Bruerne, Richard (DNB00)

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BRUERNE, RICHARD (1519?–1565), professor of Hebrew, fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, and of Eton, received the degree of B.D. in 1547, and the next year was appointed professor of Hebrew in the university of Oxford. While holding this office he was one of the witnesses on behalf of Bishop Gardiner in 1551, being then about thirty-two years of age (Foxe), and was present at the disputation held with Cranmer at Oxford in 1554 (Strype). In 1553 he received the canonry at Christ Church formerly held by Peter Martyr. His learning is celebrated by Leland, who, in his ‘Cygnea Cantio,’ 1. 633, calls him ‘Hebræi radius chori,’ and Bishop Cox, though one of the party opposed to him, says in a letter to Peter Martyr, ‘Richard Bruerne, an excellent Hebraist, is in possession of your prebend’ (Zurich Letters). In May 1557 he was installed canon of Windsor. During 1556 his Hebrew lectures were taken by Peter de Soto, and others appear to have lectured in his place during the next two years. This may have been simply because he was engaged elsewhere (Wood). On the other hand, the cessation of his lectures may have been enforced on account of his misconduct. He is said to have been guilty of gross immorality, and consequently to have been obliged to resign his professorship some time before March 1559, the date of a letter in which Jewel tells Martyr of his resignation and its cause (Jewel, Works). Nevertheless, the fellows of Eton, acting without the consent of the queen, elected him as provost on 25 July 1561, granting him at the same time the usual leave of absence. The independence of their action and the unfitness of their choice roused much indignation, and Bishop Grindal wrote to Cecil that ‘suche a sorte of hedge priestes’ should not be allowed to act in despite of the royal prerogative (State Papers, Eliz. Domestic, xix. 18, 30; Lyte). Archbishop Parker was accordingly directed to hold a visitation of the college, and to inquire into the election of the provost, ‘of whom there is disperst very evil fame.’ The visitation was held on 9 Sept., and though Bruerne at first objected to the commission, alleging that it had expired, he finally resigned the provostship, receiving 10l. from the funds of the college to make up for his disappointment (Lyte). The next year he supplicated for the degree of D.D. at Oxford, but was refused. He died in April 1565, and was buried in St. George's Chapel, Windsor. At the time of his death he was ‘receiver’ of Christ Church, and Dr. Sampson, the dean, told Parker that he left a large sum of money to be accounted for (Parker Correspondence).

[Wood's Fasti Oxon. (ed. Bliss), i. 87, 125, 161; Foxe's Acts and Monuments (ed. 1846), vi. 130, 213; Strype's Memorials of Cranmer, ii. 1090; Life of Parker, i. 205–7; Leland's Cygnea Cantio (ed. 1658), p. 22; Jewel's Works, iv. 1199 (Parker Society); Zurich Letters, i. 7 (Parker Soc.); Parker Correspondence, 240 (Parker Soc.); State Papers, Eliz. Domestic, xix. 18, 30; Lyte's History of Eton College, 170–2; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 132; Le Neve's Fasti (ed. Hardy).]

W. H.