George William Fisher.

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in the universities, and that, about the first day of October in the
8 th year of his majesty's reign, that now is, the said defendants were
Bailiffs of Shrewsbury, and took the aforesaid oath concerning the
said school, and that the defendants required the Complainant to
bring his key for the opening of the school chest to take 10 out
of the same, which he refused to do, for that they showed him no
cause for the employment thereof, and that the Complainant wished
the defendants to send to St. John's College in Cambridge for the
electing of one to supply the 3 rd Room, being then void; where-
upon the defendants sent one Rowland Jenks to Cambridge with
a letter on the school's charge, which they might have sent with-
out charge; and that the said Bailiffs, having the consent of the
ancientest Alderman and Councillor, unlocked 3 of the locks of
the said chest, and broke open the 4 th lock; whereupon the said
chest lay open to the disposition of the defendants from the 29 th
of January in the 8 th year until the 17 th day of November in the
9 th year of his Majesty's Reign that now is, during which time the
said defendants took out of the said chest divers sums of money,
converting the same to their own use, and also divers deeds,
evidences and accounts, belonging to the said school, some part
of which money the said defendants spent in prosecution of a
Suit against the said Complainant and the other schoolmasters.
For all which matters, and divers others in the said Bill alleged,
the said Complainant prayed relief in this Court and process of
subpoena to be awarded against the said defendants to appear in
this Court and to answer the premises ; which being granted, and
the Defendants therewith served, they accordingly appeared and
made their Answer to the said Bill of Complaint, as by the same
Bill and Answer remaining of Record in this most honourable
Court more at large it doth and may appear. After which Answer,
so made, upon opening the matter in the presence of counsel
learned on both parts, This Court, finding that the matter in
question between them upon Bill and Answer did concern the
government and ordinances of the said school and some disorders
which had been used there contrary to the same ordinances, and
therefore to the intent that the ordinances and institutions of the
said school, heretofore made, might be well and truly performed and
kept hereafter, according to the true intent and meaning of the



438 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

same ordinances, it was thought meet by this Court, and, on the
4 th day of February in the io th year of his Majesty's Reign, ordered,
that a Commission should be awarded unto Sir Edward Bromley,
Knight, one of the Barons of his Majesty's Exchequer, Sir Richard
Lewkener, Knight, Chief Justice of Chester, and Richard Barker,
Esq., Recorder of the said town of Shrewsbury, giving them, or any
two of them, whereof the said Recorder to be one, authority to call
the said parties before named before them, and to examine witnesses
in the same Cause, and thereupon to consider and understand of
the matters contained in the said Bill and Answer, and of the said
ordinances for the good of the said school aforesaid, and to see
and take order that nothing should be done in breach of the
said ordinances, but that all things might be done according
to the intent and true meaning thereof, and so end and determine
the said Cause, if they could ; if not, that then they certify unto
this Court their proceedings in the said Cause ; and, for the better
effecting thereof, the Lord Chancellor would be pleased to write his
honourable letters to the Commissioners before named for the
purpose aforesaid. According to which commission and letters
to them directed as aforesaid the said Commissioners made
certificate unto the Right Honourable the Lord Chancellor and
to this honourable Court on the io th day of April, Anno Domini
1613, now last past, that on Thursday in Easter Week, being the
8 th day of April, Anno Domini 1613, they repaired to the Town
Hall of the said town of Shrewsbury, and, having called the said
parties, Plaintiff and Defendants, before them there, they bestowed
two several days in the full hearing of the said Cause and of all the
said parties and of their learned counsel, and having viewed the Bill
and Answer of the parties aforesaid, and examined such witnesses
as were produced in the said Cause, and considered of their proofs
and allegations, and also of the ordinances of the said school,
and of some disorders contrary to the same ordinances, they did
endeavour themselves finally to end and determine the said Cause
with the liking of the said parties; which because they could not
perform accordingly, they thought it fit in duty to signify unto this
Court their proceedings concerning the same, as by the said com-
mission, order, and honourable letters, they were required ; Videlicet ;
that they found the estate of the said school was much decayed
by the froward and ill carriage of the said Meighen, being a very
contentious person, and of a turbulent and mutinous spirit and



