Woodford, William of (DNB00)

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WOODFORD or WYDFORD, William of (fl. 1380–1411), opponent of Wycliffe, is erroneously identified by Wadding with William of Waterford, who appears to have flourished about 1433, and wrote a ‘Tractatus de Religione,’ which he addressed to Cardinal Julian Cesarinus (cf. Ware, Writers of Ireland, pp. 87, 88). There seems to be no doubt that Woodford was an Englishman. He became a Franciscan and was educated at Oxford, where he graduated D.D. He taught in the schools and came into friendly contact with Wycliffe. ‘When I was lecturing concurrently with him on the Sentences,’ he says, ‘Wycliffe used to write his answers to the arguments, which I advanced to him, in a notebook which I sent him with my arguments, and to send me back the notebook’ (Little, Grey Friars, p. 81). With the development of Wycliffe's views, however, Woodford became increasingly hostile, and when, in his ‘Confessio’ in 1381, the reformer repudiated transubstantiation, Woodford wrote his earliest extant work in reply. It was entitled ‘Septuaginta Quæstiones de Sacramento Eucharistiæ,’ and is thought to have been composed as a course of lectures delivered in the Grey Friars' church, London, as a preparation for the feast of Corpus Christi on 10 June 1381 (Netter, Fasc. Zizaniorum, Rolls Ser. p. 517); five manuscripts at least of this work are extant (Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 7 B. iii.; Harl. MSS. 31, ff. 1–94 and 42; Exeter Coll. Oxford MS. 7; St. John's Coll. Oxford MS. 144). This was the first of a series of works in which Woodford attacked Wycliffe and his followers, and his writings occasionally throw light on Wycliffe's career, though his statements—e.g. that Wycliffe was expelled from Canterbury Hall—are not always to be accepted if lacking corroboration (cf. Lechler, Wycliffe, 1878, i. 166–8; Church Quarterly Review, v. 129 sqq.; Rashdall, Universities of Europe, ii. 498). He also replied to the attacks of Richard Fitzralph [q. v.] on the mendicant orders.

There is little doubt that Woodford is the William de Wydford whom Margaret, countess of Norfolk, described in 1384 as her ‘well-beloved father in God,’ and for the term of whose life she granted the minoresses of Aldgate Without a yearly rent of twenty marks from ‘le Brokenwharf,’ London (Cal. Patent Rolls, 1381–5, p. 452). In 1389 he was regent-master in theology among the minorites at Oxford, and in 1390 was vicar of the provincial minister; in both years he lectured against Wycliffe, and Thomas Netter [q. v.] was one of his pupils (Fasc. Zizaniorum, p. 525). Henceforth he seems to have resided principally at the Grey Friars, London, and in 1396 he obtained from Boniface IX sanction for the special privileges he enjoyed in this convent. Bale, Pits, and Wadding state that he died in 1397 and was buried at Colchester, but Sbaralea pointed out that in one of his works Henry was referred to as king; he also says that Woodford was deputed from Oxford to attend a council in London in 1411. Probably he died soon after; he was buried in the choir of Grey Friars church, London (Cotton MS. Vitellius, F. xii. f. 274 b).

Bale and subsequent bibliographers give a long list of works by Woodford, many of which are lost, and some of which can only be doubtfully attributed to Woodford (see Little, Grey Friars, pp. 248–9); but the numerous copies extant of the others indicate that Woodford's works were widely read, and he was considered ‘acerrimus hereticorum extirpator.’ The following is a list of his extant works: 1. ‘Commentaries on Ezechiel, Ecclesiastes, St. Luke, and St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans’ (Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 4, A. xiii.). 2. ‘Determinationes Quatuor,’ i.e. lectures at Oxford, 1389–90 (Harl. MSS. 31 and 42; Bodl. MSS. 2224, 2766, 3340; Digby MS. 170, ff. 1–33). 3. ‘De Causis Condempnacionis Articulorum 18 dampnatorum Johannis Wyclif, 1396’ (Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 8, F. xi.; Harl. MSS. 31 and 42; Bodl. MS. 2766; Merton Coll. MSS. 198 and 318; C.C.C. MS. 183, ff. 23 sqq.; printed in Brown, Fasc. Rerum expetendarum, i. 190–265). 4. ‘De Sacerdotio Novi Testamenti’ (Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 7, B. iii.; Merton Coll. MS. 198). 5. ‘Defensorium Mendicitatis contra Armachanum,’ i.e. Richard Fitzralph [q. v.], archbishop of Armagh (Magdalen Coll. Oxford MS. 75; Cambr. Univ. Libr. MS. Ff. i. 21). 6. ‘De erroribus Armachani’ (Cambr. Univ. Libr. Ff. i. 21; New Coll. MS. 290, ff. 258 sqq.). 7. ‘Responsiones contra Wiclevum et Lollardos’ (Bodl. MS. 2766). 8. ‘De Veneratione Imaginum’ (Harl. MS. 31, ff. 182–205).

[Tanner's Bibl. pp. 364, 784–5; Wadding's Scriptt. Ord. Min. p. 108; Sbaralea's Suppl. p. 332; Fabricius's Bibl. Med. Ævi, iii. 512; Oudin's Scriptt. Eccl. 1722, iii. 1171–4; Chevalier's Répertoire, cols. 980–1; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Univ. Oxon. ed. Gutch, i. 482, 493, 512, 513; Netter's Fasc. Zizaniorum (Rolls Ser.), pp. xv, 517, 523; Lechler's John Wycliffe, 1878, i. 166–8, 192, 198, 247, ii. 141; Little's Grey Friars in Oxford, passim, esp. pp. 246–8; Bernard's Cat. MSS. Angliæ; Coxe's Cat. MSS. Coll. Aulisque Oxon.; Cat. Bodl. MSS.; Cat. Harl. MSS.; authorities cited.]

A. F. P.