Boxall, John (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BOXALL, JOHN, D.D. (d. 1571), Queen Mary's secretary of state, a native of Bramshoot in Hampshire, was, after a preliminary training in Winchester School, admitted a perpetual fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1542, where he took his degrees in arts, 'being then accounted one of the subtilest disputants in the university.' He took orders, but, being opposed to the doctrines of the reformers , he abstained from exercising the functions of his ministry during the reign of Edward VI. On Queen Mary's accession he was appointed her majesty's secretary of state, dean of Ely, prebendary of Winchester , and warden of Winchester College (1554) in the place of Dr. John White, who had been promoted to the see of Lincoln. He was one of the divines who were chosen to preach at St. Paul's Cross in support of the catholic religion, and Pits relates that on one occasion, while thus engaged, a bystander hurled a dagger at him (De illustr. Anyliæ Scriptoribus, 870). Other writers assert that this happened to Dr. Pendleton; but Stow (Annales, 1615, p. 614) correctly tells us that Gilbert Bourne [q. v.] occupied the pulpit on the occasion referred to. On 23 Sept. 1556 Boxall was sworn as a member of the privy council; also as one of the masters of requests and a councillor of that court (Lansd. MS. 981, f. 85). In July 1557 he was made dean of Peterborough; on 20 Dec. following he was installed dean of Norwich, and about the same time dean of Windsor. He was elected registrar of the order of the Garter on 6 Feb. 1557-8, and in 1558 was created D.D. and appointed prebendary of York and Salisbury. It should be mentioned that Queen Mary allowed him ten retainers (Strype, Memorials, iii. 480), and that he was one of the overseers of Cardinal Pole's will (ib. 468).

Boxall was removed from the office of secretary of state by Queen Elizabeth, on her accession, to make way for Cecil, and his behaviour on the occasion places his character in a favourable light; for, instead of opposing obstacles to his successor in office, it is clear from a few of his letters to Cecil, dated about this period, that he cherished no sentiment but that of anxiety to give him all the assistance in his power. Having been deprived of his ecclesiastical preferments, he was on 18 June 1560 committed to the Tower by Archbishop Parker and other members of the ecclesiastical commission (Strype, Annals, i. 142, 148, 167; Machyn, Diary, 238; Lansd. MS. 981, f. 85 b). Subsequently he was committed to 'free custody' in the primate's palace at Lambeth, with Thirleby, late bishop of Ely, Tunstall, late bishop of Durham, and other divines who adhered to the old doctrines. He was removed at different periods to Bromley and Beaksbourne, remaining still in the archbishop's charge. In the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (MSS. No. 114, f. 286) is a letter from Boxall thanking Parker for his kindness to him when confined in his house and for the leave he had obtained of removing to Bromley. On 20 July 1569 Boxall, then in custody at Lambeth, wrote to Sir William Cecil requesting leave to visit his mother. In his letter, which is signed 'Jo. Boxoll,' he says: 'My poore mother beside the comen sicknes of age, beinge of 80 yeares at the lest, ys also dangerously diseased, desyrouse to see me & I likewyse desyrous to do my dewtye vnto her' (Lansd. MS. 12, f. 12). Eventually, being attacked by illness, Boxall was allowed to go to the house of a relative in London, where he died on 3 March 1570-1. His brothers Edmund and Richard were appointed administrators of his property.

He published a Latin sermon preached in a convocation of the clergy in 1555 and printed at London in octavo in the same year. He also wrote an 'Oration in the Praise of the Kinge of Spaine,' MS. Reg. 12 A. xlix. This discourse, which is in Latin, was probably composed in May or June 1555, on the report of the queen having been delivered of a prince.

It is recorded to his honour that he was 'a man who, though he were so great with Queen Mary, yet had the good principle to abstain from the cruel blood-shedding of the protestants, giving neither his hand nor his consent thereunto' (Strype, Life of Parker, i. 47). Lord Burghley (Execution of Justice, 1583, sheet B ii.) describes him as 'a person

of great modestie and knowledge,' and Archbishop Parker says: 'Inerat enim ei tanquam à naturâ ingenita modestia comitasque summa, quâ quoscunque notos ad se diligendum astrinxit' (Parker, Mattheus, appended to some copies of De Antiq. Brit. Eccl.)

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon (ed. Bliss), i. 380; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 513; Jewel's Works, iv. 1146; Le Neve's Fasti (ed. Hardy), i. 257, 352, 354, ii. 418, 476, 539, iii. 374; Strype's Annals, i. 83, 142, 148, 167; Strype's Eccl. Memorials, iii. 183, 352, 456, 468, 479; Strype's Parker, i. 47, 89, 140, 141, 142, 146, iii. Append. 161; Strype's Life of Sir T. Smith (1820), 46, 65; Parker Correspondence, 65, 104, 122, 192, 194, 203n, 215, 217, 218; Willis's Hist, of the Mitred Parliamentary Abbeys, i. 333; Burgon's Life of Sir T. Gresham, i. 214; Regal. MS. 12 A. xlix.; Addit. MS. 5842, f. 180b; Machyn's Diary, 238, 380; Zurich Letters, i. 5, 255, ii. 183; Nasmith's Cat. of MSS. in C. C. C. C. 164.]

T. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.34
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
86 i 26 Boxall, John : for dean read archdeacon and prebendary
27 after Winchester insert prebendary of St. Paul's