Newland, John (DNB00)

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NEWLAND, JOHN (d. 1515), abbot of St. Augustine's, Bristol, was born at Newland in the Forest of Dean, whence he took his name; he was also called Nailheart, which may have been his parents' name, and suggested the device or arms he adopted. He was elected abbot of St. Augustine's, Bristol, on 6 April 1481, but may have been obnoxious to Richard III, as Richard Walker was appointed abbot in 1483. On the accession of Henry VII Newland was reinstalled in his office, and is said to have been frequently employed in missions abroad during this reign, although no record of them is known to exist. In 1502 he supplicated for the degree of doctor of divinity in the university of Oxford, but the result of his request is not known. He was ‘a person solely given up to religion and alms-deeds,’ and spent considerable sums of money in improving his abbey, which subsequently became the cathedral church of Bristol. He died on 12 June 1515, and was buried under an arch in the south side of the choir of St. Augustine's; above his tomb in the wall was erected an effigy in stone. He employed his ‘great learning and abilities’ in composing an account of the Berkeley family, with pedigrees from the time of the Conqueror down to 1490. This manuscript, preserved at Berkeley Castle, was incorporated by John Smyth in his ‘Lives of the Berkeleys,’ ed. 1883 by Sir John Maclean, F.S.A., for the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archæological Society, 3 vols. One of Newland's seals is preserved at the British Museum (Index of Seals, MS. 54, c. 20).

[Cole MSS. x. 68, 72, 73, 92, 94; Dugdale's Monasticon, ed. Cayley, Ellis, and Bandinel, vi. 364; Wood's Fasti Oxon. i. 10; White Kennet's Register and Parochial Antiquities, p. 241, &c.; Willis's Survey of Cathedrals, ii. 767; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib.; Barrett's Hist. of Bristol, pp. 248, 266, 268–9; Smyth's Lives of the Berkeleys, ed. Maclean, i. 2, iii. 54.]

A. F. P.