Humphrey, Laurence

, a learned English writer, was born at Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, about 1527, and had his school education at Cambridge; after which he became first a demy, then a fellow, of Magdalen-college in Oxford. He took the degree of M. A. in 1552, and about that time was made Greek reader of his college, and entered into orders. In June 1555 he had leave from his college to travel into foreign countries; he went to Zurich, and associated himself with the English there, who had fled from their country on account of their religion. After the death of queen Mary he returned to England, and was restored to his fellowship in Magdalen college, from which he had been expelled because he did not return within the space of a year, which was one condition on which he was permitted to travel; another was, that he should refrain from all heretical company. In 1560 he was appointed the queen’s professor of divinity at Oxford; and the year after elected president of his college. In 1562 he took both the degrees in divinity; and, in 1570, was made dean of Gloucester. In 1580 he was removed to the deanery of Winchester; and had probably been promoted to a bishopric if he had not been disaffected to the church of England. For Wood tells us, that from the city of Zurich, where the preaching of Zuinglius had fashioned | people’s notions, and from the correspondence he had at Geneva, he brought back with him so much of the Calvinist both in doctrine and discipline, that the best which could be said of him was, that he was a moderate and conscientious nonconformist. This was at least the opinion of several divines, who used to call him and Dr. Fulke of Cambridge, standard-bearers among the nonconformists; though others thought they grew more conformable in the end. Be this as it will, “sure it is,” says Wood, that “Humphrey was a great and general scholar, an able linguist, a deep divine and for his excellency of style, exactness of method, and substance of matter in his writings, went beyond most of our theologists .*


Warton says that about the year 1563, there were only two divines, and those of higher rank, the President of Magdalen college, and the Dean of Christ Church, who were capable of preaching the public sermons before the University of Oxford. History of Poetry, vol. II. p. 460.

He died in Feb. 1590, N. S. leaving a wife, by whom he had twelve children. His writings are, 1 “Epistola de Graecis literis, et Homeri lectione et imitatione;” printed before a book of Hadrian Junius, entitled “Cornucopias,” at Basil, 1558. 2. “De Religionis conservatione et reformatione, deque primatu regum, Bas. 1559.” 3. “De ratione interpretandi auctores, Bas. 1559.” 4. “Optimates: sive de nobilitate, ejusque autiqua origine, &c.” Bas. 1560. 5. “Joannis Juelli Angli, Episcopi Sarisburiensis, vita et mors, ejusque verae doctrinae defensio, &c. Lond. 1573.” 6. “Two Latin orations spoken before queen Elizabeth; one in 1572, another in 1575.” 7. “Sermons;” and 8. “Some Latin pieces against the Papists, Campian in particular.” Wood quotes Tobias Matthew, an eminent archbishop, who knew him well, as declaring, that “Dr. Humphrey had read more fathers than Campian the Jesuit ever saw; devoured more than he ever tasted; and taught more in the university of Oxford, than he had either learned or heard.1

Ath. Ox. vol. I Fuller’s Abel Redivivus. —Strype’s Cranuier, p. 264, 351, 393. —Strype'g Parker, p. 112, 162—165, 184, 217.