, and ESTC; [Terence], 35 36

Terence’s comedies made English (1703), pp. i–xxviii, at pp. xi, xxi, xxiv; ODNB under Laurence Echard. For Simon Patrick’s modified version, see above, p. 211.

Assessing the Impact


translations from Greek and Latin into English, which included an edition of Terence with an English translation in 1734.38 Horace’s poems also enjoyed a particularly strong late surge, with not only the Odes, Satires and Epistles, but also the Ars poetica in the original Latin all becoming much better known in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than they had been in the Tudor period. There was also a sharp increase in the numbers of translations into English, which both reflected and fed interest in his work.39 These translations had begun to multiply in the time of Ben Jonson, as he and his ‘sons’ and admirers such as Carew, Herrick, Lovelace and Vaughan increasingly turned to Horace for inspiration or authority. From Jonson and his tribe, through Cowley to Dryden, Pope and Gray, we find that many of the leading poets of the day felt able to fuse features of classical style that were encouraged or epitomized by Horace with English idioms and subjects to an extent that was not true of, say, Ovid or even Virgil. This regular engagement with Horace disseminated his sentiments not only to other poets, but also to a wider readership. Such was the increased interest in Horace’s works that, as one recent commentator has commented, it is ‘much more difficult to discover English poets of the late seventeenth century who were not imitators of Horace than to name ones that were’. Between 1660 and 1700 at least 50 different hands – many of them ‘gentleman amateurs’ – tried new translations or adaptations from the Odes, some of which were printed, such as Thomas Creech’s translation of The odes, satyrs, and epistles for Jacob Tonson the elder in 1684, which sold steadily for a number of years. But the printing of new editions of Horace, in Latin or English or both, reached a new peak in the age of Pope, as in the Latin-and-English version of The odes and epodes published in 24 parts in 1712 and 1713, and the new edition of The odes and satires of Horace, translated by two peers and various well-known poets and playwrights, which was published by Tonson in 1715 and in an augmented version in 1717 and later.40 Modern critics have reached different conclusions as to what it was in Horace that appealed to different poets, though there was, of course, sufficient variety in his work for different readers to have found different qualities in his work. While in matters of politics and conscience most of these authors were on the conservative side of the fence, Horace was also admired and sometimes appropriated by figures with less orthodox views,   See ODNB under Thomas Cooke (1703–1756).   See STC2 13797–805.5; Wing2 H2766–84, 2786, and ESTC under Horace. 40   See previous note; S. Gillespie, ‘Horace’s Ode 3.29: Dryden’s “Masterpiece in 38 39

English”’, in C. Martindale and F. Hopkins (eds), Horace Made New: Horatian Influences on British Writing from the Renaissance to the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 1993), pp. 148, 297.


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

such as Milton and Marvell, to praise leading figures of the revolutionary decades.41 However, it may have been easier to reconcile the Stoic and even Epicurean sentiments in Horace (in Pierre Gassendi’s revaluation of Epicureanism) with traditional Christian morality than with the high Calvinist insistence on rigorous introspection of the conscience for signs of the working of grace. An example of this is Abraham Cowley’s English version of Horace’s fable of the town mouse and the country mouse, written in the 1660s when, disappointed of preferment at court, Cowley had retired to an estate near London. The country mouse wins the argument for the moral superiority of country over town life, and Cowley praised ‘the liberty of a private man in being master of his own times and actions, as far as may consist with the laws of God and his country’.42 By the late eighteenth century Horace’s ideas and style may have exerted less influence on the work of leading English poets, but admiration for him, as we saw in Chapter 4, reached its apogee among the better-educated in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when for many he was the best-remembered of all classical authors – a gentleman-poet whose works they carried round with them, and were not surprised to hear cited in the House of Commons or even the novels of Thackeray and Trollope.43 * * * Later Stuart and early Hanoverian England also witnessed a marked increase in the production of works by ancient historians, both in the original Latin and Greek and in translation. This increase was fed by, and in turn fed, the growing fascination with the past felt by early modern people from all walks of life on which various scholars have commented – a fascination which from Camden’s day had included curiosity about Romano-British antiquities such as buildings, roads, inscriptions and coins, but which reached new peaks with the rapid development of antiquarian interest in all aspects of the British past, fed in part, it has been suggested, by the young Edmund Gibson’s new edition of Camden’s Britannia in 1695.44 Other factors associated with the period 1650–1750 which may also help explain the rising tide of interest in ancient history may have   Martindale and Hopkins, Horace Made New, chaps 3–9; David Norbrook, Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics, 1627–1660 (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 65–6, 159–60, 164–6, 245–71, 288–9. 42   Martindale and Hopkins, Horace Made New, pp. 103–26, at 106. 43   Ibid., chaps 10–12; E.J. Kenney, ‘“A Little of it Sticks”: The Englishman’s Horace’, in Burnett and Mann, Britannia Latina, pp. 178–93. 44   See above, pp. 237–41; Rosemary Sweet, Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-century Britain (London, 2004), esp. chaps 1 and 5. 41

