Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mowse, William
MOWSE or MOSSE, WILLIAM (d. 1588), civilian, graduated LL.B. at Cambridge in 1538, took holy orders, and in 1552 proceeded LL.D. In the latter year, through the interest of Cranmer and Secretary Cecil, he obtained the mastership of Trinity Hall on the removal of Dr. Walter Haddon [q. v.] On the accession of Mary (6 July 1553) he took an active part in ousting Dr. Sandys [q. v.] from the vice-chancellorship, but was himself ousted from Trinity Hall to make way for the reinstatement of Bishop Gardiner [see Gardiner, Stephen]. The same year he was incorporated at Oxford, and in the following year was appointed regius professor of civil law in that university. In July 1555 he subscribed the Marian articles of religion, and on Gardiner's death, 12 Nov., the mastership of Trinity Hall was restored to him. By Cardinal Pole in 1556 he was appointed advocate of the court of Canterbury, and on 7 Nov. 1557 he was admitted a member of the College of Advocates. On 12 Dec. 1558 he was instituted to the rectory of Norton or Greensnorton, Northamptonshire. Though deprived of the Oxford chair and of the mastership of Trinity Hall soon after the accession of Elizabeth [cf. Harvey or Hervey, Henry, LL.D.], Mowse was admitted in 1559 to the prebend of Halloughton in the church of Southwell (2 May), and subsequently (19 May) was constituted vicar-general and official of the Archbishop of Canterbury, dean of the arches and peculiars, and judge of the court of audience. In 1560 he was instituted to the rectory of East Dereham, Norfolk, and on 29 Feb. 1560-1 was collated to the prebend of Botevant in the church of York. In 1564 he sat on a commission, appointed 27 April, to try admiralty causes arising from depredations alleged to have been committed by English privateers on Spanish commerce. He died in 1588. By his will, dated 30 May 1586, he was a liberal donor to Trinity Hall.
Mowse was an able lawyer and an accomplished scholar, whom Sir John Cheke [q. v.] thought worthy of his friendship. A Latin letter of thanks from him to Secretary Cecil, on occasion of his appointment to the mastership of Trinity Hall, may be read in Strype's 'Cranmer,' App. No. xci. He assisted in the compilation of the Bishop of Ross's 'Defence of the Queen of Scots' (see Leslie or Lesley, John, 1527-1596, and Murdin, State Papers, pp. 113, 122). It is probable that he was a Romanist without the courage of his convictions.
[Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), i. 140; Annals (Gutch), ii. 857; Baker's Northamptonshire, ii. 63; Lansd. MS. 982, f. 130; Add. MS. 5807, ff. 106-107; Strype's Cranmer, fol., i. 400; Annals, fol., i. 441; Memorials, fol., ii. 361, iii. 293; Parker, fol., i. 44; Lamb's Collection of Letters, &c., illustrative of the History of the University of Cambridge, p. 175; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 444; Rymer's Fœdera (Sanderson), xv. 639; Sandys's Sermons (Parker Soc.), p. iv; Cranmer's Works (Parker Soc.), ii. 437; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.; Fuller's Hist. Univ. Cambr. ed. Prickett and Wright, p. 243; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 76, 84, 154; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr.]