Howell, William (1638?-1683) (DNB00)

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HOWELL, WILLIAM (1638?–1683), historian, born about 1638, was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge (B.A. 1651, M.A. 1655), of which he became a fellow. On 25 Nov. 1664 he was created doctor of civil law, and was incorporated at Oxford on 6 July 1676. He was tutor to John, earl of Mulgrave. On 4 Feb. 1678 he was admitted a civilian (Coote, English Civilians, pp. 99-100), and became chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln. He died in the beginning of 1683. By license dated 3 Aug. 1678 he married Miss Mary Ashfield of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, London (Chester, London Marriage Licences, ed. Foster, col. 718). He wrote 'An Institution of General History . . . from the beginning of the World till the Monarchy of Constantine the Great,' fol., London, 1661 (another edition 1662), which he translated into Latin in 1671 as 'Elementa Historiæ,' 12mo, London, for the use of Lord Mulgrave. The history was afterwards brought down 'to the fall of Augustulus,' and published in 1685, with a dedicatory letter to James II by the author's widow. Mary Howell, and a preface by Compton, bishop of London, and others. What is styled the second edition' was issued in three parts, fol., London, 1680-5. The compilation was praised by Gibbon ( Autobiography, ed. 1827, i. 33). Howell was also author of 'Medulla Historiæ Anglicanæ. Being a comprehensive History of the Lives and Reigns of the Monarchs of England,' which passed through several editions, though without his name. The earliest edition mentioned by Wood is dated 1679; a twelfth edition, brought down to 1760, appeared in 1766.

[Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 355.]

G. G.