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the highest virtues! I congratulate you, my friend Pace, on having such a king, and I congratulate the king whose country is rendered illustrious by so many brilliant men of ability. On both scores I congratulate this England of yours, for though fortunate for many other reasons, on this score no other land can compete with it."'
When William Latimer said in 1518 that Bishop Fisher wished to study Greek for Biblical purposes, and that he thought of trying to get a master from Italy, Erasmus, whilst applauding the bishop's intention as likely to encourage younger men to take up the study, told Latimer that such men are not easy to find in Italy. "If I may openly say my mind," he adds, " if I had Linacre or Tunstall for a master (for of yourself I say nothing), I would not wish for any Italian."'
Not to go into more lengthy details, there is, it must be admitted, abundant evidence to show that in the religious houses in England, no less than in the universities, there was a stirring of the waters, and a readiness to profit by the advance made in education and scholarship. The name of Prior Charnock, the friend of Colet and Erasmus at Oxford, is known to all. But there are others with even greater claim than he to be considered leaders in the movement. There is distinct evidence of scholarship at Reading, at Ramsay, at Glastonbury, and elsewhere.' The lastnamed house, Glastonbury, was ruled by Abbot Bere, to whose criticism Erasmus desired to submit his translation of the New Testament from the Greek. Bere him1 Erasmi, Opera, Ep. 241.
Mbid., Ep. 363.
* To take one example, Thomas Millyng, who as Bishop of Hereford died in 1492, had studied at Gloucester Hall, Oxford, as a monk for Westminster. During the old age of Abbot Fleet, of Westminster, he governed the monastery, and became its abbot in 1465. He was noted for his love of studies, and especially for his knowledge of Greek. This, says the writer of his brief life in the Dictionary of National Biography, was " a rare accomplishment for monks in those days." He might have added, and for any one else t
self had passed some time, with distinction, in Italy, had been sent on more than one embassy by the king, and had been chosen by Henry VII. to invest the Duke of Urbino with the Order of the Garter, and to make the required oration on the occasion.1 He had given other evidence also of the way the new spirit that had been enkindled in Italy had entered into his soul. It was through Abbot Bere's generosity that Richard Pace, whom Erasmus calls "the half of his soul," was enabled to pursue his studies in Italy.' Glastonbury was apparently a soil well prepared for the seed-time, for even in the days of Abbot Bere's predecessor, Abbot John Selwood, there is evidence to show that the religious were not altogether out of touch with the movement. The abbot himself presented one of the monks with a copy of John Free's translation from the Greek of Synesius it laude Calvitii. The volume is written and ornamented by an Italian scribe, and contains in the introductory matter a letter to the translator from Omnibonus Leonicensis, dated at Vicenza in 1461, as well as a preface or letter by Free to John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester."
At St. Augustine's, Canterbury, also, we find, even amid the ruins of its desolation, traces of the same spirit which pervaded the neighbouring cloister of Christchurch. The antiquary Twyne declares that he had been intimately acquainted with the last abbot, whom he knew to have been deeply interested in the literary movement. He describes his friend as often in conversation manifesting his interest in and knowledge of the ancient classical authors. He says that this monk was the personal friend of Ludovico Vives, and that he sent one of his subjects at St. Augustine's, John Digon, whom he subsequently made prior of his monastery, to the schools of Louvain, in order that he might profit by the teaching of that celebrated Spanish humanist.1
1 Dennisloun, Memorials of the Dukes of Urbino, iii., p. 415 seqq.
2 Erasmus to Abbot Bere. Opera, Ep. 700.
• MS. Bodl. 80. It is the autograph copy of Free, cf. J. W. Williams, Somerset Mediaval Libraries, p. 87. It was Abbot Bere who, in 1506, presented John Claymond, the learned Greek scholar, to his first benefice of Westmonkton, in the county of Somerset. In 1516 Claymond became first President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, often after signing himself Eucharistia serous. Dr. Claymond procured for his college several Greek manuscripts which had belonged to Grocyn and Linacre, and which are still possessed by it. At the end of MS. XXIII., which is a volume containing ninety homilies of St. John Chrysostom in Greek, is an inscription stating that this, and MS. XXIV., were copied in the years 1499 and 1500 by a Greek from Constantinople, named John Serbopylas, then living and working at Reading,
Beyond the foregoing particular instances of the real mind of English ecclesiastics towards the revival of studies, the official registers of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge furnish us with evidence of the general attitude of approval adopted by the Church authorities in England. Unfortunately, gaps in the Register of Graduates at Oxford for the second half of the fifteenth century do not enable us to gauge the full extent of the revival, but there is sufficient evidence that the renaissance had taken place. In the eleven years, from A.d. 1449 to A.d. 1459, for which the entries exist, the average number of degrees taken by all students was 91 "5. From 1506, when the registers begin again, to 1535, when the commencement of operations against the monastic houses seemed to indicate the advent of grave religious changes, the average number of yearly degrees granted was 127. In 1506 the number had risen to 216, and only in very few of the subsequent years had the average fallen below 100. From 108 in 1535, the number of graduates fell in 1536 to only 44; and the average for the subsequent years of the reign of Henry VIII. was less than 57. From 1548 to 1553, that is, during the reign of Edward VI., the average of graduates was barely 33, but it rose again, whilst Mary was on the throne, to 70.
