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this Church."

3 See COOPER'S Athena Cantabrigienses.


remaining years of his mastership. But with an average
annual entry of more than 100 the school numbers can
hardly have fallen much below 400 during the six years in

Shrewsbury, it is evident, must have taken its place under
Ashton's rule as the great Public School for the north-west
of England. Nor can we doubt that such was the intention
of its founders. The difficulties of travel in those days made
it desirable that schools should be established at various
centres to which boys residing in the surrounding districts
might have convenient access ; and Shrewsbury, as the " chief
place of an extensive and fertile district," where the Court of
the Marches of Wales was commonly held, and itself a town
of considerable commercial importance, was a most suitable
place for such a purpose, and one where a well-managed
school would be likely to prosper. 1 That Shrewsbury School
was regarded by people in general as intended for the benefit
of the whole surrounding district, and by no means for that
of the town of Shrewsbury exclusively, is sufficiently shown
by the petition presented to Lord Burghley a few years later
by the Dean and Chapter of Hereford, asking for the
establishment of a school in that city "to serve as commo-
diously for the training of the Youth of South Wales as
Shrewsbury doth for the Youth of North Wales." 2 The
internal evidence of the school register of admittances is to
the same effect.

We have already seen that in the course of six years
Ashton admitted nearly twice as many aliens as oppidans,
and a careful examination of the names shows that there was
scarcely a family of note in the surrounding counties which
did not send one or more of its youthful scions to be
educated by Ashton at Shrewsbury. Egertons, Dones,
Leighs, Brokes, and Massies, from Cheshire ; Sandys and
Butlers from Lancashire ; Harringtons from Rutland ; Foxes
from Herefordshire, and Curzons from Buckinghamshire,
are to be found in Ashton's register, side by side with

1 See Report of Public School Commission^ 1864.

2 See STRYPE'S Life of Whitgift.


Charltons, Scrivens, Leightons, Hanmers, Hollfords, Cople-
stons, Salusburys, Mores, Cotes, Barkers, Husseys, Burtons,
Mainwarings, and many other representatives of the chief
families of Shropshire and North Wales. But foremost in
distinction among them all stand the names of Philip
Sidney 1 and Fulke Greville, who were admitted on the
same day, and whose intimate and lifelong friendship,
commemorated by the survivor on his tomb, probably
commenced at Shrewsbury.

Sir Henry Sidney, in his official position as Lord President
of the Marches of Wales, resided at Ludlow Castle. In the
course of his frequent visits to Shrewsbury on official business,
Sir Henry would naturally become acquainted with Ashton. 2
At any rate, he cannot have failed to learn his high reputa-
tion as a teacher. The comparative nearness of Shrewsbury
to Ludlow would also be some recommendation. It is not
surprising, then, that the Lord President should have come
to the determination to send his son Philip to Shrewsbury.
He was admitted on October i/th, 1564, being at the time
ten years old. On the same day, and doubtless at Sir

1 Philip Sidney was born November 3Oth, 1554, at Penshurst in Kent.
He was named after Queen Mary's husband, who had been escorted to England
by his father a few months previously. On May 6th, 1564, the young Philip was
made Rector of Whitford in Flintshire. He seems to have retained the Rectory
all his life, paying 6 a year to a deputy. After staying at Shrewsbury a
few months over three years Philip proceeded to Christ Church, Oxford, where
he remained three years ; but he does not seem to have taken a degree either at
Oxford or Cambridge. He is traditionally stated to have been driven from
Oxford by the plague in 1571, and to have taken refuge at Cambridge. From
May, 1572, to June 1575, Philip Sidney travelled on the Continent. During his
stay at Paris he lived with Walsingham, the English Ambassador, and was in his
house at the time of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew on August 23rd, 1572. At
Frankfort he first met Languet, with whom he remained on terms of intimacy for
the rest of his life. It was for Languet that Sidney's portrait was painted by
Paolo Veronese when he was in Italy in 1574. In 1576 Sir Henry Sidney, with
his wife and son, accompanied the Queen in her visits to Kenilworth, Lichfield,
and Chartley. At Chartley Philip probably met for the first time Penelope
Devereux, his future "Stella." Two admirable letters, written to his brother
Robert when he was abroad in 15/8, are worthy of being put beside that written
to him by his father. For further particulars about Philip Sidney, see his life by
H. F. Bourne.

