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Simon Sturtevant, Rector of Hemingby 1594

Quite a number of references have now been found to this character, who seems to have lived quite a varied life.

Simon's known history can be summarised:

1570 Born, probably at Middle Rasen, Lincs.

1586 June. Matriculated as pensioner from Christ's College, Cambridge.c.1589-90 Became Bachelor of Arts.

1593 Became Master of Arts.

1594 Nov 28. Appointed rector of Hemingby, near Horncastle, Lincs.

1595 With John Sturtevannt gave recognizance to Tristram for the house of Edwarde Oates at Croade Street, London.

1597 Published Anglo-latinus nomenclatur graecorum primitiurum.

1597 Sep 28. Replaced as rector of Hemingby.

1602 Published "The etymologist of Aesops Fables".

1602 Published a Hebrew Dictionary.

1602/3 Involved in Chancery Proceedings as a witness for a Francis Sturtivannte. He was then a clerk [cleric] living at Bristol.

1604 Granted licence to teach Latin and/or grammar at Martock, near Ilchester, Somerset.

1605 Replaced by Thomas Bainrafe.

1605 Mar 13. Appointed rector of Compton Martin, near Wells, Somerset.

1608 King James I's authority (patent?) for an invention to make earthenware pipes.

1611 Manufacturing earthenware at Islington, involved in court case.1611 Employed on waterworks at Hatfield House, near St.Albans, Herts.

c.1611-2 Dismissed from Hatfield House.

1612 A clerk/gentleman of Islingtn, lately of Hallowell, Middlesex.

1612 Published a Treatise of New Metallic Inventions.

1613 Deprived of his living at Compton Martin, probably for neglect of his parish .

[He was one of only four clergymen deprived of their living in the diocese of Bath and Wells during the 17th century]

1614 Published a second edition of Anglolatinus or The Latin Nomenclator.

1615? Patents granted by King James I for pressware waterpipes, and for pleating wood.

1616 Joint Special Licence (with Abraham Williams) "to use the mystery of fortage and lineage for 31 years" [whatever that means?]


"Alumni Cantabrigienses", by J. & J.A.Venn published at Cambridge, lists people who have studied at Cambridge. Part 1 covers the period to 1751, and Volume 4 deals with names in the S to Z range:

'STURTEVANT, SIMON. Matric pens. from Christ's, June 1586; B.A. (? 1589-90); M.A. 1593. R.of Hemingby, Lincs, 1594-7. Probably R.of Compton Martin, Somerset, 1605-13, deprived. Author, Hebrew Dictionarie, 1602. Treatise of New Metallic Inventions, 1612. (N. and Q., 6th S., I.213)'

[Matric = Matriculation. R = Rector. Pens. = Pensioner, second of three ranks in which students matriculated.]


N & Q above refers to Notes & Queries, a nineteenth century periodic publication concerned with antiquaries and other topics. This particular reference, published on 9 May 1863, reads:

'SIMON STURTEVANT, of Chr., Cambridge, M.A., 1593 (B.A. not recorded), seems to have been a teacher of varied acquirements. Watt gives his Hebrew Dictionarie (Lond, 1602, 8vo) and Treatise of Metallic Inventions (Lond., 1612, 4to), and the Historical Society of Science (one of Mr.Halliwell's creations), promised as No.14 of its publications an account of his mechanical instrument "The Merva" with other papers relating to him. I have -

"The etymologist of Aesops fables, containing the construing of his Latine fables into English: also The etymologist of Phaedrus fables, containing the construing of Phaedrus (a new found yet ancient Author) into English, verbatim. Compiled by Simon Stvrtevant. [Emblem, a hand pointing upward to a star, with motto, "Devs imperat astris"]. London, Printed by Richard Field for Robert Dexter, dwelling at the Signe of the brazen Serpent in Paules Church-yard. 1602.

Very small 8vo. pp. 8 (unpaged) and 162. There is an interesting address "To the industrious and discreet Schoolemaister", running title "To the reader", which might well be reprinted in some library of schoolmasters' - JOHN E.B.MAYOR, Cambridge.'

[A microfilm copy of this book is held in America - National Union Catalog reference NS 1031048 MiU]


"A History of Somerset" in the series of county histories commenced in the late nineteenth century, has the following entry at Vol.4, p.108:

'Martock Hundred - Education.

