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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF.CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID





SIGN COLLEGE AND LIBRARY



CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Hontroii: FETTER LANE, E.G.

C. F. CLAY, MANAGER




100, PRINCES STREET

Berlin: A. ASHER AND CO.

lap>tg: F. A. BROCKHAUS

ifiefaj $orfe : G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

8ambag anti ffialnttta: MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.



All rights reserved




The Founder.

From the portrait in the College Hall.



SIGN COLLEGE AND LIBRARY



BY



E. H. PEARCE, M.A.

CANON OF WESTMINSTER

A TRUSTEE OF SIGN HOSPITAL

AND FORMERLY PRESIDENT OF SION COLLEGE



Cambridge :

at the University Press

19*3



CambriOge :

PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A.
AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS



A u I -



COLLECTS MEIS

TAM DILECTIS QUAM DESIDERATIS
PRAESIDENTI

DECANIS

ADSISTENTIBUS

BIBLIOTHECARIO

COLLEGII DE SIGN



Ambulauimus cum consensu.

Ps. Iv. 14.



By the same Author

Annals of Christ's Hospital. (2nd edition, 1908.)
The Sons of the Clergy, 1655 1904. (1904.)
Robert Henry Hadden. A Memoir. (1911.)



PREFACE

MY acknowledgments are due to my late colleagues on the
Court of Sion College for their confidence in asking me
to compile some account of the Foundation and in entrusting
me with their registers and documents. The account which here
results is probably more elaborate than they expected, but my
excuse is that Sion College is far fuller of interest than any of
us realised.

I am specially indebted to the Rev. C. O. Becker, the
Librarian, for reading the book in proof, a task rendered less
difficult through the admirable workmanship of the University
Press ; to Mr C. H. Limbrick and the rest of the Library staff for
much patience towards my many importunities ; to Mr H. Pearce,
of Clapham, a former member of the same staff, for three ex-
cellent negatives; to Mr Herbert Welch for his care in preparing
the index ; to Mr H. M c Clintock Harris for the loan of the
picture of the Almshouses (facing p. 232) ; and to my friend
the Rev. the Hon. Arthur Gordon, of the Church of Scotland,
for some valuable information.

It was my hope to have served the College for a full year in
the President's office, and in the normal course of things that
year would now be closing. I can only trust that this volume,
which has occupied the scanty leisure of several years, will be
accepted as a reasonable substitute and will, perhaps, reveal
to the outside world that the Fellows of Sion have a goodly
heritage.

E. H. PEARCE.

3, LITTLE CLOISTERS,
WESTMINSTER ABBEY,
Lady Day, 1913.



ERRATA

P. 51, 1. 5, for "Thomas" read "Richard
P. 107, 1. 10, omit "Wage"



CONTENTS



THE COLLEGE



CHAP.


PAGE


PREFACE


vii


I. THE FOUNDER AND His FRIENDS .


i


II. THE VISITOR ....


. . 18


III. THE PRESIDENT AND THE COURT .


35


IV. THE STAFF ....


67


V. THE COLLEGE BUILDINGS


. " 89


VI. THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE GREAT FIRE


. 108


VII. THE COLLEGE AS LANDOWNER ....


. 127


VIII. DR WHITE'S ALMSFOLK


149


IX. THE LATIN SERMONS .


. 169


X. THE PARISH CHURCH


. 180


XI THE ANNIVERSARY


189


XII. ECCLESIASTICAL QUESTIONS


. 207


THE LIBRARY




XIII. JOHN SPENCER . ...


. 232


XIV. GREAT BENEFACTIONS


. . 256


XV. WILLIAM READING ....


. 268


XVI. ROBERT WATTS .


. . 298


XVII. HENRY CHRISTMAS AND MILMAN


. . 3i6


XVIII. THE COLLEGE AND THE LIBRARY TO-DAY


. 33i


APPENDIX A. List of Presidents


343


APPENDIX B. List of Librarians


357


APPENDIX C. List of Clerks or Registers or Secretaries . 358


ILLUSTRATIONS




THE FOUNDER. FROM THE PORTRAIT IN THE COLLEGE




HALL . . .


Frontispiece


FROM THE GRANT OF THE COLLEGE PREMISES UNDER THE




GREAT SEAL, DATED 20 MARCH 1630 ....


facing 35


THE ALMSHOUSES (LOOKING EAST)


149


OLD SIGN COLLEGE, LONDON WALL


232



CHAPTER I

THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

Justus autem quasi fundamentum sempiternum.

Prov. x. 25.

