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he had given the reversion of the lease of the tithes of Frankwell and Betton.


May 22nd, 1576. To Mr. Lloyd

Mr. Okell

Ashton reminds them that he had before complained of their
delays, two years and more, and then continues ..." Now,
receiving your letter whereby I find you so ready to work all to
the best, I am glad of it, and after I can come to the sight of
the Tripartite Indenture (which I will send for or fetch from
Cambridge) and have taken further counsel with the learned of
the Law, you shall shortly after understand what I will say to
these Orders and platform of the school sent to me by you, for
seeing you will have the other taken from the Indenture, as reason
is, the perusing, correcting and altering of these now, and adding as
shall be thought good, requires time to consider thereof, which
God advise. ..."

June loth, 1576. To David Lloyd ) ^ ,-#

John Okell I

It appears from this letter that the Bailiffs had written to
press Ashton to come to Shrewsbury for the full establishment
of things pertaining to the school, and he now replies that he could
not come till he had spoken once again with her Majesty.

" May is/A, 1577.
" Right Worshipfull,

"When that chardge of yo r schole yo u trusted me wi th all,
I upon just consideracon, forced wi th sykenes, remitted the same
againe, to be perfected, to worshipful wise learned discrete person-
ages, whose credytt and iudgment might both wynne to the mater
more maiestie and p'cure y fc more credit than y i ever could have had
by myne owne private doing : and perusing ther travailes therein
fynd y fc so substanciallie gone throughe w th all, that I have iust
cause geavan me to lyke and allowe of the same, I do both signifie
unto yo u my good lyking of ther labours and also most earnestlie do
wische yo u to consent to the same, that the thing w th all speede may
have his perfection. And thinke and persuade y r selffe this that y i
was the good providence of God w ch made yo u committ the credit of
such a mater to a weake person at the first whos purposed power
1 Blakeway \1S. The original is among the town records.


shuld geave streingth to the same at the last. And so lastlie I leave
yo u ever to be gyded w th God's most holie spirit in all yo r affaires,
that all faction sett apart, yo u loke w th a sygle eye to yo r gou'ment,
that God's wrathe pacified, yo u may enioye the fruites of blessed
Concorde w th great contentacioun of mynd in this world, and the
participacon of immortalitie promised in another world for which I
continue dailie praing w th all fervencye of spirit vnto death that God
may geave yo u the spirit of wisdom in all knowledge of himselrfe,
and lighten the eyes of yo r mynd to see the hope yo u are called
vnto and to see the excedyng riches of the inheritance provided for
the sancts, ffare you well fro keiston 1 the XV May, 1577.

" Yo rB as ever, Thomas Asheton.

" To the right wo r shipfull Mr. John Dawes and Mr. Richard Owen
Bailiffs of Shrewsbury, to the Aldermen and common Counsell of
the same."


"Jan. gth, 1577.

"My most hearty commendations unto you remembered. I
understand by my friend Mr. Asheton that you make some question
whether any sums of money which should rise upon the revenues
of the lands granted for the maintenance of the School might be
employed for the purchasing of lands for Scholarships and Fellow-
ships in the University in such sort as is set down by the Ordinances
of the School which I lately penned. These are to let you under-
stand that at the time I penned those Ordinances I had the sight,
as well of the two Patents granted by King Edward VI., as of those
granted by the Queen's Majesty that now is, and then it seemed to
me that those Ordinances (whereof buying of Scholarships and
Fellowships in the University for the maintenance of such as should
come from that School is one) might be well enough performed and
done without any danger of forfeiture or prejudice to the said two
Patents, whereof I have thought good to advertise you. And thus,
wishing you most heartily well to fare, I commit you to God. From
my house at Hallon, the Qth of January, 1577.

"Your assured loving friend, " George Bromley."

1 Keiston was a manor house in Huntingdonshire belonging to the Earl of
Essex, whither Ashton had gone from Cambridge to recruit his health.

