Howland, Richard (DNB00)

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HOWLAND, RICHARD, D.D. (1540–1600), bishop of Peterborough, the son and heir of John Howland, gentleman, of the city of London, and Anne Greenway of Cley, Norfolk, was born at Newport Pond, near Saffron Walden, Essex, and baptised 26 Sept. 1540. He was admitted pensioner at Christ's College, Cambridge, 18 March 1557-8, whence he migrated to St. John's College, where he graduated B.A. 1560-1. He was elected a fellow of Peterhouse 11 Nov. 1562, and proceeded M.A. in 1564. His subsequent degrees were B.D. 1570, D.D. 1578. He was incorporated M.A. of Oxford 9 July 1567. In 1569 he became rector of Stathern, Leicestershire, on the presentation of the master and fellows of Peterhouse. In his earlier years Howland was an adherent of Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) [q.v.], and signed the unsuccessful petition to Burghley in 1571 imploring that Cartwright might be allowed to return to Cambridge (Strype, Annals, i. ii. 376, ii. i. 2, 415). He subsequently changed his opinions, and on a violent sermon being preached in St. Mary's by one Milayn, a fellow of Christ's, in favour of 'the antidisciplinary faction,' on a Sunday morning in October 1573, he ably and successfully controverted its teaching on the same day in the same place in the afternoon (Strype, Whitgift, i. 98). Howland gained the confidence of Burghley, then chancellor of the university, who made him his chaplain. By Burghley's influence he was appointed to the mastership of Magdalene College, then almost in a state of bankruptcy, in 1575-6. When Whitgift resigned the mastership of Trinity in June 1577, on his election to the see of Worcester, he strongly recommended Howland, who was his personal friend, to Burghley, as his successor. The queen, however, had already selected Dr. Still, the master of St. John's, and it was arranged that Howland should be transferred from Magdalene to St. John's as Still's successor, being 'a man of gravity and moderation, and of neither party or faction.' He was admitted master 20 July 1577, the whole society of St. John's sending a letter of thanks to Burghley for 'the great moderation of the most worthy master set over them' (ib. i. 153, 156). The college had been for some years distracted by dissensions between the puritan and anglican factions, to heal which a new body of statutes had been given enlarging the power of the master and defining his authority. Howland successfully gave effect to the new statutes (ib.l.c.; Baker, Hist. of St. John's Coll. ed. Mayor, pp. 173sq.) In 1578 he served the office of vice-chancellor, in which capacity he, at the head of the university, waited on the queen on her visit to Audley End, 27 July 1578, and presented her with a Greek Testament and a pair of gloves, making a suitable oration (Strype, Annals, ii. ii. 203). In 1583 he was again vice-chancellor. The following year Whitgift, by this time archbishop, recommended his old friend for either of the vacant sees of Bath and Wells or of Chichester, or, failing these, for the deanery of Peterborough (Strype, Whitgift, i. 337). When Burghley advised Elizabeth to confer the deanery on him, she replied that he was 'worthy of a better place,' and in 1584 nominated him to the see of Peterborough on the translation of Bishop Scambler to Norwich. He was consecrated by Whitgift at Lambeth, 7 Feb. 1584-5 (Strype, Annals, iii. i. 336). The fellows lamented Howland's departure from St. John's, although his frequent absence from Cambridge had caused some dissatisfaction (cf. ib. bk. ii. pp. 166-71). The choice of a successor threatened to involve the college in a fierce internal struggle; to avert strife it was arranged that Howland should continue to hold the mastership with his poorly endowed bishopric. But in February 1585-6 the strain of the double responsibility determined him to resign the mastership (ib. pp.642-4). On finally quitting Cambridge Howland obtained Burghley's permission to take some young members of his college of good birth with him to Peterborough for health and recreation in the summer. Among these were the Earl of Southampton, Burghley's grandson, and the grandson of Sir Anthony Denny (ib. p. 645).

Howland pleaded the cause of his diocese against the excessive tax for furnishing light horse. As bishop he took the first place at the funeral of Mary Queen of Scots in Peterborough Cathedral, February 1587. The funeral cortege met at his palace, and after a great supper in his hall proceeded to the cathedral. On the death of Archbishop Piers in 1594, Howland was earnestly recommended for the see of York by the lord president (Earl of Huntingdon), though personally a stranger to him, and the council of the north, on the ground of Archbishop Whitgift's high opinion of him. He wrote to Burghley begging 'a removal to a better support,' but Burghley declined his assistance and Matthew Hutton was appointed (ib. Whitgift, ii. 213; Lansdowne MSS. lxxxvi. 87, 89). The deprivation of Cawdry, vicar of South Luffenham, Rutland, for 'depraving the Book of Common Prayer,' by Howland led to a long dispute with that 'impracticable person' (ib. Aylmer, p. 92). Howland while bishop held the living of Sibson, Leicestershire, in commendam, and laboured under imputations of having impoverished his bishopric to gratify his patron Burghley (Laud, Works, A.-C. T., vi. ii. 357, 374). He was also the object of the scurrilous attacks of Martin Mar-Prelate (Epistle, v. 21). He died unmarried at Castor, near Peterborough, 23 June 1600, and was obscurely buried in his cathedral, without any memorial or epitaph. He is said to have been 'a very learned and worthy man' (Strype, Life of Whitgift, ii. 213).

[Strype's Annals, Whitgift, Aylmer, 11. cc.; Wood's Athenæ, ii. 802; Brydges's Restituta, ii. 243; Lansd. MSS. xlii. 56, 58, l. 38, lii. 68, lxxii. 77, lxxvi. 87, 88, cxv. 36; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr.]

E. V.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.162
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
125 ii 8f.e. Howland, Richard: omit migrated to St. John's College, where he
7f.e.  after 1560-1. insert He is said to have migrated to St. John's College.