APPENDIX 439

disposition ; and that whereas, by the true meaning of the ordinances
of the said school, no persons were to have or receive any stipend
or wages for teaching in the said school, but only such as should be
elected or placed schoolmasters thereof according to the said
ordinances ; and that, so often as any of the two upper rooms or
places of schoolmasters of the said school should happen to be
void, the room so vacant to be supplied by preferring of the next
inferior schoolmaster of the said school thereunto, if he were
qualified for the same as by the ordinances in that behalf is
prescribed ; or otherwise, by election by the Master and Fellows
of the College of S* John the Evangelist in the University of
Cambridge, to whom the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury for the time being,
within 20 days next after notice unto them given by the schoolmaster
or schoolmasters then remaining of such vacancy or avoidance, were
to send for one to supply the said room or place; and that the
second room or place of the Second Schoolmaster of the said
school became void in November, Anno Domini 1607, by the death
of John Baker, the then Second Schoolmaster thereof; and that
thereupon the said Meighen and the other schoolmasters then
remaining gave notice to the then Bailiffs of the said vacancy;
and that then the said Bailiffs, upon good advice, for just causes
then proved before them, and manifested unto the said Meighen,
being present, did deny to give their consent for the preferring of
Ralph Gittins, 1 then Third Schoolmaster of the said school, to the
room or place of the said schoolmaster there, (without whose consent
the said Gittins by the ordinances of the said school could not
have the Second Place); and that afterwards, within 20 days
next after notice given by the remaining schoolmasters as afore-
said of the vacancy of the Second Room, the then Bailiffs of
the said town sent to the said Master and Fellows of the said
College for the supplying thereof 2 according to the said
ordinances ; and that, although the late archbishop had in the
presence of the said Meighen, censured the said Gittins to
be unworthy of the Second Place in respect of his wavering

1 Meighen has left it on record in the school register that Mr. Andrew Lewis
did give his consent, though "doubtfully." It was Mr. William Jones only who
" flatly " refused to agree.

2 There is no record in the College archives of any such application, and
Meighen distinctly states that, up to January 22nd, 160^, no course had been
taken up by the Bailiffs for supplying of the school. It was on December 9th
that Meighen formally proposed the promotion of Ralph Gittins,



440 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

and unsteadiness in religion, Yet, all this notwithstanding,

they found that the said Meighen, of his own head without the
approbation of the said Bailiffs, and contrary to the ordinances
of the said school, shortly after the death of the said John Baker,
placed the said Gittins in the said Second Room, and, against the
liking of the said Bailiffs, had caused 1 to be paid to the said Gittins
the stipend due to the Second Schoolmaster of the said school (the
said Gittins not being thereunto lawfully allowed or elected accord-
ing to the ordinances of the said school) ; and they found that the
opposition of the said Meighen and Gittins for the hindering of any
other person to be elected unto the said Second Place was the
occasion, as well of a notorious riot committed by many women of
the said town forcibly keeping the possession of the schoolhouse
there by the space of four days and three nights together, as also of
a great misdemeanour afterwards committed by the said Gittins
causing the school door to be shut against the Bailiffs of the said
town, and thereby drawing together in the street, over against the
said schoolhouse, a great number of people of the said town ; at
which time, one of the then Bailiffs, endeavouring to go into the
said school through one of the lodgings belonging to the said
school up a pair of stairs leading into the school, had been like to
have been killed or spoiled by the casting of a piece of timber down
in the said stairs by the said Gittins on his appointment ; at which
time also the said Gittins put his head out of one of the windows of
the said schoolhouse, which was towards the street, crying, " Come
in, Burgesses," and saying that he stood for their rights, thereby to
entice a great number of burgesses, then gathered together in the
street, to make resistance to the then Bailiffs of the said town which
came to suppress that mutinous outrage. They also proved 2 that
the said Ralph Gittins, before the death of the said John Baker,
carried himself negligently in the Third Place of the said school,
and, for these many years past, had been accounted a dangerous
suspected papist, and one that did not only harbour in his chamber
one Leach at such times as he preached many points of popery

1 It is difficult to understand how Meighen could cause the stipend of the
second master to be paid to Gittins "against the liking of the Bailiffs," when the
Bailiffs had one key of the school chest in their possession, and two other keys
were in the possession of other members of the Corporation.