3 Bourne makes a curious mistake in saying that Thomas Ashton and Sir
Henry Sidney were contemporaries at Oxford.



Henry's suggestion, Fulke Greville, son and heir of Sir
Fulke Greville of Beauchamp's Court, Warwickshire, and
James Harrington, second son of Sir James Harrington of
Exton, Rutlandshire, both of whom were first cousins of
Philip Sidney, also entered the school.

The lives and friendship of Philip Sidney and Fulke
Greville are too well known to need any detailed account
here. Philip Sidney, poet, scholar, soldier, and the model
of a Christian gentleman, died in 1586 in the flower of
his age from the effects of a wound received at Zutphen.
In a letter written during Philip's lifetime, his father
describes him as "the light of his family," 1 and Fulke
Greville calls him "the prince of gentlemen." The whole
nation seems to have joined in mourning his death. Fulke
Greville, who shared his friend's poetical and literary tastes, 2
lived to fill many high State offices, and died at last at
the age of seventy-four by the hands of an assassin. 3 While
Philip Sidney was still at Shrewsbury School two letters
of his to his father, one in Latin and the other in French,
drew from Sir Henry a reply, which even at this day
may be regarded as a model of fatherly advice. It was the
first letter he had ever written to his boy, and, that being the

1 Sidney State Papers, vol. i.

2 Philip Sidney and Fulke Greville were both of them members of a Literary
Society called "Areopagus," which was founded by Gabriel Hervey.

3 Fulke Greville was born at Beauchamp's Court in 1554. He matriculated at
Jesus College, Cambridge, May 2Oth, 1568, as a fellow commoner, but does not
seem to have taken a degree. His uncle gave him an office in the Court of the
Marches of Wales in 1576, but he resigned it the following year. In 1578 he
was attached to Walsingham's Mission in Flanders, and was again abroad in
1579, when he had an interview with " William the Silent." Both Philip Sidney
and Fulke Greville were anxious to take part in Drake's expedition against the
Spanish West Indies in if5, but the Queen forbade them ; nor would she allow
Greville to join Leicester's army in the Low Countries in 1585. Fulke Greville
was M.P. for Warwickshire in the Parliaments of 1592-93, 1597, 1601, and 1620.
In March, I59I", he was made Treasurer of the Wars, and in September, 1598,
Treasurer of the Navy. On the accession of James 1st in 1603 he was made
a Knight of the Bath. In 1614 he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, and on
January 29th, 162^, he was created Baron Brooke. On September ist, 1628,
Greville was stabbed by his servant while he was in bed, and he died from the
effects of the wound on September 3Oth. See Calendar of State Papers, Domestic,
and Dictionary of National Biography.


case, he did not wish it, as he tells his "little Philip," to
be " empty of some aduices."

. . . . " Let your first action be the lifting vp of your minde to
Almighty God by hartie praier, and feelingly digest the wordes you
speak in praier with continuall meditation, and thinking of him
to whom you pray .... marke the sence and matter of that you

doo reade as well as the words Be humble and obedient to

your master, for vnlesse you frame yourself to obey others, yea, and
feel in your selfe what obedience is, you shall neuer be able to teach
others how to obey you. Be courteous of gesture, and affable vnto
all men, with diuersitie of reuerence according to the dignitie of the
person, there is nothing that winneth so much with so little cost, vse
moderate diet .... seldome drinke wine, and yet sometimes do,
least being inforced to drinke vpon the sudden you should find your
selfe inflamed, vse exercise of bodie, but such as is without perill of
your bones or ioints .... delite to be cleanly as well in all parts
of your body as in your garments .... giue yourselfe to be merie
.... but let your mirth be euer void of all scurrilitie and biting
words to any man, for an wounde giuen by a worde is oftentimes
harder to be cured then that which is giuen with the sword ; be you
rather a hearer and bearer away of other mens talke, than a

