Nevynson, Stephen (DNB00)

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NEVYNSON, STEPHEN (d. 1581?), prebendary of Canterbury, born at Carlisle (Strype, Grindal, p. 73), was second son of Richard Nevynson of Newby, Westmoreland, and first-cousin of Christopher Nevynson [q. v.], who mentions him in his will 1550–1. In May 1544 he was a pensioner of Christ's College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. 1544–5, commencing M.A. 1548, and LL.D. 1553. Soon after 1544 he became fellow and tutor of Trinity. Among his pupils was the poet George Gascoigne [q. v.], who commemorates ‘my maister's’ stimulating efforts as a teacher in his ‘Dulce Bellum Inexpertis’ (199th stanza).

According to Strype (Annals, i. 492), he lived obscurely at home under Queen Mary. After the accession of Elizabeth he was appointed, with Dr. Burton and Sergeant Fleetwood, a commissioner for the visitation of the dioceses of Oxford, Lincoln, Peterborough, Coventry, and Lichfield (22 July 1559; ib. p. 247). On 2 Jan. 1560–1 Nevynson, then described as D.C.L., was ordained deacon and priest (Strype, Grindal, p. 73); and on the same day he was collated by Parker, in succession to Alexander Nowell [q. v.], to the rectory of Saltwood, with the annexed chapel of Hythe, Kent (Archæologia Cantiana, xviii. 430, quoting Parker's manuscript register; Churton, Nowell, p. 50; Hasted, Kent, iii. 410). He apparently held the benefice till his death. Both in 1560 and 1561 Nevynson acted as commissary-general to Parker for the diocese of Canterbury (Strype, Parker, i. 144, 186). In 1561 Parker directed him, as commissary-general, to secure a reasonable contribution towards the re-edification of St. Paul's, and in 1562 desired him to prepare a return of the hospitals and schools in the diocese of Canterbury (Parker Corresp. Parker Soc. p. 165).

In the convocation of 1562 Nevynson headed the list of subscribers to the articles as ‘procurator cleri Cant.,’ although he had distinguished himself in the same convocation by speaking and signing in favour of certain reforms in the Book of Common Prayer (Strype, Annals, ii. 488, 502; Burnet, Hist. of the Reformation, vi. 481). He was made canon of Canterbury shortly before 1563. He declined to deliver to Archbishop Parker ‘certain writings of Archbishop Cranmer’ until Parker had obtained the aid of the privy council (see Strype, Parker, i. 270, cf. p. 520, and Parker Corresp. Parker Soc. pp. 191, 195, cf. 319). In 1566 Nevynson was appointed vicar-general in the diocese of Norwich. That office he held at least till 1569. On 1 Nov. 1570 he obtained a license of plurality to hold three benefices at the same time.

In Parker's visitation of 1570 Nevynson was commissioned to examine such petty canons and vicars-choral as were suspected in religion (Strype, Parker, ii. 22). The mayor of Norwich in 1571 vainly requested the archbishop to permit Nevynson, with two others, to answer a challenge to a disputation put forth by one of the ministers of the strangers' church at Norwich (ib. p. 84, iii. 186). In 1572 (25 May) Nevynson wrote to Burghley (State Papers, Dom. 1572, lxxxvi. No. 50), advocating the policy ‘of not showing mercy to those who are disaffected towards Queen Elizabeth.’

Hasted's statement in his ‘History of Kent,’ iv. 610, that Nevynson died in 1581, is professedly based on his will, which is said by Hasted to have been proved in the prerogative court in October of that year. No such will exists there, nor was the will of any Nevynson (save of a Thomas Nevynson in 1586) proved in the prerogative court between 1559 and 1597.

[For the pedigree see under Christopher Nevynson ; State Papers, Dom. 1572, lxxxvi. No. 50; Blomefield's Norfolk, iii. 633; Hasted's Kent, iii. 410, iv. 616; Strype's Parker, Grindal, and Annals; Burnet's Reformation, vi. 481; Churton's Nowell; Poems of Gascoigne, ed. Hazlitt, pp. xvii, 193; Parker Corresp.; Nicolas's Test. Vetusta, p. 736; Baker MS. xxiv. 111; Martin's Thetford, p. 39; private information.]

W. A. S.