Exmew, William (DNB00)

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EXMEW, WILLIAM (1507?–1535), Carthusian, was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. His friend, Maurice Chauncy [q. v.], says that he was a man of good family, and that when at the age of twenty-eight he was chosen vicar (and shortly afterwards steward) of the London Charterhouse, there was no Carthusian in England better fitted by wit and learning for the post. This must have been in 1535, as Humphrey Middlemore is called steward (procurator) in 1534 (Cal. Hen. VIII, vii. 728). After the prior and other more important Carthusians had suffered death for denying the king's supremacy, Exmew and two others still persisted in refusing the oath, and were forthwith hanged as traitors in June 1535. They had previously been imprisoned in the Tower, rigidly chained in a standing position for thirteen days. A theological treatise entitled ‘The Clowde of Knowing and the Clowde of Contemplation’ has been ascribed to him or Chauncy, but the handwriting of the copy in the Harleian collection (Harl. MS. 674) belongs to an earlier period, and the writer of that copy signs himself Walter Fitzherbert. Another copy at University College, Oxford, is mentioned in the Oxford Catalogue of Manuscripts.

[Cal. of Henry VIII, vols. vii. viii.; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. i. 160; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Strype's Eccl. Mem.; Baga de Secretis in 3rd Rep. of Deputy-Keeper of Public Records.]

R. H. B.