Nowell, Alexander (DNB00)
|←Novello, Vincent||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 41
NOWELL, NOWEL, or NOEL, ALEXANDER (1507?–1602), dean of St. Paul's, second son of John Nowell, esq., and eldest son of his father's second marriage with Elizabeth, born Kay, of Rochdale, Lancashire, was born in his father's manor-house, Read Hall, Whalley, Lancashire, in 1507 or 1508 (Churton, Life of Nowell, p. 4; according to Whitaker, History of Whalley, p. 460, in 1506; to Fuller, Worthies, i. 546, in 1510; to Wood, Athenæ, i. col. 716, in 1511). Laurence Nowell [q. v.], dean of Lichfield, was a younger brother. Having received his early education at Middleton, Lancashire, he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, at the age of thirteen, and is said to have been the chamber-fellow of John Foxe [q. v.] the martyrologist. He was not admitted B.A. until 1526, was that year elected fellow of his college, proceeded M.A. in 1540 (Boase, Register, p. 183), and in 1541 or 1542 gave public lectures in the university on Rodolph's logic (Strype, Annals, i. i. 307). Having taken orders he was in 1543 appointed master of Westminster School, where he introduced the reading of Terence, and on one day of every week read St. Luke's Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles in Greek with the elder scholars. He was appointed a prebendary of Westminster in 1551 (Le Neve, Fasti, iii. 351), received a license to preach, and ‘preached in some of the notablest places and audiences in the realm’ (Strype, u. s.). When Dr. John Redman [q. v.], master of Trinity College, Cambridge, was dying, Nowell attended him, and after his death published a little book containing Redman's last utterances on matters of religious controversy. Although the book was subscribed by other divines as witnesses, Thomas Dorman [q. v.], a catholic divine, charged Nowell with false witness, which Nowell strongly denied (ib. Memorials, ii. i. 527 sq.). In the first parliament of Queen Mary, which met on 5 Oct. 1553, Nowell was returned as one of the members for Looe, Cornwall; but a committee appointed to inquire into the validity of the return reported on the 13th that he, ‘being prebendary at Westminster, and thereby having voice in the convocation house, cannot be a member of this house,’ and the election was accordingly annulled (Commons' Journals, i. 27; Returns of Members, i. 381; Burnet, History of the Reformation, iii. 511; Hallam, Constitutional History, i. 275). Nowell was a ‘dear lover and constant practiser of angling’ (Compleat Angler, pt. i. c. i.) and it is said that Bishop Bonner, seeing him catch fish in the Thames, designed to catch him, but Francis Bowyer, merchant and afterwards sheriff of London, conveyed him abroad (Fuller, Worthies, i. 547). After residing for a time at Strasburg he went to Frankfort, where, being desirous of peace, he took a leading part in the attempt to compose the religious disputes of the exiles in 1557. He subscribed the ‘new discipline,’ which was presbyterian in character, and joined in defending it against the objections of Robert Horne (1519?–1580) [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Winchester, and others. But he was not bigoted, and on the death of Mary was one of the joint writers of the letter that the exiles remaining at Frankfort sent to the Genevan divines declaring that they were ready in non-essentials to submit to authority (Troubles at Frankfort, pp. 62, 116, 163; Strype, Annals, i. i. 263).
