Blount, John

, called in Latin Blondus, or Blundus, a very eminent divine in the thirteenth century, was educated in the university of Oxford, and went afterwards for his improvement to Paris, where he quickly distinguished himself, among many of his learned contemporaries, by the vivacity of his wit. On his return into England, he again settled himself at Oxford, and read divinity lectures there with universal applause. Wood says he was the first that lectured on Aristotle both in Paris and Oxford. The reputation of his learning obtained him also several other preferments, particularly those of prebendary andhancellor in the church of York. In 1232, the archiepiscopal see of Canterbuiy being vacant by the death of Richard Wethershed, and the rejection of two of his successors, Ralph Nevil, bishop of Chichester and chancellor of England, and John, sub-prior of Canterbury, by the pope, Dr. Blount was, by the chapter of Canterbury, elected archbishop. He did not, however, enjoy that dignity; for the pope immediately objected to him, and after a summary inquiry into the validity of his election, declared it void, for several reasons, of which our historians take notice, though very probably Bale has hit upon the true, although not the ostensible cause, namely, that his abilities rendered him obnoxious to the court of Rome, or, as Bale expresses it, that he was more learned than that court wished an archbishop to be.

Many of our modern writers, and particularly bishop Godwin, fall into frequent inaccuracies concerning this prelate, sometimes mistaking his sirname, and sometimes confounding him with Richard Blount, bishop of Lincoln. After his return from Rome, and being deprived of his high dignity, he retired once again to Oxford, and, as Leland tells us, consoled himself under his misfortunes, by an ardent application to his studies. In this manner he spent sixteen years, during which time he composed several learned works, and amongst them various commentaries on the Holy Scriptures. He was celebrated by his contemporaries for the elegance of his style, and for the extensiveness of his learning. John Ross, of Warwick, no contemptible historian, and who did not live above a century after his time, speaks of him as a prodigy of science. This very learned, though unfortunate person, having attained to a good old age, and to a high reputation for his knowledge, prudence, and piety, died hi 1248, | having always shevyn an equanimity of mind, which demonstrated him worthy of the highest station, by enabling him to bear with fortitude his fall from thence.

Leland, in his life of this learned person, owns ingenuously, that he was so unlucky as never to have met with any of those writings which rendered our author’s memory famous, adding a doubt whether any of them were extant. Bale, in the first edition of his work, omitted this life; and when he added it afterwards, he only copied Leland, adding that Blount had written “Summarium Sacrae Facultatis,” lib. 1. “Disceptationes aliquot,”' lib. 1. and several Commentaries on the Scriptures. Pits transcribes Bale, adding the censure mentioned above yet takes no notice of any other works than those which Bale had before noted, and, which is very remarkable, does not give us the beginning of any of them, as his custom always is, wherever he had seen such books, or could meet with any accounts from other people who had seen them. It is therefore more than probable, that he spoke slightingly of his talents, in order to support the credit of the see of Rome, by lessening the reputation of a person whom it had so vehemently persecuted. 1


Biog. Brit, from —Leland.—Bale.—Pits.—Wood’s Annals, by Gutch, vol. I, and III.