Sayer, Robert (DNB00)


SAYER or SEARE, ROBERT, in religion Gregory, (1560–1602), Benedictine monk, born at Redgrave, Suffolk, in 1560, was the son of John Seare, ‘mediocris fortunæ.’ He went to school at Buddesdale for seven years, and was admitted at Caius College, Cambridge, as a minor pensioner, ‘secundi ordinis, literarum gratia,’ on 5 July 1576 (Venn, Admissions to Gonville and Caius College, p. 34). That college refused to allow him to take the degree of B.A. for the following causes: ‘First, for that he by seacret conference had laboured to pervert divers schoolers, and some had perverted; secondly, for that he had used divers allegations against divers poyntes of Mr. Jewells booke; thirdly, for that he had bene of greate and familiar acquayntaunce with Fingeley, a pernicious papist; fourthly, for that he had used to gather together papisticall bookes, and to convey them secreatly into the country’ (Heywood and Wright, Cambridge University Transactions, i. 319, 320). Migrating to Peterhouse, he graduated B.A. as a member of that college in 1580–1 (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 334).

Soon afterwards he proceeded to the English College of Douay, then temporarily removed to Rheims. He and William Flack, another Cambridge man, arrived there on 22 Feb. 1581–2, and after three days they were admitted to the common table (Records of the English Catholics, i. 185). On 6 Nov. 1582 Sayer was admitted into the English College at Rome, where in 1585 he received all the holy orders. Pits says that during his stay at Rome Sayer ‘mihi diù familiariterque notus, studiorum socius, et amicus optimus fuit’ (De Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 801). In 1588 Sayer became a monk of the Benedictine order in the famous monastery of Monte Cassino, and he was professor of moral philosophy there for several years. On his entrance into religion he took the christian name of Gregory. In 1595, having acquired a great name on account of his learning, he was invited to the monastery of St. George in Venice, where he died in October 1602, being buried on the 30th of that month.

His works are: 1. ‘De Sacramentis in Communi,’ Venice, 1599, 1600, 4to. 2. ‘Casuum conscientiæ, sive theologiæ moralis thesauri tomus primus,’ Venice, 1601, 1606, 1609, fol. 3. ‘Flores Decisionum sive Casuum Conscientiæ, ex doctrina Consiliorum Martini ab Azpilcueta Doctoris Navari collecti, & iuxta librorum Juris Canonici dispositionem in suos titulos distributi,’ Venice, 1601, 4to. 4. ‘Summa Sacramenti Pœnitentiæ,’ Venice, 1601, 12mo. 5. ‘Clavis Regia Sacerdotum Casuum Conscientiæ sive Theologiæ Moralis thesauri locos omnes aperiens, et canonistarum atque summistarum difficultates ad communem praxim pertinentes doctissimè decidens, et copiosissimè explicans,’ Venice, 1605, fol.; Antwerp, 1619, fol.; Munster, 1628, fol.; Antwerp, 1659, fol. 6. ‘Compendium Clavis Regiæ,’ Venice, 1621, 4to, pt. i. In 1624 appeared ‘De ecclesiasticis Censuris, et aliis in admod. R.P.D. Gregorii Sayri Thesauro contentis, Unà cum Regulis, pro cuiuscunque Bullæ in Cœna Domini facili explicatione, ex eodem desumptis, Formale Compendium. Per R. P. F. Antonium Ninum Venetum Ord. Erem. S. P. August. Artium, Sacræq. Theol. Doct. Perill. ac adm. R. P. D. Carolo Zono Canon. Regul. S. Spiritus Venet. dicatum,’ Venice, 12mo. Sayer is also credited with ‘Epitome Conciliorum Navarri’ and a treatise of moral divinity, which are not known to be extant.

A collected edition of his principal works in Latin appeared at Douay, 4 vols. 1620, fol., under the editorship of Father Leander à Sancto Martino, i.e. John Jones, D.D. (1575–1636) [q. v.]

[Addit. MS. 5880, f. 170; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 142; Duthillœul's Bibl. Douaisienne, 1842, pp. 376, 377; Foley's Records, vi. 155; Fuller's Church Hist. (Brewer), v. 98; Latimer's Works (Corrie), ii. 63; Oliver's Cornwall, p. 523; Snow's Necrology, p. 29; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Weldon's Chronological Notes, p. 39.]

T. C.