Sandys, Edwin (1516?-1588) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 50
Sandys, Edwin (1516?-1588)

by William Arthur Jobson Archbold
1904 Errata appended.

SANDYS, EDWIN (1516?–1588), archbishop of York, was born probably at Hawkshead in Furness Fells, Lancashire, in 1516. Strype, in his life of Parker (i. 125), says that he was a Lancashire man (of a stock settled at St. Bees), and that he was forty-three when consecrated bishop of Worcester in 1559, the former statement supporting that of Baines (Lancashire, v. 625), who also names Hawkshead as his birthplace. He was third son of William Sandys by Margaret, daughter of John Dixon of London (ib., but cf. Strype, Annals, III. ii. 65). Strype connects his family with that of William, lord Sandys [q. v.], but the connection seems doubtful (cf. Foster, Lancashire Pedigrees, ‘Sandys’). He was probably educated at Furness Abbey, where John Bland [q. v.], the martyr, is said to have been his teacher. He then went to St. John's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1539, M.A. 1541, B.D. 1547, and D.D. 1549. In 1542 he served the office of proctor. He was chosen master of Catharine Hall in 1547. In 1548 he was vicar of Caversham, and on 12 Dec. 1549 became canon of Peterborough. He was one of Bucer's friends at Cambridge, and is said (Strype, Parker, p. 56) to have been consulted about his ‘De Regno Christi.’ In 1552 he received a prebend at Carlisle.

Sandys, like Ridley and Cheke, supported Lady Jane Grey's cause on religious grounds. He was vice-chancellor of Cambridge University in 1553, and when Northumberland on his journey into the eastern counties came to Cambridge he joined him, and preached before him a sermon in which Lady Jane's claims were upheld. This sermon, which ‘pulled many tears out of the eye of the biggest of them,’ he was requested to publish, and a messenger (Thomas Lever [q. v.] or Ralph Lever [q. v.]) was ready booted to ride with the copy to London, when the news arrived of Northumberland's retreat and the success of Queen Mary. The duke, on returning to Cambridge, ordered Sandys to proclaim Queen Mary, which he did in the market-place, at the same time making the somewhat safe prophecy that Northumberland would not escape punishment. He resigned his office of vice-chancellor, and on 25 July 1553 was brought, with others of the party, to London and imprisoned in the Tower. He was afterwards deprived of his mastership on the ground of his marriage, and Edmund Cosin was chosen in his place. In the Tower he had Bradford as a companion for a time, but at Wyatt's rebellion he was removed to the Marshalsea, and nine weeks later, by the mediation of Sir Thomas Holcroft, the knight-marshal, a secret friend to the protestants (Strype, Cranmer, p. 526), he was released and, though searched for, managed to reach Antwerp in May 1554. Edward Isaac helped him greatly, and sent his son with him. Thence Sandys went to Augsburg, and afterwards to Strasburg, where he attended lectures by Peter Martyr (ib. p. 513), and where he was joined by his first wife and a son, both of whom died within a year of their coming. He is said (Strype, Memorials, III. i. 404) to have been also at Frankfurt; but when the news of Queen Mary's death came he was at Peter Martyr's house at Zürich.

Sandys returned to England on 13 Jan. 1558–9, and, although he next month married a second wife, at once received preferment. He was made one of the commissioners for the revision of the Liturgy who met at Sir Thomas Smith's house in Westminster in the early months of 1559, was one of the Lent preachers of 1558–9, and again in 1561. In 1559 he preached also at St. Paul's. In the same year he was one of those who were commissioned to make an ecclesiastical visitation of the north, beginning at St. Mary's, Nottingham, on 22 Aug. And it must have been while on this visitation, and not on 17 Nov. 1558 (Strype, Annals, I. i. 222), that Sandys preached his sermon at York, in which he described Queen Elizabeth in terms which must have delighted her, and which, if, as Strype says, he spoke ‘not of guess but of knowledge,’ says but little for his penetration. Like Grindal, Jewel, and others, Sandys had returned from exile an opponent of vestments, but, like others, he gave way. He was offered the see of Carlisle, but refused it, and was given Worcester. He was consecrated at Lambeth on 21 Dec. 1559.