2 This letter is among the town records.



" My very good Lord,

"I know not in what part you did take my boldness con-
cerning my friend Browne 1 whom I neither see nor heard of since.
The same spirit moveth me eftsoones (whether I will or no) to the
like boldness. I have travelled since Banister 2 his apprehending in
sundry counties especially where he had doing under the Duke. 3
The people in general in these parts with the greatest part of those
also that be of good port show in their countenance a misliking of
the state and let not sometimes to utter the cankerdness of their
hearts with the tongue, yet so that although the simple do it plainly,

1 Thomas Browne was a draper of Shrewsbury, who, having occasion to go to
London in August, 1571, was commissioned by Mr. Lawrence Banister, of Wem,
steward of the Duke of Norfolk's estates in Shropshire and the neighbouring
counties, and his chief legal adviser, to convey a present of butter to the Duke.
Learning that Browne was returning shortly to Shrewsbury, it occurred to the
Duke that a bag of gold, which had recently been sent to London by the King of
France, might be forwarded through him to Banister, and thence sent on to
Queen Mary's friends in Scotland. Browne readily undertook the commission,
telling the Duke's secretary, however, that he should hand it over to the
Shrewsbury carrier, who always conveyed his money. This "bag of money"
led to the Duke's arrest, and ultimately to his execution. Froude and other
historians allege that Browne, having suspicions, took the bag to the Council,
and this is the story that the Attorney-General was instructed to tell at the
Duke's trial. But it is certain from a letter which Browne wrote from Shrewsbury,
on September 5th, to Banister that he had left London believing that the bag was
safe in the carrier's possession. This letter is in the Hatfield MSS. At this
time the bag had been in Cecil's possession for four or five days. The carrier
was undoubtedly stopped and the bag seized. But how did Cecil get his clue ?
From his friend Ashton, it is plain. This was "the boldness concerning my
friend Browne," to which Ashton alludes in the letter. Ashton had been in
London for some time about the school business, and was in constant communi-
cation with Cecil and other members of the Council. Browne had a great
respect for Ashton, and would be sure to seek him out in London, and being
a vain, garrulous man, would be sure also to tell him about the Duke, the butter,
and the bag of money. Ashton's suspicions are at once aroused, and he writes
to Cecil without saying anything at all about his intentions to Browne. The
whole subject is fully discussed in a paper in the Transactions of the Shropshire
Archceological Society.

2 Lawrence Banister was arrested by Sir Andrew Corbet on September 6th at
his own house at Wem, and was sent to London, where he was subjected to
repeated examinations in September, October, and November, and was on one
occasion " put to the rack."

a The Duke of Norfolk,


the other do it so cunningly, as no advantage can be taken of them.
This dissembling would 1 be met withal, that their hope might be
frustrate. The papists in this realm find too much favour in the
Court. As long as that continueth practising 2 will never have end.
The double faced gentlemen who will be protestants in the Court
and in the country secret papists frigidam suffundunt* The people
I understand have been put in comfort of a change that now they
stand but looking for one that would say hisse. And for that I see
these counties most apt to evil counsel (as where the practising
papists have most their conventicles) I wish that man under the
prince ruler over them in Banister his steade, 4 whom both they fear,
for the love he hath otherwise in the country, and also love for his
good justice, and upright dealing with them in all things, as they
have had a good experience of, Sir Andrew Corbett I mean, the
only staid man, most secret, true, and faithfullest to his prince,
I know in all these parts of the realm. And therefore I judge him
the fittest man, for a charge wherein consisteth the stay of the
country or any part of the preservation of the prince. I know he
would never love me if he knew what I have written now : he seeks
so much his quietness and loves to have no dealing in things. Now
seeing I have discharged the duty of a faithful subject towards my
prince in uttering my fear unto him whose head is encumbered with
the care of the whole state, I most humbly crave, at your honour's
hands, pardon of my boldness, and that when you have read these
rude lines your honour will forthwith make a sacrifice of the same
to Vulcan. For I would be loth any other should be privy to this
my malapertness. God work with you as he hath done and give
you long honourable life and health unto your noble heart's desire.

" Your honour's humble to command

"Thomas Asheton. 5
" From Charlecote the XXI II. of October 757 /."

1 Would for should.

2 Practising for plotting.

3 Frigidam suffundunt. Aquam is omitted. The people of "good port" did
not show their disaffection openly like "the simple," but poured cold water on the
existing government.

4 Ashton evidently wishes that Sir Andrew Corbet might be put in charge of
the Norfolk estates, should they be confiscated.

5 Ashton's letter is twice quoted by Froude in his History of England, but
the author was under the impression that he was one of Cecil's agents or spies.