It is possible that Stephen Nurse (d.1571), formerly a chantry priest at the manor house chapel, may have been responsible for starting a free school in the parish (footnote 35). John Atkins, formerly of Taunton, was licensed to teach Latin and English in Martock in 1583, and subsequent licences to teach Latin or grammar were granted in 1592 to John Priddell, in 1604 to Simon Sturtevant, in 1605 to Thomas "Bainrafe", in 1609 to John Gardner, and in 1633 to Thomas Farnham (footnote 36). "Bainrafe" can be interpreted as Thomas Farnaby (d.1647).

Footnote 35 - Nurse lived in the parish until his death. SRO - D/P/mart 2/1/1

Footnote 36 - SRO - D/D/o1 8, 12, 18; D/D/Vc 58,68

[These are document references in the Somerset Record Office at Taunton, some being in Latin and in some cases rather worn and frayed. We were allowed to photocopy the relevant page of the actual book in which he was sworn in as a teacher]


A search of records in both the Somerset Record Office and the Somerset Local History Library at Taunton has produced a number of other references:

Probate and Administrations 1564-1611. Wells Episcopal Book 20L.

Probate 1609/10-1611. Page 52, item 1086. 24 Oct 1611. Ambrose Miller,

Compton Martyn, a/s Simon Sturtyvant clerk, rector ib. Tithes.

[Presumably Simon proved the probate of one Ambrose Miller, and the church was given a tithe (= one-tenth) from the estate]

Laud's Laboratory - The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the early 17th Century - Margaret Stieg. Published in the USA and by Associated University Presses Ltd

p.65. [The Clergy: A Prosopographical Study] No account of the writings of the Somerset clergy, however partial, should ignore their non- theological writings. These non-theological writings are even more miscellaneous and less categorizable than the theological ones. The important fact is that they exist, testimony to the fact that the Church was supporting scholarship. Casaubon wrote on languages, Francis Godwin (Kingston Seymour, 1613-16) prepared a list of bishops of England. Thomas James (Subdean, 1621-29) prepared a bibliography of biblical criticism, and Simon Sturtevant (Compton Martin 1605-14) a Hebrew dictionary and a treatise on metals. Richard Eburn (Henstridge, 1608-?) was more practical; he wrote on current economic and social problems)

Even this brief discussion of some of the principal characteristics of their writings should make clear that the Somerset clergy did not make any distinctive or original intellectual contributions. They were derivative thinkers, dependent upon others for systematization, who participated in the national culture but who cannot really be claimed to have advanced it. Their most effective contributions were made when they limited their goals; discussing those things with which they were most familiar, and treated practical problems that had arisen from events within their own experience.

p.262 et seq. [Effectiveness of Ecclesiastical Courts] The most extreme penalty that applied to the clergy alone was deprivation, a punishment rarely used. Only four ministers before 1643 can be designated definitely as having been deprived or ejected: William Buckland (East Coker, 1609-18), Meredith Mady (Blagdon, 1607-17), Philip Martin (Keynsham, 1595-1607) and Simon Sturtevant (Compton Martin 1605-14). In contrast to excommunication, deprivation was so rare that each case must be individually considered. In no case can the unfortunate minister's offense be finally determined, although Buckland and Mady seem to have been exceptionally difficult personalities.

[The book then devotes several pages to this topic, giving detailed information on Buckland, Mady and Martin, but unfortunately none on Simon Sturtevant]

p.271. . . . . lay rectors were usually gentlemen . . . .

*****************************An index card in the Somerset Record Office relating to glebe terriers [i.e. church-owned houses and outbuildings] reads:

32. Compton Martin.

1606. The parsonage house conteyninge a parlor a hawle and a kitchen with five chambers a buttrie a milkhouse and a cheesepresse house. A stable and barne a stalle - two lofts over them. A pigeon house over the chauncell.


The Calendar of State Papers series of books contain several references to Simon: Domestic 1603-1610 (published 1857).

p.411 James I. Vol XXXI 1608 March 3 St James's

''66. Sir Thos. Chaloner to the Same. In favour of an invention by Mr Sturtevant for making water pipes of earthenware, of which he can cast 8,000 yards per day, and which are more safe and strong than those of lead.'

Domestic 1611-1618 (published 1858).

p.340 James I. Vol LXXIV 1615?

'43. Petition of Simon Sturtevant to the King, for a patent of his inventions of "Pressware and Wood Pleits", for conveyance of water by pipes, and for jointing and folding wood.'

Domestic. Vol LXXXVI. Jan-Apr 1616

p.342. Jan.

'21. Special licence to Simon Sturtevant and Abraham Williams to use the mystery of fortage and lineage for thirty one years.'