Assessing the Impact


included the fighting of major wars, the emergence of political parties, and the rising fashion for reading classics in translation, especially in editions with illustrations and helpful notes. As we saw in Chapter 4, the histories most frequently reproduced for use in grammar schools were two Latin texts less familiar to us today, but which together covered a lot of ground. Both were soon translated into English and sold well. A dozen editions of Trogus’ history of Macedonia and the Hellenistic kingdoms (in Justin’s epitome) appeared in English, mainly between 1650 and 1750, and a few in English and Latin in the second quarter of the eighteenth century.45 The English translations included five editions of one by Robert Codrington, a graduate of Magdalen College who went on to support himself partly by his writing and translating. The first edition in 1654 contained a flattering dedication to Cromwell: In this history, your Highness may observe by what arts empires and kingdoms have been erected, and how justly they have suffered when the corruptions of peace did deliver them to the examination of the sword, to be either reformed or destroyed.

This was omitted from editions after 1660.46 As for Florus’ ‘Epitome of all the wars’ fought by Rome, this also passed through perhaps ten editions in English (mainly c. 1650–1740) and five in English-and-Latin. What might be described as the Ogilby effect is evident in two of these versions. The more scholarly translation and notes, attributed to Meric Casaubon and published in 1658 as The history of the Romans, appeared with a plain title-page and no illustrations, and was not reprinted. By contrast, John Davies’s translation of The Roman history of Lucius J. Florus in 1669, though it built on Casaubon’s edition, had an eye-catching frontispiece depicting the city of Rome, Romulus and Remus, Caesar and Cleopatra and other well-known figures, and was dedicated to the duke of Buckingham; this was reprinted twice. Another version of Florus in English in 1714, Lucius Annaeus Florus, his epitome of Roman history, not only incorporated material from recent French and Dutch editions, but was also padded with 126 engravings for the reader with deep pockets as well as a curious mind; and this too was reprinted twice.47 The late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries also witnessed a sudden rash of editions of English translations of Suetonius and Plutarch,   STC2 (under Trogus) 24290–93; Wing2 (under Justinus) J1271–5; ESTC (under Justinus). 46   [Justinus], The history of Justin (1654), sigs A5r–v. 47   STC2 11103–5, and see title-pages and prefaces of Wing2 F1370, 1379–81; see also Lucius Annaeus Florus, his epitome (1714), and for other editions, ESTC. 45


