Swinnerton, Thomas (DNB00)

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SWINNERTON, THOMAS (d. 1554), protestant divine, son of Robert Swinnerton, came of a Staffordshire family, and was born probably at Swinnerton in that county. He is said to have been educated at Oxford and Cambridge, and perhaps graduated at the latter university, B.A. in 1515 and M.A. in 1519, under the name John Roberts, which he adopted to screen himself from persecution on account of his heretical opinions. Under that name he published in 1534 a rare work, ‘A mustre of scismatyke Bysshoppes of Rome | otherwyse naming themselues popes | moche necessarye to be redde of al the Kynges true Subiectes,’ printed by Wynkyn de Worde for John Byddell, 21 March 1534 (Brit. Museum). The first part, consisting of a prologue, ‘describeth and setteth forth the maners, fassyons, and usages of popes … where in also the popes power is brevely declared, and whether the Worde of God be suffycient to our Saluation or not.’ The second part contains a life of Gregory VII, translated from the Latin of Cardinal Beno; and the third a life of the Emperor Henry IV, who ‘was cruelly imprisoned and deposed by the means of the sayde Gregory.’ These parts seem to have previously been issued separately, and Wood mentions an edition of the ‘Life of Gregory,’ published in 1533, 4to. But these editions do not now seem to be extant. Bale also attributes to Swinnerton two other works, ‘De Papicolarum Susurris’ and ‘De Tropis Scripturarum.’

Subsequently Swinnerton preached at Ipswich and Sandwich, and on Mary's accession in 1553 fled to Emden, probably with John Laski or à Lasco [q. v.], who became pastor there. Swinnerton died and was buried at Emden in 1554. [Bale's Script. Ill. 1557, ii. 76; Tanner's Bibliotheca, p. 701; Ames's Antiq. ed. Herbert, pp. 483, 489; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, i. 221; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 124; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Simms's Bibliotheca Staffordiensis; Stafford Hist. Collections, vii. 667; Wright's Letters relating to Suppression of the Monasteries (Camden Soc.), p. 269.]

A. F. P.