Nowell returned to England, and in July was appointed on a commission to visit the dioceses of Oxford, Lincoln, Peterborough, and Lichfield. Cecil had included his name in a list of eminent divines who were to receive preferment, and in December he was made archdeacon of Middlesex (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 330), and preached at the consecration of four bishops, among them being Edmund Grindal [q. v.] of London, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, who had appointed him his chaplain (Life of Grindal, p. 49). In February 1560 he was collated to the rectory of Saltwood with Hythe, Kent, which he resigned the same year; was given a canonry at Canterbury (Le Neve, i. 537), and was appointed by the archbishop to visit that church (Life of Parker, i. 144); he received a canonry at Westminster in June, which he resigned the next year (Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 49), and in November was recommended by Queen Elizabeth ‘for his godly zeal, and special good learning, and other singular gifts and virtues’ for election as dean of St. Paul's, was elected, and was collated to a prebend in that church (ib. pp. 47, 215; Life of Grindal, p. 56). He was constantly appointed to preach at St. Paul's Cross the ‘Spital sermons,’ and before the queen, and had no small share in the restoration of the reformed religion. One of his sermons in 1561 raised some stir, for Dorman misrepresented a sentence in it as a threat of violence against papists (Annals, I. i. 352). After the fire at St. Paul's in June he preached before the lord mayor and aldermen a sermon that led the city to take immediate steps to repair the damage. He was by this time married; for Archbishop Parker wrote that if the queen would have a ‘married minister’ for provost of Eton, there were none comparable to Nowell (Life of Parker, i. 208). But the queen chose a celibate divine, William Day (1529–1596) [q. v.] On 1 Jan. 1562 the dean placed a new and richly bound prayer-book, with pictures of the saints and martyrs, on the queen's cushion in St. Paul's, intending it for a new year's gift. Elizabeth made the verger fetch her old book, and showed evident signs of anger. When the service was over she went at once into the vestry, told the dean that he had infringed her proclamation against ‘images, pictures, and Romish relics,’ and rebuked him sharply (Annals, i. i. 408–10). Towards the end of the year Grindal collated him to the rectory of Great Hadham, Hertfordshire, which he found convenient, both because the bishop had a house there, and because he was able, when Grindal went to London or Fulham, to leave his wife with her children by her former husband in retirement there, and accompany and live with the bishop (Churton). At Hadham, too, he fished much in the Ash, and is said to have accidentally invented bottled ale; for he unwittingly left a bottle of ale in the grass by the riverside, and was surprised a few days later to find its contents effervescent (Fuller, u.s.)
In January 1563 Nowell preached a sermon at the opening of parliament, which has been printed from a manuscript at Caius College, Cambridge. He said that, while no man ought to be punished for heretical opinions if he kept them to himself, severe measures might be adopted against those who ‘hitherto will not be reformed,’ and that those ought to be cut off who spread heresy, specially if it touched the queen's majesty. This was taken by the Spanish ambassador, De Quadra, to be an incitement to slay the Romanist bishops then in prison (Froude, History of England, c. xli., where De Quadra's interpretation is accepted, surely on insufficient grounds; see the extract from the sermon at the end of the chapter, and the sermon itself, edited by Corrie). Nowell also touched on the decay of tillage, and recommended the marriage of the queen. He was chosen prolocutor of the lower house of convocation. During the sessions he with Sampson, dean of Christ Church, and Day, provost of Eton, presented to the upper house a catechism which had been approved by the lower house, and a committee of four bishops was appointed to examine it, and they appear to have been contented with the approval that it had already received (Jacobson, Preface to Nowell's Catechism; Heylyn, History of the Reformation, p. 332; Burnet, History of the Reformation, iii. 515). This catechism was the work of Nowell (Annals, i. i. 474; Churton treats the book presented by the lower house and the book referred to the committee of bishops as probably distinct works, and both by Nowell, but this seems erroneous). Several alterations were made in it (ib. p. 526), and it was again presented to the upper house, but the prorogation came before it received formal approval. Nowell had a fair copy made of it, and sent it to Cecil, at whose instigation he had written it. Cecil kept it for more than a year, and returned it with annotations (ib.; Life of Grindal, pp. 138, 139). In this synod, in which the Thirty-nine articles were passed, Nowell joined others of the lower house in a request that certain ceremonies, such as the use of copes and surplices, might ‘be taken away,’ and others, as kneeling at the communion, might be made optional, and voted for six articles of a kindred purport (Annals, i. i. 500–6). Though the queen favoured Nowell on account of his learning, he fell into some disgrace in 1564. When preaching a Lenten sermon before her he spoke slightingly of the crucifix. On this she called aloud to him from her seat, ‘To your text, Mr. Dean—leave that; we have heard enough of that.’ Nowell was utterly dismayed, and was unable to go on. Parker took him home with him and comforted him, and the next day Nowell wrote to Cecil defending his sermon in a manful letter (Wood; Life of Parker, i. 318, 319, iii. 94; Froude, History of England, c. xliii). It was thought doubtful in January 1565 whether he was yet restored to favour. He endeavoured to compose the dispute about vestments, and wrote a proposition called by Parker ‘Mr. Nowel's Pacification,’ to the effect that their use should be continued, but that it was desirable that differences of apparel should be done away (Life of Parker, i. 343–5). Dorman having written a book against Jewel's ‘Apology,’ Nowell answered it, and carried on a controversy with him (see below), which was continued in 1566 and 1567. The Roman catholics being strong in Lancashire, Nowell, himself a Lancashire man, went thither in 1568, preached in different places, and brought many to conformity (Annals, i. ii. 258). On returning to London he attended the deathbed of Roger Ascham (1515–1568) [q. v.], and preached his funeral sermon. In July 1570, at the request of the two archbishops, he published his larger catechism in Latin (see below).
