Nassyngton, William of (DNB00)

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NASSYNGTON, WILLIAM of (fl. 1375?), translator, probably came from Nassington in Northamptonshire, and is described as proctor in the ecclesiastical court of York. That he lived in the north of England is proved by the dialect in which his work is written, but his date has been very variously given. Warton puts him as late as 1480; but as the transcript of his work in the Royal MSS. is dated 1418, it is almost certain that he lived in the latter half of the fourteenth century. He is probably distinct from the William of Nassynton who is mentioned in 1355 in connection with the church of St. Peter, Exeter (Cal. Inq. post mortem, ii. 190 b). Nassyngton's one claim to remembrance is his translation into English verse of a ‘Treatise on the Trinity and Unity, with a Declaration of God's Works and of the Passion of Jesus Christ,’ written in Latin by one John of Waldeby or Waldly, who had studied in the Augustinian convent at Oxford, and became provincial of the Austin Friars in England. The ‘Myrrour of Life,’ sometimes attributed to Richard Rolle [q. v.] of Hampole, is identical with Nassyngton's translation. Ten manuscript copies of it are in the British Museum, including Reg. MS. 17. C. viii, Additional MS. 22558, and Additional MS. 22283, ff. 33–61; two are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, viz. Rawlinson MSS. 884 and 890; another, said by Warton to be in the library of Lincoln Cathedral, is really a different work. The British Museum MSS. show some variation at the end of the work, and Additional MS. 22283 is imperfect, lacking about 950 lines at the beginning. Additional MS. 22558, which appears to be the most complete, contains nearly fifteen thousand lines. It begins with a commentary on the Lord's Prayer, and ends with the Beatitudes. The sentences from the Lord's Prayer are worked in in Latin, but the commentary is in English, and in Additional MS. 22283 the Latin sentences only appear in the margin. The authorship is determined by the concluding lines, which ask for prayers

    For Friere Johan saule of Waldly,
    That fast studyd day and nyght,
    And made this tale in Latyn right.
    Prayer also wt deuocion
    For William saule of Nassynetone.

[Manuscript works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Tanner's Bibl. Anglo-Hibernica; Warton's English Poets, ii. 367–8; Ritson's Bibl. Anglo-Poetica, pp. 91–2; Cox's Cat. Codicum in Bibl. Bodl.; Morley's English Writers, ii. 442; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iii. 169.]

A. F. P.