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many of which appear to have been aimed at the same kind of moderately well-informed, leisured and prosperous reader. The anonymous 1672 translation of Suetonius’ The history of the twelve Caesars was a relatively modest publication, but came complete with portraits of the Caesars ‘in copper plates’. The 1688 translation, The lives of the twelve Caesars, was ‘by several hands’, and in addition to engravings contained a life of the author and ‘notes upon … Roman customs’ which have been attributed to Andrew Marvell. It was recommended to readers on the grounds that, ‘What greater thing can be said of any writer than that Pliny loved him, St Jerome imitated him, and Erasmus highly approved him,’ and it passed through several editions between 1688 and 1704. Jabez Hughes undertook a new translation in the belief that reading any history left the reader ‘not only entertained agreeably, but also improved’, and that ‘biography is perhaps most adapted’ to provide ‘at once delight and profit’. His edition of the Lives in 1717 was not only ‘adorned with cuts’ copied from a Continental edition, but also came with many extra notes on style and content which he imagined his readers would want; the result filled two volumes.48 The 1683 edition of Plutarch’s Parallel lives, in a five-volume edition, ‘translated from the Greek by several hands’, was commissioned from various ‘learned and ingenious translators’ and published in stages by Jacob Tonson (again). These volumes came with a long prefatory life of Plutarch, this time by Dryden (who also wrote the flattering dedication to the duke of Ormond), and 12 leaves of plates.49 There was also a belated vogue for the works of Xenophon, Sallust and Caesar in translation, again targeted at a general readership. Thus a translation of Caesar’s commentaries published in 1705 by a Captain Martin Bladen came complete with plates and maps showing Gallia TransAlpina and Gallia Ulterior which were borrowed from Continental publications; it reached a sixth edition by 1737. 50 King Billy’s wars and the duke of Marlborough’s campaigns clearly stimulated the market for military history in England. At the highest level, such as the History of the great rebellion by the earl of Clarendon, English historians were seeking deeper insights and greater impartiality in their treatment of the past. But below that level, many editors and publishers were still pushing the older ideal of the moral function of history, as an endless source of examples of the wicked getting their just deserts and the virtuous their rewards. Many politicians and 48   See title-pages and prefaces of Wing2 S6147–8 and S6148A–52, and [Suetonius], Lives of the XII Caesars (1717), sigs A4r–v and preface passim. 49   [Plutarch], Plutarch’s Lives (1683), title-page, preface and sigs C6r–v; see Wing2 P2635–41 and ESTC under Plutarch. 50   See Wing2 and ESTC under these authors’ names. For L’Estrange’s reworking of Seneca, see below, p. 329.

Assessing the Impact


authors were also attracted by the chance of finding a modern parallel to an ancient event. Let us take just one example, from 1689 – a 32page translation into English of a speech by Cicero praising Caesar for his pardon and ‘restoration’ of Marcus Marcellus, to which the anonymous translator then added a 31-page appendix of his own, in verse, praising William of Orange for his recent deeds. The gist can be found in the opening pages: He who had ventured Cicero to translate, would need attempt your [William’s] deeds to celebrate … though Caesar’s bus’ness it of old did seem, all to enslave, while yours is to redeem. If him such thanks the Orator does give for letting one Marcellus live, how would his raptured language you adore, who to three kingdoms a new life restore? And that peace, order, unity, effect, he [Cicero] from his Master [Caesar] vainly did expect: so that all here was a prophetic praise, wrapped darkly up in Latin till our days, and its true meaning now in you displays.51

In short, a rising number of editions of classical works in English, aimed at an increasing variety of readers, were produced in England during the two centuries after the Reformation; but a number of these texts either had an explicit moral dimension, such as Cicero’s philosophical works, or were capable of sustaining a moral or political interpretation, such as some of the verse and many of the histories just mentioned. However, few if any attempts were made by the authors or translators and publishers of these works to draw any distinction between the norms of ancient Greek and Roman society and those of their own day. If anything, the reverse was true: a classical precedent was taken to prove the validity of a current act or idea. * * * This still leaves the other category of publications mentioned earlier: the increasingly wide range of more recent and contemporary works written by leading humanists or lesser figures who had, in part at least,   The oration of Cicero for M. Marcellus. Done into English. With an appendix relating to the Prince of Orange (1689), appendix, pp. 1–2. Sallust was another author whose works were scoured for a pointed comparison with current events. 51


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been inspired by the classics. Sales of the works of Erasmus may have dropped sharply from a peak in the mid-sixteenth century to a trough in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, but they picked up again from the 1630s, with many editions for schools of either the complete Colloquia or selections of them in Latin.52 Moreover, somewhat later, from the 1680s to the 1740s there also appeared a score of editions of translations into English of different selections of the Colloquies. While some of these, such as the ones prepared by ‘H.M. gent’, John Clarke, and Nathan Bailey, were texts ‘for the use of beginners’ in grammar schools, others were evidently aimed at politically alert adults, in that the dialogues chosen by their lay editors were those in which Erasmus had criticized the faults of the Catholic Church. Twenty select colloquies out of Erasmus … pleasantly representing several superstitious levities that were crept into the Church of Rome in his days was published by Sir Roger L’Estrange in 1680; by 1689 the selection had risen to 22.53 There was also a revival of interest in Erasmus’ great satirical work Moriae encomium (In praise of folly), which included many attacks on scholastic theologians and knavish monks.54 One version by a future Anglican bishop, the young White Kennett trying to support himself and make his mark as a scholar, was first published in 1683 as Wit against wisdom as a follow-up to a recent translation of selected colloquies.55 Revived in 1709 and adorned with nearly 50 engravings based on drawings by ‘the celebrated Hans Holbein’, it then passed through eight editions. The last of those engravings shows Folly, dressed in fool’s garb, leaving the pulpit after preaching to a congregation of similarly dressed fools. Kennett’s translation at this point reads: I perceive … you expect a formal epilogue … but … you are grossly mistaken if you suppose that after such a hodge-podge medley of speech I should be able to recollect anything that I have delivered. … Wherefore, in short, ‘farewell, live long, drink deep, be jolly, Ye most illustrious votaries of folly’.56 52 53

