Nicholls, Degory (DNB00)

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NICHOLLS, DEGORY (d. 1591), divine, matriculated as a pensioner of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in May 1560. He graduated B.A. in 1563–4, and was elected a fellow 31 March 1566. He commenced M.A. in 1567, and was a taxor in 1571–2. He supplicated for incorporation as M.A. at Oxford, 15 July 1567. In 1570 he was rector of Lanivet, Cornwall. Nicholls was of ‘a contentious mind.’ On 6 May 1572, 164 members of the senate proposed that Nicholls and other persons should petition Lord Burghley, chancellor of the university, for ‘reformation of certain matters amisse in the new statutes’ given by the queen 25 Sept. 1570. The matter was referred to the archbishops and two bishops, who declared that ‘theis younger men have been farre to seek their pretended reformation by disordered means.’ The heads of colleges soon after exhibited articles against Nicholls and others, ‘who doe goe verye disorderlie in Camberdge, waring for the most part their hates, and continually verye unsemly ruffes at their handes, and greate galligaskens and barreld hooese stuffed with horse-tayles, with skabilonious and knitt netherstockes too fine for schollers.’

In 1574 Nicholls proceeded B.D., was appointed one of the university preachers in the same year, and received the office of chaplain to Lord Burghley. Soon after July 1577, he was made master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. About August 1578 he and other divines held conference with John Feckenham [q. v.], abbot of Westminster, then living in free custody with the Bishop of Ely, in order to induce him to acknowledge the queen's supremacy. At the close of the year a dispute arose in the college between him and some of his undergraduates. The master finally expelled the refractory students, and they retaliated by bringing contemptible charges against him, viz. that ‘he had an enmity for all Welshmen, that his kine were milked at the college hall door, and that his wife was such a scold as to be heard all over the college’ (State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 608). Nicholls on 12 Dec. asked Lord Burghley to arrange for the hearing of the complaints.

Retiring to Cornwall, where he had become a few months earlier rector of St. Ervan, he was appointed, 8 July 1579, by the queen, canon residentiary at Exeter (Rymer, Fœdera, xv. 788). In 1581 he was created D.D., and received the living of Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devonshire. He resigned the mastership of Magdalene College in 1582, and was instituted rector of Lanreath, Cornwall, which he held until his death, shortly after 2 March 1590–1.

[Le Neve's Fasti, i. 421, ii. 695; Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 95; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 279, 280, 304, 306; Strype's Annals, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 178, 180; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–1580, pp. 552, 605, 606, 666; Heywood and Wright's University Transactions, i. 112; Cole MSS. xlii. fol. 79; Addit. MS. 5843; Baker MSS. xxiv. 161; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714, p. 1068.]

C. F. S.