(See undated 1615. No.4. Ibid p.166)


Simon's first book was evidently:

Anglo-latinvs nomenclator graecorum primitiuorum. Londoni, Ex officina Valentini Sems, 1597] 8p.l., 120p. 14cm.

Based on Scapula's Lexicon graeco-latinum novum.

[National Union Catalogue ref NS 1031045]

He later wrote a second edition:

Anglolatinve Or The Latine Nomenclature containing simple Primitiue and meere-latine-words, expressed with their proper and peculiar significations in English. Which being the first and chiefest part of Grammar, are to be learned by lessons iontly together, as vvell as the other precepts of Etymologie and Syntaxia. See, Fvrther Directions in the next pages, and in the preface to the Schoolemaster. The second Edition corrected and augmented. By Simon Stvrtevant. London, Printed by Edw.Griffin and sold by Tho.Salisbury. 1614. (NUC ref NS 1031047]

Simon also wrote a book on metallurgy:

"Metallica. Or, The treatise of Metallica. Briefly comprehending the doctrine of diuerse new metallicall inuentions, but especially, how to neale, melt, and worke all kinde of mettle-oares, irons and steeles . . . Also a transcript of His Majesties letters pattents of priuiledge, granted vnto Simon Sturteuant for the said metallicall businesses . . .

London, Imprinted by G.Eld, 1612. "

[Copies of this book are held in the British Library (Refs 726.i.28 and B.394/1) and the Bodleian Library. A microfilm copy is listed in the National Union Catalog (Ref NS1031049). It was reprinted in 1854 (NUC film ref NS 1031050, 1855 at Wolverhampton (NUC film ref NS1031051 and 1858 (British Library ref B.S.29/2). A sale catalogue dated 1979 offered a copy for L600, and said this was one of only four copies recorded]

His work in this respect is also dealt with in a supplement to the series of letters patent and specifications recorded in the Great Seal Patent Office, and granted between 1617 and 1852, published by the Patent Office in 1858.

[British Library ref B.S.29/2 and NUC ref NS 1031053]

Two of Simon's books, "The Etymologist of Aesop's Fables" and "Metallica", have fairly recently been reprinted in Holland by Amsterdam Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in the series 'The English experience, its record in early printed books published in facsimile'. Copies of both are held by the Scottish National Library, the former being No.697 in this series, published in 1974 (reference 398.2/452).

***************************** Simon's name also appears in a paragraph on p.65 of "A History of British Gardening" (Miles Hadfield, published by John Murray 1960):

'Hatfield House [in Hertfordshire] . . . . was begun in 1607 . . . .The waterworks were begun in 1611, designed by [Thomas] Chaundler. A hydraulic engineer, Simon Sturtevant (probably Dutch), was engaged to carry them out. Before long, however, a Frenchman, Saloman de Caux, engineer to Prince Henry, was called in. De Caux proposed that the work already done should be abandoned, and a new design submitted. To this Cecil [Earl of Salisbury] agreed. Chaundler and Sturtevant were dismissed and Jenings [the earl's gardener] undertook the completion of the water-works to a new plan prepared by de Caux and Robert Lyming.'


An entry on p.186/7 of Christ's College Biographical Register, Vol I 1448-1665 (Cambridge University Press 1910) reads:

'Sturtevant, Simon, mat pen 1586 June; B.A.(probably 1589/90); M.A. 1593; Perhaps rector of Compton Martin, Somerset 13 March 1604/5, patron George Speke, miles. He was deprived by the end of 1613 (Ref - Weaver, Somerset Incumbents, p.262)'


Presentation Deeds in the Lincolnshire Archives Office [i.e appointments of clergy ]:

Appointed Hemingby 28.11.1594 (Simon Sturdevant), predecessor Christopher Barkworth, patrons Thomas Aldworth and Elizabeth his wife.

Replaced 28.9.1597 by William Herne, patron William Whettal.


Nothing definite has yet come to light as to Simon's parentage or death, but he was evidently related to a Francys Sturtivant in 1602/3, as can be seen from the following court case.

Chancery case C.24 Box 300 Item 46 12 February 1602/3 [= 1 James I]

Sturtivant versus Flower.

Witnesses (1) Thomas Denny and (2) Symon Sturtevant.

Interrogatories to be issued to the witnesses to be advised in the parte and behalfe of Francys Sturtivannte Complainant against Lancellot Flower Defendant.

