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

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SEVER, HENRY (d. 1471), first provost of Eton College and warden of Merton, was a member of Merton College, Oxford, in 1427, when he served as senior proctor in the university. He graduated D.D., and subsequently became chaplain and almoner to Henry VI. By the charter of incorporation he was on 11 Oct. 1440 appointed first provost of Eton College (Bekynton Correspondence, ii. 274, 281, 286). In 1442 he was succeeded as provost by William Waynefleet [q. v.], and at the end of that year he became chancellor of Oxford University. In the following year he was specially recommended by the university to the favour of Eugenius IV. On 29 May 1445 he was collated to the prebend of Harleston in St. Paul's Cathedral, and in April 1449 he became chancellor of that church. In 1446 the college presented him to the chapel of Kibworth, which he resigned soon after, and on 19 Feb. 1455–6 elected him warden of Merton College. In the reign of Edward IV Sever is said to have held fourteen ecclesiastical preferments (Harwood, Alumni Eton. p. 2). He died on 6 July 1471, and was buried in the choir of Merton College chapel; a monumental brass placed over his tomb is now within the rails of the communion-table on the south side of the chancel. His will, dated 4 July 1471, is printed in ‘Testamenta Eboracensia’ (iii. 188–90); by it Sever made many bequests to Merton College. While warden he rebuilt or completed the warden's house and the Holywell tower, probably at his own expense; these services won him the title of second founder of the college. Sever has been frequently confused with William Senhouse [q. v.], whose name was generally but erroneously spelt Sever.

[Testamenta Eboracensia (Surtees Soc.), iii. 188–90; Corresp. of Bekynton (Rolls Ser.); Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 113, 153; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 360, 389, iii. 343, 467, 543; Camdeni et Ill. Virorum Lit. 1690, pp. 219–20, 224–5; Harwood's Alumni Etonenses; Maxwell-Lyte's Eton College, pp. 8, 18; Brodrick's Memorials of Merton, pp. 16, 160, 314.]

A. F. P.