Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Heytesbury, William (fl.1340)

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HEYTESBURY, WILLIAM (fl. 1340), logician, is mentioned as a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 1330, of which college he was bursar in 1338 (G. C. Brodrick, Memorials of Merton College, Oxford, 1885, p. 207). In a record of the scrutinies of the college in 1338–9, printed by J. E. Thorold Rogers (History of Agriculture and Prices, ii. 670–4, Oxford, 1866), his name appears variously as Hethelbury, Hegterbury, and Hegtelbury, and this last spelling suggests an identification with the William Heightilbury who was appointed one of the original fellows of Queen's College in 1340 (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. of Oxford, Colleges and Halls, ed. Gutch, p. 139), a presumption which gains a high degree of probability when it is considered that three others of the original fellows of Queen's College are named in the scrutinies of 1338–9 as fellows of Merton, and more were members of that college. Possibly the founder of Queen's College purposely withdrew from Merton College those fellows whom the scrutiny shows to have constituted a malcontent minority of their body. The only remaining notice of Heytesbury's life is that he (William Heighterbury or Hetisbury) was a doctor of divinity and chancellor of the university in 1371 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Gutch, p. 28), at which date he was evidently advanced in years, so that the date (1380) given by Bale for his ‘floruit’ is too late. That he was ‘philosophiæ magister Cantabrigiensis,’ as Tanner asserts (Bibl. Brit. p. 400), on the authority of Bale and Pits, is a mistake not to be found in either of those writers, but due apparently to inadvertence on Tanner's own part.

Heytesbury's works are all printed under the name of Hentisberus or Tisberius (cf. Wood, Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford, ed. A. Clark, vol. i. 1889, pp. 345 f.), and exist in the following editions: 1. ‘Sophismata magistri Guliermi Entisberi,’ printed at Pavia (not Paris, as Tanner states) in 1481, folio. 2. A series of treatises, ‘De sensu composito et diviso,’ ‘de insolubilibus,’ ‘de scire et dubitare,’ ‘de relativis,’ ‘de incipit et desinit,’ ‘de maximo et minimo,’ and ‘de motu locali,’ followed by the ‘Sophismata xxxii’ (as in the edition of 1481) and tracts ‘de veritate et falsitate propositionis’ and ‘de probationibus conclusionum,’ edited by Johannes Maria Mapellus, with commentaries by Gaetanus de Thienis and others (Venice, 1494, fol.) An edition, printed at Venice in 1483, and described by Hain (Repert. Bibliogr. No. 8441) as containing works by Hentisberi, contains, in fact, only the commentaries of Gaetanus on the treatises included in the edition of 1494, with the exception of the ‘De sensu composito et diviso,’ of the last two ‘Sophismata’ (which are given in a different order), and of the two tracts which conclude the 1494 volume. C. von Prantl names also an edition of the ‘De sensu composito et diviso’ printed at Bologna in 1504, 4to, with the commentary of B. Victorius (Geschichte der Logik im Abendlande, iv. 89 n. 347, Leipzig, 1870). 3. ‘Consequentie subtiles Tisberii,’ printed with the ‘Consequentie Strodi’ (signature o, 8) at Venice in 1517 (not, as Tanner, 1511) in folio.

Heytesbury's position as a logician, chiefly with respect to the doctrine of the ‘Obligatoria’ and ‘Insolubilia,’ is discussed by Prantl, 1. c. pp. 89–93.

[Authorities cited above.]

R. L. P.