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

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LANGLEY, JOHN (d. 1657), grammarian, born near Banbury, Oxfordshire, subscribed to the articles, &c. at Oxford on 23 April 1613, graduated B.A. from Magdalen Hall in 1616, and proceeded M.A. in 1619. On 9 March 1617 he was appointed high-master of the college school, Gloucester, resigned his office in 1627, was readmitted on 11 Aug. 1628, and finally resigned in or about 1635 (Gloucester Chapter Act Book, i. 21, 51). It is said that he held a prebend in Gloucester Cathedral. On 7 Jan. 1640 he succeeded Dr. Alexander Gill the younger [q. v.] as high-master of St. Paul's School, where, as at Gloucester, he educated many who were afterwards serviceable in church and state. In recognition of his scholastic attainments he was appointed by a parliamentary order of 20 June 1643 one of the licensers of the press for 'books of philosophy, history, poetry, morality, and arts,' but appears by a petition (of 20 Dec. 1643) from the stationers and printers of London to have been latterly remiss in the performance of his duties. Having been sworn at the lords' bar on 12 Jan. 1644, Langley appeared on 6 June following as a witness before the lords' committees appointed to take examinations in the cause of Archbishop Laud, and deposed to sundry innovations in the conduct of the cathedral services introduced by Laud when dean of Gloucester.

Langley was not only an able schoolmaster, but a general scholar, an excellent theologian of the puritan stamp, and a distinguished antiquary. Fuller calls him the 'able and religious schoolmaster.' He was highly esteemed by Selden and other learned men.

He published: 'Totius Rhetoricæ Adumbratio in usum Paulinæ Scholæ,' 1664, 2nd edit. Cambridge, 1650, and an 'Introduction to Grammar,' 'several times printed.' Wood credits him with a translation of Polydore Vergil's 'De Inventoribus Rerum,' and implies that this translation was new. The only edition which bears Langley's name is that of 1663, and it cannot claim to be a new translation, or even a new edition. It is simply the remainder, with a new title-page, of the 1659 edition, which is itself a reprint of that of 1546, the work of Thomas Langley [q. v.], canon of Winchester.

Langley died unmarried at his house in St. Paul's Churchyard on 13 Sept. 1657, and was buried on 21 Sept. in Mercers' Chapel, when a funeral sermon, subsequently printed (on Acts vii. 22), touching the 'Use of Human Learning,' was preached by his friend Dr. Edward Reynolds, sometime dean of Christ Church, and afterwards bishop of Norwich. The preacher warmly eulogises Langley's learning and character, and states that they accepted his recommendation of Samuel Cromleholme [q. v.] as his successor at St. Paul's. His will bears date 9 Sept. 1657, and was proved on 29 Sept. following (Reg. in P. C. C. 343, Ruthen).

He is not to be confounded with John Langley, M.A., instituted to the rectory of West Tytherley or Tuderley, Hampshire, on 24 July 1641, and nominated a member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines by a parliamentary order of 12 June 1643 (Lords' Journals, vi. 93).

[Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, 1st ser. p. 373; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 434; Knight's Life of Dr. Colet, 1734, p. 379; Prynne's Canterburies Doome, 1645, p. 75; Fuller's Church Hist. of Britain, 1655, pt. v. p. 168; Hist. of the Troubles and Tryal of Archbishop Laud, 1695, p. 232; Stow's Survey, ed. Strype, 1729, pt. i. p. 168; Gardiner's Reg. St. Paul's School, p. 41; Professor John Ferguson's Bibliographical Notes on the English translation of Polydore Vergil's De Inventoribus Rerum, p. 30; Lords' Journals, vi. 377; Commons' Journals, iii. 139; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 4; Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 67; Mercers' Company Minute-book; transcript of Mercers' Chapel Rag. at Somerset House.]

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