The biographies of Sandys are filled with accounts of his squabbles. As far as ecclesiastical matters were concerned, Parker was probably right (Strype, Parker, i. 156) when he hinted at his ‘Germanical nature;’ he was an obstinate and conscientious puritan at a time when those in authority wished that men with Romish leanings should be treated indulgently. His zeal naturally showed itself in his visitation, which he began, as Parker (ib.) complained, ‘before he was scarce warm in his seat.’ He signed the articles of 1562, but showed his views in his advice to the convocation of that year on rites and ceremonies, objecting for one thing to the sign of the cross in baptism. He also drew up for the same body certain practical suggestions as to the conduct of ecclesiastical persons (Strype, Annals, I. i. 506). In 1563 Sir John Bourne, who had been secretary of state to Queen Mary, tried to make mischief against Sandys. He wrote to the privy council (ib. I. ii. 15 &c.), charging him with being no gentleman. To all the bishop replied with such effect that Bourne found himself in the Marshalsea, and had to make a submission. The contest, however, is valuable as affording evidence of the impression which the married clergy of a cathedral town made on those of the old way of thinking. Some time afterwards (1569) Sandys spoke of Bourne as his ‘constant and cruel enemy.’

In 1565 Sandys was one of the translators of the Bishops' Bible (cf. Strype, Parker, i. 415). He was well suited for this work, as he was always a studious man and interested in the studies of others (Strype, Annals, I. ii. 221, 540). In 1570 he was, in spite of Parker, who wished for Aylmer, made bishop of London in succession to Grindal, the temporalities being restored on 13 July. He said that he did not want to change. Strype hints that ‘fees and fruits’ may have had some share in making him hesitate; but finally a blunt letter from Cecil brought him to the point. He held his first visitation in the January following, and from the articles and injunctions then used indications of the growth of the puritan spirit may be gathered. On his first coming to his new diocese he concluded by certain articles, dated 18 Dec. 1570, certain disputes which had arisen in the Dutch church of London (cf. Strype, Grindal, pp. 189–96; Hessels, Eccles. Lond. Batav. ii. 352). The next year (1571), however, he was held to have exceeded his authority in regard to the Dutch church by the other members of the ecclesiastical commission; Sandys had joined the ecclesiastical commission in 1571. He took part in the translation of the Bible of 1572, his share being the books of Hosea, Joel, and Amos to Malachi inclusive (Strype, Parker, ii. 222). He was, as before, strongly repressive in tendency; he took part in disturbing the ‘massmongers’ at the house of the Portuguese ambassador, catching several who were ‘ready to worship the calf’ there. On the other hand, he was one of those who signed the order on 12 Dec. 1573 for the arrest of Cartwright, to whose influence he bears testimony in a curious letter (5 Aug. 1573) printed in Strype's ‘Whitgift’ (iii. 32). In this letter he mentions Dering, reader at St. Paul's, who was just then suspended; and yet it was through Sandys's agency that Dering was, to the great delight of the puritans, restored. For this Sandys was rebuked by the queen; and Dering, who had meanwhile had a dispute with the bishop, was not long afterwards again suspended. As bishop of London, indeed, Sandys had a very difficult part to play. He had belonged to the early puritan party, and yet had to join with Parker in trying to secure uniformity (cf. Strype, Parker, ii. 280 &c.). He was naturally much written against, and he felt what was said (ib. p. 290). In 1574, when the ‘prophesyings’ began in the diocese of Norwich, he upheld them, and with Smith, Mildmay, and Knollys, wrote a letter to that effect (ib. p. 360), soon to be overruled. On 6 June 1575 Sandys was chief mourner at Parker's splendid funeral; Parker left him a gold ring (Ayre says a walking staff) by his will.

