and fearfully troubled in Mind,' London, 1638, 8vo; 10th ed. 1650. To Sprint is also ascribed 'A true, modest, and just Defence of the Petition for Reformation exhibited to the King's Majestie. Containing an Answere to the Confutation published under the Names of some of the Universitie of Oxford,' 1618, 8vo. Some early verses of his are prefixed to Storer's 'Life and Death of Wolsey,' 1599, 4to.
[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 331, 517; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 59, 197; Wood's History and Antiquities of Oxford, ed. Gutch, ii. 272-9; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, v. 277; Gloucestershire Notes and Queries, ii. 327-9; Calamy's Nonconformist's Memorial, ed. Palmer, ii. 282-4; Stratford's Good and Great Men of Gloucestershire, pp. 154-5.]
SPROTT, GEORGE (d. 1608), conspirator and alleged forger, practised as a notary at Eyemouth before and after 1600. About that year he seems to have made the acquaintance of Robert Logan of Restalrig [q. v.] Logan died in 1606. Two years later Sprott let fall some incautious expressions to the effect that he had proofs that Logan had conspired with John Ruthven, third earl of Gowrie [q. v.], to murder James VI while on a visit to Gowrie House in 1600. Sprott was at once arrested on a charge of having concealed this knowledge and of being therefore an abettor of the crime. Five letters incriminating Logan were produced by Sprott, of which four were alleged to have been written by Logan to the Earl of Gowrie in July 1600, and one was said to have been addressed by Logan to his agent Bower. Sprott was examined nine times by the council, and his depositions (of which the official copies belong to the Earl of Haddington) are self-contradictory. In effect he admitted that he had forged three of the letters to Gowrie, counterfeiting Logan's handwriting; that he had stolen the fourth letter to Gowrie, which was genuinely written by Logan; and that he had written the letter to Bower from Logan's dictation, and then copied it in a forged handwriting. All the five letters have been accepted as genuine by modern historians in ignorance of the existence of Sprott's confessions.
On 12 Aug. Sprott was tried by a parliamentary committee, was found guilty, not without some hesitation, of complicity in the conspiracy, and was duly executed (cf. also Burton, History, 2nd edit. v. 416–20). The Earl of Dunbar presided in state over the last scene, and is said to have promised to provide for Sprott's wife and family. Calderwood the historian suggested that the attention paid to Sprott upon the scaffold was due to a fear that he should reveal too much (Historie of the Kirk of Scotland, ed. Wodrow, vi. 779). He adds, ‘This notar could counterfoote anie mans handwritt vivelie, so that no man who knew Restalrig's [i.e. Logan's] handwritt could discerne it to be counterfooted.’
[Memorials of the Earls of Haddington, by Sir William Fraser, K.C.B., i. 102–7; cf. also Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, ii. 256–60, 276–93; Examinations, Arraignment, and Conviction of George Sprot, notary, &c., by Sir William Hart, 4to, 1608, with a long preface by George Abbot, dean of Winchester, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury; cf. also Harleian Miscellany, ix. 560–79; Acts Parl. Scotl. iv. 419–22; and the Histories of Calderwood, Spottiswood, Fraser-Tytler, and Hill Burton.]
SPROTT or SPOTT, THOMAS (fl. 1270?), historian, was a monk of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, and wrote a history of that foundation. It is extant in the Cottonian MS. Tib. A. ix, f. 105, and in two late copies, Cottonian Vit. E. xiv. 243, and Harleian 692, f. 75. The first of these three is the more complete; it has a passage which is missing at the beginning of the others, and is continued to the end of the thirteenth century, while the other copies end in 1221; but it contains no ascription to Sprott, and is so badly damaged by fire as to be largely undecipherable. The Cottonian MS. Vit. D. xi., from which Dugdale quotes the opening passage, has been totally destroyed by fire.
Sprott's work was used and acknowledged by Thomas Elmham [q. v.] and William Thorne [q. v.] Thorne (in Twysden, Decem Script.) copies him freely to 1228, where he says Sprott's share ends (ib. col. 1881).
A fine manuscript from the library of St. Augustine's, in hands of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries, at one time belonged to one Thomas Sprott, and a Thomas Sprott is found connected with St. Augustine's in 1356.
Leland (Collectanea, ii. 51) mentions a chronicle by Sprott that extends to 1272, which Oudin (iii. 527) says was among the manuscripts of Walter Cope. A roll, with no title, in the possession of Joseph Mayer, F.S.A., containing brief chronicles from the beginning of the world to 1307, has been printed in facsimile and ascribed to Sprott, but probably on insufficient authority. It consists almost entirely of abstracts from the ‘Flores Historiarum,’ formerly ascribed to Matthew of Westminster [q. v.] A translation of the roll, with the title ‘Sprott's Chronicle of Sacred and Profane History,’ was issued by Dr. W. Bell (Liverpool, 1851).