Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mainwaring, Matthew

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MAINWARING, MATTHEW (1561–1652), romancist, born 26 Feb. 1561, was the second son of Thomas Mainwaring of Nantwich, Cheshire, and Margaret, daughter of Randall Crew of the same place. He married Margaret Mynshull, half-sister of Richard Mynshull, to whom he dedicated ‘Vienna, where in is storied ye valorous atchieuements, famous triumphs, constant loue, greate miseries, and finall happines, of the well-deseruing, truly noble and most valiant kt, Sr Paris of Vienna, and ye most admired amiable Princess the faire Vienna,’ a translation, or rather adaptation, of a romance of Catalonian origin. It was first published without date (about 1618), and reprinted in 1620, 1621, about 1630, n.d. (the edition was licensed 25 May 1628, Arber, Transcript, iv. 164), and in 1650. Mr. W. C. Hazlitt describes a copy of the edition of 1621, which contained a dedication of the book by ‘T. M.’ to Lucy, countess of Bedford. ‘Vienna’ has been assigned to Richard Mynshull, but it contains two anagrams and a reference to the arms (those of Mainwaring) in the engraved title, which leave no doubt as to the real author. There are commendatory verses by Thomas Heywood, various members of the Mainwaring family, and Thomas Croket, from which last it appears that Matthew Mainwaring had been a soldier, and was already an old man when he wrote ‘Vienna.’ Geffray Mynshull [q. v.], his nephew, dedicated to him in 1618 his ‘Essayes and Characters of a Prison and Prisoners.’ Mainwaring died in January 1651–2, having nearly completed his ninetieth year.

[Harl. MS. 1535, f. 348; Hunter's Chorus Vatum (Add. MS. 24492); Brydges's Cens. Lit. viii. 33; Hazlitt's Handbook, p. 438, and Collections, 1867–76, p. 318; Hall's History of Nantwich, pp. 456–8; Palatine Note-book, iii. 156; information kindly supplied by C. W. Sutton, esq., of Manchester.]

G. T. D.