Meyrick, Rowland (DNB00)

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MEYRICK, ROWLAND (1505–1566), bishop of Bangor, born at Bodargan in the parish of Llangadwaladr, Anglesey, in 1505, was the second son of Meyric ab Llewelyn ab Heylin, by Margaret daughter of Rowland ab Hywl, rector of Aberffraw in the same county. He was named after his maternal grandfather, and, according to Wood, educated 'at St. Edward's Hall (Oxford), a noted place for civilians, sometime situated near St. Edward's Church,' whence he graduated B.C.L. 9 Dec. 1531, and proceeded D.C.L. 17 Feb. 1537-8. He was principal of New Inn Hall from 1534 to 1536. In 1541 he obtained preferment at Eglwysael, and was also made precentor of Llandewy-Velfrey, Pembrokeshire. In 1544 he was collated to the vicarage of Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, and in 1547 was appointed by convocation on a commission to try and obtain the mitigation of the penalty for the non-payment by recusants of the perpetual tenth. About 1547 also he was appointed chancellor of the diocese of Wells, and in 1550 became canon and chancellor of St. David's. In this capacity he took a leading part in the struggle between the chapter and Bishop Robert Ferrar [q. v.] The bishop on his appointment in 1550 found 'great spoil being made of the plate and ornaments of the church,' and the canons combining with barefaced robberies malpractices of the most diverse kind. In a letter to the lord chancellor the bishop accused Meyrick of 'shameless whoredom' (Foxe, Acts and Monuments, 1847, vii. 17). Meyrick consequently refused to acknowledge the bishop's authority to make a visitation of the cathedral, and led the chapter in a factious opposition. Articles were exhibited against the bishop, containing 'vague and various accusations of abuse of authority, maintenance of superstition, covetousness, wilful negligence, and folly.' For these crimes Ferrar was on a charge of praemunire committed to prison; whence he was only removed in the next reign to be sent to the stake for another series of offences. Of the bishop's three bitterest enemies, Young and Constantine sought his pardon before his martyrdom in 1555, but Meyrick made no such concession. The accession of Mary, shortly followed by Meyrick's marriage in 1554 to Catherine, daughter of Owen Barret of Gellyswick and Hascard, Pembrokeshire, put a period to Meyrick's advancement, and he was ejected from his canonry at St. David's. On Elizabeth's accession, however, he was, with Dr. Richard Davies and Thomas Young, commissioned to visit the four Welsh dioceses, as well as Hereford and Worcester, and on 21 Dec. 1559 he was consecrated by Parker to the see of Bangor in succession to William Glynn. He took the oath of allegiance on 1 March 1559-1560, and in the same year received a commission from his metropolitan to visit the diocese. The following January, being then on a visit to London, he ordained five priests and five readers in Bow Church. He was shortly afterwards appointed a member of the council of the marches. With his see he held the prebend of Trevlodau and the rectories of Llanddewy-Brefi and Llanddewy-Velfrey, to which he added in 1562 the rectory of Llanbedrog, Carnarvonshire. He died on 24 Jan. 1565-6, and was buried at Bangor, 'on the south side of the altar near the wall, where there was an effigies in brasse, on a flat stone over his grave,' but the monument has long disappeared (Browne Willis; Wood).

Meyrick left four sons: Sir Gelly, who is separately noticed; Francis, Harry, and John. Francis, like his elder brother, served under and was knighted by Essex in Ireland, died in 1603, and was buried in the Priory Church of Monkton, Pembrokeshire, where his monument was destroyed during the civil wars; he was father of Sir John Meyrick (d. 1659) [q. v.]

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 797; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Godwin, De Præsulibus, p. 627; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic.; Camden's Annales, ed. Hearne, i. 49; Hardy's Syllabus of Rymer's Fœdera, pp. 801, 802, 805; Foxe's Acts and Monuments, 1847, vii. passim; Strype's Memorials of Cranmer, pp. 222, 385, Memorials, iii. i. 424, ii. 355, 362, Annals, i. i. 248–234, 487, Parker, i. 124, 126, 129, 152; Browne Willis's Survey of Cath. Church of Bangor, 1721, pp. 28, 106; Freeman and Jones's St. David's, p. 331; Kennet's Antiq. Brit. p. 37; Dwnn's Visitations, i. 137; Williams's Eminent Welshmen.]

T. S.