Middleton, William (d.1613) (DNB00)

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MIDDLETON, WILLIAM (d. 1613), protestant controversialist, a native of Shropshire, matriculated as a sizar of Queens' College, Cambridge, in October 1567, proceeded B.A. in 1570–1, and was elected a fellow of his college 28 June 1572 (Searle, Hist. of Queens' College, pp. 324–31). The president and fellows in 1574 denied him permission to proceed to the degree of M.A. at Cambridge, and he consequently took that degree at Oxford. But his title to it was not recognised by his Cambridge colleagues, and he was deprived of his fellowship in July 1575, for not having commenced M.A. within the period prescribed by the college statutes. On appealing to Lord Burghley, chancellor of the university, he was restored to his fellowship, but not to his seniority (Lansdowne MS. 20, art. 76). He was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1576, proceeded B.D. in 1582, and vacated his fellowship in or about 1590. For many years he held the rectory of Hardwick, Cambridgeshire. It seems that he was elected master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, at the end of the reign of Elizabeth, in the room of Dr. Thomas Jegon [q. v.], of whom the queen disapproved, but on the accession of King James Jegon was restored, although Middleton made a fruitless attempt to retain possession (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 446). Middleton died on 14 June 1613, and was buried in Hardwick churchyard, where a monument, with an English inscription, was erected to his memory (Addit. MS. 5823, f. 180).

Middleton's only known work, although he is said to have written others, is ‘Papisto Mastix, or the Protestants Religion defended. Shewing briefeley when the great compound heresie of Poperie first sprange; how it grew peece by peece till Antichrist was disclosed; .... and when it shall be cut down and withered,’ London, 1606, 4to. It is dedicated to Dr. Humphrey Tendall, master, and to the fellows of Queens' College. The work has the secondary title: ‘A Briefe Answere to a Popish Dialogue between two Gentlemen; the one a Papist, the other a Protestant.’

[Addit. MS. 5876, f. 108; Blomefield's Collect. Cantabr. p. 12; Heywood and Wright's Univ. Trans. i. 177–84, 538; Prynne's Trial of Archbishop Laud, pp. 429–31; Cal. of State Papers (Dom. Eliz. 1603–10), p. 8; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 526; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 649.]

T. C.