Education

Jane's schooling probably began when she was three years old. It was customary for the children of the nobility to begin their education from an early age. Because of this it has been estimated that Jane, at fifteen was probably equivilent to a young woman in her early twenties, in terms of her maturity and general knowledge. Jane was encouraged to excel in her studies more than her sisters, Katherine and Mary. Her correspondence indicates that she was a gifted scholar who earned the praise of Catholic and Protestant alike.

Excerpt from "The Schoolmaster" by Roger Ascham (published 1570)

'Before I went into Germanie, I came to Brodegate in Lecestershire, to take my leave of that noble Ladie Jane Grey, to whom I am exceding moch beholdinge. Her parentes, the Duke and Duches with all the household, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were huntinge in the Parke. I founde her, in her Chamber, reading Phaedon Platonis in Greeke, and that with as much delite, as some jentleman would read a merie tale in Boccaccio.

'After salutation, and dewtie done, with some other taulke, I asked her whic she wold lose such pastime in the Parke? Smiling, she answered me: I wisse all their sport in the Parke is but a shadoe to that pleasure that I find in Plato. Alas! Good folke, they never felt what trewe pleasurement.

'And howe came you, madame, quoth I, to this deepe knowledge of pleasure, and what did chieflie allure you unto it; seinge not many women, but verie fewe men, have atteined thereunto?

'I will tell you, quoth she, and tell you a troth whiche perchance ye will marvell at. One of the gretest benefits that ever God gave me is that he sent me so sharpe and severe Parentes, and so jentle a Scholemaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I spekee, kepe silence, sit, stand, or go, eate, drinke, be merie, or sad, be sowying, plaiying, dauncing, or doing anything els: I must do it, as it were, in soch weight, measure, and number, even as perfectlie as God made the world; or els I am so sharplie taunted, so cruellie threatened, yea presentlie some tymes with pinches, nippes and bobbes, and other waies I will not name for the honour I beare them, so without measure misordered, that I thinke myself in hell, till tyme cum that I must go to Mister Elmer, who teacheth me so jentlie, so pleasantlie, with soch faire allurements to lerning, that I think all the tyme nothing, whiles I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because what soever I do els, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, feare, and whole misliking.

I remember that taulke gladly, bicause it is so worthy of memorie, and bicause also, it was the last taulke that ever I had, and the last tyme that ever I saw that noble and worthie ladie.'

(Roger Ascham was a tutor to Elizabeth as a young girl. He went on to serve Mary I as Latin Secretary. He was later Secretary to Elizabeth during her reign.)

(Mister Elmer was John Aylmer, and came to Bradgate as Jane's tutor in 1549 when she was 12 years old.)


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