This revisionary biographical study documents that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of churchmen who expected him to take holy orders, but between 1574, when he left Pembroke College, and 1579, when he published the Shepheardes Calender, he decided against a career in the church. At Pembroke College and in London, Spenser watched the Elizabethan establishment crack down on independent thinking. The sequestration of Edmund Grindal was a watershed event in his early life, as was his encounter with Philip Sidney, the dedicatee of to the Shepheardes Calender. Once Spenser exchanged the role of shepherd-priest for that of shepherd-poet, he understood that his role was not just to celebrate the victories of Protestant England over the Spanish empire, immortalize in verse the virtues of Gloriana’s knights, but also to ‘fashion a noble person in vertuous and gentle discipline’. The received biography of the early Spenser emphasizes Gabriel Harvey, who is reported to have been Spenser’s tutor. Brink shows that Harvey could not have been Spenser’s tutor and argues that Harvey published Familiar Letters (1580) to promote his ambition to be named University Orator at Cambridge. Brink shows that Spenser had already received preferment. His life is contextualized by comparisons with contemporaries including Philip Sidney, Lodowick Bryskett, Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Ralegh. Brink’s provocative study, based upon a critical re-evaluation of manuscript and printed sources, emphasizes Philip Sidney over Harvey and shows that Spenser’s appointment as secretary to Lord Grey was a preferment celebrated even years later by Camden.
, it is likely that his benefactors expected him to take holy orders. It cannot be proved that Spenser seriously considered a career in the church, but in the sixteenth century a young man without property and family connections had few options other than the church or the army. That Spenser considered a career in the church is also suggested by his staying on at Pembroke to obtain the M.A. degree. J.A. Venn, who compiled the biographical
hand, Harvey had no reason to exaggerate Spenser's importance in Young's household. Considering Spenser's employment from Young's perspective, it seems clear that his motivation for employing Spenser must have been that he, like the churchmen who administered the funds in the ‘Nowell Account Book’, expected Spenser to take holy orders. 11 Rochester was a relatively modest diocese, and so we would
This chapter surveys previous biographies by Alexander Grosart (1882–84), Alexander Judson (1945), and Andrew Hadfield (2012), re-examining the evidence concerning Spenser’s lineage and concludes that we know only that he was born in 1554. His father’s name and occupation are unknown – although conjectures that he was a journeyman merchant tailor have found their way into reference works. From an important manuscript source, the ‘Nowell Account Book’, Manchester, Chetham’s Library, MS A.6.50, we know that Spenser was the protégé of a circle of London clergymen, who expected him to take holy orders. This important documentary source details funds distributed from the estate of Robert Nowell, Attorney of the Queen’s Court of Wards, and brother of Alexander Nowell, Dean of St Paul’s. Spenser’s name does not appear in the admission records for Merchant Taylors’ School. We know that he attended Merchant Taylors’ School only because of bequests he received in the ‘Nowell Account Book’.
The early Spenser, once he decided not to take holy orders, fully subscribed to the early modern chivalric code as it was practiSed by Sir Henry and Sir Philip Sidney. Little has previously been said about Sir Henry Sidney, but Brink shows that he and Lady Mary were likely to have been in London at Baynard’s Castle or Leicester House while Sir Henry attended Privy Council meetings. Also, it remained a possibility that he would again be sent to Ireland with Philip Sidney as his deputy until February 1600. The literary evidence of contact between Spenser and the Sidneys consists principally of commendatory poems, but in this chapter Brink shows that Lodowick Bryskett, a close friend of Spenser’s in Ireland, was resident in London from 1579 to 1581. Earlier Bryskett accompanied Philip Sidney on his Grand Tour, and, as Sir Henry’s protégé, held the position of Clerk of the Council in Ireland. Bryskett, thus, was a connecting link for Spenser, the Sidneys, and Ireland.
likely that these clergymen expected Spenser to take holy orders and that he, in fact, considered combining his literary aspirations with a career in the church. As noted previously, his willingness to stay on at Pembroke College and work towards the M.A., after completing the B.A. in 1573, suggests that he was considering taking holy orders. Ninety per cent of those completing the M.A. took holy orders, but he was one of the ten per cent who
sitting at gaol deliveries (only ever a selection of those on the peace commission) were present ‘not merely as interested onlookers’ but in recognition that they were those most heavily involved in legal business in the county.22 A development which profoundly affected the personnel of the judiciary and influenced the identity of the legal profession was the transition from benches comprising men in holy orders to panels of non-clerical judges. Although it could be argued that the shift from clerical to lay justices represented a move towards greater
institutions, hold political office or take holy orders, unlike her male contemporaries.2 However, this book has concentrated on the implications of the phrase ‘Quod licuit feci’ and on uncovering exactly what Elizabeth and her sisters were able to achieve, particularly in the fields of education, piety and politics. It has not concentrated solely on the prescriptive context, but instead has also paid close attention to what the writings of the Cooke sisters themselves reveal about the agency of sixteenth-century elite women. Burghley himself confessed in 1589 that he
Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.
, treating a patient would have regard to spiritual and bodily welfare, to the whole person (the particular patient ). 52 Monastic care may indeed be seen as holistic. The most difficult question to address in examining the nature of monastic health care and canon law is the ambivalence of the Church towards clerics in holy orders practising as physicians. Although at least one Pope, John XXI, was himself a