beginner or procurer of spech Be modest in ech assemblie,

and rather be rebuked of light felowes for maidenlike shamefastnes,
than of your sad friends for peart boldnes : Think vpon euery worde
that you will speake before you vtter it .... aboue all things tell

no vntruth, no not in trifles And let it not satisfie you that

the hearers for a time take it for truth, yet after it will be knowne as
it is to your shame, for there cannot be a greater reproch to a

Gentleman than to be accompted a Iyer Remember the

noble blood you are discended of by your mother's side, and thinke
that only by vertuous life and good action, you may be an ornament
to that yllustre family, and otherwise through vice and sloth you
may be accompted, Labes generis, a spot of your kin, one of the
greatest curses that can happen to man. Well my little Philip, this

is enough for me, and I feare to much for you Commend

mee most heartily vnto Maister Justice Corbet, 1 old Master
Onslowe, 1 and my Coosin his sonne. Farewell, your mother and I
send you our blessings, and Almighty God graunt you his, nourish
you with his feare, gouerne you with his grace, and make you a
good seruant to your Prince and Country. Your louing Father,


1 See note on next page.




Scarcely less affecting in its way is the postscript which
Philip's mother, Lady Mary Sidney, wrote "in the skirts of
my Lord President's letter," advising her "little Philip" to
read over his father's letter once in every four or five days. 1

Doubtless the training and influence of such a father and
mother, tender, wise and unselfish, as they both seem to have
been, had much to do with the formation of Philip Sidney's
character ; but we may well believe that those high qualities
of mind and principle, which gained for Ashton so much
influence, wherever he might be, whether at the Court of
Elizabeth, or in the household of Walter, Earl of Essex, or
among the burgesses of Shrewsbury, had their due effect also
on the characters of the boys entrusted to his charge ; and
that the courtesy and unselfishness, which were such marked
features of Philip Sidney's character, were due, in part, to his
Shrewsbury education. To Ashton's scholarship and powers
of teaching, the greatest Greek scholar of his day bears
grateful witness.

In the school list of 1562 the name of Andrew Downes 2
appears in the 3rd class. After spending some five years
more at Shrewsbury, Downes matriculated at St. John's
College, Cambridge in November, 1567. He subsequently

1 Justice Corbet was now a Justice of the King's Bench, but retained ap-
parently the office of Recorder of Shrewsbury. The name of his successor,
Sir John Throgmorton, does not appear in official documents before 1569. The
first edition of the letter was printed by T. Dawson, of London, in 1591. A
copy of this little book, which is now very rare, is in Shrewsbury School Library.
It appears from the title page that the letter was written in 1566. "Old Master
Onslowe " was Sheriff of Salop that year, and doubtless both he and the Recorder
had official apartments in the Council House.

2 Andrew Downes was a native of Shropshire. Fuller speaks of him as "one
composed of Greek and industry"; Bishop Montague calls him "a walking
Library" ; Symonds d'Ewes says that in his time he was "accounted the ablest
Grsecian of Christendom, being no native of Greece"; John Bois, who was his
pupil, and has left a most graphic description of his eccentricities, acknowledges
that he was " much bound to blesse God for him." Andrew Downes took part in
the preparation of the Authorised Version of the Bible. It is worth noting, as a
curious coincidence, that the next Shrewsbury man who was Professor of Greek
at Cambridge, Dr. B. H. Kennedy, was one of the Company which revised the
Authorised Version in 1881. For further particulars about Andrew Downes see
FULLER'S Church History, PECK'S Desiderata Curiosa, Sir Symonds d' Ewes'
Diary , and the History of St. John's College, Cambridge (Ed. MAYOR).


