Lynde, Humphrey (DNB00)

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LYNDE, Sir HUMPHREY (1579–1636), puritan controversialist, descended from an ancient Dorset family, was born in 1579, being the son of Cuthbert Linde or Lynde of Westminster. He was elected a queen's scholar at Westminster School; matriculated 14 Jan. 1596–7 at Christ Church, Oxford, and graduated B.A. 7 July 1600 (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., II. ii. 218, iii. 221). In 1601 he became a student at the Middle Temple, and succeeded to a family estate near Cobham, Surrey, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was knighted by James I (29 Oct. 1613), made a justice of the peace, and represented Brecknock in parliament February–June 1626 (cf. Foster, Alumni). Wood calls him ‘a person of great knowledge and integrity, and a severe enemy to the pontificians, as well in his common discourse as in his writings’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 601). His friends included the leaders of the puritan party. He was well known to Simon Birckbeck [q. v.] (cf. Birckbeck, Protestant's Evidence), and Duport notices him in his ‘Musæ Subsecivæ,’ p. 20. On 27 June 1623 an important debate on the claims of Rome was held at his London house. Daniel Featley [q. v.] and Francis White, dean of Carlisle, represented the protestants, and Father John Fisher (1569–1641) [q. v.] and John Sweet, jesuits, argued in behalf of the Roman catholics (cf. Court and Times of James I, ii. 408; Cal. State Papers, 12 July 1623). A report of the debate, ‘The Romish Fisher Caught,’ 1624, was published by Featley, at the command of Archbishop Abbot. In 1623 Lynde published ‘An Account of Bertram the Priest, with Observations concerning the Censures upon his Tract, “De Corpore et Sanguine Christi.”’ This was intended as an introduction to a well-known tract against transubstantiation by Ratramnus, monk of Corby, ‘intreatinge of the bodye and bloude of Christ,’ of which English translations had appeared in 1548 and 1582, and another, by William Guild [q. v.], in 1624. Lynde dedicated his work to Sir Walter Pye [q. v.], and a copy was sent to Ussher by Archbishop Abbot's chaplains (Good and Featley), who wrote of Lynde as ‘a well-deserving defender of the cause of religion’ (14 June 1623). Dr. Matthew Brian reprinted Lynde's ‘Account’ in 1686. Shortly after its first publication a jesuit challenged Lynde to prove the visibility through all ages of the protestant church. ‘Antient Characters of the Visible Church,’ 1625, was his first attempt to meet the challenge, but in 1628 he pursued his argument in his best-known work, ‘Via Tuta, the Safe Way … to the True, Ancient, and Catholique Faith now professed in the Church of England,’ 4to. John Heigham [q. v.], a catholic priest, replied at length in ‘Via Vere Tuta’ (1631), and the jesuit John Floyd [q. v.], writing under the initials ‘J. R.,’ followed Heigham's attack with ‘A Paire of Spectacles for Sir Humphrey Linde to see his Way withal,’ 1631, while in 1632 a third reply, ‘The Whetstone of Reproof, by T. T., Sacristan and Catholike Romanist,’ appeared at Douay. Lynde pursued his attacks on the catholics in ‘Via Devia, the Byway leading the Weak into unstable and dangerous Paths of Popish Error,’ London, 1630, and in reply to Floyd wrote ‘A Case for the Spectacles,’ which Laud refused to license on the ground, according to Prynne's ‘Canterburies Doome,’ that Lynde was a layman; the work was not published in Lynde's lifetime. In the same cause Lynde defrayed the expenses of a collection made by Dr. Thomas James (1573?–1629) [q. v.] of passages from protestant writers ‘pruned away by the Romish knife.’ Lynde died 8 June 1636, after a painful illness, testifying with his last breath his constancy to the reformed church. He was buried in Cobham parish church, 14 June. The funeral sermon, preached by his friend Dr. Featley (published 1638), contains a detailed eulogy on his life and character. He left three sons and six daughters. One, Humphrey Lynde, was a curate of Maidstone.

After Lynde's death Dr. Featley prepared for the press Lynde's ‘A Case for a Pair of Spectacles,’ the reply to Floyd, together with a defence of Lynde by Featley, entitled ‘Stricture in Lyndomastigem by Way of Supplement to the Knight's Answer and Featley's Funeral Sermon.’ This work was reprinted, with the ‘Via Tuta’ and ‘Via Devia,’ in Blakeney's edition of Gibson's ‘Preservative against Popery,’ vols. iv. and v., 1849. ‘Via Tuta’ was also reissued in 1848, and a French translation of it and of ‘Via Devia’ is dated 1645.

[Alumni Westmonast. pp. 65, 166; Manning's Surrey, ed. 1809, ii. 733; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii. 601; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 55.]

E. T. B.