Twyne, John (DNB00)

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TWYNE, JOHN (1501?–1581), schoolmaster and author, born about 1501 at Bullingdon, Hampshire, was son of William Twyne, and was descended from Sir Brian Twyne of Long Parish in the same county. He was educated, according to Wood, at New Inn, Oxford, but he seems to have frequented Corpus Christi College; he says he saw there Richard Foxe [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, ‘old and blind;’ John Lewis Vives [q. v.], and others (De Rebus Albionicis, p. 2). He graduated B.C.L. on 31 Jan. 1524–5, and then married and became master of the free grammar school at Canterbury. His first literary work was an introductory epistle to an anonymous translation of Hugh of Caumpeden's ‘History of Kyng Boccus and Sydracke.’ Ames gives the date as 1510, which is doubtfully adopted in the British Museum catalogue; but no surviving copy has any date, and it is almost certain that it was published about 1530. The only dated book issued by Thomas Godfray, the publisher, was Thynne's edition of Chaucer, 1532, and ‘Boccus’ was printed at the expense of Robert Saltwood, who was a monk of St. Augustine's, Canterbury, at the dissolution in 1539.

Twyne's school was, according to Wood, ‘much frequented by the youth of the neighbourhood,’ and he consequently grew rich. In April 1539 he bought two messuages and two gardens in the parish of St. Paul's, Canterbury (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vol. xiv. pt. i. No. 906), and on 9 Dec. 1541 the chapter of the cathedral leased to him the rectory of St. Paul's (Lansd. MS. 982, f. 9). In 1534 William Winchilsea, a monk of St. Augustine's, accused Cranmer of sending ‘Twyne the schoolmaster to ride twice in one week to Sandwich to read a lecture of heresy’ (Letters and Papers, vii. 1608). Twyne also purchased lands at Preston and Hardacre, Kent, and, having become prosperous, took an active part in the municipal affairs of Canterbury. In 1544–5 he served as sheriff of Canterbury (Lists of Sheriffs, 1898, p. 171). He was an alderman in 1553, and in January of that year represented the city in parliament (Hasted, Kent, iv. 406). He gave offence to Northumberland, and on 18 May the mayor of Canterbury was directed to send him up to London (Acts P. C. iv. 273). Twyne was re-elected for Canterbury on 7 Sept. following, and on 22 March 1553–4; he was mayor of the city in 1554, and actively opposed the insurgents during Wyatt's rebellion (Archæol. Cant. xi. 143). In 1560, during an ecclesiastical visitation of Canterbury, ‘Mr. Twyne, schoolmaster, was ordered to abstain from ryot and drunkeness, and not to intermeddle with any public office in the town’ (Tanner, p. 728); and in 1562 he was again in trouble with the privy council (Acts P.C. vii. 105). The cause may have been his ‘addiction to the popish religion,’ and Tanner says that he maligned Henry VIII, Matthew Parker, and John Foxe ‘non minus acerbe quam injuste.’ Twyne afterwards complained that he had been injured by Parker's accusations, and had through him been ejected from the keepership of the forest of Rivingwood in Littlebourn, near Canterbury, and deprived of his salary; on 29 Jan. 1575–6, after Parker's death, Twyne sought restitution from Burghley (Lansd. MS. 21, f. 111). Possibly he is the John Twyne admitted to Gray's Inn in 1566 (Foster, Reg. p. 33).

Twyne died at Canterbury on 24 Nov. 1581, and was buried on the 30th in St. Paul's Church, where a brass plate with an inscription commemorated him (Hasted, iv. 491; J. M. Cowper, Registers of St. Paul's, Canterbury, p. 205). By his wife Alice (1507–1567), daughter and coheiress of William Peper, whom he married in 1524, Twyne had issue three sons: John, who lived at Hardacre, and wrote verse; Lawrence [q. v.], and Thomas [q. v.]

Twyne enjoyed considerable reputation as a schoolmaster, antiquary, and scholar. In the examination of Thomas Bramston, a priest, in 1586, it was noted that he was ‘brought up in the grammar school at Canterbury under old Mr. Twyne’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1581–90, p. 323). He was well read in Greek and Latin; Leland (Encomia, p. 83), Holinshed, Somner (Antiq. Cant. p. 238), and Camden all testified to his antiquarian knowledge. In 1590 Thomas Twyne published his father's ‘De Rebus Albionicis, Britannicis, atque Anglis Commentariorum libri duo,’ London, 8vo. The book is chiefly interesting as containing Twyne's reminiscences of Dr. Nicholas Wotton [q. v.], John Dygon [q. v.], the last prior of St. Augustine's, Richard Foxe, Vives, and other scholars (De Rebus Albionicis, pp. 2, 71–2); it is now being edited by Father Gasquet, O.S.B. He also collected ‘Communia Loca,’ bequeathed, with his autograph will and a copy of his epitaph, to Corpus Christi College, Oxford (C. C. C. MS. cclvi. ff. 93, 196, cclviii. ff. 69 et sqq.), by his grandson, Brian Twyne [q. v.] In these collections he refers to lives he had written of Lupset, Wotton, Paget, Thomas Wriothesley, and other contemporaries, but they have not been traced. Another work, ‘Vitæ, Mores, Studia, et Fortunæ Regum Angliæ a Gulielmo Conquest. ad Henr. VIII,’ to which he refers, was formerly extant at Corpus (see description of it in Lansd. MS. 825, f. 29), but is now lost; it is possibly the basis of ‘A Booke containing the Portraiture of the Countenances and Attires of the Kings of England from William Conqueror unto … Elizabeth … diligently collected by T. T.,’ London, 1597, 4to.

[Authorities cited; Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Lansd. MS. 21; Coxe's Cat. MSS. in Coll. Aulisque Oxon.; Official Return Memb. of Parl.; Hasted's Kent, vol. iv.; Reg. Univ. Oxon. i. 136; Wood's Fasti, i. 66, and Athenæ, i. 463; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 729; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p. 254.]

A. F. P.