became fellow of his college, which he exchanged for
Trinity when, in 1586, he was appointed Regius Professor
of Greek. In 1593 the Professor published "Lysiae defensio
pro caede Eratosthenis, pralectionibus illustrata Andrea
Dunaei" and in its dedication to Robert, Earl of Essex,
he pays a graceful tribute of respect and gratitude to his
old schoolmaster who was then no longer living. He
declares that, next to God and his parents, he owed most
to him that for nothing was he more grateful than for
having had such a teacher, of whom all his pupils might
well be proud and that, among all the bitters of his life,
this one happiness had come to him, and he could have had
(he adds) none greater that his father placed him when a
boy under the care of that "most excellent man." 1 This is
great praise ; and the greater because, when it was written,
Ashton was beyond the reach of flattery. 2 No wonder that
under the auspices of such a man Shrewsbury should have
become, in the words of Camden, 3 " the best filled school in
all England." Many other pupils of Ashton played their
parts in the world creditably enough to leave some memory
of their names behind them. Some rose to distinction as

Richard Barker, 4 second son of James Barker, Esq., of

" A Thoma Ashtono mihi quoque erudiri contigerat . . . quern virum jam
olim mortuum prune idcirco honoris causa nomino, quia secundum Deum et parentes,
plurimum illi debeo : quicquid enim est in nobis literarum, aut humanitatis, aut
ullius omnino boni, ille effecit, ille primus auctor fuit ; nee de re ulla sic Deo
gratias ago quam quod illius providentia talem habui prseceptorem, de quo omnibus
qui alumni fuerunt ejus disciplinse gloriari licet. Mihi vero inter tot adversa et
acerba quse vidi in vita, atque expertus sum, hoc unum tamen feliciter, atque ita
ut non potuit melius, evenit, quod ad prsestantissimum ilium virum puer sum a
patre deductus."

2 Ashton died in 1578.

3 The first edition of CAMDEN'S Britannia was published in 1586. Camden
says that Shrewsbury School was "indebted for its flourishing state to the provision
made by the excellent and worthie Thomas Ashton."

4 Richard Barker was in the 3rd class at Shrewsbury in 1562. He was ad-
mitted a student at Gray's Inn in 1569, and was called to the Bar in 1571. In
1579 he was made "Ancient," and in 1594 "Reader," of his Inn. He repre-
sented Shrewsbury in the Parliaments of 1584 and 1604, and was a member of the
Council of the Marches of Wales. (OWEN and BLAKEWAY ; BLAKEWAY'S
Sheriffs of Shropshire ; FOSTER'S Admissions at Gray's Inn. )


Haughmond Abbey, near Shrewsbury, became Recorder of
Shrewsbury and a Judge of North Wales.

Sir Thomas Harries, 1 Bart, another Shropshire man, whose
family lived at Cruckton Hall for more than 300 years, was
made a Sergeant-at-law in 1589, and sat in the House of
Commons during several Parliaments.

George Wild, 2 the father of Chief Baron Wild, was also a
Serjeant-at-law, and twice filled the offices of Reader and
Treasurer in the Inner Temple.

In Le Neve's lists too there may be found the names of
several old Shrewsbury scholars of Ashton's time who
received the honour of knighthood for serving the State in
some capacity, military or civil. Among them are Sir George
Maynwaring, 3 Sir Walter Levyson, 4 Sir Vincent Corbet, 5 Sir

1 Thomas Harries was eldest son of John Harries, Esq., of Cruckton. He was
baptised at Pontesbury, January 23rd 15*0? entered Shrewsbury School in 1565,
and was subsequently admitted student of the Middle Temple. Knighted in 1603,
and made a Baronet in 1624. M.P. for Callington, in Cornwall, in 1584, and for
Portsmouth in 1586 and 1588. In 1592 and 1597 he represented Bossiney in
Cornwall, and in 1601 Truro. Sir Thomas Harries purchased Tong Castle, which
passed into the possession of the Pierrepoint family by the marriage of his only
daughter. (OWEN and BLAKEWAY ; Toss's Lives of the Judges ; Parliamentary
Lists, etc.)

