George William Fisher.

Annals of Shrewsbury School online

. (page 18 of 56)
Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 18 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


turned to his old assistant at Overton, David Peirce, with
whom Mrs. Chaloner had quarrelled, and to whom he had
generously advanced money for his support at Cambridge.
Peirce had subsequently obtained employment in another
school, and Chaloner hoped that he might be able to repay
a portion of the sum which he had advanced to him. But,
on inquiry, it turned out that Peirce had become subject to
attacks of "melancholia," and was likely in consequence to
lose his mastership, his sole means of subsistence.' So no
help was to be looked for from that quarter. And when the
new school at Newport was opened prosperity did not come
to it all at once. Forty-five boys, it is true, had followed
their old master from Ruthin ; but new pupils were slow to
appear, and some sixteen months seem to have elapsed
before the school could be said to have firmly established
its reputation. By that time the numbers had sufficiently
increased to justify the appointment of a second master ;
and the post was offered by Mr. Adams to the Head
Master's eldest son Thomas, who had graduated at Cam-
bridge some years before, and had been for three years
Head Master of a school near Malpas, in Cheshire, probably
Nantwich. 1

A Newport school list, dated June 26th, 1658, and con-
taining as many as 242 names, has been preserved. It is in
the handwriting of the younger Chaloner, who has prefixed
to it a brief account of his own appointment to the second-
mastership, in which account his father and chief is spoken
of in a somewhat patronizing fashion. In December of the
same year Chaloner sent two complimentary addresses in
Latin verse to Mr. William Dugard, Head Master of Mer-
chant Tailors' School, who had recently published a Lexicon
of the Greek Testament for the use of schoolboys. Both
addresses are given in an edition of the book printed in 1660.
Whatever may be their poetic merits in the eyes of modern

1 Thomas Chaloner, jun. , describes the school of which he had been master for
three years as Schola Vico-Malbanensis. This school was probably Nantwich, as
boys from Nantwich School, admitted at St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1656
and 1659, are said to have been educated under Mr. Chaloner.



i;2 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

Salopians, they are worth preserving as illustrations of the
kindly humour of their author.

I.

" Plostello innixus, paulatim, parvulus infans
Assuescit teneris terram contingere plantis,
Brachiaque adstantis fastidit nota puellas :
Ilia videns, ridensque simul, mihi gratulor, inquit,
Taedia defessis tandem excussisse lacertis,
Canitiem septena mihi jam lustra tulerunt
Dictanti pueris linguae primordia Grsecae.
Ah quoties duri post taedia longa laboris
Hora fatigatum dimisit quinta Magistrum.
Tu plaustrum, Dugarde, scholis puerile parasti,
Cui tarda innitens Tironum infantia, post hac
Figere sponte sua gressus, et poplite moto
Alternare pedes per Grseca volumina possit
Neglectus gaudetque tuens meditamina Doctor,
Ergo tibi grates debemus, quotquot ubivis
Ingenuam facile pubem moderamur habena :
Nemo magis, quam cujus adhuc vexata procellis
Innumeris, perpessa minas caelique marisque,
Tandem tuta, Novo consedit cymbula Portu.

II.

" Invita quotquot lucem videre Minerva
Et piper et scombros plurima scripta timent.
At tua in aeternos industria parturit usus
Quantum vis serae posteritatis opus.
Cui frustra quisquam curas adhibere secundas
Spondeat, aut plagio, vendicet ista suo
Hinc praeceptori repetendas nausea crambes
Tollitur ; hinc stimulum Tiro laboris habet.
Augmina quam celeri mihi parvus crescat alumnus
Cui sic praemansos indis in ora cibos."

Here, in this New Port of which Chaloner speaks, which
was not destined, however, to be his final haven of rest, we
must leave him for a time, while we return to Shrewsbury
School, which had remained meanwhile in the charge of Mr.
Pigott, the gentleman whom the puritan authorities had, with
a calm indifference to the school ordinances, appointed Head
Master after Chaloner's expulsion.







CO ^

i-J > O

O w

S



w: u

<; s
O H



CHAPTER VIII.

Richard Pig-ott, 1646-1662.

