Mawson, Matthias (DNB00)

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MAWSON, MATTHIAS (1683–1770), bishop of Ely, was born in August 1683, his father being a prosperous brewer at Chiswick, Middlesex. He was educated at St. Paul's School, whence he was admitted in 1701 to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. 1704, M.A. 1708, B.D. 1716, D.D. 1725. and was elected a fellow of his society in 1707, and a moderator in the university in 1708. On 6 Oct. 1724 he was chosen master of his college, and held the office till 20 Feb. 1744. Soon after his appointment he was presented by Bishop Greene to the rectory of Conington in Cambridgeshire, and afterwards to that of Hadstock in Essex; the latter he held for many years. In 1730 and 1731 he was vice-chancellor of the university, and signalised his term of office by several useful reforms. Academic exercises were made more stringent and orderly; capricious migration from college to college was checked; and the practice of exhuming bodies from the neighbouring churchyard, for dissection by students of medicine, was prohibited.

After refusing the bishopric of Gloucester in 1734, Dr. Mawson was consecrated bishop of Llandaff, 18 Feb. 1738-9. This diocese he administered for two years, and in 1740 was translated to Chichester. Thence, on the death of Sir Thomas Gooch in 1754, he was translated to Ely, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died unmarried at his house in Kensington Square, 23 Nov. 1770, aged eighty-seven years and three months, having been 'active and healthy to a very little time before his death' (Cole MSS. xlvii. 86). He was buried in his cathedral of Ely, and a monument was erected to his memory by his chaplain and executor, Dr. Warren, under the second window of the north aisle of the choir. A drawing of it, with the inscription and arms (party per bend sinister, ermine and ermines, a lion rampant, or, impaling those of the diocese) is preserved by Cole (ib.)

Bishop Mawson's official income and his inheritance of the fortune made by his brother in the family business gave him great wealth, and Cole expatiates on his liberality. To King's College, Cambridge, he lent some 6,000l. or 7,000l. for their new buildings. At Ely he 'gave 1,000l. in money, with the painting of the east window, and intended to pave the choir with white marble at his own expense' (ib. xxiii. ff. 64-5). He also endowed his old college in 1754 with property sufficient to found twelve scholarships, amounting to 400l. per annum in all (Potts, Liber Scholasticus, 1843, p. 99.)

Mawson's published works consist only of single sermons, preached at anniversary gatherings, and the like, and a speech made before the gentlemen of Sussex, at Lewes, 11 Oct. 1745, on the occasion of the Jacobite rising.

[Authorities quoted; Masters's History of C. C. C. C., 1753, pp. 195 sqq.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iv. 459 n.; Nichols's Lit. Illustrations, viii. 537; Le Neve's Fasti, ii. 255, &c.; Faulkner's Kensington, p. 398; Gardiner's Admission Registers of St. Paul's School. Some letters of Bishop Mawson to the Duke of Newcastle will be found in the Additional and Egerton MSS. 32694 sqq.]

J. H. L.