2 George Wild was son of Thomas Wild, Esq., of Ford and "The Commanders,"
Worcester. He entered Shrewsbury School in 1564. (Foss's Lives of the
Jttdges. )

3 Sir George Maynwaring was the eldest son of Sir Arthur Maynwaring of
Ightfield, Shropshire. His name stands first in the 2nd class in the school list
of 1562. Admitted student of the Inner Temple in 1566. M.P. for Shropshire
in 1572. Knighted in 1595.

4 Sir Walter Levyson of Lilleshull Abbey, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas
Levyson of Wolverhampton and Lilleshull, and grandson of James Levyson, a
wealthy merchant, who bought the Abbey at the time of the dissolution of
monasteries. He was in the 3rd class at Shrewsbury in 1562. M.P. for Shrop-
shire in 1584, 1586, and 1588, and M.P. for Newcastle-under-Lyme in 1587, in
which year he was knighted. Sheriff of Shropshire in 1576. Still living in 1634.
His son, Sir Richard Levyson, was Vice- Admiral of England. (BLAKE WAY'S

5 Sir Vincent Corbet, third son of Sir Andrew Corbet of Moreton Corbet,
Shropshire, was born in 1554, and was in the 5th class at Shrewsbury in 1562.
After leaving Shrewsbury he went to Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. of St.
John's College in 1573. Survived his two elder brothers and succeeded to the
family estates in 1606. Knighted by James I. at Greenwich in 1607. Died 1623.
(BLAKEWAY'S Sheriffs.}


Francis Curzon, 1 Sir James Harrington, 2 grandfather of the
author of Oceana, Sir Harry Harrington, 3 his brother, who
played a somewhat prominent part in Irish affairs in the
reign of Elizabeth, and Sir Humphrey Lee/ the first Shrop-
shire Baronet.

Captain Humphrey Mackworth, 5 who served for many

1 Sir Francis Curzon, eldest son of Vincent Curzon, Esq., of Addington, Bucks,
was in the 5th class at Shrewsbury in 1562. Succeeded to the family estates in
1587. Knighted at Whitehall in 1603. Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1599. Married
Anne, daughter of Judge Southcote of Water Perry, Oxfordshire. Died October
3ist, 1610. Buried at Water Perry. (BROWN WILLIS'S History of Bucks.}

2 The mother of the two Harringtons was a sister of Sir Henry Sidney. Their
father was James Harrington, Esq. (afterwards knighted), of Exton, Rutlandshire.
James Harrington entered Shrewsbury School in 1564. He settled at Ridlington,

Rutlandshire, and was Sheriff of the County 1593 and 1598. Created Bart. 1611.
Died 1613. (Baronetage of England. PLAYFAIR, Brit. Fam. Ant.}

3 Harry Harrington entered Shrewsbury in 1567, and appears to have settled
in Ireland during the time Fitz-William was Lord Deputy, 1571-76. Writing to
Lord Burghley, May I7th, 1575, the Lord Deputy highly commends Captain
Harrington, and he is often spoken of by Sir Henry Sidney, after he succeeded
Fitz-William, in his letters to Walsingham. Sir Henry was Harry Harrington's
godfather, and knighted him before leaving Ireland in 1 580. He also commended
him to the notice of the new Lord Deputy, Arthur, Lord Grey, in a letter dated
September I7th, 1580, in which he praises his "nobility of mind," and calls him
his "nerest and derest friend and kinsman. " Philip Sidney had also an affection for
his " Cousin Harry" who was an assistant mourner at his public funeral in 1586.
Sometime in 1577 Harry Harrington had a narrow escape of his life, having been
captured by Rory O'More, owing to his having put " too much faith in those who
have no skill in faithkeeping. " He was rescued by some English soldiers, who
surrounded the house where he was detained. Rory O'More managed to escape after
inflicting several wounds on his prisoner. In October 1578 Capt. Harrington was
Seneschall in the Byrnes' and Tooles' country, having probably been put in charge
of that "subtle and wily people" on the death of his father-in-law, Francis Agard,
Esq. This charge Harrington seems to have retained more than twenty years.
About 1590 he was made a member of the Irish Privy Council. Sir Harry
Harrington was twice married. By his first wife, Cicely Agard, he had two sons,
John and James, both of whom were knighted. (See Irish State Papers ; Sidney
State Papers ; DEVEREUX'S Earls of Essex ; BURTON'S Leicestershire, etc.)