1 Ludovico Vives had been invited over to England by Cardinal Wolsey to lecture on rhetoric at Oxford. He lived at Corpus Christi College, then ruled by Dr. John Claymond, whom in his tract De conscribendis Epistolis he calls his "father." The fame of this Spanish master of eloquence drew crowds to his lectures at the university, and amongst the audience Henry and Queen Katherine might sometimes be seen. For a time he acted also as tutor to the Princess Mary, and dedicated several works to the queen, to whose generosity he says he owed much. He took her side in the "divorce " question, and was thrown into prison for some weeks for expressing his views on the matter. Fisher, More, and Tunstall were his constant friends in England, and of Margaret Roper he writes, "from the time I first made her acquaintance I have loved her as a sister." Among his pupils at Louvain, besides the above-named Canterbury monk, John Digon, he mentions with great affection Nicolas Wotton, whom the antiquary Twyne speaks of as returning to England with Digon and Jerome Ruffaldus, who calls Vives his "Jonathan," and who subsequently became abbot of St. Vaast, Arras.
If the same test be applied to the religious Orders, it will be found that they likewise equally profited by the new spirit. During the period from 1449 to 1459 the Benedictine Order had a yearly average of 4 graduates at Oxford, the other religious bodies taken together having 5. In the second period of 1506-1539 the Benedictines who graduated number 200, and (allowing for gaps in the register) the Order had thus a yearly average of 675, the average of the other Orders during the same period being 5#2. If, moreover, the number of the religious who took degrees be compared with that of the secular students, it will be found that the former seem to have more than held their own. During the time from 1449 to 1459 the members of the regular Orders were to the rest in the proportion of 1 to 9-5. In the period of the thirty years immediately preceding the general dissolution it was as 1 to 9. Interest in learning, too, was apparently kept up among the religious Orders to the last. Even with their cloisters falling on all sides round about them, in the last hour of their corporate existence, that is in the year 1538-39, some 14 Benedictines took their degrees at Oxford.
In regard to Cambridge, a few notes taken from the interesting preface to a recent "History of Gonville and Caius College " will suffice to show that the monks did not neglect the advantages offered to them in the sister university.1 Gonville Hall, as the college was then called, was by the statutes of Bishop Bateman closely connected with the Benedictine Cathedral Priory of Norwich. Between 1500 and 1523 the early bursars' accounts give a list of "pensioners," and these "largely consisted of monks sent hither from their respective monasteries for the purpose of study." These "pensioners paid for their rooms and their commons, and shared their meals with the fellows. All the greater monasteries in East Anglia, such as the Benedictine Priory at Norwich, the magnificent foundation at Bury, and (as a large landowner in Norfolk) the Cluniac House at Lewes, seem generally to have had several of their younger members in training at our college. To these must be added the Augustinian Priory of Westacre, which was mainly frequented (as Dr. Jessopp tells us) by the sons of the Norfolk gentry."'
The Visitations of the Norwich Diocese (1492-1532), edited by Dr. Jessopp for the Camden Society, contain many references to the monastic students at the university. In one house, for example, in 1520, the numbers are short, because " there were three in the university." In another case, when a religious house was too poor to provide the necessary money to support a student during his college career, it was found by friends of the monastery, until a few years later, when, on the funds improving, the house was able to meet the expenses. This same house, the Priory of Butley, "had a special arrangement with the authorities of Gonville Hall for the reservation of a suitable room for their young monks." One object of sending members of a religious house to undergo the training of a university course "was to qualify for teaching the novices at their own house"; for after they have graduated and returned to their monastery, we not infrequently find them described as "idoneus preceptor pro confratribus ";
'J. Venn, Gonville and Caius College (1349-1897), Vol. I. 'J. Venn, Gonville and Caius College (1349-1897), Vol. I., p. xvi.