Whittington, Robert

, one of our early grammarians, was born in Lichfield about 1480, and educated under the famous grammarian, John Stanbridge, in the school adjoining to Magdalen college, Oxford. He afterwards made a considerable progress in philosophy, but took more pleasure in classical and grammatical studies, in which he fancied himself destined to shine. In 150.1 he began to teach a grammar-school, probably in London, as all his publications were dated thence. In the beginning of 1513, he supplicated the congregation of regents of the university of Oxford, by the name of Robert WhittingtOn, a secular chaplain, and a scholar of the art of rhetoric, that whereas he had spent fourteen years in the study of the said art, and twelve years in teaching, “it might be sufficient for him that he might be ia’ureated.” This being granted, he composed an hundred verses which were stuck up in public places, especially on the doors of St. Mary’s church, and was solemnly crowned with a wreath of laurel, &c. that is, he was made doctor of grammar, an nnusual title and ceremony, and the last of the kind. This appears to have conferred no academical rank, for he was afterwards admitted to the degree of bachelor of arts. From this time, however, he called himself in several of his works Protovates Angli<e, an assumption which his fellow-grammarians, Herman and Lily, did not much relish. He appears indeed to have been very conceited of his abilities, and to have undervalued those who were at least his equals. Yet historians allow him to have been an excellent Greek and Latin scholar, and a man of a facetious turn, but too much given to personal satire both in conversation, and in his literary disputes with Lily, Aldridge, and others. He was alive in 1530, but' how long afterwards does not appear. He wrote a great many grammatical treatises, some of which must have long been in use in schools, for they went through many editions. They are enumerated by | Wood, and, more correctly, by Mr.Dibdin in his Typographical Antiquities. Warton also mentions a few of them, and says that some of.his Latin poetry is in a very classical style, and much, in the manner of the earlier Italian poets. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. new edit.—Warton’s Hist. of Poetry.—Dibdin’s Ames.— Dodd’s Ch. Hist.