2 It would be interesting to know on what evidence it was proved that Gittins
had been wanting in the diligence to which his chief testified so strongly six years
before.



APPENDIX 441

within the said town of Shrewsbury, who since was gone beyond the
seas and there wrote books against the State of this Realm, but
also received and countenanced other persons ill affected in religion
and dangerous to the Estate, for which causes and other abuses and
miscarriages the said Gittins was by the late Lord Archbishop sus-
pended from teaching, and afterwards, for divers other misde-
meanours by him done, was by the said Archbishop committed
to the Gatehouse of Westminster, and, before his enlargement,
bound with sureties not to go beyond the seas. Wherefore, and for
other reasons appearing unto the said Commissioners, they were of
opinion, under favour, that the said Ralph Gittins was not a fit
person to teach or supply any room in the said school, but thought
fit that he should be removed from thence, and some worthy man to
be elected and placed in the Second Place of schoolmaster of the
said school in the place and stead of the said Gittins. And, as for
the said complainant, Meighen, the said Commissioners found him
faulty in very many things, some of them not befitting the place of
an honest man. For, at such time as Gittins was suspended from
teaching, and no other chosen by the said Master and Fellows of
St. John's College in Cambridge, with the assent of the Bailiffs and
the approbation of the said late Lord Archbishop, the said Meighen,
of his own head, 1 appointed one Andrew Harding to teach in the
Second Room, and caused 2 an allowance out of the school revenues
of 30 to be made unto the said Harding for teaching in the
Second Room, and thereupon 30 to be colourably paid unto the
said Harding, and an acquittance from him to be made, testifying
the receipt of the said ^30 accordingly ; whereas 20 thereof was
immediately taken from him, 3 and he had only 10 for his service
and salary ; and the said ,20 was paid unto the said Gittins, or
otherwise disposed at the pleasure or discretion of the said
Meighen; and therefore, and for many other causes, the said
Commissioners thought the same Complainant, Meighen, worthy
of reprehension, and that if he should not hereafter conform and

1 It is not easy to see how Meighen can have appointed Andrew Harding ' ' of
his own head," if the choice had the " assent of the Bailiffs and the approbation
of the Archbishop."

2 It was impossible for Meighen to cause payments to be made out of the
school chest without the assent of the Bailiffs.

3 It is evident that Harding must have been a party to the arrangement, and to
represent him as compelled to sign an acquittance for 30 and then as having
ZQ "taken from him " is absurd.



442 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

carry himself more respectively (sic) in the affairs of the said
school than he had done heretofore, but should minister just cause
of further complaints against him for his miscarriage, then they
were of opinion that it was fit that he were also removed, and some
worthier and more sufficient person chosen to supply his Room
of Headmaster there. And whereas, one principal part of the said
Complainant's Bill against the said Defendants was for breaking open
a chest in the Exchequer of the said town wherein the treasure
and evidence of the said school were, and are, usually kept,
upon which chest there are 4 several locks, and to each
lock a several key belonging, the one remaining in the hands
of the Bailiffs of the said town for the time being, the second
remaining in the keeping of the senior in office or room of
the aldermen of the said town, the 3rd in the keeping of the
chief schoolmaster, and the 4th in the keeping of the senior
in room or office of the 24 Councillors of the said town for the
time being, and for the taking out of money and evidences out
of the same chest without the consent of the Complainant and
misemploying the same money, the said Commissioners did find
that, by the express and literal words of the ordinance in that
behalf, the said persons were trusted with the keeping of the same
keys of the said chest, so that the same chest ought not to be
opened but with the consent and in the presence of the said several
persons trusted with the keeping of the said several keys ; Yet,
forasmuch as the said Defendants, then Bailiffs, were sworn, 1
according to the said ordinances for the employing and bestowing
of the revenues of the said school according to the true intent of
the said ordinances; and as it was proved before the said Com-
missioners that the Defendants, being then Bailiffs, had just cause to
send unto Cambridge for the election of two schoolmasters to
supply the 2nd and 3rd rooms 2 in the said school, and which, for
the said rooms, by the said ordinances, was to be done and per-
formed within 20 days then next after, 3 according to the said

1 It is strange that the fact of the Bailiffs having taken an oath to observe the
ordinances should be alleged in justification of their breaking them.