On 8 March 1575–6 Sandys was translated to the archbishopric of York, succeeding Grindal. At York he had plenty of trouble. An attempt, which he successfully resisted, was made on his arrival to get him to give up Bishopthorpe in order that it might become the official residence of the presidents of the council of the north. He disputed with Aylmer as to the London revenues, with what result is unknown. He visited in 1577 the vacant see of Durham, and embroiled himself with the clergy there, among other things saying that the dean, William Whittingham, was not properly ordained. He fell out too on another point with Aylmer—namely dilapidations—and Aylmer got the better of him. He did not agree well with the dean of York [cf. Hutton, Matthew, (1529–1606)]. He found a more dangerous opponent in Sir Robert Stapleton. This man, in order to get advantageous leases of lands from the archbishop, contrived a disgraceful plot against him. In May 1581 at Doncaster he contrived, with the connivance of the husband, to introduce a woman into Sandys's bedroom. The husband then rushed in, and Stapleton appeared in the guise of a friend who wished to prevent a scandal. Sandys weakly gave money to the injured husband and a lease of lands to Stapleton. But when Stapleton pushed the business further and tried to extort a lease of the manors of Southwell and Scrowby on favourable terms from him, Sandys disclosed the outrage to the council. Those concerned were punished and Sandys cleared. Richard Hooker [q. v.] was tutor to Sandys's son Edwin, and in 1584–5 the archbishop assisted in securing his appointment as master of the Temple. In 1587 he resisted successfully an attempt to separate Southwell from his see. He often lived at Southwell, and was not a regular attendant at the meetings of the council of the north.

Sandys died on 10 July 1588, and was buried in Southwell Minster. His tomb is engraved in Rastall's ‘History of Southwell.’ The inscription is printed in Strype's ‘Whitgift’ (iii. 215). Sandys was a learned and vigorous man, keen in his many quarrels. Though he is said to have been too careful in money matters, he founded a grammar school at Hawkshead and endowed it; he also was a benefactor to the school at Highgate. Fortunately, in the main his interest coincided with that of the sees he occupied, for, as he once said, ‘These be marvellous times. The patrimony of the church is laid open as a prey unto all the world’ (Strype, Whitgift, i. 546). Extracts from his will, which contains much solid theology, are given by Strype (Whitgift, i. 547; Annals, III. ii. 579).

A portrait is at Ombersley, where descendants of the archbishop still live. Another belongs to the bishop of London (cf. Cat. First Loan Exhib. No. 369). Engraved portraits are in Holland's ‘Herωologia’ and Nash's ‘Worcestershire.’

Sandys married, first, a daughter of Mr. Sandys of Essex, who, with her child, died, as already stated, in exile. Secondly, on 19 Feb. 1558–9, Cicely, daughter of Sir Thomas Wilford of Cranbrook, Kent. By her he had seven sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Sir Samuel Sandys (1560–1623), who frequently sat in parliament, and was ancestor of the Barons Sandys of Ombersley, Worcestershire [see Sandys, Samuel, first Baron Sandys]. Others of the archbishop's sons were: Sir Edwin Sandys (1561–1629) [q. v.]; Sir Miles Sandys (1563–1644) of Wilberton in Cambridgeshire, who was created a baronet in 1612, and frequently sat in parliament, but must be distinguished from Sir Miles Sandys (1601–1636), author of a work twice published in 1634 under the titles ‘Prudence the first of the Four Cardinal Virtues’ and ‘Prima Pars Parvi Opusculi’ (Brit. Mus. Cat.; Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714); William, born 1566, who died young; Thomas, born 1568; Henry, born 1572; George [q. v.] Of the archbishop's two daughters Margaret, born 1566, married Anthony Aucher of Bowen, Kent; and Anne, born 1570, married Sir William Barne of Woolwich.

Sandys wrote, in addition to the short pieces printed by Strype: 1. ‘Epistola’ prefixed to ‘The Translation of Luther on the Galatians,’ London, 1577, 4to. 2. ‘Sermons,’ London, 1585, 4to; 1616; with life of Sandys, by Thomas Whitaker, London, 1812, 8vo; with some other pieces and life by John Ayre, for the Parker Society, Cambridge, 1841, 8vo. 3. ‘Statutes for Hawkshead Grammar School’ in Habington's ‘Antiquities of the Cathedral Church of Worcester,’ pp. 163–9.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 24, 543; Ayre's Life; Strype's Works, passim; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 74 &c.; Wriothesley's Chron. ii. 91, Narratives of the Reformation, pp. 142, 342 (Camden Soc.); Froude's Hist. of Engl. vi. 27 &c., x. 413, xii. 5; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80 and 1581–90; Brown's Genesis, U.S.A. ii. 992; Brydges's Restituta, i. 195, 218; Border Papers, ed. Hamilton, i. 3, 309; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. xi. 422; Thomas's Worcester Cathedral, pp. 210–14; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. xii. 224.]

W. A. J. A.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.241
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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286 i 23 Sandys, Edwin: for Abindon's read Habington's