Little Academy

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"One of the features of life at Little Gidding were the performances of The Little Academy that involved all the family, especially the children. "It is founded on the Feasted of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with a sister named Mary as its chief, for the purpose of imitating those saints whose names its members bear, through the practice of mortification, devotion and the study of wisdom". It corresponded "with well-known stages of the mystical way: purgation, illumination, perfection" - the purgare, illuminare, perficere made popular by James I’s favourite preacher at Court, Lancelot Andrewes. At the meetings of the Academy allegorical stories were acted such as that of Pyrrhus. Afterwards members would speak in turn to open up discussion that sought for truth and wisdom. Ultimately all this leads to the Truth, Christ Himself. As well as encouraging Christian thinking The Little Academy enabled a freedom of thought and ideas in those not so old - a wonderful medium of education. It is said that Charles I visited Little Gidding for such a performance." From

Story Books



Cheif sings a hymn by Wither ("Unquenched Love in him appeared to bee"), then tells the story of the martyr Nicephorus, who is friends with Sapritius; Sapritius begins to be jealous and dispise him; Nicephorus begs his forgiveness repeatedly; Sapritius is sent to be tortured and executed because he's a Christian, still doesn't forgive Nicephorus; recants his Xianity at the last minute, Nicephorus takes his place as martyr

moral: do not deny pardon

Affectionate enjoins reconciliation but says leave revenge to God; tells story of Father Sisois, who tells someone to leave revenge to God, this person will not, he prays to God that He is no longer needed, since this person will take his place; the person learns and beseeches forgiveness

the Cheerful tells the story of Macarius, whose prideful disciple beats a man walking with timber; when the man comes to Macarius, Macarius greets him pleasantly, surprising the man; Macarius offers to help, the man converts to Xianity because of how helpful he is

the Moderator tells about John the Almoner; his nephew feels wronged, and he tells him not to harm others

the Patient tells of Henry King of France (father of Henrietta Maria), who finds a man lurking about, intending to murder him; the man says he does so because the King is an enemy to their religion; King lets him go, saying he thinks that religion is better which forgives than that which tells others to murder

the Guardian suggests that a "barbarous Kings Justice [is] no lesse admirable then the Christian Kings Patience" (34); Moderator asks Guardian to tell a story to that effect; tells of the Moor who tried to kill Alphonsus the 11th; he's caught, Alphonsus sends him back to his own barbarian king, who has him killed as "unworty to live who would have robbed the world of so magnanimous and meeke a King" (35)

people are about to go, but Moderator suggests a story about meekness in women, since that seems more natural

the Cheif encourages the Submiss to tell a story; she tells of Katherine of Aragon's obedience to Henry VIIIth, despite his unkindness to her during the divorce

the Guardian says the story honors the female sex but is inappropriate for her age; encourages the Obedient to tell a story

Obedient tells of Abbot Appollinus who tries to break up a fight, the fighter doesn't want to stop fighting, he pays by being killed by wild beasts


Cheerful responsible for guiding the day; begins with him, "Teach us by his example, Lord"; describes the progress of Love according to St John's doctrine and St Paul's practice; then tells the story of St John, leaving a boy with a local bishop to be raised as Christian, the boy becomes bad and joins a band of theives; when St John comes back through, he goes and finds the boy and encourages him to give up his way of life by forgiving him

Cheif tells the story of St Nicholas, although it is omitted from this text (47)

Moderator tells of Troylus, greedy bishop, comes to Alexandria, showcasing his plate, hangings, wealth; cannot be pursuaded to give to a hospital; eventually has his house bought by John the Almoner

Cheif and Guardian comment on Moderator's story; "Will the bringing forth of Liveries for Pages and Footmen, and costly hangings for the very walls, or the dayly visit of Ladies and great men bee accepted for answeres touching the clothing of the Naked and visting the sick?" (52)

Cheif asks for another story from the Patient and Affectionate; Moderator asks they not be of saints but of worldly people

Patient tells of Cosimo de Medicis's greatness

Cheif says a man's wealth increases by how much he gives away

Guardian asks who says this paradox; she responds that it is Gregory the Great

Affectionate tells of Consalvo Ferrantes

Guardian asks to hear from the Submiss; she tells Lady of the Lights, not told since it was told before (57)

the Obedient tells of Salladine, who sees a sad Christian prince, asks him why he's sad; he wants to go home; gives him 3,000 to go home; Salladine converts to Christianity, wants to see their customs; is wined/dined by French kings, says their customs are better than his in Asia; he sees poor eating bones at the feast, French king calls them children of God; Salladine invites them to his own feast, has turkish carpets woven with crosses; the Christians spit on them, Salladine refuses to convert to a religion whose followers don't obey their own icons