T3 ICHARD PIGOTT was a native of Northwich in
JL\ Cheshire, 1 and was probably brought up as a boy at the
Grammar School in that town. But all we know for certain
about his education is that he matriculated as a member of
Christ's College, Cambridge, 2 in July, 1614, and graduated
B.A. in 1618 and M.A. in 1621. There is no doubt that
Mr. Pigott was residing in Northwich in 1640, for his son
Richard, who was admitted pensioner of St. John's, Cam-
bridge, on May 2ist, 1657, at tne a e f sixteen, is described
in the college register as "of Northwich." And we may
safely conclude that for many years, and indeed up to the
time of his appointment to Shrewsbury, he filled the office of
Head Master of Northwich Grammar School, for we find
in the admission register of St. John's College, Cambridge,
the names of several students who were admitted in the
years 1634, 1638, 1639, an ^ 1642 who are described as
educated under Mr. Pigott at Northwich. On the other
hand, not only does his name disappear from the register
as connected with Northwich after 1642, but we learn from
the same authority that a few years later one Mr. Hulme had
become Head Master.

For once Mr. Leonard Hotchkis has made a slip in telling
us that Richard Pigott was Head Master of Newport before
going to Shrewsbury. 3 As a matter of fact, Newport

1 See Joseph Morris MSS. in the possession of Cresswell Peele, Esq., of
Shrewsbury. Mr. Morris says that the father's name was also Richard.

2 Calamy speaks of Richard Pigott, the Head Master, as M.A. of Christ's College.

3 Hotchkis's mistake was copied by Blakeway, and has since been repeated
by Mr. Collins, by Mr. Edward Jones in an interesting account of Newport
printed in the Transactions of the Shropshire A re hceo logical Society, and by the
editors of ADNITT and NAUNTON'S History of Shrewsbury School.

173



174 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

Grammar School was not founded till 1656, when Thomas
Chaloner became its first Head Master. Phillips, in his
History of Shrewsbury, gives Pigott the prefix of Rev. But
it is very doubtful whether he was in holy orders. He is
described in the school account-book as Generosus> a descrip-
tion which, though not absolutely conclusive, is certainly
antagonistic to the notion that he was an ordained
clergyman of the Church of England. It is true that the
Corporation, which, under puritan influences, illegally made
Richard Pigott Head Master, gave him also the appellation
and stipend of catechist, an office previously held by none
but clergymen of the English Church. But this, in those
days of puritan ascendency, proves nothing. Some time
elapsed after the capture of Shrewsbury on February 22nd,
164^, before Pigott was made Head Master, or, at any rate,
before he was able to commence work. But the school had
been again reopened by November i/th, 1645, an d in the
course of the following year fifty-two names were entered in
the register of admissions.

Very little money, however, was forthcoming in that year
for the payment of masters. Their united stipends amounted
to .37. No mention is made of the exact time when Pigott
commenced his work as Head Master, but as the charge
of 2Os. for the customary banquet 1 on his admission appears
in the school accounts for the year from November i6th,
1646, he was probably admitted some time subsequent to
that date.

At any rate, the first appearance of his name as Head
Master and catechist occurs in this year's accounts. Robert
Forster, 1 the School Bailiff, appears to have been dismissed
when the puritans gained possession of the town, and his
place was taken by Richard Griffith. It is probable that

1 Robert Forster, a bookseller of Shrewsbury, was appointed School Bailiff
after the resignation of George Phillips on April loth, 1635, on account of
blindness. The name of Robert Forster again occurs as School Bailiff after
the Restoration. He was doubtless the son of the former Bailiff. He is described
as a draper, and is also called junior in the school account-book. Robert Forster,
the bookseller, was elected Mayor of Shrewsbury in 1661 and 1677. He had
been nominated a member of the Common Council in the Charter of 1638.



RICHARD PIGOTT 175

his connection with Shrewsbury by marriage 1 led to Mr.
Pigott's election by the Corporation. As he was neither
born in Shrewsbury, nor educated at the school, his appoint-
ment was in direct contravention of the school ordinances
in almost every particular. But Pigott's contemporaries
speak favourably of him. He was well known to Richard
Baxter, who calls him " my old friend." Calamy describes
him as " an able, prudent, and religious man," and, according
to Mr. Tallents, 2 the curate of St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, Mr.
Pigott "much improved Shrewsbury School in every way
while he was Head Master." We must remember, however,
that Mr. Tallents's sympathies were strongly with the puritan
party in the town, and that he cannot be regarded as
altogether an unbiassed witness in the matter. However
this may be, there is no doubt that during the sixteen years
of Pigott's head-mastership many circumstances combined to
hinder the prosperity of Shrewsbury School. In the first
place, most of the gentlemen residing in Shropshire and the
neighbouring counties were staunch loyalists, and not un-
naturally preferred sending their boys to Chaloner, or to the
nearest Grammar School, to allowing them to be educated
at Shrewsbury under the existing regime.

