Allen, Edmund (DNB00)

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ALLEN, EDMUND (1519?–1559), bishop-elect of Rochester, a native of the county of Norfolk, was elected a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in 1536, took the degree of M.A. in 1537, and was steward of his college in 1539. Not long afterwards he obtained permission from the society to go and study beyond the seas for a limited time. When the leave of absence had almost expired, his friend Sir Henry Knyvett wrote to the master and fellows requesting a further indulgence of two or three years, both on account of the wars, which rendered his return unsafe, and of his being in a situation where he had an opportunity of making considerable advances in learning. Sir Henry seems to have been more than ordinarily solicitous about obtaining this favour, and he assured the college authorities that if they would oblige him therein, he should gladly lay hold of any opportunity to show his gratitude. To this appeal the president (Mr. Porie), in the absence of the master, with the consent of the rest, returned a favourable answer, granting leave of absence for two years longer, but exhorting him to advise Allen in his next letters ‘to use himselfe in all points pristelike in holinesse and devocion, whereof we here otherwise, but as all reports be not true, so I trust this is not.’ On the receipt of Sir Henry's letters Allen wrote a long answer to the president (dated from Landau, 22 March 1545–6), acknowledging the favour shown him, and endeavouring to purge himself from the slanderous reports by solemnly declaring in the presence of God that they were all utterly false. He entreats Porie to continue to him both his friendship and good offices with the society, and also to remit him his stipend, of which he stood in urgent need by reason of ‘the extreme dearth that hath beene here so great thes three yearys, as no man here lyvyng can remember any like.’ He adds that he was frequently obliged to change the place of his abode on many necessary considerations, more particularly to hear the divers gifts of God in good men, whereby, he thanked the Lord, he had found no little profit; and he concludes, in the same pious strain in which the rest of his letter is written, with his hearty prayers for the prosperity of the society. There can be no doubt that his denial of the reports that he was attached to the reformed doctrines was prompted by prudential motives, for Strype admits that while abroad he became not only a proficient in the Greek and Latin tongues, but an ‘eminent protestant divine’ and a ‘learned minister of the Gospel.’ Moreover, it appears that, so far from being bound by his ordination vows, he had a wife and eight children (Machyn, Diary, 208). As he is styled B.D., and no such degree is recorded, he probably took it in some foreign university. In 1549 he was in England, and was appointed chaplain to the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards queen. On Mary's accession he again went abroad, and did not return to England till after her death.

Queen Elizabeth constituted him one of the royal chaplains, and gave him a commission to act under her as an ambassador. He was nominated to the see of Rochester, and is presumed to have been elected to that bishopric under a congé d'élire which issued 27 July 1559. He died, however, before consecration, and was buried in the church of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, 30 Aug. 1559.

He is author of: 1. ‘A Christian Introduction, forsouth, containing the Principles of our Faith and Religion,’ London, 1548, 1550, and 1551, 8vo. 2. ‘A Catechisme, that is to say, a Christen Instruction of the principal Pointes of Christes Religion,’ London, 1551, 8vo. 3. ‘Of the Authority of the Word of God, translated from Alexander Ales.’ 4. ‘0n both Species of the Sacrament and the Authority of Bishops, translated from Philip Melancthon.’ 5. ‘0n the Apocalypse, translated from Conrad Pelican.’ 6. ‘Paraphrase upon the Revelation of St. John, translated from Leo Jude, minister of Zurich,’ London, 1549, fol. 7. To him is also attributed the translation of an epistle of Dr. Matthew Gribald, professor of law at Padua, on the ‘Tremendous Judgment of God,’ 1550, 12mo.

[Masters's Hist. of Corpus Christi Coll. Camb. 213, Append. 85; MS. Addit. 5862 f. 45; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 27; Ames, Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), 544, 547; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. i. 198; Machyn's Diary, 208.]

T. C.