Humphrey, Laurence (DNB00)
|←Humphrey||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 28
HUMPHREY or HUMFREY, LAURENCE, D.D. (1527?-1590), president of Magdalen College, Oxford, and dean successively of Gloucester and Winchester, was born about 1527 at Newport Pagnel, Buckinghamshire, and was educated at Cambridge. He was probably the Humphrey who matriculated in November 1544 as a pensioner of Christ's College (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 80). Dr. Willet, in his dedication to the `Harmony on the first Book of Samuel,' names Humphrey as one of the eminent preachers who had received their education in that college. He must, however, have soon removed to Oxford, where he was elected a demy of Magdalen College in 1546 (Bloxam, Register of Magdalen College, Oxford, iv. 104). He was elected a probationary fellow in 1548, proceeded B.A. in 1549, and soon afterwards became a perpetual fellow of his college. On 18 July 1552 he commenced M.A. He was elected lecturer in natural philosophy in that year, and lecturer in moral philosophy in 1553.
Throughout his life Humphrey advocated advanced protestant opinions. He consequently obtained from the college on 27 Sept. 1553, soon after the accession of Mary, leave to go abroad, on condition that he should not depart from the realm without the royal license. He went first to Basle, and then to Zurich, and his name is subscribed to a letter from the protestant exiles at the latter place to their brethren at Frankfort, dated 13 Oct. 1554. On 24 Dec. 1554, and again on 15 June 1555, the college authorities gave him a further extension of leave, and at the same time helped him to defray the cost of his studies abroad. While at Zurich he associated with Parkhurst, Jewel, and other protestant exiles, and lodged in the house of Christopher Froschover, the printer (Zurich Letters, i. 11). He highly extols the hospitality and kindness of the magistrates and ministers there. As he continued abroad beyond the time for which leave had been granted, his name fell out of the list of fellows of Magdalen College before the July election in 1556. On 23 April 1558 he was admitted into the English protestant congregation at Geneva (Burn, Livre des Anglois à Genève, p. 11). In June 1559 he was living at Basle.
After the death of Queen Mary he returned to England. During his absence he had corresponded on theological subjects with the divines at Geneva, and brought back with him 'so much of the Calvinian, both in doctrine and discipline, that the best that could be said of him was that he was a moderate and conscientious nonconformist' (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 558). In 1560, however, he was appointed regius professor of divinity in the university. In the year following he was a candidate for the presidentship of Magdalen College, and obtained letters of recommendation from Archbishop Parker and Grindal, bishop of London, but the fellows, being 'leavened much with popery,' at first refused to choose him. On 28 Nov. 1561, however, he was, on a second scrutiny, unanimously elected, and took the oaths on 17 Dec. He soon discovered that he had succeeded to 'a post of honour, but of small profit,' and accordingly, in January 1561-2, he unsuccessfully applied to Cecil for a canonry of Christ Church, adducing many instances of such pluralities (Cal. State papers, Dom. 1547-80, pp. 192, 193). He graduated B.D. on 10 June 1562, and was created D.D. on the 13th of the following month (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 218). Taking advantage of the important offices he held, Humphrey 'did not only … stock his College with a generation of Nonconformists, which could not be rooted out in many years after his decease, but sowed also in the Divinity School … seeds of Calvinism, and laboured to create in the younger sort … a strong hatred against the Papists' (Athenæ Oxon. i. 559). His zeal against the Roman catholics gained for him the title of `Papistomastix.'
On 3 March 1563-4 Humphrey, with his friend Thomas Sampson, and four other divines who refused to wear the vestments, were cited to appear before Archbishop Parker and his colleagues at Lambeth. The archbishop produced no impression on them by quoting the opinions of foreign divines, such as Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer, and submissive appeals to the archbishop, the bishops of London, Winchester, Ely, and Lincoln, and other commissioners, and a letter to the Earl of Leicester failed to procure their release. On 29 April the archbishop peremptorily declared in open court that they must conform at all points or immediately part with their preferment. After further examinations they were released on signing a proposition, by which they seemed to allow the lawfulness of the vestments, though on grounds of inexpediency declining to use them (Strype, Life of Parker, p. 162; Annals, i. 464, folio). About the same time they addressed a letter to the queen, appealing for toleration (Cooper, ii. 81).
Humphrey retired for a time to the house of a widow named Warcup in Oxfordshire; thence he wrote on 24 May 1565 to John Foxe to intercede with the Duke of Norfolk for him. In the same month he wrote to the bishops against the vestments, urging that other popish practices would follow. Again, in a letter to Cecil (1566), he prayed that the articles of the archbishop might be in some ways mitigated and that pastors might be relieved from observing certain ceremonies (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547-80, pp. 253, 271). He had, indeed, been appointed to preach at St. Paul's Cross either by the Bishop of London or the lord mayor, but it appears that he, Sampson, and Lever were allowed to preach in London without wearing the habits (Strype, Life of Grindal, p. 116, folio; Parker Correspondence, p. 239). While his case was under the consideration of the commissioners, the Bishop of Winchester had presented him to a small living in the diocese of Salisbury, but Bishop Jewel, his professed friend and intimate acquaintance, declined to admit him because he refused an assurance of conformity (20 Dec. 1565) (Life of Parker, i. 184, folio; Jewel, Works, ed. Ayre, biog. mem. p. xix).
