Whittington, Robert (DNB00)

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WHITTINGTON, WHYTYNTON, or WHITINTON, ROBERT (fl. 1520), grammarian, was born at Lichfield, and educated first at the school of St. John's Hospital in that city (Short Account of the Ancient and Modern State of Lichfield, 1819, p. 112), and afterwards under John Stanbridge [q. v.] in the school attached to the college of St. Mary Magdalen, Oxford. In April 1513 he supplicated the congregation of regents at Oxford for laureation in grammar, which was granted him on 4 July ensuing. At the same time he was admitted B.A. In his supplicat he represents that he had studied rhetoric for fourteen years, and taught it for twelve. This would point to his being born not much later than 1480. On his laureation he assumed the title of ‘Protovates Angliæ,’ a piece of arrogance which gave offence to other scholars, ‘in comparison with whom,’ says Fuller, ‘he was but a crackling thorn.’ A warfare of epigrams ensued between him and William Horman [q. v.], supported by Lily and Aldrich, the intricacies of which have been unravelled with much ingenuity by Dr. Maitland (Early Printed Books, p. 415). The sobriquet of ‘Boss’ was bestowed on Whittington by his foes, in derisive allusion to a public ‘boss’ or water-tap in the city of London which had been originally set up by Richard Whittington [q. v.], and was called by his name. Whytynton is said by Bale to have been alive in 1530; but beyond that all is uncertain. His grammatical treatises, along with those of his old master, Stanbridge, had a wide circulation (Day-Book of John Dorne, vol. i. of the Oxford Hist. Society's publications, p. 75). He describes one of them as ‘iuxta consuetudinem ludi literarii diui Pauli.’ Several of these are of great value for illustrating the language and manners of the time. The chief of them are the following: 1. ‘Editio Secunda de consinitate [concinnitate] grammatices,’ Wynkyn de Worde, 1512, 4to (Bodl. Libr), 1516, 4to. 2. ‘De syllabarum quantitate,’ London, 1519, 4to (Hazlitt mentions an edition of 1513). 3. ‘Whytthyntoni editio: Declinationes nominum tam latinorum quam grecorum,’ London, 1517, 4to (Bodl. Libr.). 4. ‘Opusculum affabrum et recognitum … de nominum generibus,’ London, s.a. 4to. 5. ‘Editio de Heteroclitis nominibus et gradibus comparationis,’ Oxford, 1518, 4to (Bodl. Libr.); London, 1533, 4to. 6. ‘Accidentia ex Stanbrigiana editione’ together with ‘Parvula,’ London, 1528, 4to. 7. ‘Vulgaria quedam cum suis vernaculis,’ &c., London, 1521, 1525, 4to. Besides these he wrote ‘De difficultate iustitiæ servandæ in reip. administratione,’ along with ‘De quatuor uirtutibus cardineis,’ both addressed to Wolsey, London, 1519, 4to. The presentation copies, in manuscript, are in the Bodleian Library. Whytynton was also the author of the following translations: ‘The thre bookes of Tullyes Offyces bothe in latyne tonge & in englysshe,’ London, 1534, 8vo. ‘Tullius de Senectute bothe in latyn and englysshe tonge,’ London, s.a. (1535?), 8vo. ‘The Paradox of M. T. Cicero,’ London, 1540, 16mo. ‘A frutefull work of Lucius Anneus Seneca, named the forme and rule of honest lyuynge,’ London, 1546, 4to. ‘A frutefull worke of … Seneca, called the Myrrour or Glasse of Maners …’ London, 1547, 8vo. ‘Lucii Annei Senecæ ad Gallionem. … The remedyes agaynst all casuall chaunces,’ London, 1547, 8vo. ‘De civilitate morum … per Des. Erasmum … Roberto Whitintoni [sic] interprete,’ London, 1554, 8vo. An earlier edition of this last is said to have appeared in 1532 (Bibliotheca Erasmiana, 1893, p. 29).

[Editions of Whytynton's Works in Brit. Mus. and Bodleian Libraries; Wood's Athenæ and Hist. et Antiq. ii. 4, 5; Warton's English Poetry, sect. xxv.; Boase's Register of the Univ. of Oxford, 1885, i. 85; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; W. Carew Hazlitt's Schools, Schoolbooks, &c., 1888, pp. 60–8; Brüggemann's View of the English Editions, 1797, pp. 500, 651.]

J. H. L.