Then too in Shrewsbury itself there were churchmen and
loyalists enough to make it worth while for a gentleman
named Scofield to establish a private school there in rivalry
of the Grammar School, which was now, as Wood puts it,
"under the Government of the Saints." 3 Mr. Scofield's
school was probably in existence as early as 1650, and it

1 Mr. J. Morris says that Richard Pigott married a daughter of Mr. Thomas
Cheshire of Shrewsbury, glover.

2 Mr. Francis Tallents, M.A., of Magdalene College, Cambridge, who had
travelled much on the Continent, and had somewhere or other obtained
Presbyterian orders, was appointed by the Corporation, on January 4th, 165!,
curate of St. Mary's. Both Richard Baxter and the Head Master urged him
strongly to accept the cure. He remained in charge of the parish till September
1st, 1662, when he was deprived under the operation of the Act of Uniformity.
(OWEN and BLAKEWAY.)

3 See the Life of Corbet Owen in WOOD'S Athen. Oxon. Corbet Owen was a son
of the Rev. William Owen, of Pontesbury, and was born at Hinton in 1646. In
May, 1658, he entered Westminster School, from whence he proceeded to Christ
Church, Oxford.



1 76 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

appears to have been kept up most of Pigott's time. 1 But in
spite of these difficulties Shrewsbury School continued to be
fairly well filled. In the sixteen years of Pigott's mastership
the average number of annual entries was seventy-four, and
in the year beginning November I7th, 1652, as many as 102
boys were entered.

Sometime during the month of August, 1650, the masters
and boys had to migrate to Grinshill 2 on account of the
plague which was then raging in Shrewsbury, and which did
not come to an end till the middle of January, 165$. As
many as 250 people are said to have died during the
prevalence of this sickness in the parish of St. Chad alone. 3
" The schools " were dissolved by order of Council on
August Qth, 1 650.*

The best testimony perhaps to Pigott's fitness for his post
is the fact that David Evans, Chaloner's old friend and
colleague, continued to fill the second master's place after
Chaloner had left until his death in 1658.

" Black David " was a Welshman by birth, and had been
educated as a boy at Shrewsbury School, subsequently pro-
ceeding to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was admitted
as a sizar on September 8th, 1623. He graduated B.A. in
1626, and was appointed third master on November iQth,
i627. 5 If his age at the time of his death is correctly given

1 Corbet Owen is not likely to have gone to Mr. Scofield's school much before
1652.

2 Gough mentions in his History of Middle that the school migrated to
Grinshill in 1650, but makes the mistake of saying that the migration occurred in
Chaloner's time.

3 See OWEN and BLAKEWAY. It made its first appearance in the town on
June 1 2th.

4 The order is given by Owen and Blakeway. "You are also forthwith to
dissolve both the schools in your towne, and see that they continue soe till it
shall please God the infection shall cease. "Jo. BRADSHAW, P.

"WHITEHALL, qth Aug^ist, 1650."

The second school to which this order refers may be the accidence school,
which was generally treated separately from the higher schools ; but it is more
probable that it was the school kept by Mr. Scofield.

5 The college letter to the Bailiffs of November iQth, 1627, describes David
Evans as educated at Shrewsbury, and a B.A. of Jesus College. His name is
entered in his college register as from Wales.



RICHARD PIGOTT 177

on his grave-stone, Evans must have been born in 1597.
He must then have been about twenty-six years old when he
went up to Cambridge, and had probably been engaged
during the interval which had elapsed since he left school
in educational work. There is some difficulty in tracing his
entry in the school register, as the name of David Evans
occurs no less than seven times between 1603 and 1619 ; but
it is probable that he entered Shrewsbury School either in
1605 or in I6O9. 1

During the interregnum which occurred between Mr.
Harding's departure about June, 1636, and Chaloner's ap-
pointment in February, 1634, Evans acted temporarily as
Head Master. On Gittins's resignation in September, 1638,
he was promoted to the second-mastership, 2 and he continued
in that office till his death. Once again, while he was at
Shrewsbury, David Evans had to take charge of the school
as Head Master. This was after Chaloner had been expelled
and before Pigott was ready to begin work. That he was
able to work successfully and harmoniously with head
masters so opposed both in church and state politics as
Chaloner and Pigott is a striking proof of his amiability
of temperament and conciliatory disposition.

Of his " ability of learning " and " conversacon of life "
the language used by the authorities of St. John's College
in 1627 is ample testimony. And lastly, we have the
epitaph on his grave-stone in St. Mary's Church, in all
probability written by Chaloner, which reflects, not only
the affectionate regard in which " Black David " was held
by those who knew him best, but the high estimate his



1 Three of these school entries may be eliminated at once. In 1607 Evans
was only ten years old, and cannot have been placed in the highest school. The
1619 entry cannot be his, as he was then twenty-two years old, and it is highly
improbable that he entered school in 1615 at the age of eighteen. In 1611,
again, David Evans was fourteen, and a boy of that age would be unusually
backward to to be placed in the third school. In 1603, at the age of six,
he would be more likely to be placed in the accidence school than in the third
school.