, 1583.

"To the right worshipfull Mr. Wyllyam Tenche and Mr.
Edwarde Owen, Bayliffes of the Town of Sallope.

"Right worshipfull Mr. Bayliffes, these are to gyve your
worshippes to understande, that, whereas, I haue taken infynite
paynes in this my publicke charge, now almost for the space of full
xv years, and haue brought it, to as greate p'fection, as by my poore
Learninge, and symple dyscretion I was able : am nowe at the
lenthe soe wearied with the worke, soe tyred with the toyle and
overwhelmed with care thereof, that I nether can nor wyll any
longer space contynue in it. And therefore nowe by this my hande
writinge, I unburden myselfe of my charge, I resigne it up whollye
into your w. hands, in as floureshinge an estate (upon my credyte)
as any schole in all Englande. The Revenues are greate, and verey
well imployed : the statutes are good and surelye confyrmed : the
buyldings are everywheare well repayred : the Schole with scholers
is fullye furnished : the resort of straungers unto it is notable, and
the p'fy tinge of the scholers (I prayse god) commendable. Yea,
I haue, within these twelve yeares paste (ut liceat mihi de meipso
aliqudtulu gloriari] throughe the blessinge of god : throughe my
toyle in teachinge : and throughe theyre diligence in learninge, sente
out of my schole aboue an hundred scolers to Cambridge and
Oxforde, of the whiche a greate number at this day (god's name
be praysed for it) are as likelye men to prove good members in the
churche of god, and worthie instruments in a Christian Common-
wealthe, 1 as any whosoever or whearsoever. Sed jam tande?n post
tot tantosque exantlatos labores

Quid pretii sperare licet ? qttce dona reporto ?

Nil: Nil : nee superest quicquam, quo vivere possum,

Quod superest cevi, si quid superesse volunt di.

1 The phrase here used by Lawrence, "good members in the churche of god,
and worthie instruments in a Christian Commonwealthe," so closely resembles
a sentence in the form of Evening Prayer given in Chapter iii., "Bless, we
beseech Thee, the labours of our Teachers . . . that ... at the last we may
become fit instruments for Thy Church and Commonwealth" as to make it
highly probable that Hotchkis was correct in supposing that the Forms of Prayer
which he copied from Chaloner's book were in use at Shrewsbury School in
Lawrence's time.


And noe marvell thereat, for I served in the place at my firste
comynge hyther, six yeares, and receaved for my stypende but
twentye markes yearlye, and ever after warde I receaved twentye
pounds, and noe penny more, untyll the expyracon of the lease
of Chyrburye. . . ."

Lawrence goes on to say that some of his friends have tried to
persuade him to take a Master of Arts for his helper, but that
he has conscientious objections to this course.

"Nevertheless," he adds, . . . "yf my successer (whosoever he
be) will of his owne good nature francklye give me, or els throughe
yo r w. p'suasions bestowe vpon me, one yeares wages at the lest,
I p'suade myselfe (good Mr. Bayliffes) that I may with a clere and
safe conscience take it, yf my cause be wayed eyther with reason,
law, conscience, or comen honestye. But deale in my behalf (good
Mr. Bayliffes) as seamethe beste to your own selfes. And soe shall
I very shortly haue just cause to make true reporte to some of
honoure, and others of greate worshippe, eyther of yo r carefull or
unkynde dealinge with me. . . . Precede nowe (good Mr. B.)
conferre (I beseech you) withe Mr. Baker, whoe is learned and
wise, a man of greate honestye and sufficient experyence. A fytt
man everye way for yo r w. to deale withall. Reade over the statuts,
send your letters to St. Jhon's . . . have a care of the schole,
it is a nurserye of learning, an ornament to your towne, and a
singular benefyte to the wholl comonwelthe. And thus wisshinge
helthe to your worshipps, good successe to your schole, and felicitye
to your Towne, I here take my leave, trusting you will bear with
the tediousness of my writinge consideringe the wayghtiness of the
cause. Your worships verey lovinge friend to use,

Thomas Laurence."


"August ist, 1583.