The Duke of Norfolk [see Howard, Thomas III, fourth Duke of Norfolk], then a prisoner in the Tower, was visited by Nowell in company with Foxe in January 1572. Nowell visited him at other times, and at Easter gave the duke the communion, for which he afterwards requested Burghley to send him an antedated authority. Norfolk requested that the dean might be with him at his end, and Nowell attended him at his execution on 2 June (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, pp. 434, 438–40, 444; Strype, Annals, ii. ii. 461–5; Camden, Annales, ii. 255). Liberally carrying out the last request of his brother Robert, attorney-general of the court of wards, who died in 1569, and had, like himself, been brought up at Middleton school and Brasenose College, Nowell in 1572 endowed a free school at Middleton, to be called Queen Elizabeth's School, and to be under the government of the principal and fellows of Brasenose, and further founded thirteen exhibitions at the college to be held by scholars from that school, or from the schools of Whalley or Burnley, or in defect from any other school in the county. Moreover he put board floors in the lower rooms of the college, which had hitherto been unboarded. He was regarded as an authority on scholastic matters; revised the rules of the free school of the Skinners' Company at Tonbridge, Kent, and of the grammar school at Bangor, Carnarvonshire, and advised Parker with reference to the foundation of his grammar school at Rochdale (Churton). He is said to have been a benefactor to St. Paul's School (epitaph from plate in Dugdale, History of St. Paul's; D. Lupton, Moderne Protestant Divines, p. 250), but the reference is probably to the school attached to the cathedral, not to Dean Colet's school (Lupton, Life of Colet, p. 159). He is also reckoned among the benefactors of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, but the nature of his benefaction seems uncertain (Churton).
Sitting as a member of the ecclesiastical commission in 1573, he signed the warrant for the arrest of Thomas Cartwright (1535–1603) [q. v.], and in 1574 was a commissioner for the trial of John Peters and Henry Turwert, two Flemish anabaptists who were burnt as heretics (Fœdera, xv. 740, 741). His name was included in the new commission for ecclesiastical causes of 1576 (Life of Grindal, p. 310). When Parker was at the point of death in May 1575, Nowell wrote to Burghley recommending Grindal, then archbishop of York, for the see of Canterbury (Cal. State Papers, u.s. p. 497). He also wrote to Burghley in 1576 begging him to take measures for the preservation of the college of Manchester, then in some danger from the conduct of the warden (Annals, ii. ii. 68). When the college was refounded in 1578, Nowell's nephew, John Wolton, afterwards bishop of Exeter, was constituted warden, and Nowell himself one of the four fellows. In 1580 he received from the crown a license of absence from his deanery and rectory in order that he might visit the scholars of Brasenose and the school at Middleton, being commanded to inquire into the state of religion in Lancashire, and to preach on Sundays and holy days wherever he might be (Churton). His success in making converts from Romanism is said to have been recognised by the inclusion of his name in a list of those who, if the jesuit plots against the queen succeeded, were to be put to death (Annals, ii. ii. 357). It was proposed that he should write an answer to the ‘Decem Rationes’ of Edmund Campion [q. v.], the jesuit, but that work was undertaken by his nephew, William Whitaker. However, in August 1581, when Campion was in the Tower, Nowell, with Day, then dean of Windsor and afterwards bishop of Winchester, held a disputation with him, a report of which was afterwards published (see below), and in 1582 he was named by the Privy Council as one of those fit to be employed to hold conferences with papists (Life of Whitgift, i. 198). An agent from Geneva having come to England to solicit help for his fellow citizens, he was directed by the council in January 1583 to apply to Nowell with reference to raising a fund (Life of Grindal, p. 415). In this year also the council placed the dean on a commission for the reformation of abuses in printing (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1581–90, p. 115). John Towneley (1528?