2 Both the second and third rooms could not be vacant. If Gittins had not
a legal claim to the second - mastership, he was still third master, although
suspended from teaching.

3 This mention of the ' ' 20 days " is an additional proof of the Commissioners'
inaccuracy on matters of fact. Rowland Jenks was sent to Cambridge in October,
1610, but the second room had been vacant, unless Gittins was legally second
master, since November, 1607.



APPENDIX 443

ordinances ; and the charges of sending and riding thereabouts were
to be borne of the said school money according to the said
ordinances ; and that the Complainant denied to come with the
key and be present at the opening of the said chest for the taking
out of any money of the same, albeit he was divers times sent unto
by the said Defendants for that purpose, the said Complainant
pretending the room of the Second Schoolmaster to be then full
and furnished by the said Gittins, only upon the said Complain-
ant's own allowance, and yet allowing the 3rd place of the said
school to be void ; and the Bailiffs and Burgesses of the said town
having just cause 1 of suit and exception, as well against the said
Gittins and one Ralph Jones, then teacher in the Third Room or
Place of the said school, who had unlawfully intruded into the
several rooms and lodgings appertaining to the Second and Third
Schoolmasters of the said school, as also against them, the said
Gittins and Jones, and the said Meighen, and one George Phillips,
the Bailiff of the said school for the receipt and employment of the
rents and revenues of the said school, and one Richard Higgons,
for getting into their hands and custody great sums of money,
parcel of the revenues appointed for the maintenance of the said
school, and misemploying thereof, contrary to the true intent and
meaning thereof; and the same Corporation having in their public
assembly agreed to prosecute the said suit, 2 they, the said Defendants,
being then Bailiffs of the said town, did, for the causes aforesaid,
with the advice, and in the presence, of the seniors in orifice of
Aldermen and Common Council of the town, keepers of two of the
aforesaid keys, and of divers others to the number of 15 or more of
the principal persons of the said Corporation, being Aldermen and
of the said Common Council of the said town, unlock 3 of the
locks of the said chest with their 3 keys, and caused the 4th lock
(whereof the Complainant had the 4th key) to be broken ; and, out
of the same chest, in manner aforesaid, at 3 several times, took out
of the said chest the sum of ^30 ; viz., 10 at every time ; and did
employ the same for the causes aforesaid and for other necessary
uses of the said school; and delivered unto their immediate
successors, Bailiffs of the said town, an account in writing, mention-

1 It is strange to speak of a suit which had proved abortive having just
cause.

2 This is beside the question. The Corporation, though constantly claiming
the right to interfere, had no legal status in the government of the school.



444 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

ing the disbursements of the said money, 1 which being read before
the said Commissioners, and justified by one of the said Defendants
upon oath, the said Complainant would take no exception to the
expending of any part thereof, 2 which expenses the said Com-
missioners thought reasonable and fit to be allowed; and it was
also proved before the same Commissioners that the Defendants
and the said seniors in office of Aldermen and Common Council,
at every of the said several times, in the presence of the persons
aforesaid, locked up the said chest again and took back their several
keys ; which breaking open of the said chest and taking money out
of the same, being done upon the necessary occasion and reasons
aforesaid, and not for any private gain or lucre unto the Defendants
themselves, or either of them, the said Commissioners thought,
under favour, not to be any fault that deserved either censure or
punishment ; but, for the reasons aforesaid, their doings therein to
be excused ; and yet they did wish, and so thought, that the same
chest should not be at any time hereafter opened, nor any money
nor evidences taken out of the same without the full consent and
in the presence of all the persons trusted with or interested in
the keeping of the keys thereof, and did also hope and wish that
such order might be taken that then should never hereafter be
any such cause to move any succeeding Bailiffs to do the like;
and as to the taking of any evidences by the said Defendants
out of the said chest, they found that such as they took forth were
taken for the necessary use of the said school, and were presently,
after use thereof, safely locked up in the said chest again. And
whereas, by one of the said ordinances, the scholars of the said school
upon every Sunday and Holy Day were to resort to the Parish
Churches of the said town and suburbs, wherein they dwelt or
were tabled, to hear Divine Service, and to go to such one of
the Churches where there should be any sermon ; and that after-
wards, A.D. 1582, within 5 years next after the making of the
aforesaid ordinances, by the good advice and mutual consents of

