Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Glyn, William

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GLYN, WILLIAM (1504?–1558), bishop of Bangor, was born about 1504 in Heneglwys parish in Anglesey. Foxe, however, says that he was forty-one years old in 1551 (Acts and Monuments, vi. 242, ed. Townsend). His father's name is said to have been John Glyn, rector of Heneglwys, while that of his mother was Joan, daughter of Maredudd ab Gwilym. The church's rule of celibacy was but little regarded among the Welsh parochial clergy. He had several brothers, one of whom, Dr. Jeffry Glyn, was a distinguished advocate at Doctors' Commons, and founded the Friars' School, Bangor (Willis, Survey of Bangor, p. 47). Another brother, John Glyn, was dean of Bangor between 1508 and 1534, and on his death in the latter year made William his executor and heir.

Glyn was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge. He became a fellow of his college in 1530, junior bursar in 1533, senior bursar in 1534, and dean in 1540. He proceeded B.A. in 1527, M.A. in 1530, B.D. in 1538, and D.D. in 1544. In 1544 he vacated his fellowship and became Lady Margaret's professor of theology, 'being,' as Sir John Wynne says, 'a great scholar and a great hebrician,' though Hebrew was 'rare at that time.' He was one of the original fellows of Trinity College, named in the charter of foundation (19 Dec. 1546), and he became the first vice-master of the new college. He was opposed to the protestant innovations of Edward VI's reign, and being inhibited from lecturing resigned his professorship in June 1549. He was one of the disputants who maintained the doctrines of transubstantiation and the eucharistic sacrifice before the royal commissioners for the visitation of Cambridge in the June of that year. The voluminous arguments at the three disputations are all given by Foxe (Acts and Monuments, vi. 306 sq., 319 sq., 332 sq., ed. Townsend).

Glyn's institution on 7 March 1550 to the rectory of St. Martin's, Ludgate, on the presentation of Bishop Thirlby, whose chaplain he became in 1551, and his appointment to his father's living of Heneglwys on 13 Feb. 1552 (Willis, Bangor, p. 104), show that he must have conformed to the new services. After Mary's accession, however, in December 1553, he was made president of Queens', his old college, where the spirit of Erasmus was more powerful than anywhere at Cambridge, except St. John's (Mullinger, ii. 45). In April 1554 he was one of the six delegates sent to Oxford to dispute with Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley. He arrived at Oxford on 13 April and lodged at the Cross Inn (Foxe, vi. 439). He was now incorporated D.D. of Oxford. In 1554 Glyn became vice-chancellor of Cambridge, but before the end of the year he was called away by state business and was succeeded by Cuthbert Scott, the master of Christ's College. In 1555 he was sent with Thirlby and others on a mission to Rome, to obtain a confirmation of Pole's acts as legate. He arrived there on 24 May, and returned to London on 24 Aug. (Machyn, Diary, p. 93, Camd. Soc.) He was already destined for the bishopric of Bangor, the congé d'élire for his election being issued as early as 4 March 1555 (Fœdera, xv. 415). His election duly followed, but his final appointment was due to papal provision (ib. xv. 426; Brady, Episcopal Succession, i. 83). He was consecrated on 8 Sept. 1555 at London House by Bonner (Stubbs, Reg. Sacrum Anglicanum, p. 81; Machyn, Diary, says at St. Paul's, p. 94). He assisted at the consecration of Pole. He held several diocesan synods, which he compelled his clergy to attend, as a means of enforcing his doctrines upon them. He deprived the married clergy of their livings. He only resigned his headship of Queens' College, Cambridge, in the latter part of 1557.

Glyn died on 21 May 1558, and was buried in his cathedral on the north side of the choir, where a brass plate commemorates his powers of preaching, and his great knowledge of his own, the Welsh tongue. Sir John Wynne describes him as 'a good and religious man after the manner of that time' (Gwydir Family, p. 94). 'He was,' says Fuller, 'an excellent scholar, and none of the papists pressed their arguments with more strength and less passion. Though constant to his own he was not cruel to opposite judgments, as appeareth by there being no persecution in his diocese' (Worthies of England, ii. 571, ed. Nichols). It is said that the house of Treveiler, which belonged to his ancestors, remained in his family till 1775 (ib. note). He must be distinguished from his senior contemporary, Dr. William Glyn, archdeacon of Anglesey, who belonged to a different family.

[Sir John Wynne's Hist. of the Gwydir Family, ed. 1878, p. 94; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 765, ed. Bliss; Le Neve's Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, i. 104, iii. 604, 654, 685; Rymer's Fœdera, xv. 415, 426; Machyn's Diary, pp. 93-4 (Camd. Soc.); Baker's Hist. of St. John's Coll., Cambridge (Mayor), i. 126; Mullinger's Hist. of the Univ. of Cambridge, 1535-1625, pp. 45, 84, 114; Willis's Survey of Bangor, pp. 30, 47, 104-5; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 764-6, ed. Bliss; Williams's Dict. of Eminent Welshmen, p. 173; Foxe's Acts and Monuments, vol. vi. ed. Townsend. Most of the facts of his life are collected in Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 175; the Rev. W. G. Searle gives a full account of his life and an exhaustive account of his acts as president of Queens' in his Hist. of Queens' Coll. Cnmbridge. pt. i. pp. 245-263, in Nos. ix. and x. of the publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Soc.]

T. F. T.