–1607), son of Nowell's mother by her second marriage with Charles Towneley, having been imprisoned at Manchester for recusancy, Nowell wrote to the council in March 1584 to beg that he might be sent to London, and that special care might be taken of his health (ib. p. 163; Churton). The queen having ordered Burghley to acquaint Archbishop Whitgift of her desire that Daniel Rogers, a layman, should be appointed treasurer of St. Paul's, Whitgift imparted the matter to Nowell, who besides joining in a petition to the queen from the chapter against the appointment, and representing its illegality to Rogers, wrote to Burghley on 1 Jan. 1585 beseeching him to intercede with the queen that she would abstain from violating the statutes of the church (Life of Whitgift, i. 443–8, where the letter is given). His intercession was effectual, for the dignity was conferred on Richard Bancroft [q. v.], afterwards archbishop of Canterbury. In this letter Nowell spoke of the deanery as likely soon to be vacant ‘by his extreme age and much sickliness.’ So, too, in 1588 he requested the council that he might not be troubled further about some business as he was weak and sickly (Cal. State Papers, u.s. p. 489). In that year having been collated to the first stall in St. Paul's instead of the less valuable stall which he had previously held, he resigned the rectory of Hadham. He preached at St. Paul's Cross on the defeat of the Armada before the lord mayor and aldermen on 20 Aug., and again when the Spanish flags were displayed on 8 Sept. In October the queen granted him the first canonry of Windsor that should fall vacant. No vacancy occurred until 1594, when Nowell was installed (Le Neve, iii. 398). Having been included in the new ecclesiastical commission, he assisted in 1590 at the examination of Ralph Griffin, dean of Lincoln, who was charged with preaching false doctrine. He was sent by the privy council, together with Lancelot Andrewes [q. v.], afterwards bishop of Winchester, then his chaplain, in 1591 to confer with John Udal and others, then under sentence of death for sowing sedition, with a view to their pardon (Life of Whitgift, ii. 97). On 6 Sept. 1595 he was elected principal of Brasenose College, but resigned in the following December, after having on 1 Oct. been created D.D. with seniority over all the doctors of the university (Le Neve, p. 564; Wood). He died on 13 Feb. 1601–2, having retained all his faculties to the last, and was buried in St. Mary's Chapel, behind the high altar, in St. Paul's. By his will, of which an account is given by Churton, it appears that he was twice married, the first time to a widow, whose name seems to have been Blount, with children who were alive in 1591; his second wife being Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Bowyer, grocer, of London. She survived Nowell, and died in 1611 or 1612, being buried at Mundham, near Chichester (monumental inscr. and par. reg. at Mundham). Nowell had no children by either of his wives.
Nowell was a polished scholar, a weighty and successful preacher, a skilful disputant, and a learned theologian. Though the circumstances of his early life inclined him to Calvinism in doctrine, and puritanism in matters of order, he loyally complied with the ecclesiastical settlement of Elizabeth's reign, and even voluntarily showed his approval of certain observances, such as the keeping of holy days, that were disliked by the presbyterian party. Nor does he appear in any respect to have fallen short of the standard of the church of England either in his teaching or his practice. At the same time he was always anxious to promote peace both in the church and among his neighbours, and was a great composer of private quarrels. Meditative, as became a renowned angler, wise in counsel, and grave in carriage, he was held in high esteem by the foremost persons in church and state. Among men of letters his reputation was great; many books were dedicated to him (Churton, sect. ix), and among other panegyrists Barnabe Googe [q. v.] addressed verses to him. Many testified to his piety by seeking consolation from him when dying, and, as in the case of Frances, sister of Sir Henry Sidney, and widow of Thomas Ratcliffe, third earl of Sussex (1526?