Uhtred (1315?-1396) (DNB00)

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UHTRED, UTRED, or OWTRED (1315?–1396), Benedictine theologian, sometimes called John Utred, was born about 1315 at Boldon, North Durham, whence he is also called Uhtred Boledunus, and erroneously Uhtred Bolton. Apparently about 1332 he entered the Benedictine order, being at Michaelmas 1333 attached to the cell at Boldon belonging to the Benedictine monastery at Durham. In February 1337 he was sent to London, and in March 1340 was one of the scholars regularly sent by the Benedictines of Durham to undergo the regular course of study at Oxford. In 1344 he removed to Stamford, probably because the Benedictines had a cell there, and not owing to the secession thither from Oxford ten years before. In 1347 he was again at Oxford, and probably graduated in arts, having accomplished the requisite seven years' course of study. At Michaelmas 1352, after the further requisite four or five years' study, he was licensed ‘ad opponendum,’ i.e. to dispute with incipient graduates, a license which apparently conferred the degree of B.D. Two years later he was licensed to lecture on the Sentences, and in 1357 on the Bible, thus becoming ‘sacræ theologiæ professor’ or D.D. (Vita Compendiosa apud Add. MS. 6162, f. 31 b; cf. Rashdall, Universities, ii. 452–3). In these capacities he had some notable disputations at Oxford, mostly attacks on the friars (Little, Greyfriars at Oxford, pp. 243, 253). One John Tryvytlian celebrated these performances in a poem on Uhtred, printed in Hearne's ‘Vita Ricardi II’ (App. p. 357), and again in Wood's ‘History and Antiquities’ (ed. Gutch, i. 491). Bale and other writers have described Uhtred as a supporter of Wyclif, but the only ground for the assertion is that both attacked the friars. Bale also states that the Dominicans at Oxford accused Uhtred of introducing new opinions, and endeavoured to procure his expulsion from the church. In 1367 Uhtred was appointed prior of Finchale Abbey, and in 1368 sub-prior of Durham. He was reappointed prior of Finchale in 1379, 1386, and 1392, and sub-prior of Durham in 1381.

In 1373 Uhtred was sent, with Wyclif and others, by Edward III to Bruges to complain of various proceedings of the pope, such as keeping benefices vacant (Higden, Polychron. viii. 379; Walsingham, Hist. Angl. i. 316; Rymer, Fœdera, Record ed. iii. 1007). In 1374, as proctor for Durham, he attended a great council held at Westminster, under the presidency of the Black Prince, to determine the question of papal tribute. According to the curious account given in the ‘Flores Historiarum,’ Uhtred maintained the temporal suzerainty of the pope, which was unanimously approved; but on the following day an opposite decision was reached. Uhtred retracted his opinion, and answer was returned to the pope that King John's surrender was invalid as lacking the consent of the barons and the realm (Flores Hist. Rolls Ser. iii. 337–9). Uhtred was again resident at Oxford at Michaelmas 1383. He died on 24 Jan. 1396, and was buried before the entrance to the choir in the church at Finchale.

Bale and subsequent writers attribute to Uhtred a long list of works. Those of which the existence has been traced are: 1. ‘De Substantialibus Regulæ Monachalis,’ extant in Durham Cathedral Library (Bernard, Cat. MSS. Angliæ, iii. 12; Raine, North Durham, p. 360). 2. ‘De Perfectione Vivendi,’ extant in the Durham manuscript. The same manuscript contains some remarkable ‘Meditaciones,’ extracts from which are printed by Raine, who does not, however, think they are by Uhtred. 3. ‘Contra Querelas Fratrum,’ a copy formerly in the abbey library at St. Albans, and now in British Museum Royal MS. 6. D. x, was written about 1390. 4. ‘Meditacio edita ab Uthredo,’ extant in Brasenose College MS. xv. f. 61 seq., in Cambridge Univ. MS. Gg. iv. 11, and also in the Bodleian (Coxe, Cat. MSS. in Coll. Aulisque Oxon.; Nasmyth, Cat. MSS. in Univ. Cantabr. iii. 151; Bernard, Cat. MSS. i. 142). 5. ‘Numquid licitum sit Monachis secundum B. Benedicti regulam professis carnes edere, exceptis debilibus et infirmis,’ formerly extant in Cotton. MS. Vitellius E. xii. 32 (Thomas Smith, Cat. 1696, p. 160), is now destroyed. A translation of Eusebius's ‘History’ which Uhtred had made in 1381 is extant in British Museum Burney MS. 310.

[The principal authority is the remarkably circumstantial but brief Vita Compendiosa Uthredi monachi Dunelmensis, written early in the fifteenth century, probably by John Wessington [q. v.], prior of Durham, and extant in Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 6162, f. 31 b. See also, besides authorities cited, Bale, De Ill. Scriptt. vi. 53; Pits, p. 528; Tanner's Bibliotheca; Wharton's Anglia Sacra, i. 220; Wood's Hist. et Antiq. ed. Gutch, i. 475, 491; information has also been kindly supplied by Mr. E. Bishop.]

A. F. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.269
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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17 ii 19f.e. Uhtred (1315?-1396) : for Rome read Bruges