Mansell, Francis (DNB00)

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MANSELL, FRANCIS, D.D. (1579–1666), principal of Jesus College, Oxford, third son of Sir Francis Mansell, bart., and his first wife, Catherine, daughter and heir of Henry Morgan of Muddlescombe, Carmarthenshire, was born at Muddlescombe, and christened on Palm Sunday, 23 March 1678-9. He was educated at the free school, Hereford, and matriculated as a commoner from Jesus College, Oxford, 20 Nov. 1607. He graduated B.A. 20 Feb. 1608-9, M.A. 6 July 1611, B.D. and D.D. on 3 July 1624, and stood for a fellowship at All Souls in 1613 'as founder's kinsman, but that pretension being disliked, came in at the next election' (Life, by Sir Leoline Jenkins). On the death of Griffith Powell, 28 June 1620, Mansell was elected principal of Jesus College, and was admitted by the vice-chancellor in spite of protests from other fellows who had opposea the election. On 13 July Mansell expelled three of his opponents from their fellowships, and on the 17th, by the authority of the vice-chancellor, he proceeded against a fourth. His position does not, however, appear to have been secure, and before the expiration of the year he resigned the principalship and retired to his fellowship at All Souls. His successor, Sir Eubule Thelwall, having died on 8 Oct. 1630, Mansell was a second time elected principal. In the same year he became rector of Easington, Oxfordshire, and in 1631 of Elmley Chapel, Kent, prebendary of St. Davids, and treasurer of Llandaff.

Mansell's second tenure of office was marked by considerable extension of the college buildings. Thelwall's library, which does not seem to have been satisfactory, was pulled down, and the north and south sides of the inner quadrangle were completed. Mansell was indefatigable in collecting contributions, and from his own purse enriched the college with revenues and benefices. He was compelled to leave Oxford in 1643 to look after the affairs of his brother Anthony, who had been killed at the battle of Newbury, and for the next few years rendered efficient help to the royalist party in Wales. He returned to look after the college interests when the parliamentary visitation opened in 1647. He was ejected from the principalship and retired to Llantrithyd, Glamorganshire, where he was subjected to considerable persecution and annoyance at the hands of the puritans. In 1651 he again returned to Oxford and took up his residence with a baker in Holywell Street; but during the next year was invited by the fellows, in return for his good offices, to take rooms in Jesus College, where he remained for eight years. His successors in the principalship were first Michael Roberts and then Francis Howell, but after the Restoration Mansell was reinstated on 1 Aug. 1660. 'The decayes of age and especially dimness of sight' induced him to resign in 1661, and, gradually becoming more infirm, he died on 1 May 1666. There is an inscription to his memory in Jesus College Chapel.

[Life of Mansell, by Sir Leoline Jenkins, printed but not published, 1854; Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, iii. 993; Fasti, i. 416, ii. 32; History and Antiquities, ii. 318, 319; Life and Times, ed. Clark, i. 328, 382, ii. 35; Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies; Foster's Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714; Oxford Register, ed. Clark; Colleges of Oxford, ed. Clark, pp. 70-3; Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Burrows's Register of the Visitors of the Univ. of Oxford.]

A. F. P.