  STC2 10450.6–53, 10461–3; Wing2 E3191–96B, 3201B–4F; ESTC.   Wing2 E3208D–214. E.J. Devereux, A Checklist of English Translations of Erasmus

to 1700 (Oxford, 1968) was prepared before the Short-Title Catalogues for the early modern period were revised. 54   Wing2 E3190, 3206–8, 3215; ESTC under Erasmus, esp. the versions by John Clarke and Nicholas Bailey. There were occasional translations of Julius exclusus and In praise of folly too. 55   Kennett does not name this translator, but it is probably L’Estrange, to judge from the comment that ‘maugre the reproach of malice, [he] is no doubt as sincere a professor of the Protestant religion as he is a zealous patriot of Christian loyalty’: [Erasmus], Wit against wisdom (1722), sig. A3r. 56   Ibid., title-page, sig. A3r, p. 168, and fig. 46.

Assessing the Impact


In an age of heightened fear of Catholicism, the satires of a leading humanist were being revived by Protestant authors to portray popish priests as both knaves and wastrels. There was even revived interest in Erasmus’ Preparation to death in a translation by a Kentish rector, Robert Warren. With the addition of safe Protestant prayers taken from the Book of Common Prayer or from collections by respected episcopalians, A devout Christian’s preparation to death quickly ran through eight editions between 1706 and 1727. Perhaps purchasers accepted the suggestion on the title-page that copies of this work were suitable gifts to be given to mourners at a funeral instead of the more conventional rings or other mementoes.57 In fact, more editions of Erasmus’ works, both the educational or edifying and the satirical, were published from the 1630s to the 1730s than from the 1520s to the 1620s, and probably in longer print runs too.58 If we broaden the net to include all neo-classical and humanist-inspired works published in early modern England, we also find a growing number of works which consisted of a symbiosis of classical ideology and Christian doctrine, and which were mostly written by educated English laymen. These were works designed to inform and to edify, but did so from a standpoint which – while intended to reinforce Christian teaching – owed a considerable debt to the classical heritage to which virtually all of their authors had been exposed in their youth. Here are just three examples of works by well-educated lay authors. The first is the curious blend of classical wisdom and Christian doctrine in William Baldwin’s A treatise of morall philosophie, which was first published in the full flush of English humanism in 1547, but proved so popular that it was then enlarged several times, and had sold perhaps 25 editions by 1651.59 Baldwin and his main reviser, Thomas Paulfreyman, one of the ‘gentlemen’ in Elizabeth’s royal chapel who doubled Baldwin’s original tally of ‘godly counsels’, were aware that the ‘sayings of the wise’ – that is, of ancient Greeks and Romans – were not as valid as ‘the true Word of God’, and should be applied only to outward actions. Nevertheless they felt that since the ancients had probably been inspired by the Holy Spirit, and their writings had been commended by Augustine, their lives   [Erasmus], A devout Christian’s preparative to death (1710), title-page and passim. For a parallel suggestion in 1692, see Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 367–8. 58   This can be established by comparing the relevant entries in STC2, Wing2 and the ESTC for the first half of the eighteenth century. 59   STC2 1253–69 and Wing2 B547; Green, Print and Protestantism, pp. 217, 404–5, and see pp. 403–10. For Baldwin’s career and recent reputation, see ODNB and Scott Lucas, ‘“Let none such office take, save he that can for right his prince forsake”: A Mirror for Magistrates, Resistance Theory and the Elizabethan Monarchical Republic’, in McDiarmid, Monarchical Republic of Early Modern England, pp. 91–107. 57


