Conway, Roger of (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 12
Conway, Roger of

by Reginald Lane-Poole ‎
Roger Conway in the ODNB.

CONWAY, ROGER of (d. 1360), Franciscan, was a native of Conway in North Wales. He entered the Franciscan order, and studied at the university of Oxford, where he became doctor of divinity. He was afterwards the twenty-second provincial of his order in England (Monumenta Franciscana, pp. 538, 561, ed. Brewer). He is known chiefly through the share he took in the controversy which had long agitated the Franciscan body relative to the doctrine of evangelical poverty. In 1356 Richard FitzRalph, archbishop of Armagh, visited London on the affairs of his diocese, and found a discussion raging about the question whether or not Christ and the primitive Christians possessed any property (see his ‘Defensio Curatorum’ in {[sc|Goldast's}} Monarchia Sancti Romani Imperii, iii. 1392, ed. Frankfort, 1621; cf. Wharton's appendix to Cave's Historia Literaria, p. 47 b). The archbishop in his sermons strongly advocated the affirmative position, and was in consequence, through the influence of some of the friars, cited to appear before Innocent VI at Avignon, where (8 Nov. 1357) he preached a sermon defending his view, which has been often printed under the title of ‘Defensio Curatorum.’ To this sermon Conway wrote a reply. According to the ‘Vitæ Pontificum’ of William Rede, bishop of Chichester (manuscript cited by Tanner, Bibl. Brit. p. 197), it was in 1359 that Conway preached in London on the subject. He was opposed, it is added, by Richard of Kylmetone (or Kylmington), dean of St. Paul's, and by Richard FitzRalph. If this notice be correct, Conway was evidently one of the doctors whose disputations roused the archbishop into preaching against them, and in this case the date must be not 1359 but 1356. Be this as it may, Conway's existing treatise, ‘De Confessionibus per regulares audiendis, contra informationes Armachani’ (as it is entitled in manuscript, e.g. C.C.C. Oxon., Cod. clxxxii.; Coxe's Catalogue of Oxford MSS., Corpus Christi College, p. 72 b), or, as the printed editions give it, ‘Defensio Mendicantium,’ is a professed reply to the ‘Defensio Curatorum.’ It cannot have been written long after 1357, since the archbishop returned to the controversy and wrote a rejoinder, of which a manuscript once existed in the possession of Baluze (see L. E. Du Pin, New Ecclesiastical History, xii. 71, English translation, 1699), and FitzRalph died at Avignon in December 1359. On the other hand, a portion of Conway's tract seems to have been written as early as 1352, since in chapter vii. He speaks of Clement VI as the present pope, while in chapter v. he mentions Innocent VI. The work was printed with FitzRalph's by John Trechsel at Lyons (not, as is usually stated, at Paris; see Panzer, Annales Typographici, i. 549) in 1496. It was reprinted at Paris in 1511, and is generally accessible in Goldast's ‘Monarchia,’ iii. 1410 et seq. Conway was also, according to Bale, the author of a work ‘De Extravagantis Intellectione,’ which may be in part identical with the treatise already mentioned. Another work, ‘De Christi Paupertate et Dominio temporali,’ is also named as having been formerly in Wadding's possession (Wadding, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum, p. 212, ed. Rome, 1806). Besides these, Bale enumerates sermons, lectures, ‘Quæstiones theologicæ,’ and ‘Determinationes scholasticæ;’ but not one of these is known to be now in existence. Conway died at London in 1360, and was buried in the choir of the Minorite church. His name appears in the printed edition latinised as ‘Chonnoe.’ ‘Connovius’ is simply an invention of later biographers.

[Notices in Conway's own Defensio Mendicantium; Leland's Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, clxiii. p. 377; Bale's Scriptt. Brit. Cat. vi. 7, pp. 459 et seq.; Wharton, in Appendix to Cave's Historia Literaria, p. 53 b; Sbaralea, supplement to Wadding's Scriptores Ordinis Minorum, p. 647.]

R. L. P.