THERE are few institutions which can be said to have
originated so entirely in the thought and in the action of one
man as Sion College. No obvious reasons led up to it. No
consensus of public or ecclesiastical opinion called for it.
No one knows how it came by its name. The times in which the
founder lived carried within them, it is true, the seeds of coming;
dissension in the Reformed Church, and his public utterances r
of which more hereafter, show him to have been a plain and
provocative speaker. But there is no firm ground for classing
him as a Puritan 1 , and it was a period when there was little
chance for doubtfulness or equivocation. Richard Hooker went
up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, when Thomas White
was a third-year man, and in the following year Thomas Cart-
wright became Lady Margaret Professor at Cambridge. The
important Act of I57I 2 "for the Ministers to be of Sound
Religion " and the anonymous publication of the " First Ad-
monition " (1572) filled the interval between White's B.A. and
M.A. degrees and set the Orthodox and the Puritan positions
before him in terms which could not be mistaken or evaded.
The latter meant that it was no longer enough for the " pre-
cisians " to scruple the square-cap and the surplice ; they must
henceforth strive for the administration of ecclesiastical affairs

1 W. H. Milman, Sion College, p. 14. Unless his choice of John Vicars and
John Downham as two of his literary executors be taken to signify his own views.



2 13 Elizabeth, c. 12.
P.



2 THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

on the exact lines of the Geneva consistory. Indeed, White's
ordination must have taken place in the very midst of the
fierce game of battledore and shuttlecock between Whitgift and
Cartwright, when Replies and Defences of Replies and Answers
to Defences of Replies followed one another in quick succession
(15721577).

What, however, seems perfecly clear is that at the end of
a life that had witnessed such controversies he did not intend
to set up a society which should add to the strife of tongues ;
and his will shows that he cared more for the philanthropic than
for the ecclesiastical side of the institution. In fact, if it had
not been for the action of those who added a theological library
to the substructure of Dr White's Almshouse, it is likely
enough that the Clerus Londinensis might have found but little
in Sion Hospital by itself to interest them and to keep them
together.

The known details about Thomas White's life are meagre
and by no means heroic. With him it was a case of finis
coronat opus. Nothing in life became him so well as the leaving
of his last will and testament. His father, John White, who
claimed kinship with " the Whites of Bedfordshire," was " a
Gloucestershire clothier 1 /' who settled in Temple Street, Bristol,
where his son Thomas was born in or about the year I55O 2 . In
1566 he matriculated at Oxford as a student of Magdalen Hall
(now Hertford College); graduated B.A. 25 June 1570, M.A.
12 October 1573, B.D. 11 December 1581, and D.D. 8 March
1585 ; and was ordained, presumably in or about the year 1573.
Preferment came to him with great rapidity. He is stated to
have been for a short time rector of St Gregory by St Paul 3 , a
benefice now united with St Martin, Ludgate, formerly and to
some extent to this day an appanage of the " Petty Canons "
of St Paul's. What is more certain is that on 23 November,

1 On this and some other biographical points the reader is referred to Mr H. R.
Tedder's account, Diet. Nat. Biog. LXI. p. 78.

2 In his will (bearing several dates in 1622 and 1623) he describes himself as being
"about the Age of Threescore and twelve."

3 It is to be noted that Hennessy, Novum Repertorium* p. 321, dates White's
appointment as in 1588, but his list of the rectors is obviously incomplete.



THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS 3

1575, being then about 25 years of age, White became vicar of
St Dunstan-in-the-West, Fleet Street, and retained the benefice,
along with other preferments 1 to be mentioned presently, till his
death nearly half a century later. His patron in this case was
Thomas Sackville, first Earl of Dorset, poet and politician,
whose favour may be taken as some indication of White's
powers of mind and strictness of protestant attitude. But,
under whatever patronage, the young vicar of St Dunstan's
was soon recognised as a popular preacher of those political
and argumentative discourses at Paul's Cross and elsewhere,
which represent the " leading articles " of Elizabethan daily life.
In his will he gave directions that three friends should examine
and complete his sermons on the Epistle to the Hebrews and
print them, and also should extract out of his other manuscripts
" one great Book of Miscellanea, such as they in their best
Judgment shall think most profitable for God's Church," and
publish it. But neither of these recommendations came to any
result.

Thus his contributions to English literature consist of two or
three sermons, and the smallness of the material enables us to
concentrate upon it with a view to a closer knowledge of the
man. The first is " A Sermon Preached at Pawles Crosse on
Sunday the ninth of December 1576 by T. W. Imprinted at
London by Francis Coldock, 15781" The second is "A Sermon
Preached at Paules Crosse the 17 of Nouember An. 1589 In
ioyfull remembrance and thanksgiving unto God, for the peace-
able yeres of her Maiesties most gratious Raigne over us, now
32. By Thomas White, Professor in Diuinitie. Printed by
Robert Robinson and Thomas Newman. 1589."