Upon the publication of the advertisements for enforcing a more strict conformity, Humphrey wrote to Secretary Cecil (23 April 1566) begging him to stay their execution (Life of Parker, p. 217). On the queen visiting the university of Oxford in 1566, she was met near Wolvercot by Humphrey, Godwyn, dean of Christ Church, and other doctors in their scarlet habits. After a Latin oration by Marbeck, the queen said to Humphrey, as he was kissing her hand, `Methinks this gown and habit becomes you very well, and I marvel that you are so straight-laced on this point—but I come not now to chide.' When her majesty entered Christ Church Cathedral, Humphrey was one of the four doctors who held a canopy over her. On 2 Sept. the Spanish ambassador and divers noblemen attended a divinity lecture given in the schools by Dr. Humphrey.
The Earl of Leicester, in a letter to the university of Oxford, dated 26 March 1567, warmly recommended Humphrey to the office of vice-chancellor. On 21 July 1568 he was appointed one of the commissioners for visiting Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and ejecting the Roman catholics from that society. He was incorporated D.D. at Cambridge 7 March 1568-9. On 13 March 1570-1 he was installed dean of Gloucester, and consented to wear the habits. 'He was loath,' he wrote to Burghley at the time, 'her majesty or any other honourable person should think that he was forgetful of his duty, or so far off from obedience, but that he would submit himself to those orders in that place where his being and living was. And therefore he had yielded' (Strype, Annals, ii. 451, folio). He was commissary or vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford in 1571, and continued to hold the office till about 1576. During that period the title of commissary was dropped, and that of vice-chancellor only used. On 31 Aug. 1572 he, on behalf of the university of Oxford, delivered a Latin oration before the queen at Woodstock, and made another oration to her majesty at the same place on 11 Sept. 1575 (Wood, Annals, ed. Gutch, ii. 173).
On 14 July 1576, and again in 1584, he was in a commission to visit the diocese of Gloucester. At the latter end of this year Lord Burghley wrote to him that his non-conformity seemed to be the chief impediment in the way of his being made a bishop. Humphrey consequently once again adopted the disputed habits, but `protested that his standing before and conforming now came of one cause, viz. the direction of a clear conscience, and tended to one end, which was edification' (Strype, Annals, i. App. p. 68, fol.) In 1578 he was one of the deputies (the others being Thomas Wilson, dean of Worcester, John Hammond, LL.D., and John Still, D.D., afterwards bishop of Bath and Wells) sent to the diet at Smalcald to confer with their brethren about Lutheranism and the controversies respecting the Lord's Supper. On 14 Oct. 1580 he was instituted to the deanery of Winchester (Lansd. MS. 982, f. 128). This preferment he held till his death. In February 1580-1 he was one of three deans recommended to convocation by Bishop Aylmer for the office of prolocutor: Day, dean of Windsor, was elected (Strype, Life of Grindal, p.257, fol.) He was one of the divines appointed by the privy council in 1582 to take part in conferences with the catholics. Cooper, bishop of Winchester, issued in 1585, as visitor of Magdalen College, a set of injunctions, especially as regards divine worship, and by gentle persuasion overcame the puritanical mind of the president, so that surplices were restored in the chapel. Humphreys died at Oxford on 1 Feb. 1589-90, and was buried in the chapel of Magdalen College, where a mural monument, with a Latin inscription, was erected to his memory.
He married, in the beginning of Queen Elizabeth's reign, Joan, daughter of Andrew Inkfordby of Ipswich, by whom he had seven sons and five daughters. According to Wood, Humphrey did not live happily with his wife, and was not on good terms with his sons. His widow died on 27 Aug. 1611, aged 74, and was buried in the chancel of the church of Steeple Barton, Oxfordshire, where a monument was erected to her memory by her eldest daughter, Justina, wife of Caspar Dormer, esq. (see pedigree in Bloxam, iv. 110). His daughter Judith was the third wife of Sir Edmund Carey, third surviving son of Henry, lord Hunsdon (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, iii. 381).
Wood says Humphrey was 'a great and general scholar, an able linguist, a deep divine; and for his excellency of rule, exactness of method, and substance of matters in his writings, he went beyond most of our theologians.'