1. Imprimis whether doe you know the said parties present and defendant year or no,

2. Item whether doe you know or have heard orreably reported of others that the said Francys Sturtivant about the month of February which was in the 39th year of her Majesty's Reign did lend unto the said Lancellot Flower the sum of twenty poundes of lawful englishe money. And for what tyme to ye remembrance did the said Francys lend the sume and about what tyme was the same twenty poundes to be repayde by the said Flower unto the said Francys. And whether did the said Flower then enter with Obligacon of Thirty poundes with Condicon for the sure payment of the saide some of 20 at the tyme so betwixt them agreed upon. And whether did you sea the saide twenty poundes delivered by the said Francys Sturtivannte unto the said Lancelott Flower year or no. Declare you full knowledge herein and how you know the same to be so.

Answer to Interrogatories by Symon Sturtevant:

Simon Sturtivant of the City of Bristol clark of the age of 33 yeres or thereabouts. Sworne give Interogatories. That he knoweth the parties to this suite both plaintiff and defendant.

2. That this deponent was present when the plaintiff Francis Sturtivant and the defendant Lancelot Flower about the month of February in the 39th yere of her said Majestie's Reigne and dyd then sea the said Complainant lend and delyver unto the said Lancelot Flower the sume of 20 to be repaid by the Defendant unto the said Complainant at thend of one yere or somewhat more then next following And the deponent further saith that he dyd here the said Lanncelot Flower seake and delyver at his dede and obligacon of 30 to the use of the said Complainant which condicon for the sure payment of the said sume of 20 at a daye in the Condicon of the said obligacon menconed. And this Deponent further saith that parte of the said sume of 20 so lent unto the Defendant by the Plaintiff was then presently paid for the redemption of the Defendante owte of the gatehouse at Westin where was then imprisoned by vertue of a writ of execuson as this Deponent taketh it And more ger(?)

Signed by Simon Sturtevant.


Star Chamber case STAC.8/258/9 (19 May 8 James I = 1611)

Sturtevant v Leigh, Fowler, Wright & sister, Middx no date.

To the Kings most excellent Majestie

In all humbleness complaininge showeth unto your most excellent Majestie your humble and loyall subject Symon Sturtevant of Islington in your highness County of Middlesex Clarke That whereas your said subject was and yett is lawfully possessed for divers yeares yett continuing of and in one feild or close in Islington aforesaid comonly called Castlehill feild conteyning by estimation two acers in and uppon which close or feild your said subject to his great chardge erected built and sett upp divers workhouses edifices and buildings and made and prepared divers engines presses and mouldes for the working, casting, forming, and making of divers presswares of claye and other Invencons commodious and profittable for your Majesties loyal subject divised continued and perfected by the Industrey of you said subject

And whereas Your Majestie for the better incouragement of your said subject hath voutsafed to grannt unto your said subject by your highness letters pattents under the great seale of England a sole power and authoritye to make the sayd wares of all sorts invented by your sayd subject himself for divers yeares yett to come and by the sayd letters patente it doth and maye at large appear.

And whereas your said subject being thus possessed and interessed in the premisses before the second daye of this present month of may in the eight yeare of this your highnes reigne of this your Realme of England had to his great chardge reteyned and sett on worke about sixteene severalle servants workmen and laborers to worke in and about the sayd workhouses and works in the Castlehill field in Islington aforesayd and your said subjects servants workmen and laborers in and uppon the said second daye of Maye were peaceably and quietly working and labouring in and about your said subjects, and those whose estate your said subject hath in the sayd close or field were in quiet and peaceable possession thereof by the space of three yeares before the said second daye of Maye.

Nowe so it may please your most exellent majestie That uppon the sayd second daye of Maye now last past on Richard Wright of Stratford Langthorne in the County of Essex gent Robert Wright his brother Nicholas Osier and divers others whose names your sayd subject doth not yet knowe (but as they shall be discovered your said subject humbly prayeth that they may be likewise inserted into this bill) not respecting your Majesties lawes provided against Riotts Routs unlawfull assemblies and forecible entreyes being armed with swords daggers nd large pikes stafes and bills and other weapons as well offensive and defensive in an hostile and warlike manner did riotouslye wantonlye and unlawfullye the said second daye of Maye now last past assemble themselves together at Islington aforesaid and being so assembled and armed did then and there violentlye riotouslye and unlawfully and with force entre in and upon the sayd close or field called Castlehill feild and in and upon the sayd workhouses and buildings there in your subjects quiet possession as aforesaid and the sayd Richard Wright then and there with a great lever or piece of wood did beat open the doors of the said houses and so entred into the same workhouses and all the rest of the sayd riotous persone then and there followed the said Richard Wright into the sayd houses and the said Robert Wright after the sayd violent comming into the said houses did drawe his sword and use great speeches to provoke quarrels and uproare and to the great terror and astonishment of your subjects sayd workmen servants and labourers then and there in peaceable & quiet manner working & being.

