User:Charles Matthews/Waynflete, William of missing page

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

WAYNFLETE or WAINFLEET, WILLIAM of (1395?–1486), bishop of Winchester, lord chancellor of England, and founder of Magdalen College, Oxford, was the elder of two sons of Richard Patyn, Patten, or Patton, alias Barbour, of Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. From a deed (recently rediscovered and printed by the Rev. W. D. Macray in his Register of Magdalen College) executed by Juliana Chirchestyle, grandniece of the bishop, in 1497, it appears that Waynflete held the manor and manor-house of Dakenham Place, Barkinge (printed by Macray ‘Backinge’). This deed points to Essex as the home of at least one branch of the family, and corroborates the inference which may be drawn from other data that the bishop was of gentle blood. It also makes it probable that the trade-name of Barbour was not common to the family, but was only the name of the bishop's father's mother. The social position of Richard Patyn is indicated by his marriage with Margery, youngest daughter of Sir William Brereton (d. 1425–6), knight, of Brereton, Cheshire (Ormerod, iii. 81).

From Leland we learn that the bishop was born at Wainfleet. Assuming him to have been of the canonical age of twenty-five at his ordination as deacon, he would have been born in 1395. Leland further says that he was a scholar at Winchester College. The word ‘scholar’ must not be pressed, for his name does not appear upon the register of admissions to the foundation; but there is no reason to doubt that Waynflete was educated at Winchester. Leland further asserts that he was ‘felow of the New Colege of Oxford.’ It is not till 1577 that the suggestion first appears, in the ‘Description of England’ by William Harrison (1534–1593) [q. v.], that Waynflete was ‘fellow of Merton.’ But Merton preserves no trace of him. On the other hand, he could not have been a fellow of New College according to the statutes, without having been a ‘scholar’ on the Winchester foundation. But this difficulty was probably removed by Henry Beaufort [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, the visitor of New College, who had been bishop of Lincoln from 1398 to 1404, and might naturally exercise his dispensing power as visitor in favour of the son of a Lincolnshire family. In all his relations with Oxford in adult life Waynflete displayed for New College a regard which was unaccountable if he was himself a member of another society. In 1480 he nominated as president of his new foundation of Magdalen College Richard Mayew, fellow of New College. Mayew's first duty was to put into operation a body of statutes founded upon those of New College. Waynflete further provided that all future presidents of Magdalen should have been fellows of that house or of New College. Lastly, by his will he bequeathed to the warden, fellows, and scholars of New College the same sums of money as to those of his own foundation. The statement of Dr. Thomas Chaundler, successively warden of Winchester (1450) and of New College (1453), that Thomas Beckington [q. v.], also a fellow of New College, was Waynflete's early friend, sustains the conclusion that Waynflete was educated at New College. For the period during which Waynflete was in residence at Oxford no catalogue of graduates survives.

The earliest record of Waynflete is his ordination as an unbeneficed acolyte by Richard Fleming [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, in the parish church of Spalding on Easter Sunday, 21 April 1420, under the name of William Barbor. That this was Waynflete himself is proved by the entry of his ordination as subdeacon on 21 Jan. following, when it was mentioned that he took the style of William Waynflete of Spalding, a change of designation at ordination being at that time common (Holinshed, Chron. iii. 213). On 18 March 1420–1 he was ordained deacon, and on 21 Jan. 1426 priest, on the title of the Benedictine Priory of Spalding. He had probably been studying divinity between 1420 and 1426 at Spalding or Oxford. At some time between 1426 and 1429 Waynflete received from Cardinal Beaufort presentation to the mastership of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen, situate upon a hill a mile east of Winchester. The preferment was worth about 9l. 12s. a year, or approximately 110l. of our money.

It is improbable that the future bishop was the William Waynflete ‘in legibus bacallarius’ who accompanied Robert Fitzhugh [q. v.] on his embassy to Rome in 1429. He was probably first presented to the king on the occasion of Henry VI's visit to Winchester on 30 July 1440. On 11 Oct. of the same year Henry sealed the foundation charter of Eton College. In it Waynflete is nominated a fellow, and to Eton he removed in 1442. A class-room was then open, but the pupils were lodged in private houses. Waynflete probably acted as ‘informator,’ though no appointment of him as such seems to have survived. On 21 Dec. 1443 he was installed second provost of the college.