Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Conway, John

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CONWAY, Sir JOHN (d. 1603), governor of Ostend, was the son and heir of Sir John Conway, knight-banneret of Arrow, Warwickshire, by Katherine, daughter of Sir Ralph Verney (Lipscomb, Buckinghamshire, i. 179). He was knighted in 1559 (Addit. MS. 32102, f. 122 a). As he was walking in the streets of London in 1578, Ludovic Grevil came suddenly upon him, and struck him on the head with a cudgel, felling him to the ground, and then attacked him with a sword so fiercely that, but for the intervention of a servant, who warded off the blow, he would have cut off his legs. The privy council sent for Grevil, and committed him to the Marshalsea. The outrage occasioned much excitement, because on the same day Lord Rich was also violently attacked in the streets (Strype, Annals, ii. 547, folio). Being a person of great skill in military affairs, Conway was made governor of Ostend on 29 Dec. 1586 by Robert, earl of Leicester, who was then general of the English auxiliaries in the United Provinces (Thomas, Hist. Notes, i. 408, 436). For some reason he was made a prisoner, as appears from an original letter addressed by him to Sir Francis Walsingham, dated at Ostend 8 Sept. 1588, concerning his imprisonment and the uses which might be made of one Berney, a spy, who had great credit with the prince of Parma (Harl. MS. 287, f. 102; Notes and Queries, 1st series, xi. 48). In July 1590 he was licensed to return to England, and the office of governor of Ostend was granted to Sir Edward Norreys (Murdin, State Papers, p. 794). He died on 4 Oct. 1603, and was buried in Arrow church, where a monument, with a Latin inscription, was erected to his memory (Dugdale, Warwickshire, ed. 1730, p. 852). By his wife Ellen, or Eleanor, daughter of Sir Fulke Greville of Beauchamp's Court, Warwickshire, he had four sons: Edward, who was created Viscount Conway [q. v.] (Birch, Elizabeth, ii. 98); Fulke, John, and Thomas; and four daughters, Elizabeth, Katherine, Mary, and Frances (Dugdale, Warwickshire, p. 850; Lipscomb, Buckinghamshire, i. 268).

He wrote: 1. ‘Meditations and Praiers, gathered out of the sacred Letters and vertuous Writers; disposed in Fourme of the Alphabet of the Queene, her most excellent Maiesties Name; whereunto are added, comfortable Consolations (drawn out of the Latin) to afflicted Mindes,’ Lond. (printed by Henry Wykes), undated. Another edition, also undated, was printed by William How (Ames, Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, p. 1038). 2. ‘Poesie of floured Praiers,’ 8vo, Lond. 1611 (Lowndes, Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, p. 514; Cat. Lib. Impress. Bibl. Bodl. ed. 1851, iv. 225). 3. Commendatory verses prefixed to Geoffrey Fenton's ‘Certaine Tragicall Discourses,’ 1567 (Ames, Typogr. Antiq. ed. Herbert, p. 856).

[Authorities cited above; Cal. State Papers; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Hackman's Cat. of Tanner MSS. 880; Collier's Extracts from Registers of Stationers' Company, i. 165; Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages (1883), 133.]

T. C.