"Right W. Theis shal be to signifie unto you that Mr.
Lawrence the cheife Scholem r of the free gram' schole of Shrews-
bury, having contynued that chardge by the space of theis xv. yeres
past, and fynding himselfe so wekened in body that he is not able
to contynewe the susteyninge of the burden incident to the place
any longer, hathe nowe presently geven over that chardge. And


althoughe for our owne partes wee have signified unto him that wee
are unwilling that he should do so, and have ernestly entreated him
to contynewe that chardge, and for his ease to take unto him suche
an assistant for a tyme as himself should like of, yet can wee not
perswade him to yeld thereunto. And for as much as his care and
diligence hath byn such, that the schoole hath nott onelye yelded
a great nomber of good schollers in his tyme (as your howse can
partlie testifie), but also is the specialle ornament of this towne and
tresure of the centre adjoyning, and for that the schole is nowe left
in suche good order as all gentlemen in theis partes are verie
desirous to haue their children hear trayned vp in learning, whereby
the nomber of schollers do dayly encrease, wee are theirfor desyrous
at this first avoydaunce of the chief scholem 1 ' suche consideracon
may be taken for the choise of a new as may in every respect
aunswer the good meaninge of the founders and of the settor
forward of the woorke (Mr. Ashton by name, somtyme of that your
colledge). 1 For this purpose haue wee entreated this speciall berer,
Thomas Salter, gent., to tray vale to you at this present, with theis
our lettres, signifying unto you by the same that this Rowme nowe
being become void, our desyre is that you will elect and send unto
us (accordinge to the great trust which by the ordynaunces of the
said schole in you is reposed), a suffycient person who for his
learninge, gravitie, audacytye, invencon, wysdome and discrecon
maye for this first time of avoydaunce (for good example to
posteritie) receve the place in respect of worthynes only : and not
for any other pryvate suite labour or affeccon. And albeit wee
thinke you wil be myndful to comend a sufficient person according
to the ordynaunces, yet for that by the ordynaunces the second
scholm r (Mr. Baker by name, being a master of arts aboue 2 yeres
standinge, and also fornished with all other qualities bie the
ordynaunces required) ought to be preferred before any others, hee
beinge called before vs disableth him selfe to receve the same and
utterly refuseth to suppllye the rowme, wee haue in respecte thereof
also taken occasion to make this speciall suite unto you, that a man
qualifyed as aforesaid may be elected to furnishe the place; for yf
friendship shall so prevaile that a younger or more insuffycient man
than Mr. Baker shal be comended we cannot allowe of the

1 Ashton certainly graduated at Trinity, and was a Fellow of that college.
2 F





"March iStti, I586. 1

" After o r verie hartie commend co ns, Whereas we are geven to
vnderstand that yo r late collecte r of the Rents belonging to yo r free
School theare is dead, whearebie yo u are to nominate som other
fitt person to that place. Forasmuch as this Bearer Thomas
Browne, one whoe hath longe dwelld amongest yo u , and hath
whilst God gave him the meanes releved a great multitude of poore
persons in setting them on work by the trade he then vsed of
cloathing is desirous with yo r favo 1 ' 8 to receve that place, if you
shuld thinke him worthie for the same. We having had good proof
of the honestie of the person and being desirous to doe him what
reasonable favo 1 ' we maie, doe verie hartlie praie yo u on this our
requests and for his owne sake to accept of him to that place, with
like fees and commodities as yo r last officer enioyed, w c h favo r we
shall thankfullye accept at yo r hands, and so verie hartlie bid you

"Ffrom the Court this XVIII th of Marche, 1586.
" Yo r verie Loving frendes,

W. Burgley,
Hen: Cobham,
Fra: Walsingham."




" Greenwich^ November i6M, 1588.

" Trusty and well beloved : we greete you well : Whereas
among other parcells of landes passed unto you by our late grante,
there is contayned one small parcell of tithe belonging to the parish
of St. Mary in that our towne of Shrewesbury, of the yearelye rent
of 20 Markes or thereabouts, then and nowe in the tenure of Mary
Kelton, gentlewoman, widowe, whereof the years are almost expired,

1 This letter is among the town records.

2 The letter had the Queen's signature. Phillips gives it in his History of
Shrewsbury, which was published in 1779. It was at that time in the school
chest in the Exchequer, and a copy of it was obtained for Phillips by the Head
Master, the Rev. James Atcherley.