Humanism and Protestantism in English Education

and words could be used to support what was taught in the Bible on matters of doctrine as well as behaviour. Moreover, Palfreyman regrouped much of the material under headings such as the seven cardinal virtues and the seven capital vices (borrowed from Catholic moral arithmetic), as well as adding headings on secular subjects such as wealth. His section on virtue includes the following: ‘Apply thy mind to virtue, and thou shalt be saved’ (source not given); ‘Nothing can corrupt a mind wholly dedicat[ed] to virtue’ (from Aristippus, a pupil of Socrates); ‘Only virtue attaineth the everlasting blessedness’ (from Aristotle), and ‘he that liveth virtuously in this life, his spirit shall have rest with God’ (from Marcus Aurelius).60 Here we find two laymen offering a clear equation between virtuous behaviour and Christian salvation – an equation which (for all Baldwin’s hostility to the old Church) retained elements of Catholic organization and ignored concepts such as justification by faith alone or divine grace which simply did not occur in their sources. The second example belongs to the godly dying genre, and was written by a gentleman, Sir Henry Montague, who was created first earl of Manchester for service to the early Stuarts. He was not a Laudian, but had clearly thought deeply about his faith, as in his letter to a son who had converted to Catholicism.61 He was in his mid-sixties when he wrote his Contemplatio mortis, et immortalitatis, which passed through at least 15 editions between the 1630s and the 1680s. This was partly due to its appeal, and partly to some clever ploys adopted by the publishers in later editions, such as the translation into English of all the passages in Latin in Montagu’s original text, and the addition of a new titlepage with an Italianate title, Manchester al mondo. Also added was a frontispiece showing trumpets blowing from clouds hiding the heavenly city, and a cadaver facing a path leading upwards, marked helpfully Via ad aeternitatem. What is interesting here is that the author, a well-educated gentleman and sincere Protestant, chose to combine a firm and informed Christian perspective with a strongly Stoical one on how to prepare for death, and that he made regular comparisons between classical sources such as Plato, Seneca and Epicurus and Christian sources such as the Bible and the Fathers (especially ‘good St Augustine’) as if they were completely interchangeable. On occasion this led him into making statements of a questionable nature from a strictly Christian point of view, such as (quoting from Socrates) that when death approaches, man becomes more divine. Where clergy like Cranmer and Hooker offered the dying and the   W. Baldwin, A treatise of morall philosophie … nowe the fourth time … enlarged by Thomas Paulfreyman (1579), title-page, sigs Aiiir–viiiv, fos 115v–17v and passim. 61   See ODNB under Henry Montague (c. 1564–1642); Eighth Report, 2, Historical Manuscripts Commission, 7 (1910): 51–2. 60

Assessing the Impact


bereaved explicitly Christian forms of consolation drawn overwhelmingly from the Bible or approved sources of ‘godly dying’ material, Manchester, like other laymen, tried to do so by working out his own fusion of classical and Christian comfort.62 The third example is Roger L’Estrange’s edition of Seneca’s Morals, which also passed through at least 15 editions in London alone between 1678 and 1746. Despite the many wars he had fought with sword and pen, L’Estrange like Manchester turned later in life to more contemplative works, and like Dryden turned increasingly to the classics too. L’Estrange’s version of Seneca’s Epistulae morales was not just a translation, but a condensation and a complete re-organizing of Seneca’s moral essays, which L’Estrange admired as being written ‘principally for thinking men’ who were looking for ‘a perfect and a lively image of human nature’. In many editions, like so many of the works discussed in the last few pages, it appeared with an eye-catching frontispiece, in this case showing Seneca’s enforced suicide, as described by Tacitus: like a true philosopher, Seneca is still dictating to a scribe even as the blood flows from his veins. In the preface and an ‘Afterthought’ added after the fifth edition, L’Estrange complained that in late seventeenth-century England ‘the very foundations of religion are shaken’ and ‘the two tables of the Decalogue dashed to pieces, one against the other’. In this state of Christians acting like pagans, he said, who was there more fit to be a moderator among ‘pagan-Christians’ than that ‘good honest Christian pagan’, that ‘divine heathen’, Seneca? As a manual of moral teachings by which to rule our lives, his re-working of Seneca’s moral essays would, he hoped, not ‘be inferior to any other’ manual ‘whatsoever’, with ‘the sole exception of the Divine Oracles of Holy Inspiration’ (the Bible).63 The underlying assumption in the works of Baldwin, Manchester and L’Estrange, that classical ethics and Protestant doctrine were somehow interchangeable, was not one which would have pleased those clergy who deemed it dangerous to focus on statements implying that men and women could be reconciled with God by choosing to do virtuous deeds. Indeed L’Estrange had gone beyond the other two in suggesting that in a ‘paganChristian’ age, Seneca could be safely used as a yardstick by which to judge Christian behaviour. But the repeat sales of works such as these, 62   STC2 18023.5–28.5 and Wing2 M404–10; Sir Henry Montague, Manchester al mondo (1639), pp. 18, 190, and (1668), p. 30; Mack, Elizabethan Rhetoric, pp. 111–13, 156, 281–2; in his model consolatory letters, Angel Day invoked the gods more than God: The English secretorie (1586), pp. 219–23. 63   See ODNB under Sir Roger L’Estrange; see also above, pp. 311–12; [Seneca], Seneca’s Morals by way of abstract (1711), frontispiece, sig. A4r, pp. 514, 517, 521, 524, and ‘To the reader’ and ‘Afterthought’ passim.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