–1583), by requesting that he would preach their funeral sermons. He was the almoner of Mildred, lady Burghley, a very charitable woman, and was chosen by her husband to preach at her funeral. Besides his benefactions to Middleton School and Brasenose College, he gave liberally to the poor. In his private relations he was affectionate and careful for others, and engaged in long lawsuits to protect the interests of his stepchildren, the ‘poore orphans of Mr. Blounte.’ In person he was slight; his face was thin and rather pointed, his complexion delicate, and his eyes bright. He wore a small beard and moustache (Holland, Herωologia, p. 217). He lived to be the last of the fathers of the English reformation, and was a link between the days of Cranmer and the days of Laud (Jacobson; Churton). A portrait of Nowell engraved in Churton's ‘Life,’ and described by him as the ‘original picture’ from Read, was in 1809 the property of Dr. Sherson; it represents Nowell as wearing a broad-brimmed hat, and has an inscription to the effect that he died 13 Feb. 1601, aged 95, with the words ‘Piscator hominum,’ referring to his love of angling. There is a portrait with the same inscription in the hall of Brasenose College, and another in the Bodleian Library, to which he gave books (Wood, History and Antiquities of Oxford, ii. ii. 922). Another portrait in Chetham's Library, Manchester, presented by the Rev. James Illingworth in 1694, exhibits Nowell as wearing a skull-cap. There are engravings in Holland's ‘Herωologia,’ by Clump for Brasenose College, in Churton's ‘Life,’ and of Nowell's monument with effigy by Hollar in Dugdale's ‘History of St. Paul's,’ re-engraved by Basire for Churton's book (as to the headless trunk discovered in the crypt of St. Paul's, and engraved in Churton's ‘Life’ as a fragment of Nowell's monumental effigy, see Colet, John, dean of St. Paul's, and Lupton, Life of Colet, p. 239).
Besides his catechisms noticed later, Nowell's printed works are: (1) A book containing Redman's last judgment of several points of religion, 1551 (not known; Memorials, ii. 527, 528); (2) ‘An Homily … concerning the Justice of God … appoynted to be read in the time of sicknes,’ with Grindal's form of prayer (not known; Ames, ed. Herbert, p. 721; Life of Parker, i. 261); (3) ‘Reproofe written by A. N. of a book entituled “A Proofe of certain Articles in Religion denied by Master Jewel, set forth by Tho. Dorman, B.D.,”’ 1565, 4to; (4) ‘The Reproofe of M. Dorman's Proofe … continued,’ 1566, 4to; (5) ‘A Confutation as wel of M. Dorman's last book entituled a “Defence,” &c. … as also of Dr. Saunder's “Causes of Transubstantiation,”’ 1567, 4to; (6) ‘A True Report of the Disputation … held in the Tower of London with Edmund Campion, Jesuite,’ 31 Aug. 1581, 1583, 4to (Nos. 3–6 in Brit. Mus.); (7) Sermon preached 11 Jan. 1563, ap. Catechism, ed. Corrie (Parker Soc.); (8) ‘Carmina duo in obitum Buceri,’ ap. ‘Buceri Scripta Anglicana,’ p. 910 (reprinted in Churton, Life, p. 391); (9) ‘Carmen in mortem J. Juelli,’ at end of Lawrence Humphrey's ‘Life of Jewell,’ 1573; (10) Commendatory verses in Cooper's ‘Thesaurus,’ 1565, and in Parkhurst's ‘Juvenilia,’ 1573; (11) Letters printed in whole or part by Strype and Churton. There are manuscripts by Nowell in the Lansdowne MSS., British Museum, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and ‘Notes of his Sermons by a Hearer’ in the Bodleian. His manuscript theological common-place book (fol.) is in Chetham's Library.