And to the amazement of your majesties good and loveing subjects, and the evill example of other evill disposed persons & further so it is mae it please your most exellent majestie that the aid Richard Wright not being herewith contented haveing himselfe done the wronge and injurie until your sayd subject as aforsayd & himselfe & his said confederates & the said other persons haveing committed the Riots Routs forceble entreys & misdemeanours aforsayd, yett not withstanding the better to colour his former misdemeanours he the said Richard Wright uppon the fourth daye of thsi present month of Maye made complaint unto Sir Robert Leigh & Sir Thomas Fowler Knights two of your majesties Justices of the peace in your highnes said county of Middx that one John Fauntland(?) & other malefactors & disturbers of your majesties peace had forcible & with strong hand entered into the sayd house & yard & had expulsed the sayd Richard Wright out of the same & held the same with force whereas the said Richard Wright did then well known that he himselfe had no interest at all therein but a pretence of right only under colour of favour & friendshipp in trust only to the use & benefitt of your sayd subject & that the sayd John Lannt & other the supposed malefactors were the servants workmen & labourers of your subject wholly applying & intending the worke & affairs of your sayd subject in peaceable manner there, uppon which complaint the sayd Sir Robert Leigh & Sir Thomas Fowler did the sayd fourth day of Maye repaire into the sayd house & yard to view the force being then & there accompanied with the sayd Richard Wright, Robert Wright & Martyn Wright brothers of the said Richard Wright & with other servants of the sayd Richard Wright at which time of there comming theather the sayd John Lannt & other the servants of your sayd subjects were in peaceable & quiet manner at there work & business there, and did little mistrust any such matter but the said John Lannt osping(?) the sayd Wright then & thinking that they had been come again to make a forcible entry into the sayd house yard & close as before they & the sayd other persons had done upon th second daye of the sayd monthe of maye as aforesaid the sayd John Lannt with a longe staff in his hands denied them entrance whereupon they broke open the outward gate of the close or field leading into the sayd workhouses with a great Bekle(?) ir Moll & with there swords drawne entered into the sayd yard or close but as soone as the sayd John Lannt had understanding that the sayd Sir Robert Leigh & Sir Thomas Fowler were Justices of your majesties peace & that they came according to the lawe to veiwe the force the sayd John Lannt did voluntarily & willingly lay down hs staffe & submitted himselfe & noe man else ever offered to resist, notwithstanding the sayd Sir Thomas Fowler knight contrary to your majesties peace did then & there with great violence unto one William Narket one other of your said subjects then & there beinge such a blowe or boxe on the eare with his fiste that he felled the says Narket unto th ground and being downe uppon the ground did spurne(?) & luke(?) him two or three tymes & tore his hand from his necke in very violent manner (the sayd John Lannt & the sayd Narket not resisting him the said Sir Thomas Fowler nor his authoritye eather in work d or deed) & the sayd Sir Robert Leigh & Sir Thomas Fowler did also by virtue of there authoritye the sayd fourth day of Maye at Islington aforesaid by warrant under thee hands commit the said John Lannt to your Majesties gaile at Newgate in the said County of Middx there to remain until he made his fine & ransome unto your Majestie in which gaile the sayd John Lannt yett lieth whereas if any force were used in the keeping of the sayd possession as in truth there was not yet the Justices of the peace had no excuse so to meddle or carrye themselves against your subject & his sayd servants your sayd subjects haveing benn in possession of the premises & those whose estate he had by the space of three yeares before that tyme.

In tender consideracon whereof forasuch as the Riotts Routs unlawfull assemblies forcible entreys & misdemeanours aforesaid were all committed & done in breach & contempt of your majesties lawes to the terror of your majesties good and loveing subjects to the evill example of others & to the great damage & wronge of your pore subject in disturbance of his workmen & affaires & discouragement of his servants & one & all committed perpetrated & done since your Majesties most gracious & last generall pardon Maye it please your most excellent Majestie to grannt unto your sayd subject your Majesties gracious writte of subpoena to be directed unto the said Sir Robert Leigh knight & Sir Thomas Fowler knight Richard Wright Robert Wright Martyn Wright Nicholas Siser

[An endorsement is difficult to read, but appears to be an order for appearance in Star Chamber]

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