Mulcaster, Richard (DNB00)
|←Mulcaster, Frederick William||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 39
MULCASTER, RICHARD (1530 ?- 1611), schoolmaster author, is commonly said to have be a native of Carlisle. But geographer R, H. Quick, on his most recent by one of his descendants, evidence supp :n pl ace to have been ' the old considers his jf Brackenhill Castle, on the border tower-i s father, William Mulcaster, river Line.' Jorder family, who traced back was of an ol' the time of William Rufus, their histor* active in repelling the incur- and had be Scots. Richard, born in 1530 sions of th sen t to Eton, where Udall was or 1531, w from 1534 to'l543. From Udall head-mast"' 6 caught some tincture of the he may hjafterwards himself showed as a severity h^ r > as well as his fondness for dra- schoolmas )OS ition. In 1548 Mulcaster was matic conplar of King's College, Cambridge, elected schigrated to Christ Church, Oxford, but soon n>55 he was elected a student, and where in 1'I.A. in the following year. While proceeded jdence he added to his classical still in re? acquaintance with Hebrew and studies an^al languages, which won from other orie a ghton the commendation that he Hugh Brrf the best Hebrew scholars of his was one o^559 he was working as a school- age. In i London. The date is fixed by a master ii> his ' Positions,' published in 1581, passage ir he speaks of having been engaged in whichng twenty-two years. His reputa- in teachi' teacher became so well known that tion as ai 1561, the newly founded school of when, ijfchant Taylors was ready to be opened, the Merter was appointed (24 Sept.) its first Mulcas^aster. In this capacity he served till head-nwith great ability and benefit to the 1586 ^1, though his rugged temper produced schocpional friction between him and the go- occafjng body. There is good reason to believe vernjf Spenser the poet was one of his earliest that tils. On 28 June of that year he sent in pup'Jresignation, and on the following 8 Nov. his |(iccessor was appointed. His farewell to a srf school was the bitter apophthegm, quoted the 70 by Bishop Pilkington, ' Fidelis servn.sper- als.'ftuus asinus.'
pe l Wilson, the historian of Merchant Taylors' I chool, says that immediately on leaving that Siilchool Mulcaster became surmaster of St. s Haul's (p. 1177) ; but this is to all appearance /In error (GAEDINEK, Admission Registers, i j*. 29). He was made vicar of Cranbrook, p |Lent, 1 April 1590, and prebendary of Gates- I" lury, Sarum, 29 April 1594. On 5 Aug. 1596, b^^ing then at least in his sixty-sixth year, he bP^Jas elected high-master of St. Paul's School. w'uTe held the office for twelve years more, till If n f is resignation in the spring of 1608. In 1598 h^filizabeth, who had always shown a kindly interest in his welfare, had presented him to the rectory of Stanford Rivers in Essex. On 6 Aug. 1609 he lost his wife Katherine, with whom he had been united fifty years, and he recorded his loss in a feeling epitaph. He himself died on 15 April 1611, and was laid by his wife's side, in the chancel of Stanford Rivers Church, 26 April, but no memorial marks the spot.
Mulcaster's work as a teacher has not yet been fully appreciated. Fuller (who mis- takenly calls him a Westmoreland worthy) has told us how far the 'prayers of cockering mothers prevailed with him,' which was just as far, in truth, as the ' requests of indulgent fathers, rather increasing than mitigating his severity on their offending child.' Yet his memory was revered by some of his greatest scholars. Bishop Andrewes kept his por- trait over his study door, and, besides many substantial acts of friendship to him during his life, left his son, Peter Mulcaster, a legacy at his death.
In several respects Mulcaster's views on education were in advance of his age. He taught his boys music and singing, and had a hand in the ' Discantus, Cantiones, &c.,' of Tallis and Bird (cf. Whitelocke, Liber Fam. Camden Soc.) His pupils frequently per- formed masks, interludes, and the like before Elizabeth and the court. He insisted on the importance of physical training, and asserted the right of girls to receive as good a mental education as boys. If he would not ' set young maidens to public grammar schools,' it was only because that was ' a thing not used in my country.' He advocated a system of special training for men designed to be schoolmasters.
He wrote : 1. ' Positions, wherein those primitive Circumstances be examined, which are necessarie for the Training up of Chil- dren, either for Skill in their Book or Health in their Bodie,' &c., London, 1581, small 4to, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. Hazlitt and Lowndes mention editions of 1587 and 1591 ; it was re-edited by Quick in 1888. 2. ' The First Part of the Elementarie, which en- treateth chefelie of the right Writing of our English Tung,' London, 1582, small 4to. No second part of this is known to have appeared. 3. Latin verses prefixed to Baret's ' Alvearie,' 1580; Ocland's ' Anglorum Proelia ' and'Ei- renarchia,' 1580 and 1582 ; Hakluyt's ' Voy- ages,' and others. 4. ' Catechismus Paulinus, in vsum Scholse Paulinas conscriptus, ad formam parui illius Anglici Catechismi qui pueris in communi precum Anglicarum libro ediscendus proponitur,' London, 1599, re- printed 1601, small 8vo ; preface dated 17 Nov. 1599, in which he speaks of the great difficulties he had to contend with on first entering upon office at St. Paul's. 5. 'In Mortem Serenissimse Reginæ Elizabethæ Nænia consolans,' London, 1603, small 4to, followed by a version in English.
[Articles in Gent. Mag. 1800 pt. i. pp. 419-21, 511-12, pt. ii. pp. 603-4, signed E. H. (the late Sir Henry Ellis ?) ; H. B. Wilson's History of Merchant Taylors' School ; Collier's Annals of the Stage, 1831, i. 205, 208-9, 248-9. and Bibliog. Account of Early English Lit. ; Hunter's MS. Chorus Vatum, ii. 60-1 ; Wood's Athenæ ; Knight's Colet (the E. Mulcaster who translated Fortescue's -work -was Robert Mulcaster) ; Warton's English Poetry ; Corser's Collectanea, pt. v. p. 137; Hazlitt's Handbook to the Popular Lit. A letter from Mulcaster to Sir Philip Sydney is said to be ' among the letters at Penshurst.' Last, but not least, the edition of the Positions by Robert Hebert Quick [q. v.], London, 1888, to which was appended an account of Mulcaster and his writings, enriched by communications from the Rev. Richard Mulcaster, of Anglesea House, Paignton ; lecture by Mr. Foster Watson, printed in the Educational Times, 1 Jan. 1893.]