Nowell published three catechisms which hold an important place in the religious history of England. Some confusion has been made between them. In this attempt to exhibit their bibliography B. N. C. stands for Brasenose College, and when no place of publication is noted, supply London: (1) The ‘Large Catechism’ was written by Nowell ‘at the request of some great persons in the church,’ not merely for the use of the young, but to be a fixed standard of doctrine in order to silence those who asserted that ‘the Protestants had no principles’ (Life of Parker, i. 403). When Nowell sent the manuscript to Cecil in 1563, he stated that it had been ‘approved and allowed’ by the clergy of convocation (Annals, i. i. 526). In its compilation he appears to have been indebted to the ‘Short Catechism’ published by the king's authority in 1553, and to Calvin's catechism. The catechism of 1553 has itself been ascribed to Nowell (Memorials, ii. i. 590, ii. 25), but should be ascribed to John Poynet [q. v.], bishop of Winchester (Bale, Script. Brit. Cat. 8th cent. p. 92). Calvin's catechism is that referred to by Churton as H. Stephens's; Stephens was, however, only responsible for the Greek translation (Jacobson). Nowell's larger catechism was appointed by the university of Oxford to be read in 1578, and the study of it was enjoined at Cambridge by Sir Christopher Hatton in 1589, and Bancroft (afterwards archbishop) when each was chancellor (Wood, Annals). It was written in Latin, and was translated into Greek by Nowell's nephew, William Whitaker [q. v.], and into English by Thomas Norton [q. v.] The original manuscript, with the counter-signatures of the two archbishops, Parker and Grindal, written by a copyist, but with the author's corrections, is at Brasenose College, Oxford. It was published, with a dedication to the archbishops and bishops, under the title ‘Catechismus, sive prima Institutio Disciplinaque Pietatis Christianæ,’ and has appeared in the following editions: (1) (α) 1570, 16 June, Reginald Wolf, 4to, contains no matter about confirmation, and has list of errata at end, in Bodl., Balliol Coll., B. N. C.; (β) 1570, 16 June, reissue with confirmation matter, and without list of errata, Bodl. and Chetham's; (2) (α) 1571, 30 May, Wolf, 4to, Bodl., B. N. C.; (β) reissue same year, no further date, Bodl., B. N. C.; (3) 1572, Wolf, 4to, Bodl. and in 1844 the president of Magd. Hall, Oxf. (Jacobson); (4) 1573, Wolf, the first edition with Whitaker's Greek text, Greek dedication to Cecil, and iambics to reader, 8vo, Brit. Mus., Bodl., B. N. C., elsewhere; (5) 1574, J. Day, 4to, Bodl., B. N. C.; (6) 1576, J. Day, 4to, B. N. C.; (7) 1577, J. Day, with a second Greek edition, 12mo (Lowndes). Strype (Annals, i. i. 525) notes an edition of 1578, but this is not known, and is held to be doubtful (but see Ames, ed. Herbert, p. 1653); (8) 1580, J. Day, 4to, Bodl., Magd. Coll. Oxf.; (9) 1590, 8vo (Lowndes); (10) 1603, 8vo (Lowndes); (11, 13) in Randolph's ‘Enchiridion Theologicum,’ 1st ed. vol. ii. 1792, 12mo, 2nd ed. vol. i. 1812, 8vo; (12) 1795, Oxf., 8vo, edited by Dr. William Cleaver [q. v.], then bishop of Chester, for the use of undergraduates at B. N. C., and candidates for orders in the diocese of Chester; (14) In ‘Collectanea Theologica,’ 1816, 12mo, edited by W. Wilson, for use at St. Bees; (15) with other matter in a catechism by Dr. Mill, Sibpur, India, 1825, 8vo; (16) 1830, 12mo, with Cleaver's notes; (17, 18) 1835, Oxf., 8vo, ed. William Jacobson [q. v.] with ‘Life of A. N.,’ 2nd ed. 1844, 8vo.
The English translation of the ‘Larger Catechism’ with title ‘A Catechisme or first Instruction and Learning of Christian Religion, by T. Norton,’ was published: (1) 1570, J. Day, 4to, in Bodl., B. N. C.; (2) 1571, J. Day, 4to, Brit. Mus., Bodl., B. N. C.; (3) 1573, J. Day, 4to, Brit. Mus., Bodl.; (4) 1575, J. Day, 4to, Brit. Mus., Bodl., (5) in ‘Fathers of the English Church,’ vol. viii. edited by Legh Richmond, 1807, 8vo; (6) 1846, by Prayer-book and Homily Soc., 8vo; (7) 1851, 12mo; (8) 1853, Cambridge, ed. Corrie, with sermon of 11 Jan. 1563, for Parker Soc., 8vo. Also in Welsh, 1809, Cleaver's edition, Dinbych, 12mo.