Let us look more closely at the former. It is a small octavo

1 St Dunstan-in-the-West was not then for the first or the last time in the tenure
of a pluralist. In 1561, when Archbishop Parker investigated the condition of his
Province, it was found that one clergyman " was Vicar of St Dunstan's West, and
had Whiston and Doncaster in Yorkshire, Rugby in Warwickshire, and Barnet in
Middlesex" [i.e. Anthony Blake, vicar 1556-70]; cf. Strype, Life of Parker, Bk n.
ch. 5. Dr White, though holding many preferments, was at least true to, and content
with, one parish. His successor, John Donne, was already Dean of St Paul's when
appointed to St Dunstan's.

2 There is a fine copy in the Library of the British Museum (4453. aaa. 10. (i)).

I 2



4 THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

pamphlet of ninety-six pages, with some two hundred words on
each page, and at a modest computation it would occupy about
eleven columns of the Times newspaper. The preacher is a
young man, about twenty-six years of age, who had become
vicar of St Dunstan-in-the-West about twelve months before
the preaching of the sermon, the delivery of which in the open
air must have taxed even his youthful vigour, especially as he
had occupied the same pulpit on the previous Sunday. But
a curious point arises. There is another copy in the British
Museum 1 of this same sermon, word for word and page for page,
with this only difference (apart from a few cross-headings) that
the date of preaching is altered to " Sunday the thirde of
Nouember 1577 in the time of the Plague." The change is not
concerned with the incidence of the Plague, for the reference to
that scourge stands in each copy. Thus we are probably in
presence of a by no means isolated instance of sermons being
repeated at Paul's Cross within a few months, just as Bishop
Jewel's "Challenge Sermon" had been delivered from the same
civic pulpit on 26 November 1559 and 31 March 1560 (as well
as at Court on 17 March).

In neither copy is there either a title or a text printed at
the beginning, but each page is headed " A godly Sermon."
He starts like the Bishop of London's Registrar at the con-
secration of a church " In the name of God, Amen " ; he
addresses his audience as " Right Honorable and dearly be-
loued, &c.," from which we may conclude that the Lord Mayor
was in his gallery 2 ; and he occupies seven pages in explaining
his difficulties about the choice of a text. "While I thought
to fytte a plaister for the feete, I saw the head diseased, and
finding the whole body in the same pickle, I knew not what to
doe... so that whylest I soughte a texte, I founde a Sermon, a
Sermon of the Prophete Sophonye 3 to Israeli. I praye God
make it a profitable Sermon to London. Amen." This text,
he says, offers him four points for consideration, which he will
take in their order as they stand, " and not seeke to be wyser

1 4474- a. 33.

2 Cf. E. H. Pearce, Annals of Christ's Hospital, 2nd ed. 1908, p. 218.

3 Zephaniah iii. i, "Wo to that abhominable, filthie, and cruell Citie," &c. &c.



THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRJENDS 5

than the holy Ghost." First, we are to " looke uppon the
Epithetons & tearmes here... he calles Hierusalem an abhomin-
able & fylthye citie." Manasseh and Amon had "troubled
Israeli so, as 3 1 yeares of good Josias coulde not roote it out
againe ; and as perhaps, or rather without all doubt, for it is
good to be plaine, Queene Maries fyve yeares doth shrewdly
hinder 19 yeares of our princes proceedings in religion." From
this it is but a step to a fierce denunciation of Papistry and
of any relics of it that remained in the land. " Churches," he
complains, " keepe their olde colours still though the images
have lost their countenance, and though their heads be off, yet
they can make somewhat of their bodies." Too much has been
done, he insists, to conciliate the Papists " in retaynyng diuers
ceremonies to turne them, and it will not be." To him it
seemed grievous even that " Gentlemen travelers " should visit
Rome and be tempted to " hold in good sadnesse this divelish
opinion Cu fueris Romae Romano vivito more. Let such
remember another saying Roma recipil bonos reddit malos"
But we are soon brought to the point that London is in some
respects as bad as Rome.

On cure Sabbothes all manner of games and playes, banketings, and
surfeitings, are very rife... some rowyng on the water, some routing in
the field, some idle at home, some worse occupyed....Look but uppon
the common playes in London, and see the multitude that flocketh to
them, and followeth them : beholde the sumptuous Theatre houses, a
continuall monument of Londons prodigality and folly 1 .

