Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Coote, Edmund

COOTE, EDMUND (fl. 1597), grammarian, matriculated as a pensioner of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in May 1566, and graduated B.A. in 1579–80, M.A. in 1583. He was elected head-master of the grammar school of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, on 5 June 1596, in succession to John Wright, M.A., and he resigned that office and was succeeded by Nicholas Martyn, M.A., on 18 May 1597. Of his subsequent history nothing appears to be known. During his brief tenure of the mastership of Bury school he published an educational work which became popular to an extraordinary degree. In its thirty-fourth edition it is entitled: ‘The English School-master. Teaching all his Scholars, of what age soever, the most easie, short, and perfect order of distinct Reading, and true Writing, our English-tongue, that hath ever yet been known or published by any,’ Lond. 1668, 4to. Other editions were published at London in 1627, 1638, 1667, 1673, 1675, 1692, and 1704. The Dublin edition of 1684 purports to be the forty-second. Heber gave six guineas for a copy of the thirty-seventh edition (1673). The repetition system revived as a novelty by Ollendorff was well known to Coote, who says: ‘I have so disposed the placing of my first book, that if a child should tear out every leaf so fast as he learneth, yet it shall not be greatly hurtful: for every new chapter repeateth and teacheth again all that went before.’ In all the known copies of the ‘English Schoolmaster’ the author is misnamed Edward Coote.

[Donaldson's Retrospective Address read at the Tercentenary Commemoration of King Edward's School, Bury St. Edmund's, 2 Aug. 1850, pp. 28–30, 69; Proceedings of Bury and West Suffolk Institute, i. 59; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 243; Addit. MS. 5865, f. 96; Davy's Athenæ Suffolcienses, i. 138; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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