whereuppon she hath made humble suite unto us, that forasmuch as
it is not nowe in our power to renew hir estate in the sayd tithes
according as we used to extend like favors to our tenantes upon
surrenders, the same being passed from us to you, and that it hath
bene left to hir by her late husband for a stay and relief both to hir
during hir life and afterwards to hir children, to whom their father
deceased hath left but small living besides, so as if this were taken
from them they were like to fall in distress. We have in considera-
tion thereof been moved to recommend her suite unto you, that
is, that upon surrender of her present estate you will make unto her
a new lease of the said tythes for the term of 30 yeares at the rent
accustomed, and without fine, as at our request which we think we
may the rather require at your hands, for that both the said parcel
of tithes and many other things were in our late grant freely and
without charge by us given to you. And, therefore, we do look that
this so reasonable a request being for the relief of a widow and
fatherless children shall not be denied, but rather granted, with
such favour and expedition as we may have cause to think our late
benefit to you bestowed on thankful persons."




"July ityh,

"Whereas, in the Term of the Holy Trinity, in the io th year
of the reign of our Sovereign Lord James the King's Majesty that
now is, John Meighen, Chief Schoolmaster of the Free Grammar
School of Shrewsbury in the county of Salop, exhibited his Bill of
Complaint into this most honourable Court of Chancery against

1 The original document is not to be found among the town records. But
Hotchkis made a transcript of it which is here reproduced with some alterations
of the spelling. Mr. Blakeway gives an abstract of Hotchkis's transcript in his
MSS. in the Bodleian. The decree recites the substance of Meighen's bill of
complaint and of the report or certificate of the Commissioners. The only
document bearing on the subject, which has been found among the town records,
is what appears to be a faithful copy of the decree, leaving out those parts of it
which recite the contents of Meighen's bill and of the Commissioners' report.
It is endorsed "Mr. Ottley," and is evidently part of the Corporation case in
the litigation with St. John's College about the right of appointment to the
second-mastership which commenced in 1672.


Thomas Jones and Hugh Harris, then l Bailiffs of the said town,
defendants showing thereby that the late King Edward the Sixth
founded the said school, and, for the maintenance thereof, gave
divers tithes to the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said town of
Shrewsbury, and that the late Queen Elizabeth of famous memory,
for the better maintenance thereof, gave unto them among other
things the Rectory of Chirbury, and that the Corporation did
covenant with the said Queen to employ the revenues thereof
according to such constitutions as Thomas Ashton, then Head
Schoolmaster of the said school, should make, who accordingly
made divers ordinances, i st for the valuation and employing of the
revenues of the said school; 2 ndly that there should be 3 school-
masters in the said school; the Head Schoolmaster who should
have yearly ^40, the second ^30, the third 20, yearly; 3 rdly
that there should be a Bailiff for the collection of the rents, who
should have yearly ^4, and enter into a bond of ^300 or more
for the answering of his charge ; 4 tbly that the Bailiff should yearly
give an account of all things within his charge before the Bailiffs
of the town and Head Schoolmaster; 5 thly that the surplusage
remaining upon the foot of the accounts should be called the Stock
Remanent, and be put into a strong chest under 4 locks in the
Exchequer of the said town ; that the Bailiffs should have the
keeping of one key and the most ancient alderman, the second
key ; the Head Schoolmaster, the third key ; and the most ancient
of the 24 Councillors of the said town, the 4 th key ; 6 thly that the
Bailiffs of the said town should yearly take their oaths for the true
accomplishment of so many of the ordinances as concerned the
demising of the revenues of the said school, and the employing
thereof according to the ordinances, at which time the Chief
Schoolmaster should be present. And the complainant also showed
that one George Phillips was lawfully elected School Bailiff, and
that there was an iron chest in the Exchequer with 4 locks, and the
keys disposed as aforesaid, and that the business of the school had
been managed by the Bailiffs and Head Schoolmaster jointly and
only ; likewise that there was of the Stock Remanent in the school
chest ^404 17^. 7^., which was to be employed for the buying of
land for the making of the schoolhouse and lodgings for the school-
masters in the country, in the time of common plague or other

1 It was of course a mistake to speak of the defendants as then Bailiffs. They
were Bailiffs in 1610-11.


dangerous infections in Shrewsbury ; and that afterwards the Stock
Remanent was to be employed for the purchasing of scholarships

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