4 Sir Humphrey Lee, Bart., was the second son of Richard Lee, Esq., of Lee
Hall, Langley, Salop. Entered Shrewsbury School 1566, and re-entered in 1571.
Matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford, in 1576, as Arm. Fil. of Salop, aged
seventeen. Admitted student of the Inner Temple in January, 157!, and is said
to have practised as a barrister with some success. His elder brother Walter
having died without issue, he succeeded his father at Lee Hall in 1591. Sheriff
of Shropshire in 1600. Created a Baronet in 1620. (COUGH'S Hist, of Middle;
BLAKEWAY'S Sheriffs.}

6 Humphrey Mackworth was son of Mr. John Mackworth, Bailiff of Shrewsbury
in 1540, 1548, and 1557. He was in the 2nd class at Shrewsbury in 1562. Sir


years as a soldier in Ireland, having been originally taken
or sent there by Sir Henry Sidney, and who was barbarously
murdered by some Irish in 1582, was another pupil of

Among the Shrewsbury boys of this time, who became
clergymen, we find the name of Meredyth Hanmer, 1 who,
after graduating at Oxford, was made Vicar of St. Leonards,
Shoreditch, and subsequently Treasurer of Christ Church
Cathedral, Dublin, Archdeacon of Ross, Treasurer of Water-
ford Cathedral, etc. He was author of a chronicle of
Ireland, An Ephcemeris of Irish Saints, translations of the
Ecclesiastical Histories of Eusebius, Socrates, and Evagrius,
and many other works. But Weever and Strype both
relate anecdotes of him which throw some discredit on his

A boy named John Penry, or Penryn, who was also at
school under Ashton, may not improbably be identified
with the celebrated " Martin Mar-Prelate." 2

Henry Sidney, who knew him from his youth, calling him "a boy of my own
breeding," probably took the young Salopian with him when he went to Ireland
in January, I57f, as Lord Deputy. Captain Mackworth's name is frequently
mentioned favourably in the Irish State Papers, and when Sir Henry Sidney left
Ireland in 1580, he described him to his successor, Arthur Lord Grey, as "the best
worthy of the Captens " that he " left behind " him. Two years afterwards, in
May, 1582, he was treacherously murdered by one of the O'Connors for whom he
had procured a protection from the Government. (Irish State Papers ; Sidney State
Papers.'] There is an interesting record of Captain Mackworth's death in the
Taylor MS., under the date, May, 1582.

1 Meredyth Hanmer, who was at Shrewsbury School in 1562, was born in
1543. He was second son of "Ginta" Hanmer, of Porkington, Salop. He
seems to have been a Chaplain of C.C.C., Oxford, in 1567; graduated B. A.
in 1569, M.A. in 1572, B.D. in 1581, D.D. in 1582; Vicar of St. Leonards
1581-92; Vicar of Islington 1583-90. Weever says that while at St. Leonards
Dr. Hanmer sold some of the monumental brasses for his own profit. Strype's
anecdote relates to a trial of some nameless individuals for libelling the Queen
and the Earl of Shrewsbury, in the course of which Fleetwood, the Recorder,
censured Hanmer, who was one of the witnesses, as "disregarding his oath,"
and as having " dealt as lewdly with the Earl in speeches " as the man accused of
libel. (See FULLER'S Worthies; WOOD'S Athen. Oxon. ; NEWCOURT'S Reper-
torium ; Calendar of Irish State Papers ; B lake-way MS., and Diet, of Nat. Biog.}

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