|Schools. St. Paul's School. Ordinances thereof ||165
an easier and apter Method for learning, than any was before. And this he
recommended in a Prefatory Epistle to William Lilly the Master, to teach it the
dated the Calends of August 1509, viz. in these Words.
Joannes Coletus suo Lilio salutem,
Accipe, optime, ac literatissime Lili, libellum puerilis Instituionis: in quo
quæ fuerunt ab alijs tradita, ratione & ordine paulo (ni fallor)
digessimus. Idq; fecimus, ut Elementa Grammatices, ut felicius influerent in
animos, & tenacius inhererent. Tuum erit, qui primus es hujust novæ
Scholæ Præceptor, his rudimentis diligenter exercere pueros nostros,
deinceps ad majora profecturos. Nibil enim æque mibi cordi est in
præsentia, quam parvuli Christi quamplurimum apud te proficiant, cum
tum bonis moribus. Ad quod si eniteris, & JESUM puerorum præsidem
studio demereberis, & me plane felicem reddideris. Vale ex ædibus
August. Anno millesimo quingentesimo nono.
And near about this Time, or not long after, he procured from his Friend Erasmus
Roterodamus, another Book for his School, namely, that entitled, De Copia
For which he promised the said Erasmus (while he was once walking with him in
Garden) fifteen Angels, as a Gratuity. And no question Erasmus was pleased well
contribute something to such a Foundation, which he himself took occasion
to commend and extol; as he did in a Letter to Colet, Anno 1512, in these Words,
Ludum literarium longe pulcherrimum, ac mangificentissimum instituisti; ubi sub
electissimis ac probatissimis præceptoribus Britannica Pubes rudibus
simul & Christum & optimas imbiberet literas, i.e.
"You have erected
beautiful and noble School, where under the choicest and most approved Masters,
English Youth might, soon after their Childhood, imbibe both Christ and the best
Procures Erasmus's Book De Copia, for his
In the Year 1513, Collet sent Lilly another Book for the School, of the
the Eight Parts of Speech: Which was done by Erasmus also, upon the earnest
Suggestion of Colet, being nothing but the Emendations of, and Additions to such
Work, first done by Lilly. This was nothing but the Grounds of our Latin
This Book he also introduced with a Latin Epistle, viz.
Construction of the Eight Parts of
Joannes Coletus Decanus Sancti Pauli Guilielmo Lilio ad Divum Paulum Ludi
Moderatori primario, S. D.
Haud aliter mihi videor affectus in novam hanc scholam nostram, Lili charissime,
in unicum filium pater: in quem non solum gaudet universam suam substantiam
transfundere, verum etiam sua viscera, siliceat, cupit impertiri. Nam ut huic
genuisse, nisi eundem diligenti Educatione ad bonam frugem provexerit, ita meo
non satis est, quod Ludum hunc institui, hoc est, genui, quodq; in sumpto
universo, vivus etiam ac superstes solidam hæreditatem cessi, nisi modis
dem operam, ut pijs moribus & bonis literis diligenter educatus ad maturam
adolescat. Proinde libellum hunc de constructione octo partium orationis ad te
pusillum quidem, sed non pusillum utilitatis allaturum nostræ pubi, si
abs te fuerit traditus.
Which Colet recommends to Lilly to teach in his
Scis in præceptis brevitatem placere Flacco: Cujus sententiam ipse
approbo. Porro, si qua præterea erunt digna cognitu, tuarum partium erit,
incident in prælegendis authoribus, ad notare. Bene vale: Domi
This Book De Constructione went some time under Erasmus's Name. Yet Erasmus
have it reckoned his, as being Lilly's Groundwork. And Lilly, on the other
modestly refused to have himself made the Author, after such considerable
and Improvements made by Erasmus. Who in the Year 1515, wrote a Preface before
this Book, now commonly called, The Syntaxis, wherein he publickly disowned it
be his, out of respect to Lilly; concluding with these Words, Verum hæc
præfari visum est, ne post hac quisquam, ut meum amplectatur, i.e. But
thought good to preface, that none hereafter might take the Book as mine.
Colet also framed a short Catechism in English, for the Youth of his School,
obliged all to learn; and was used in the Times of Popery to be bound up at the
beginning of the Accidence. It consisted of the Articles of the Christian
Doctrine of the Seven Sacraments, an Explanation of the Love of God, of our own
selves, and of our Neighbours; and lastly, divers short Precepts for a good
which he joined in the Latin the Apostles Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ave
two short Prayers; one to the Virgin Mary, and the other to JESUS the Guardian
School. And if the superstitious Parts of this Catechism had been laid aside;
rest, which is very pious, had been retained for the Use of the School, it
would, in my
Opinion, have been very well done; and the Founder's Will more complied with.
Colet's Catechism for his School.
The primary Institution, Ordinances, Appointments and Documents of this School
be gathered from an old Statute Book, wrote by the Founder's own Hand, and by
delivered to Lilly; Which is thus inscribed, Hunc libellum ego JOANNES COLET
tradidi manibus magistri Lillij, XVIII. die Junij, Anno Dom. MCCCCCXVIII. It
begins, JOHANNIS COLETI Fundatoris scholæ manu sua propria prologus.
"John Colet, Son of Henry Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, desiring nothing more
Education, and bringing up Children in good Manners and Literature, in the Year
Lord a Thousand five hundred and twelve, builded a School [not fully finished
Year] in the East End of St. Paul's Church for 153 Boys, to be taught free in
The Ordinances of St. Paul's School.
Ex. Chart. Societat. Merceror. Lond.
"And ordained there a Master, a Sur-Master, and a Chaplain, with sufficient
perpetual Stipends ever to endure; and set Patrons, Defenders, Governors and
the same School, the most honest and faithful Fellowship of the Mercers of
And for because nothing can continue long and endure in good Order without Laws
Statutes, I the said John Colet, have expressed my Mind, what I would should be
and diligently observed and kept of the said Master, Sur-Master, and Chaplain,
the Mercers, Governors of the School. That in this Book may appear to what
founded this School."
Then follow his Ordinances,
"That he founded the School in the Honour of
Jesu in pueritia, and of his blessed Mother Mary. That the High Master should
chosen by the Wardens and Assistants of the Mercers. That he be a Man whole in
Body, honest, virtuous, and learned in good and clean Latin Literature, and also
Greek, if such might be gotten; a wedded Man, a single Man, or a Priest, that
Benefice with Cure or Service. His Wages to be a Mark a Week, and a Livery Gown
of 4 Nobles, delivered in Cloth. His Lodgings to be free. And to have the
Stevenhith to resort unto. That the Sur-Master be versed in Learning and well
The Ordinances for the High Master;