1. An extract from a letter of 26th.February,1564/5 written by Adrian Saravia to Sir William Cecil, Principal Secretary to Queen Elizabeth. (From the Latin).
” I will write to you, not for the sake of praise, because a Christian knows that he owes all to God, but I have to write to you concerning religion. I lived three years in England, but I never found there the character of the Islanders, but here I find what Epimenides says of the Cretans.
The people are made of fraud, more lying than the Cretans and have neither faith nor religion : they would utter a thousand perjuries rather than inconvenience a friend. As to religion, there are only three or four people in the island who attend service, and if an ecclesiastic goes into the country he is greeted with jeers and laughter, and often has dirt thrown at him. They are worse than Turks and the Jurats all connive at this. Robbery and slaughter are committed with impunity, there being no laws, and the decisions of the judges various, and everybody is at law in some court. The Jurats treat the people like sheep, unrestrained by fear. The people are so inert that they had rather live poor and idle than rich by labour. They have a place fit for merchandise which might bring them great wealth if they would ; by heaping up the stones on the foundation thrown by nature they could make a safe harbour for ships. The governor exhorts them to it and offers them a fourth part of his own revenue towards the expense, but I know not whether the slow bellies will do it. It is very important for England to retain these islands ; for if the French held them they could do great damage to the British Ocean : yet lately when an attack was expected, all was confusion. The Governor held the citadel but the captains appointed for other parts, some stayed at home through fear, others rambled about uncertainly, calling vengeance on the Huguenots, whom they blame for everything bad. Things were very different when I was in King Philip’s camp. Had the enemy come, he would not have been repelled, though the nature of the place renders this easy if the places of descent are strongly guarded. Instead of resisting the enemy they turn to sedition. I grieve to be compelled to write this of the people among whom I live. As to Queen Elizabeth’s School none of the things promised is done, all is put off : the barbarous people hate letters. I have only ten boys of the island, all the rest are English. If I were made free of England, I would prefer living there in the lowest position to remaining here, even if my salary were increased threefold.”
2. An extract from a letter from the Council of State at Windsor to the States of Guernsey dated 22nd. August, 1565.
“It is heere, and not without good cause, thought very stranghe the Queene’s Majestie having so graciously and lyberally dellt with them ( the States of Guernsey ), in bestowing a house and revenue belonging thereunto, sufficient for the maintainance of a Schoolmaster, for the teaching of the youngs within that isle, that they have not in all this tyme doon any thing of their partes towards their performings of so good an intent, you may therefore admoniche them to have better consideration hereof, least theyr negligence might happelye move Hir Majesti to convert the liberalytie that was appointed to be bestowed that wais unto some other use that may be better regard(ed) and gone throughs withale with moore speede, and so fare you heartellye well.”
Your loving friends
N.Bacon, C.D.Wnothts, R.Leycester, R.Roger
To your loving friends the Governor and Commissioners of the Isle of Guernsey.
3. A letter from the Governor of Guernsey, Sir Francis Chamberlayne, to Sir William Cecil, Principal Secretary, dated 24th.September,1566.
“It may please your honour to be advertised that the alteration which tyme presentlye in flaunders movith this bearer Adrean de Sarravya, Scoole Master here, to seke some conference thereof with certayne of his countreymen in London, and by that means it ys to be doubted that he maye be withdrawen from hens, which wilbe no little hindrance to his good beginninges in this Isle wheare, he with his father, a Spanyerd born and his mother of Artois honnest and aged persons last repayrid unto him, be presently in some good staye. I therefore considering the lacke of soche a man indued with good virtues ys not redely found, I wyshe earnestlye the contynuance of this bearer in this said Isle as well as for thinstruction of youth in good letters, as also for the setting furthe of good and sounde Doctryne, whereof ther is no lytle wante here. And to that end I humblye beseche your honnour that as your travayle hathe ben to further good thinges here, it maye therewyth please your honnour to use the reasonable perswaysyon that may be for the staye of this said Skoole master in thexercise of the charge which he hathe entarprised here, the rather for that he ys assourd of no certayntye elsewheare, as doth well appiereby by his saide father and mother which have been contented for their better soccour to seke relefe at his handes here, and to incorrage his disposytion to contynu yf yt lyke the Quenes Majeste by your honnours means to naturallyse him by her highness lettres pattentes. I knowe he will take the same in verraye good part as undoubtedly I thinke him worthye of that favour, besydes moche better rewards. As he hathe verraye well begun I will not fayle to consydre in the beste I convenyentlye maye and thus I beseche Almightye God mayntayne you honnour in prosperus estaet.”
Castel Cornet 24th of September anno 1566
Your honnours humble to commande
To the righte honnerable Sir William Cecyll Knighte the Quenes Majestes principall Secretary. 24 September 1566.
Master Ffrancis Chamberlen Capten ( GOVERNOR ) of Guernsey to my master for Adrean De Sarravia scholemaster there.
4. A letter from Adrian Saravia to Sir William Cecil, Principal Secretary to Queen Elizabeth, dated 31st. January, 1566/7. (From the Latin).
“To the most illustrious Sir William Cecil, his patron, Adrian Saravia sends his best greeting.
That you may not think, most illustrious Sir, that it has been done with any lightmindedness or fickleness that I have not betaken myself to my dear Belgians as I had intended, I shall in a few words explain to you the reason. I have not been able to obtain my leave of departure from my Brethren here, and when they were unwilling such action seemed unworthy, as it would occasion great odium from them. More than that I have with me both my parents whom I summoned from Ghent when troubles were beginning there. I did not consider it advisable to plunge into such turbulent tempest with them, my wife and children, as I am uncertain what help I can offer my country under prevailing conditions.
They are the clavi trabales ( the beam rivets ) which have kept me fixed here. In the meantime, Sir, if I do not appear unworthy in your eyes, I have a very strong desire to become your fellow-citizen and countryman. Concerning this people I write naught save that they will never be unlike to themselves.
Farewell. Guernsey, 31st. January.”
Adrianus Sarauius, Scholar of Guernsey to my Master.
5. An Extract From The Will of Thomas Russell. Draper of The City of London Entrusting Adrian Saravia With The Building of His School in Barton. 7th.July. 1593.
I give and bequeathe unto Adryan Surravia parson of the severall churches of Tatenell and Barton in the County of Staffordshire and the churchewardens of the saide churche of Barton for the time being or if the saide Adryan doe dye or otherwise departe with his saide benefice then to any other the parson of the saide churches and the churchewardens of Barton for the time being the some of fifty poundes of lawfull money for and towards the erection and building of one schole in the towne of Barton-under-Needwoode in the saide County of Staffordshire in suche lyke same sorte manner forme proportion and building as the schole lately erected at Highe Gate or Highe Barnett in the County of Middlesex is builded whiche schoole to be sufficient for the teaching of three score and tenne scholars at the least over and sufficient roometh and housing for the dwelling of the scholemaster and ussher to be appointed teachers for the same schoole whiche saide some of fifty poundes my will and minde and will is shall be paide unto the saide parson and churchewardens for the time being within three moneths after my decease yf they the saide parson and churchewardens for the time being shall and doe putt into sufficient securitye unto my saide executors at the delivery of the saide money for the building full finishing and erecting of the same schole in suche manner and forme in all respectes as is above limited and sett downe within one yeare after the receipt and payment of the saide some of fifty poundes or otherwise not.