2 The formal deed, executed by Chaloner and the Bailiffs, promoting David
Evans to the second-mastership, is preserved in the school account-book.



178 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

colleagues had formed of his powers as a teacher of
grammar. 1

David Evans was succeeded in the second-mastership by
Mr. Edward Cotton, 2 a native of Shrewsbury, who was
entered at school in January, i62f. After graduating at
Oxford B.A. in 1635, and M.A. in 1639 ^ e was made a
fellow of University College. On March i/th, 1651, he was
admitted pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, the
college having probably made his migration a condition
of his election to the second-mastership, and eight months
afterwards, on December 2nd, 1659, he was appointed to fill
Evans's place.

Mr. Robert Ogden, who held the third-mastership in
Chaloner's time, was succeeded in 1649, according to Hotch-
kis, by Mr. Harrison. 3 His successor, the Rev. Isaac Solden, 4
appears in Hotchkis's list of masters as having been appointed
in 1657. But we learn from the register of benefactors to
the school library that he was third master in 1654; and
Phillips puts his appointment as early as 1651.

Mr. Hugh Spurstow, who was the fourth master for nearly
thirty years, died on October I9th, i6$6, 5 and was succeeded
by Mr. Ralph Jackson. The Rev. Peter Lloyd, who was
certainly fourth master in 1647, probably held the post

1 David Evans died May 26th, 1658, aged 61. His epitaph, as given by Owen
and Blakeway, is as follows :

" Caveto, sis puer : prope est David niger,
Notandus olim literis rubris senex.
Is Priscianus temporis sui inclitus :
Nescisadhuc? Abito ! nescis literas."
The humour of this epitaph suggests at once the hand of Chaloner.

2 Edward Cotton, son of Mr. Richard Cotton, of Shrewsbury, matriculated at
University College, Oxford, on April 27th, 1632, as pleb. fil. of Salop, aged
seventeen.

8 Phillips describes Mr. Harrison as a clergyman.

4 Mr. Solden held office till 1658, when he seems to have become Vicar
of Albrightlee, Salop. Robert Solden, his son, who was admitted sizar of St.
John's College, Cambridge, on March ist, i68f, is described in the college
register as son of the Rev. Isaac Solden, clerk, and as born at Albrightlee,
Salop, in 1664.

5 See Hotchkis MSS.

6 On March 2ist, 1647, John Lloyd, son of Rev. Peter Lloyd, schoolmaster
of the Free School, was baptised at St. Chad's. (Hotchkis MSS. )



RICHARD PIGOTT 179

from the time of Mr. Jackson's resignation in 1643. He, in
turn, was succeeded in 1649 by Mr. Franklin, 1 who can only
have retained his office for a very short time, as Mr. Robert
Goddard's name appears in the school accounts for 1652 ;
and, if Hotchkis be correct, he became fourth master in
1650. Neither Solden nor Goddard seem to have been
educated at Shrewsbury, We learn from the school register
that Mr. Godheard (sic) was still accidence master in 1662.
But Mr. Solden had resigned three years before, and Mr.
John Taylor, B.A., had been nominated by the college as
third master on December 2nd, 1659. He was an Oxford
man, but had been admitted, Hotchkis says, a pensioner
of St. John's College, Cambridge, on January 8th, 1651, being
then a candidate for the third-mastership.

If this be correct the post must have remained vacant
nearly a year. 2 It is not unlikely that Mr. Solden resigned
the third-mastership from disappointment at not being
promoted when David Evans died in May, 1658. We learn
from a Corporation order that a music master was appointed
in 1651 to maintain a musical exercise in the school gallery.
The complete disregard shown by the Corporation of
Shrewsbury for the school ordinances in the matter of the
appointment of masters after the town came under puritan
domination was not calculated to promote the easy settle-

