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

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GWYNNETH, JOHN, (fl. 1557), catholic divine and musician, was son of David ap Llewelyn ap Ithel of Llyn, brother to Robert ap Llewelyn ap Ithel of Castelmarch, Carnarvonshire, ancestor of Sir William Jones, knight. He was educated at Oxford, and being a poor man he was, says Wood, 'exhibited to by an ecclesiastical Mecænas,' in the hope that he would write against the heretics. In due course he was ordained priest, and on 9 Dec. 1531 he supplicated the university for leave to practise in music and for the degree of doctor of music, as he had composed all the responses for a whole year 'in cantis chrispis aut fractis, ut aiunt,' and many masses, including three masses of five parts and five masses of four parts, besides hymns, antiphons, and divers songs for the use of the church (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 167). This request was granted conditionally on his paying to the university twenty pence on the day of his admission, and he was forthwith licensed to proceed (Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 86). He was presented by the king to the provostship or rectory sine curd of Clynog fawr upon the death of Dr. William Glyn. Bishop John Capon, who was consecrated 19 April 1534, would not admit him, but instituted Gregory Williamson, a kinsman of Cromwell, earl of Essex, to the living. Gwynneth brought his quare impedit against the Bishop of Bangor in July 1541, and during the vacancy of the see by the translation of John Bird to Chester he got himself instituted to Clynog in October 1541 by the commissary of the Archbishop of Canterbury. After this there was a great controversy between Gwynneth and Bishop Bulkley in the Star-chamber, and in 1543 Gwynneth obtained judgment in his favour on the quare impedit (Caii Vindiciæ Acad. Oxon. ed. Hearne, ii. 666). He appears to have resigned the living shortly afterwards, as on 19 Sept. 1543 he was admitted to the rectory of St. Peter, Westcheap, in the city of London, which he resigned before 19 Nov. 1556 (Newcourt, Repertorium Ecclesiasticum, i. 522). In 1554 he was vicar of Luton, Bedfordshire. Probably he died before the end of Queen Mary's reign.

His works are: 1. 'My Love mourneth,' music and words in a book, 'Bassus,' beginning 'In this boke are conteynyd xx songes,' 1530, obl. 4to. 2. 'The confutacyon of the fyrst parte of Frythes boke, with a disputacyon before, whether it be possyble for any heretike to know that hymselfe is one or not, And also another, whether it be wors to denye directely more or lesse of the fayth,' St. Albans, 1536, 16mo. 3. 'A Manifesto Detection of the notable falshed of that Part of Frythes boke which he termeth his Foundation, and bosteth it to be invincible,' 2nd edition, London, 1554, 8vo. 4. 'A Playne Demonstration of John Frithes lacke of witte and learnynge in his understandynge of holie Scripture, and of the olde holy doctours, in the Blessed Sacrament of the Aulter, newly set foorthe,' St. Albans, 1536, 4to; London, 1557, 4to, written in the form of a dialogue. 5. 'A Declaration of the State wherein all Heretickes dooe leade their lives; and also of their continuall indever and propre fruictes, which beginneth in the 38 Chapiter, and so to thende of the Woorke,' London, 1554, 4to. 6. 'A brief Declaration of the notable Victory given of God to oure soueraygne lady, quene Marye, made in the church of Luton, the 23 July, in the first yere of her gracious reign,' London [1554], 16mo.

[Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 799, 875, 1436; Bale, De Scriptoribus, ii. 105; Cat. of Music in Brit. Mus.; Davis's Hist. of Luton, p. 202; Dibdin's Typogr. Antiq.iv. 404, 543; Dodd's Church Hist. i. 208; Gillow's Bibl.Dict.; Pits, De Scriptoribus, p. 735; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 365; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 246.]

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