Remembering Roger Ascham (c. 1515 – December 30, 1568), an English scholar who was Princess Elizabeth’s (later Queen Elizabeth I) tutor in Greek and Latin, and lived in Waltham Forest. Ascham was born in Yorkshire and was clearly a prodigious talent, at the age of 15 he was taken off to St John’s College, Cambridge, to study Greek. By the time he left three years later he was sought after as a tutor by wealthy families. So when Princess Elizabeth’s tutor died, Ascham’s services were required by the royal household. He was a favourite of the future queen but he left two years later, citing the fact that staff had been rude to him. Ascham was not out of favour for long, returning two years later to the service of King Edward and then Queen Mary as secretary. And when his former pupil was crowned in 1558, he worked for her. She in return gave him Salisbury Hall Manor, which was located between Folly Lane and Chingford Road near today’s Crooked Billet roundabout, for a peppercorn rent of £20 a year. In 1568, at the age of 52, he died, probably of malaria. On hearing the news Queen Elizabeth was said to remark: “I would rather have cast ten thousand pounds in the sea than [be] parted from my Ascham.” Royal favour aside he left only a small legacy of a handful of books on education and archery which are not very widely read today outside of academia. As one of his biographers dryly noted, the “most interesting” things he ever wrote were his private letters – and they were mostly in Latin.
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