1 So far was this from being true, that not only Thomas Wolley and John
Hawkshead, the Bailiffs of 1611-1612, but their successors, Rowland Langley
and Rowland Jenks, entered memoranda in the school account - book that
Jones and Harris had not accounted for the ^30 they had taken from the
school chest.

3 One of Meighen's express charges against Jones and Harris in his bill was
that they had used some part of the ,30 in prosecuting a suit against him and the
other schoolmasters.



APPENDIX 445

the then Bailiffs of the said town, and of the Master and Seniors
of St. John's College in Cambridge, and of Thomas Lawrence,
the Chief Schoolmaster of the said school, one Chapel, part of
the Parish Church of St. Mary in the said town of Shrewsbury
(within which parish the said school and schoolmaster's lodgings
be), the said Church being the King's Free Chapel and the Lord
Chancellor Visitor thereof, was repaired and beautified upon the
school charges, to the intent that, upon all the Sabbath Days,
Holy Days and half holidays, the schoolmasters and scholars of
the said school should resort thither to hear Divine Service and
to sit upon seats in the Chancel of the said Church to hear public
sermons ; unto which Chapel and Chancel both the schoolmasters
and scholars of the said school, from the repairing thereof as
aforesaid until about 7 or 8 years last past, did so come accordingly,
to the great good of the said scholars and comfort and contentment
of the inhabitants of the said town and of all other persons which
resorted thither, and that, according to an interpretation and
exposition of some of the ordinances of the said school made
by the Lord Chancellor and others in the 34th year of the late
Queen, out of the Stock Remanent of the said school there might, by
the true intent and meaning of the ordinances, be defrayed
and bestowed money and charges upon the reparation of a Chapel
for the schoolmasters and scholars of the said school and main-
tenance for one to read Divine Service and catechise there, the
said Commissioners do think it fit that the schoolmasters and
scholars of the said school, as heretofore in the time of the said
Lawrence, being Head Schoolmaster of the said school, and for
many years after in the time of the said Meighen they did so ;
hereafter they should, upon every Sunday, Holy Day and half
holiday, resort unto the said Chapel to hear Divine Service and
the said scholars to be instructed in the principles and grounds
of true religion ; and that, at such times as there shall be any
sermon in the said Church upon any Sunday or Holy Day, that
both the said schoolmasters and scholars go likewise unto the same ;
and for want of a sermon in that Church, then unto such Church
in the said town where there shall be a sermon, as heretofore they
have used and accustomed ; and that the said Chapel and seats
there be from time to time repaired at the charges of the school
revenues for the uses aforesaid ; and that such reasonable allowance
or maintenance out of the school revenues be given to the Curate



446 SHREWSBURY SCHOOL

of the said Parish Church of St. Mary for the time being, or to
some sufficient person to be chosen from time to time by the
said Bailiffs of the said town and the Chief Schoolmaster for
the time being, for the reading of Divine Service and catechising
of the scholars there, as they, the said Bailiffs and Head School-
master, shall think meet ; and that the Curate of the said Church be
either a Bachelor or Doctor of Divinity, if any such may be
conveniently had to supply that function. And whereas, by one of
the said ordinances, there is to be made or provided in some
convenient place within the County of Salop an house for the
schoolmasters and scholars to resort unto and abide in in the
time of common plague or other infection dangerous in the said
town of Shrewsbury, the said Commissioners were of opinion
that 200 is sufficient to be employed for that purpose, considering



Online LibraryGeorge William FisherAnnals of Shrewsbury School → online text (page 43 of 56)