1 See Hotchkis MSS.

z Mr. John Taylor was son of Mr. Michael Taylor, of Middleton, Lancashire.
He was admitted at Brasenose College, Oxford, on March Qth, 164!, and re-
mained at Oxford three years, more or less. When he migrated to Cambridge he
was already twenty-eight years old. Blakeway's statement that he was the son of
Mr. Andrew Taylor, of Rodington, seems to have been founded on the fact that
one of his own sons was named Andrew. His first wife, Mrs. Phoebe Taylor,
died in January, 166?, in childbirth. On February 1st, i66f, he married Mrs.
Stapleton at St. Mary's Church. Richard Taylor, one of his sons by his first
marriage, matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on September i6th,
1672. His father is described in the Oxford register as "of Salop, Priest." Two
sons of the second marriage were baptised at St. Mary's John, on October I ith,
1670; and Michael, on June iQth, 1672. John became a barber surgeon in
Shrewsbury, and was the father of the well-known scholar who was commonly
called by his contemporaries " Demosthenes Taylor." The new third master was
a benefactor to the school library in 1661. In the school accounts for 1663-64 an
entry appears of the payment of ^5 to Mr. John Taylor, gentleman, for "teaching
poor scholars to write," and a similar payment is recorded in the following year.



i8o SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

ment of other business transactions between the school
trustees and St. John's College, and a dispute on the subject
of the two Shrewsbury scholarships, founded at the college
in 1624, seems to have gone on for some years in Pigott's
time before its final settlement in 1656, when articles of
agreement were drawn up, on September 27th, between
the Corporation, the college, and Mr. Pigott, the Head
Master. In these articles the statutable qualifications,
under the ordinances, were recited, and two new stipulations
were added. It was agreed that the scholar must have been
at Shrewsbury for three years at least, and "of the first
bench in the highest school by the space of one whole year
at least." 1 The school trustees had another controversy in
Pigott's time, but this was with the inhabitants of Astley,
in Shropshire, and not with the college. As long before
as 1607-8 the Astley people had claimed the right to elect
their own curate. On this occasion the school authorities
agreed to a compromise under which the inhabitants of
Astley were to recommend a clergyman for the cure. But
they disagreed among themselves, some being in favour of
the Rev. George Adeney, M.A., 2 while the majority sup-
ported the Rev. Henry Humffres, who had been taking
the parochial duties. The trustees ultimately selected
Mr. Adeney. Sometime in the year 1653-54 the same
claim was revived on the resignation of the Rev. Richard
Allen, and a case was submitted to Humphrey Mackworth,
Esq., the Recorder, who decided in favour of the school
trustees. 3 Although the school register during Pigott's
time possesses nothing like the interest attached to it in

1 See Hotchkis MSS. and BAKER'S Hist, of St. John's College. Difficulties
about the scholarships had arisen as early as 1649. Writing in that year, on
July 3Oth, the Mayor, in answer to complaints made by the college authorities,
that the annual payment due from the school for the two scholarships was
six years and a half in arrear, replied that there had been a deficiency of available
funds ; but he mentioned at the same time that he did not see why the school
trustees should pay the money if the college did not elect the scholars they
recommended.

2 George Adeney was a son of Mr. William Adeney, of Moreton Corbet, and
was baptised there July 2$th, 1595.

3 See school account-book and Hotchkis MSS.



RICHARD PIGOTT 181

previous years, there are several of his pupils whose names
should not be passed over without mention, and some whose
after career was distinguished.

" Speaker Williams," as he was commonly called, the eldest
son of the Rev. Hugh Williams, D.D., Rector of Llantrisent,
Anglesey, entered Shrewsbury School in 1648 at the age of
fourteen. After graduating at Jesus College, Oxford, in
1652, he went to the Bar, and in 1667 was made Recorder of
Chester. He was elected to represent that city in the House
of Commons on June I4th, 1675, and subsequently sat as its
representative in the Parliaments of 167!, 1679, i68-J, and
1 68 1. In 1685 he was M.P. for the borough of Montgomery.
Twice during this time he was chosen Speaker of the House
of Commons. It was in his official capacity as Speaker that
he signed in 1680 the narrative of the impostor Dangerfield,
which implicated the Duke of York and others in an alleged
plot. For this act he had, a few years later, to pay a fine of
10,000, and was also deprived of his recordership. 1 In
December, 1687, he was appointed Solicitor- General and
knighted, and in the following July he was made a baronet.
Sir William Williams, as Solicitor-General, took a prominent
part in 1688 in the prosecution of the seven bishops. His
leader, Sir Thomas Powys, the Attorney - General, was,
curiously enough, like himself, an old Shrewsbury boy.
Sir William Williams represented Beaumaris in the Con-
vention Parliament and in the Parliament of 1695. Although
after the Revolution a bill was on three separate occasions
introduced into the House of Commons for the purpose, Sir
William Williams never received any compensation for the
heavy fine he had incurred for obeying the commands of the
House. He died in London in July, 1700.2

Sir Henry Langley, eldest son of Jonathan Langley, Esq.,
of the Abbey, Shrewsbury, who is said to have been " skilled



Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 18 of 56)