Bonwicke, Ambrose

, a nonjuring clergyman of great piety and learning, son of the rev. John Bonwicke, rector of Mickleham in Surrey, was born April 29, 1G52, and educated at Merchant Taylors school. Thence he was elected to St. John’s college, Oxford, in 1668, where he was appointed librarian in 1670; B.A. 1673; M. A. March 18, 1675; was ordained deacon May 21, 1676; priest, June 6 (Trinity Sunday), 1680; proceeded B. D. July 21, 1682; and was elected master of Merchant Taylors school June 9, 1686. In 1689, the college of St. John’s petitioned the Merchant Taylors company, that he might continue master of the school (which is a nursery for their college) for life; but, at Christmas 1691, he was turned out for refusing to take the oath of allegiance, and was afterwards for many years master of a celebrated school at Headley, near Leatherhead in Surrey, where he had at one time the honour of having the poet Fenton for his usher, and Bowyer (who was afterwards the learned printer) for a scholar.

Mr. Nichols has in ms. a curious correspondence of Mr. Bonwicke with Mr. Blechynden, on occasion of his ejection from the Merchant Taylors school, with many of his college exercises, and letters to his father. Some letters, which convey an admirable idea of his unaffected piety and goodness, may be seen in the Life of Bowyer. A copy of his verses, whilst fellow of St. John’s, is printed in an Oxford collection, on the death of king Charles II. 1685. By his wife (Elizabeth Stubbs) Mr. Bonwicke had twelve children, one of whom furnished the subject of a very interesting little volume, entitled “A Pattern for Young Students in the University, set forth in the Life of Mr. Ambrose Bonwicke, some time scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge,1729, 12mo, of which Mr. Nichols has given an excellent analysis, with additions, in his late Literary History. 2


Nichols’s Bowyer, vols. I. and V.