There follow some twenty pages on the cruelty of London,
which Dr White illustrates at great length "as briefly as I
can," he says, " for I have bene long, and I am afrayde of the
tyme " by an attack on covetousness and usury. This some-
what florid passage, which has its parallel in his subsequent
discourse on Queen Elizabeth's accession, is of interest to us
because of " the aspersion of his being a great usurer," which
Fuller 2 relates as having been cast upon him.

At last " Zophony's" denunciation of Jerusalem brings our
preacher to the words : " And her Judges are as Wolves in the

1 Too much has been made of his reference to theatres, which he only regards as
one of many signs of falling away.

2 Fuller, Worthies (1811), II. 299.



6 THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

evening," and the clause is felt by him to offer an admirable
opportunity of dealing faithfully with his chief hearers.

You which are our honorable Gouernour and Maior of this Citie, you
must remember that you are chosen in the time of a plague, and there-
fore in the time of sinne... thrust diligently your sword of justice in, to
launce out all corruption and bagage which is gathered in the bowels.
We stop not our nose so at the plague, as the Lord doth stoppe hys
nose at our sinne : the stincke of London is come up before hym.

The Doctor's sermon on the anniversary of the Virgin
Queen's Accession (17 November 1589) spent so much space
(about 28 printed pages or 9000 words) on opening his text,
St Luke iii. 10 14, denouncing usury 1 and covetousness, and
bewailing the continuance of the factions of Anabaptists and
Papists 2 , that the preacher finds that he has " ouershot " himself
and has only a further 3000 words say 25 minutes to devote
to the Queen. But he atones for the delay. Elizabeth has
been like David in her early trials " he afraid of Saule, and
shee of hir Sister"; and like Hezekiah "witnes that Prowde
and Peerles Inuasion, made by the Popish Senacherib...who
openly pretended the cause of his quarrell to be our Religion."
But " Hee that is mightie has magnified hir, and Holie is his
Name." Therefore " let Hir Posie bee from henceforth for euer :
Eloi-Sabaoth ; Elizabeth, Alleluia."

White's devotion to his Fleet Street parish did not prevent
him from accumulating other offices. In 1575, during the
episcopate of Edmund Gheast, he was made chancellor of
Salisbury Cathedral, where he was appointed treasurer in 1590,
the see enjoying at that time a three years' interregnum. On
12 December 1588 he was admitted by Bishop Aylmer to the
prebend of Mora in St Paul's Cathedral, and, if in this matter
White was that truculent Bishop's choice, we get a further hint
as to the personality of our founder. But there is no repro-
duction of the Bishop's methods in W 7 hite's dealings with the

1 "Whereby you do not onely fleece your sheepe but slay men, and directlie Cut
the throat e of the Common welth," p. 38.

2 "Wherefore I exhort both the one, and the other, (for what haue I to doe
with sides) that they play not in the Church, as men doe that are fallen out in the
Common welth, where both will be talking of right, but neither will cease from doing
of wrong." p. 46.



THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS 7

not inconsiderable property of his stall. The records of the
Merchant Taylors' Company contain evidence of much amicable
negotiation between them and our Doctor as to the leasing of
some gardens that were part of the corpus of his prebend, and
the friendship thus formed, together with the nature of his
father's trade, may well account for the honourable place
assigned to the company by the provisions of his will. His
emoluments became further enlarged by his admission in 1591
to a canonry of Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1593 to a canonry
of Windsor.

In the enjoyment of these not inconsiderable revenues he
lived on for over thirty years, dying on I March 1624. He was
twice married ; the name of his first wife was, appropriately
enough, Fortune (1576), the name of the second Elizabeth,
daughter of William Bovey, a London barber-surgeon (1580);
both predeceased him 1 , and he left no seed. Therefore in his
old age he was faced with the necessity of disposing of his wealth.
His will is dated 4 October 1623, just five months before his
death, and its contents must now be briefly indicated.

After remembering the poor of St Dunstan's and St
Gregory's, who among other things were to have " reasonable
Diet, be it Dinner or Supper," on the day of his funeral, and
assigning twenty marks apiece for two chalices with covers
for St Werburgh's, Bristol, and St Dunstan's, " praying God
they may long use them well to their Comfort," he goes on
to make such provision for the College and the Almshouse as
will appear in the course of this volume. Being uncertain
whether " the said Corporacon," i.e. the College apart from the
Almshouse, could " be procured," he left contingent directions
that " the Forty Pounds formerly intended for the College
shall be converted to a Reader... to read every Sunday after-
noon a Lecture," to which the poor prisoners in Newgate should
be brought, "manacled and sparred in Iron Chains... ranged
into a Docket made of Purpose against the Wall... so as they
may hear the Sermon and be seen of the People without
Annoyance unto any " ; and he added some quaint provisions
for the decent burial of executed felons.

