Clyffe, William (DNB00)

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CLYFFE, WILLIAM (d. 1558), divine, educated at Cambridge, where he graduated LL.B. in 1514, was admitted advocate at Doctors’ Commons on 16 Dec. 1522, graduated LL.D. in 1523, was commissary of the diocese of London between 1522 and 1529, instituted to the prebend of Twyford in the church of St. Paul, London, in 1526, appointed archdeacon of London three years later, prebendary of Fenton in the church of York in 1532, resigned the archdeaconry of London for that of Cleveland in 1533, became precentor of York in 1534, treasurer of York in 1538, on the suppression of which office in 1547 he was made dean of Chester. The last place he held till his death in 1558. As a civilian his reputation was sufficient to induce convocation to seek his advice as to the royal divorce in 1533. On his preferment to the deanery of Chester he was immediately thrown into the Fleet prison at the instance of Sir Richard Cotton, comptroller of the king’s household, and only obtained his liberty by leasing the chapter lands to Cotton at a considerable undervalue. He was one of the authors of the celebrated treatise on ‘The Godly and Pious Institution of a Christian Man,’ commonly known as the ‘Bishops’ Book,’ and published by the authority of Henry VIII in 1537.

[Coote's Civilians, p. 19; Hale's Precedents in Criminal Causes, pp. 98, 102; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), i. 27; Strype's Cranmer.i. 77,113; Fiddes's Wolsey (Collections), p. 203; Ormerod's Cheshire (Helsby), i. 254; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab.]

J. M. R.