In the preface to his larger catechism, Nowell declared his intention of bringing out an abridgment of it as soon as possible. Accordingly in the same year he published his (2) ‘Middle Catechism,’ with the title ‘Christianæ Pietatis prima Institutio ad usum Scholarum.’ It was dedicated to the archbishops and bishops, is written in Latin, and was translated into Greek by Whitaker, and into English by Norton. The frequent editions of the seventeenth century testify to the importance attached to it by the puritan divines; those that are known are: (1) 1570, 4to, no copy traced (Lowndes, Jacobson); (2) 1575, John Day with Whitaker's Greek translation, 8vo, in Brit. Mus., B. N. C., Chetham, and imperfect, Trin. Coll. Camb.; (3) 1577, J. Day, with Greek translation, 8vo, Brit. Mus., Bodl., B. N. C.; (4) 1578, J. Day, with Greek translation, 16mo, Bodl., B. N. C.; (5) 1581, J. Day, 12mo, Brit. Mus.; (6) 1586, John Wolf for Richard Day, 12mo, B. N. C.; (7) 1595, John Windet, 12mo, Bodl.; (8) 1598, J. Windet, 12mo, B. N. C.; (9) 1610, 8vo, Bodl.; (10) 1615, 8vo, Bodl.; (11) 1625, 8vo, Brit. Mus.; (12) 1626, Cambridge, 8vo, Chetham; (13) 1630, 8vo, Brit. Mus.; (14) 1633, Cambridge, 12mo, B. N. C.; (15) 1636, Cambridge, 8vo, Brit. Mus.; (16) 1638, ‘pro societate stationariorum,’ with Greek, 12mo, B. N. C.; (17) 1673, with Greek, 12mo, Brit. Mus.; (18) 1687, with Greek, Bodl., Magd. Coll. Oxf.; (19) 1701, ‘pro societ stationar.,’ with Greek, 12mo, Brit. Mus., B. N. C.; (20) 1795, Oxford, edited by Dr. W. Cleaver, 8vo; (21) 1817, edited by W. Wilson, for use at St. Bees, 12mo.
Norton's translation of the ‘Middle Catechism,’ with title ‘A Catechisme or Institution of Christian Religion to be learned of all youth next after the little catechisme appoynted in the Booke of Common Prayer,’ has a special dedication by Nowell to the archbishops and bishops. It was published: (1) 1572, John Day, 12mo, Bodl., also a copy without date B. N. C.; (2) 1577, J. Day, 8vo, Bodl.; (3) 1579, J. Day, 8vo, B. N. C.; (4) 1583, J. Day, 8vo, Bodl.; (5) 1609, 8vo, Bodl.; (6) 1614, ‘for the companie of the stationers,’ 12mo, B. N. C.; (7) 1638, 8vo, Brit. Mus., Bodl.; (8) 1715, an independent translation with title ‘The Elements of Christian Piety, being an Explanation of the Commandments,’ &c., 12mo (Churton, pp. 193, 194); (9) 1818, Bristol, in ‘Church of England Tracts,’ No. 30, bound in collected tracts, vol. ii., 12mo; (10) 1851, by Prayer-book and Homily Society, 8vo.
