Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheppard, Nicholas

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SHEPPARD, NICHOLAS (d. 1587), master of St. John's College, Cambridge, was a native of Westmoreland. He was admitted scholar of his college, 4 July 1549, and fellow 25 March 1553; being, however, ejected in the following year, he did not commence M.A. until 1558. In 1561 he was elected a minor fellow of Trinity College in the same university; in 1562 he was elected a senior fellow, and successively filled the offices of senior bursar (1562-3) and vice-master (1564-8) on the same foundation. On 14 Nov. 1561 he was appointed one of the university preachers. He proceeded B.D. in 1568, and was admitted master of St. John's 17 Dec. 1569. His abilities seem to have been small. Baker (writing early in the eighteenth century) observed that there had been 'less said of this master than of any other since the foundation of the college' (Hist. of St. John's College, ed. Mayor, i. 166). He was admitted archdeacon of Northampton in 1571; but his tenure of the mastership was terminated by something like expulsion from the college in 1574. Barker states that there was a tradition in the college that 'Shepperd' 'had put the seal to some grants or leases for his own emolument.' Subsequent proceedings and articles preferred against him appear to point to non-residence as the only charge that was substantiated.

According to Strype, he was brought into the mastership by the party which supported Whitgift, and Baker states that 'the Genevan psalters were discontinued' during his rule. Strype {Annals, ii. 304-6) adduces evidence which implies that at a later time he favoured the puritan party. He died in 1587.

Baker's Hist, of St. John's College; Baker MS. xxvi. 26; Registers of Trinity College.]

J. B. M.