and many others which could be cited, suggest that both lay authors and publishers had identified markets for such hybrid works in early modern England.64 * * * There is one other genre of literature that is worth considering here: the advice on training and conduct written by the well-educated English man or woman for members of their own family, or for others who wished to appear well-bred. For much of the sixteenth century most conduct literature had originated abroad, especially in Italy, but examples of a home-grown variety did emerge, and it is worth looking at a few examples for what they may tell us about their authors’ intellectual and spiritual development and their mature worldview. William Higford’s Advice to his grandson was written by a gentleman who had grown up under Elizabeth (though it was not published until 1658). Higford had a no-nonsense view of salvation: it was a matter of duty reaping reward. He tells his grandson to appoint a godly preacher to tell him his duty, because ‘it is practice, and the careful observation of God’s Commandments which brings the reward: “Do this and live.”’ There is a brief reference to the three ‘theological’ virtues of faith, hope and charity, but far more space is devoted to expounding the four moral virtues taken straight from Cicero’s De officiis (justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance), and to urging gentlemanly activities such as riding the great horse, self-defence, travel, hunting, music and dancing. Higford contrasts the ancient lineage of his family with that of ‘upstarts and buyers of honour’; he reminds his grandson of the family motto, ‘Virtus verus honos’ (‘virtue is the true honour’), and tells him that unless he imitates the family’s virtues, he cannot participate in their honours. The thrust of Higford’s advice may derive from generations of gentry pride and assertiveness, but when he sought supporting authority, he made only limited use of Old Testament and scholastic texts, and much more of citations in Latin from Cicero, Ovid and Seneca, and of examples from ancient history (probably from Trogus or Florus’ epitome).65 The grandson was clearly expected to understand and sometimes to complete a citation for himself: mastery of Latin would for Higford senior have been a means of asserting the distance between the privileged elite and the great majority of mankind.

  See Green, Print and Protestantism, chaps 1, 5–8, 10.   W. Higford, Institutions or advice to his grandson (1658), pp. 3–4, 38–9, 45–7,

64 65

53–85 and passim. This work was reprinted with a slightly different title in 1660: Wing2 H1946–7.