1 They were both buried in the church of St Dunstan-in-the-West.



8 THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

Having thus remembered the most wretched of his fellow-
citizens, he turned to St Paul's Cathedral, of which he was a
Prebendary, and bequeathed to the Dean and Chapter 40
a year for the maintenance of three lectures weekly " in the
Term Time" on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, "never
mentioning my Name," and 100 in order to make a pulpit " of
Stone or Wainscot, fair and strong," under the east or rose
window, and accommodation for the Bishop, the Cathedral
clergy, the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen, "when for the
Extremity of Weather they cannot use Paul's Churchyard."
To St George's Chapel, Windsor,, of which he was Canon, and
where he drew up his will, which was witnessed by one of the
Canons and by the vicar of New Windsor, he left all his books
in folio and in Latin.

Oxford had already benefited in 1621 by his foundation
of " Whyte's " professorship of Moral Philosophy, for which he
charged his Essex estates with a stipend of ;ioo. His action
in this case has only borne much fruit in recent years, for in
and after 1673 the chair became a kind of perquisite of the
Senior Proctor, who received the stipend and omitted the
lectures. But new statutes recovered it of its inefficiency in
1877 and it was at once rendered illustrious by the election of
Thomas Hill Green 1 .

The executors of White's elaborate testament were his
kinsman, Mr Jorm Simson, of St Olave, Hart Street, and his
" loving friend," Mr John Keeling, of the Temple ; and he
appointed as overseers Sir George Croke, his "very dear and
kind friend," afterwards a Justice of the King's Bench, and
Mr John Downham, " preacher," and his " good neighbour in
London," afterwards for many years rector of All Hallows the
Great, who was elected Senior Dean of our College in 1643.
Sir George Croke became in due course a benefactor to our
Library and himself endowed almshouses on his estate at
Studley. Downham is probably described as " preacher "
because at this time he was unbeneficed. His residence was
at Bunhill in the parish of St Giles, Cripplegate, and if we
knew how much the testator meant to imply by the word

1 Oxford Historical Register (1900), pp. 55 f.



THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS 9

" neighbour," we might get some indication of White's own
place of abode. The Library became indebted to Downham
in 1630 for " A Guide unto true Godlinesse, written by himselfe.
Lond. Printed 1622."

Dr White was buried at his own request in the church of his
beloved parish of St Dunstan-in-the-West. It is one of the
ironies of executorship that, though he left instructions for a
gravestone 1 in the church, no such memorial was provided till
the year 1877, when the authorities of Sion College and of the
Bristol Municipal Charities combined to erect in the chancel
of St Dunstan's a mural tablet with a medallion portrait,
from the design of Sir Arthur Blomfield, who was after-
wards the architect of the new Sion College on the Embank-
ment.

But, if there was for long years no presentment of White's
features in his church, the College was not equally devoid of
a memorial, for a portrait of him adorned the Hall up to the
time of the Great Fire, though there is no record of its origin
or acquisition. Eighteen months before the Fire there was an
order of the Court " that the ffounder Dr Whites Picture in the
Governors hall bee carefully revived." Why it should afterwards
have been allowed to perish in the great conflagration, when so
many of the books were saved, it is idle to conjecture. And
it is equally strange that not till the year 1818 was there any
project for repairing the loss, though even then the hopes were
doomed to pathetic and comical disappointment. For a clergy-
man named Robert Nixon 2 opened communications with the
Court about his desire to produce such a portrait, and followed
this up with the information that the work would soon be ready.
He suggested the name of a frame-maker, enclosed a "sketch
pattern " for the frame, and asked what inscription should be
put on it. The Court agreed to his design, and sent him these
words: Thomae White S.T.P. Fundatoris munificentissimi
Effigies. Soon afterwards he sent it to the College, with the
accompanying missive :

1 "I would have a Gravestone about three Pounds Price, with a short Inscription
&c., made and laid."

2 Of Burr Street, East Smithfield.



10 THE FOUNDER AND HIS FRIENDS

My best thanks [he wrote] are due to the Rev d . A. Lloyd 1 , Vicar of
St Dunstan's in the West, for his politeness in lending me a small
Portrait of the Doctor, which is in the Vestry room of his Church.

I have made several Additions to it, and particularly one, by intro-
ducing in the background the grand Front of Christ Church College,
Oxford, of which I am informed he was one of the Canons; hoping
thereby to give it more the air of an original than of a mere servile
copy On account of the Architecture in the back ground, which is



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