Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Chaundler, Thomas

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CHAUNDLER or CHANDLER, THOMAS (1418?–1490), warden of Winchester and New Colleges and dean of Hereford, was born about 1418 in the parish of St. Cuthbert's, Wells. At the end of May 1430 he was admitted scholar of Winchester College, and on 1 May 1435 he was elected scholar of New College, Oxford. He became fellow on 1 May 1437, graduated B.A. and M.A., and in 1444 served the office of proctor. He was admitted B.D. on 8 Feb. 1449–50, and on 18 Nov. following was elected warden of Winchester College. On 9 March 1450–1451 he supplicated for the degree of B. Can. L., and on 15 July 1452 he was collated by his friend and fellow Wykehamist, Thomas Beckington [q. v.], to the chancellorship of Wells Cathedral. On 22 Feb. 1453–1454 Chaundler was elected warden of New College; on 22 Oct. following he supplicated for the degree of B.C.L., but 'vacat' is noted on the margin of the register, and on 3 March 1454–5, as warden of New, he graduated D.D. On 6 July 1457, on the resignation of George Neville (1433?–1476) [q. v.], Chaundler was elected chancellor of Oxford University; he held the office until 15 May 1461, when Neville was again appointed, and from 1463 to 1467 Chaundler acted as vice-chancellor.

Outside the university Chaundler held many ecclesiastical preferments. He was rector of Hardwick, Buckinghamshire, parson of Meonstoke, Hampshire, and prebendary of Bole in York Cathedral in 1466. On 25 Feb. 1466–7 he was admitted chancellor of York, and in the same month he was granted a canonry and prebend in St. Stephen's, Westminster (Le Neve; Cal. Patent Bolls, 1461–1467, p. 539). Soon afterwards he became chaplain to Edward IV, and on 18 Dec. 1467 was granted the rectory of All Hallows, London. He resigned this living in 1470, and on 15 Aug. 1471 was collated to the prebend of Cadington Major in St. Paul's Cathedral. He gave up this prebend in 1472, and on 4 June was re-elected chancellor of Oxford University, George Neville having sided against Edward IV during Warwick's revolt. Chaundler held the chancellorship until 1479, serving during the same period on the commission of the peace for Oxford; he resigned the wardenship of New College in 1475. On 27 Jan. 1475–6 he was collated to the prebend of Wildland in St. Paul's Cathedral, and in the following month he exchanged the prebend of Cadington Major for that of South Muskham in Southwell Church. On 23 March 1481–2 he was installed dean of Hereford; he resigned the prebend of South Muskham in 1485, the chancellorship of York in 1486, and the prebend of Wildland before 1489; but on 16 Dec. 1486 he received the prebend of Gorwall and Overbury in Hereford Cathedral. He died on 2 Nov. 1490, and was buried in Hereford Cathedral.

Chaundler was a scholar and author, as well as an ecclesiastic and man of affairs. His Latinity is praised by Leland, and it was he who appointed the Italian, Cornelio Vitelli [q. v.], prelector of New College, his oration in reply to Vitelli's first lecture being extant in Leland's time. Vitelli is said to have been the earliest teacher of Greek at Oxford [cf. art. Grocyn]. Chaundler himself was author of a sacred drama in four acts, extant in Trinity College, Cambridge, MS. R. 14, 5 (Bekynton Corresp. pp. xlix–l). It appears to belong to the usual type of morality plays, but is remarkable for the series of fourteen tinted drawings executed by Chaundler himself, and possessing great artistic merits. On the reverse of folio 8 is a representation of Chaundler giving the manuscript to Beckington, then bishop of Wells, and the manuscript which was seen at Wells by Leland was presented to Trinity College, Cambridge, by Thomas Neville (d. 1615) [q. v.], master of Trinity College. The same manuscript contains several of Chaundler's letters to Beckington, which are printed in the 'Bekynton Correspondence' (Rolls Ser. ed. G. Williams). Similar evidence of Chaundler's artistic skill is given in his other work, 'Collocutiones septem de laudabili vita et moribus nobilibus antistitis Willelmi Wykeham … cum prologo ad Thomam de Bekynton,' written in 1462, and extant in New College MS. cclxxxviii (Coxe, Cat. MSS. in Collegiis Aulisque Oxon.); two of Chaundler's drawings illustrating this manuscript—one of Winchester College, and the other representing eminent Wykehamists, including Chaundler himself—are reproduced in Mr. A. F. Leach's 'Winchester College,' 1899,' and this manuscript is one of the chief authorities for Wykeham's life. Chaundler is also said to have been secretary of state under Henry VI and Edward IV, but no confirmation of this statement has been found.

[Cal. Patent Rolls, 1461–1477; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ed. Hardy, passim; Newcourt's Repertorium Eccl. Londin.; Hennessy's Novum Rep. Eccl. Londin. pp. xxvi, 55, 83; Bekynton Corresp. (Rolls Ser.), passim, esp. Introd. pp. xiii, xlix-l; Reg. Univ. Oxon. i. 8, Munimenta Acad., Collectanea, ii, 338-42, and Epistolæ Acad. (Oxford Hist. Soc.); Gascoigne's Loci e Libro Veritatum, ed. Thorold Rogers, p. 218; Leland's Collectanea; Bale and Pit's De Scriptt.; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib.; Wharton's Anglia Sacra; Wood's Antiquities (Latin edit. 1664), and Colleges and Halls of Oxford; Clark's Colleges of Oxford; Maxwell-Lyte's Univ. of Oxford; Kirby's Winchester Scholars; A. F. Leach's Winchester Coll. passim; Bernard's Cat. MSS. Angliæ; Coxe's Cat. MSS. in Coll. Aulisque Oxon.]

A. F. P.