Assessing the Impact


An interesting comparison may be made between Higford’s work and the advice offered by two English laymen who were not drawn from the established gentry, but presumed to offer advice to the landed elite: Henry Peacham’s The compleat gentleman and Richard Brathwaite’s The English gentleman, which both sold quite well in the 1620s and 1630s. Peacham was the son of a provincial clergyman (who himself had published a celebrated book of rhetoric). Peacham junior rose through his education to a position where he could divide his time between teaching in a succession of schools, writing Latin and English verse, publishing epigrams, composing music, painting, designing, and making occasional trips abroad. An extended trip abroad in the early 1620s persuaded him that the sons of the landed elite on the mainland of Europe had a much better all-round education than their English counterparts, and with the additional incentive of trying to please an aristocratic patron, he wrote and published his conduct book. The compleat gentleman contains a fine example of the decorated title-page found in such works. On the left is depicted nobility, represented by military paraphernalia; and on the right wisdom, fed by reading books by authors such as Plutarch, Thucydides and Tacitus.66 Like Higford, Peacham’s supporting citations are drawn not from the Old Testament or Fathers, but almost entirely from classical sources, and in his case from several humanist authors as well. Like Higford, Peacham thought a gentleman should not simply be careful of his manners, appearance, bearing and reputation by cultivating temperance, prudence and other virtues, but also be fluent in Latin and familiar with the works of orators and historians such as Cicero, Caesar, Tacitus and Livy. He should also be knowledgeable or skilled in many other areas too, such as cosmography, geometry, music, drawing and painting in oils, and heraldry. But Peacham had even less than Higford to say about spiritual development, apart from urging gentlemen to make the acquaintance of men with sound reputations for ‘religion, life, and learning’, both while they are at university and in later life, and to base their studies on ‘the fear and service of God, by oft frequenting prayers and sermons, reading the scriptures and other tractates of piety and devotion’ (not specified).67 His own sympathies apparently lay with the established Church, but his outlook was strongly coloured by the norms and ideals of the ancient world and of early sixteenth-century humanists whose writings he had imbibed in his youth and were congenial to his talents. Richard Brathwaite was another provincial, the son of a lawyer who had acquired property in the North, and like Peacham, he gained entry into the   See ODNB under Henry Peacham; Peacham, The compleat gentleman (1622), title-


page. 67

  Ibid., pp. 39–41 and passim.

Humanism and Protestantism in English Education


world of academe and the London literary scene through his education. In Westmorland he became a landowner, paterfamilias, a justice of the peace, captain of the trained bands and deputy lieutenant, but he spent as much time in London as he could, and in the 1640s may have fought on the King’s side. He certainly lived to greet Charles II’s return in a panegyric poem, for, again like Peacham, Brathwaite had another life: as a poet and writer who published at least 50 works in English and Latin between the 1610s and the 1660s. These included panegyrics, elegies, pastorals, eclogues, odes, emblems, epigrams, ‘witty jests and merry tales’, travelogues, political satires, plays, essays, surveys of history and historians, histories of Roman emperors and the kings of France, and a translation from the Italian.68 At first sight, the title-page of Brathwaite’s conduct book, and the eight sections into which he divided his text, suggest a similar work to Peacham’s. On the centre of the title-page is depicted a gentleman who (the Latin tags inform us) might be standing with his feet on the earth, but whose hopes were in heaven. Round the edge of the same title-page are images indicating the eight sections into which the work is divided: ‘youth’, ‘disposition’, ‘education’, ‘vocation’ and so on, again all with Latin tags attached. Thus on the top left, ‘Youth’ is depicted ‘seated on a mount[ain]’ between a female figure holding a palm branch representing virtue, ‘Virtute tute’ (‘safe through virtue’), and a siren with the motto ‘Vox laeta, sed anxia lethi’ (‘a seductive sound, but beware oblivion’). Underneath it, ‘Disposition’, represented as ‘a youthful wanton’ who reaches up to pluck an apple from the bower, has a motto not from Genesis, but Ovid: ‘Nitimur in vetitum’ (‘we strive for the forbidden’). On the right, at the top, ‘Education’ in the liberal arts is portrayed through breasts representing life-giving wisdom and rods signifying correction – ‘ubera et verbera’. Under ‘Recreation’ there is a quote from Horace, ‘Non arcum semper tendit Apollo’ (‘Apollo does not always pull the bow’), and under ‘Acquaintance’, Ovid is again cited, praising the nobility of constant love or friendship: ‘Certus amor morum est’. Only under ‘Perfection’ in the bottom right corner is there a reference to the Christian way of seeking the path to heaven: ‘Hac coelum petitur via’.69 But there was another side to Brathwaite’s writings that was absent from Peacham’s – a strong awareness of right and wrong, and of the Christian’s duty to fight the good fight. Whereas The compleat gentleman had few scriptural and patristic references, they abound and dominate in The English gentleman, and the first page of each of the eight sections of the latter is headed by the tetragammaton. Moreover, Brathwaite had a   See ODNB under Richard Brathwaite.   The ‘frontispiece’ to Brathwaite, The English gentleman (1630) is explained in a

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folded ‘draught’ bound into the appropriate gathering.

Assessing the Impact


great deal to say about controlling the ‘violent passio