Twyne, Brian

, son of Thomas, and grandson of John Twyne, was born in 1579, and admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi college in December 1594. After he had taken the degrees in arts, he was admitted probationer fellow in 1605, and entering into holy orders took the degree of bachelor of divinity in 1610. In 1614 he was made Greek reader of his college, in which office he acquitted himself with credit, but about 1623 left college to avoid being involved in some dispute between the president and fellows; because in this affair, Wood informs us, he could not vote on either side without the hazard of expulsion, having entered college on a Surrey scholarship, which, it seems, was irregular. He was afterwards presented to the vicarage of Rye in Sussex by the earl of Dorset, but seldom resided, passing most of his time in Oxford, where he had lodgings in Penverthing or Pennyfarthing street, in the parish of St. Aldate. He lived here in a kind of retirement, being, as Wood says, of a melancholy temper, and wholly given to reading, writing, and contemplation. Laud had a great regard for him, and employed him in drawing up the university statutes, all of which he transcribed with his own hand, and was rewarded with the place of custos archivorum, founded in 1634. He died at his lodging^ in St. Aldate’s, July 4, 1644, aged sixty-five, and was buried in Corpus chapel.

Twyne, who was an indefatigable collector of every document or information respecting the history and antiquities of Oxford, produced the first regular account of it, which | was published in 1608, under the title of “Antiquitatis Academioe Oxoniensis Apologia, in tres libros divisa,” Oxon. 4to. The chief object of this work was to refute what Kaye or Caius had asserted in his history of Cambridge on the antiquity of that university, proving it to be 1267 years older than Oxford. So absurd an assertion would scarcely now be thought worthy of a serious answer, but Twyne was an enthusiast on the question, and mere antiquity was thought preferable to every other degree of superiority. He therefore produced his “Apologia,” in which he revives and endeavours to prove that Oxford was originally founded by some Greek philosophers, the companions of Brutus, and restored by King Alfred in 870. Smith, in his history of University college, has very ably answered his principal arguments on this question, which indeed has nothing more than tradition on its side. He was a young man when he wrote this book, and intended a new edition; but his interleaved copy for this purpose, with his additions, &c. was unfortunately lost in a fire at Oxford, which happened some time after his death. He left, however, several volumes of ms collections to the university, of which Wood availed himself in his history. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Smithes Hist, of Univ. College, p. 174, 195, 227. —Strype’s preface to his Life of Parker, p. 4, and Life, p. 250. Letters by eminent Persons, 1813, 3 vols. 8vo.