Nowell's third or ‘Small Catechism’ is believed by Churton to be referred to in the king's letter prefixed to the catechism of 1553, as ‘the other brief catechism which we have already set forth.’ Churton does not consider it probable that these words refer to the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, but his reason for this opinion does not seem obvious. An examination of Nowell's ‘small’ catechism in the edition of 1574 shows, as Churton himself, who had seen a later edition, points out in his appendix, that it is in no way different from the church catechism save that after each commandment it has the words ‘miserere nostri,’ &c., that after the ‘Duty to your neighbour,’ are inserted several questions and answers on the duties of subjects, children, servants, parents, &c., and that the part on the sacraments is much longer. The ‘small’ catechism has a preface signed A. N., and in Whitaker's dedication of the Greek version of the ‘middle’ catechism to Nowell, 1575, he says that Nowell had composed three catechisms, and that having already translated two he was now presenting the author with a translation of the third. All three catechisms are therefore treated by Whitaker and by Nowell himself as alike Nowell's work. Isaak Walton, moreover, speaks of Nowell (circa 1653) as ‘the good old man’ who made ‘that good, plain, unperplexed catechism printed in our good old service-book.’ It seems clear then that Nowell was the author of the first part of the church catechism now in use, which was first published in the prayer-book of 1549 as part of the rite of confirmation, the later portion on the sacraments afterwards (1604) added, as is generally held, by Bishop Overall having been reduced and otherwise altered from Nowell's ‘small’ catechism. This small catechism was translated like the two others, into Greek and English, and was published in Latin with the title ‘Catechismus parvus pueris primum Latine qui ediscatur, proponendus in scholis:’ (1) 1572, not known (Churton); (2) 1574 (by John Day), on the back of the title-page a woodcut of boys at school, and a quotation from Isocrates, with Whitaker's Greek version, 12mo, in Balliol Coll.; (3) 1578 (by J. Day, 8vo), not traced (AMES, ed. Herbert and Dibdin, iv. 130 n.); (4) 1584, with Whitaker's Greek, 8vo, Bodl.; (5) 1619, 12mo, B. N. C.; (6) n. d. Latin only, part of title-page torn away (by T. C. Lond., 8vo), Balliol Coll.; (7) 1633, with Greek, 8vo, Bodl.; (8) 1687, for the use of St. Paul's School, 8vo (Churton, App. viii.). Norton's English translation with title, ‘The Little Catechisme:’ (1) 1577, 12mo, not traced (Tanner); (2) 1582, Richard Day, 12mo, Bodl.; (3) 1587, 8vo, not traced (Tanner; Wood).
[Churton's Life of Nowell; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. i. cols. 716–9 (Bliss); Wood's Hist. and Antiq. ii. ii. 922, 954, iii. 360, 363, 369 (Gutch); Biog. Brit. v. 3257, Holland's Herωologia, p. 217; D. Lupton's Moderne Prot. Divines, p. 250; Fuller's Worthies, i. 547 (Nichols); Fuller's Ch. Hist. ii. 509, iv. 179, v. 256 (Brewer); Foxe's Acts and Mon. vi. 267, 269, 272 (Townsend); Troubles at Frankfort, pp. 62, 116, 163; Strype's Annals, i. i. 153, 228, 247, 263, 297, 306–8, 352, 401, 408–10, 473, 504, 525–8, ii. 113, 247–249, 258, II. i. 353, 419, ii. 357, 361, 461, III. ii. 27, Memorials, II. i. 527, 590, ii. 25, 277, III. i. 230, Cranmer, p. 450, Grindal, pp. 49, 138, 202, Parker I. 126, 193, 208, 318, 343, 359, II. 11, 17, Whitgift, I. 198, 444, II. 97 (8vo edit.); Commons' Journals, i. 27; Burnet's Hist. of Reformation, II. 364, 407, III. 511, 515 (8vo edit.); Return of Members, i. 381; Hallam's Const. Hist. i. 275 (ed. 1863); Boase's Register of Univ. of Oxf. p. 183 (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Le Neve's Fasti, i. 53, ii. 330, 440, 449, iii. 351, 355, 398, 564 (Hardy); Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 49, 54, 82, 215; Walton's Compleat Angler, pt. i. c. i. pp. 40, 41 (ed. 1775); Camden's Annales, ii. 255 (Hearne); Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, pp. 382, 434, 438–40, 497, 1581–90, pp. 115, 163, 489 (Lemon); Froude's Hist. of England, v. 283, vii. 30, 100, 256 (post 8vo edit.); Whitaker's Hist. of Whalley, p. 460; Welch's Alumni Westmonast. pp. 2, 3; Lupton's Life of Colet, pp. 135, 159, 239. For bibliography, chiefly information received from Mr. Falconer Madan, of the Bodleian Library, who generously lent his valuable notes on the bibliography of the three catechisms for the purpose of this article; also from Mr. W. T. Browne of Chetham's Library and from Mr. Evelyn Abbott, of Ball. Coll. Oxford; Jacobson's Catechismus, Pref.; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual, vi. 1710 art. Nowell; Ames's Typogr. Antiq., ed. Herbert, pp. 611, 647, 654, 655, 662, 677, 938, 967, 1618, 1658; Dibdin's Ames, iv. 129, 130; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. pp. 552, 553.]