His works are: 1. Answer to `The displaying of the protestantes and sundry their practises' [by Miles Huggarde, q.v.], London, 1556, 16mo. Written conjointly with Robert Crowley. 2. `Origenis tres dialogi de recta fide contra Marcionistas;' in `Origenis Opera,' Basle, 1571, fol. ii. 811. The dedication to Sir Anthony Cavura, knight, is dated Basle, 6 Aug. 1557. The work is a paraphrase rather than a translation. 3. 'Epistola de Græcis Literis et Homeri Lectione et Imitatione ad præsidem et socios collegii Magdalen. Oxon.' In `Κέρας ΆμαλΘείας, ή ώκεανδς τών έΈεγήσεων Ώμερικών, έκ τών τού ΕύσταΘείου παρεκβολών συνηρμοσμένων …,' Basle, 1558. 4. 'De religionis conservatione et reformatione vera; deque primatu regum et magistratuum, & obedientia illis, ut summis in terra Christi vicariis,præstanda, liber,' Basle, 1559, 8vo. 5. 'De ratione interpretandi authores,' Basle, 1559, 8vo. Dedicated to Sir Thomas Wroth. At the end of the volume is the Prophecy of Obadiah in Hebrew and Latin, and Philo `De Judice' in Greek and Latin, done by Humphrey. 6. 'Optimates, sive de nobilitate, ejusque antiquâ origine, naturâ, disciplinâ, &c., lib. 3,' Basle, 1560, 8vo. At the end is `Philonis Judæi de nobilitate,' translated from the Greek. An English translation appeared with this title: 'The Nobles, or of Nobilitye. The original nature, dutyes, ryght, and Christian Institucion thereof, in three Bookes,' London, 1563, 12mo. 7. `Oratio Woodstochiæ habita ad illustriss. R. Elizab. 31 Aug. 1572,' London, 1572, 4to, and in Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, i. 583. 8. `Joannis Juelli Angli, Episcopi Sarisburiensis, vita & mors, eiusq. veræ doctrinæ defensio, cum refutatione quorundam objectorum …' London, 1573, 4to; prefixed also to `Juelli Opera,' 1600, fol. Dedicated to Archbishop Parker and Sandys, bishop of London, at whose desire the work was written. An English abridgment is prefixed to Jewel's 'Apology,' and his 'Epistle to Scipio,' ed. 1685. 9. 'Oratio in Aula Woodstoc. habita ad illustriss. R. Elizab. an. 1575,' London, 1575, 4to; reprinted in Nichols's `Progresses of Queen Elizabeth,' i. 585-99. 10. 'Jesuitismi pars prima; sive de praxi Romanæ curiæ contra resp. & principes; & de nova legatione jesuitarum in Angliam, προΘεράπεια & premonitio ad Anglos. Cui adjuncta est concio ejusdem argumenti. Edit. secunda,' London, 1581, 1582, 8vo; and in vol. iii. of 'Doctrina Jesuitarum per varios authores,' 6 vols., Rochelle, 1585-6. 11. `Pharisaismus vetus et novus, sive de fermento Pharisæorum et Jesuitarum vitando; concio habita apud Oxonienses in die cinerum mdlxxxii. in Matth. xvi. Marc, viii. Luc. xii.,' London, 1582; in 'Doctrina Jesuitarum,' vol. ii.; and in the works of William Whitaker, Geneva, 1620, fol., i. 240. 12. 'Jesuitismi pars secunda …' London, 1584, 8vo; and in 'Doctrina Jesuitarum,' vol. ii. 13. `Apologetica Epistola ad Academiæ Oxoniensis Cancellarium,' Rochelle, 1585, 8vo. 14. An edition of John Shepreve's `Summa & synopsis Novi Testamenti' distichis ducentis sexaginta comprehensa' was revised and corrected by Humphrey, Oxford, 1586, 8vo. It is printed also in 'Gemma Fabri,' London, 1598 and 1603, and in 'Biblii Summula,' London, 1621 and 1623. 15. `Seven Sermons against Treason, on 1 Sam. xxvi. 8, 9, 10, 11,' &c., London, 1588, 8vo; dedicated to the Earl of Leicester. 16. `Antidiploma,' manuscript cited in 'Apologia ministrorum Lincoln.,' 1605, 4to. 17. Translation of Origen `Of True Faith,' with a preface to the same author. 18. St. Cyril's Commentaries upon Isaiah, translated into Latin; dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. 19. `Consensus patrum de justificatione.' 20. Index to Forster's Hebrew Lexicon. 21. Latin and Greek verses prefixed to various works which are specified in Cooper's `Athenæ Cantabrigienses.'
There is a portrait of Humphrey in Magdalen College School. His face was among those painted on the top of the wall under the roof of the picture gallery in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. A fine engraved portrait of him is in Holland's `Herωologia.' Of this there is a reduced copy in Lupton's `Modern Protestant Divines.'[Addit. MSS. 5848 p. 43, 5871 f. 103; Ames's Typogr. Antiq.(Herbert); Baker MSS. vi. 351-354, xvii. 256; Bloxam's Magdalen Coll. Register, ii. pref. p. lvi, vol. iv. 104-32; Brook's Puritans, i. 363; Burnet's Hist.of the Reformation; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 80, 544, where many authorities are cited; Gough's Index to Parker Society Publications; Granger's Biog.Hist.of England;Holland's Herωologia, p. 208; Johnston's King's Visitatorial Power asserted, p. 227; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Lupton's Modern Protestant Divines, p. 292; Neal's Puritans; Strype's Works (general index);Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 421; Warton's Hist. of English Poetry; Wood's Annals of Oxford (Gutch); Wood's Colleges and Halls (Gutch).]