Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Henry of Abendon

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Henry Abingdon in the ODNB.

HENRY of Abendon (d. 1437), warden of Merton College, Oxford, was presumably a native of Abingdon, Berkshire. He was elected fellow of Merton College in 1390, and was ordained deacon 22 Feb. 1398 by Robert de Braybroke, bishop of London. He was presented to the living of Weston Zoyland, Somerset, in 1403. He became a doctor of divinity, and in 1414 was one of the delegates from the university to the council of Constance, where he defended the claim of Oxford to priority over Salamanca and of England over Spain, in the latter case with success. In 1421 he was elected warden of Merton College. During his wardenship the chapel was completed in 1425 by the addition of the tower and transepts; a new peal of five bells was also provided, partly at his expense, and his name was put on the tenor or great bell; the peal was recast in 1656 (Anthony à Wood, ‘Life,’ p. xxvii, in Bliss's edition of the Athenæ). In December 1432 he received permission to go to the council of Basle as one of the representatives of the clergy (Fœdera, x. 532, orig. ed.). He was a prebendary of Wells, and in 1436 received the vicarage of West Monkton, Somerset. He died towards the end of 1437. Tanner cites Wood as his authority for ascribing to him ‘Quæstiones in primum librum Sententiarum;’ a ‘Replicatio primi libri Sententiarum contra magistrum Henricum de Abyndon de Collegio Merton’ is extant (C. C. C. Oxford MS. 116). Abendon was the donor of Merton College MS. 154, which contains the commentary of Hugh de St. Caro on Ecclesiasticus and a treatise on confession and absolution; he directed it to be chained in the library for the use of the scholars.

[Tanner, Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 394; Weaver's Somerset Incumbents; Brodrick's Memorials of Merton College (Oxf. Hist. Soc.); Coxe's Cat. MSS. Coll. Aulisque Oxon. i. 64.]

C. L. K.