Longland, John

, a learned prelate, was born in 1473 at Henley in Oxfordshire, and educated at Magdalen -college, Oxford, where he was much esteemed as a man of eloquence, and of a regular life. His character is recorded in the East window of the founder’s chamber over the great gate of this college, in these lines:


"Longlandi fiierat mater domus ista, fuitque

Longlandus domui non mediocre decus."

After becoming a fellow of his college, he was in 1505 chosen principal of Magdalen-hall, which he resigned in 1507. In 1510 he was admitted to the reading of the sentences, and took his degree of B. D. and that of D. D. in the following year. In 1514 he was promoted to be dean of Salisbury, and in 1519 had the additional preferment of a canonry of Windsor. At this time he was in such favour with Henry VIII. as to be appointed his confessor, and upon the death of Atwater, bishop of Lincoln, he was by papal provision advanced to this see in 1520, and was consecrated May 3, 1521. In the same year (1520) we find him at Oxford assisting in drawing up the privileges for the new statutes of the university. In 1523 he was at the same place as one of those whom. Wolsey consulted in the establishment of his new college; and when the foundation was laid on July 15, 1525, Longland preached a sermon, which, with two others on the same occasion, he dedicated to archbishop Warham. He was afterwards employed at Oxford by the king, to gain over the learned men of the university fo sanction his memorable divorce. It is said, indeed, that when Henry’s scruples, or, as we agree with the catholic historian, his pretended scruples, began to be started, bishop Longland was the first that suggested the measure of a divorce. The excuse made for him is, that he was himself over-persuaded to what was not consistent with his usual character by Wolsey, who thought that Longland’s authority would add great weight to the cause; and it is said that he expressed to his chancellor, Dr. Draycot, his sorrow for being concerned in that affair. In 1533 he was chosen chancellor of the university of Oxford, to which he proved in many respects a liberal benefactor, and to poor students a generous patron. The libraries of Brazenose, Magdalen, and Oriel colleges, he enriched with many valuable books; and in 1540 he recovered the salary of the lady Margaret professorship, which had almost been lost, owing to the abbey from which it issued being dissolved. It must not be disguised, however, that he was inflexible in his pursuit and persecution of what he termed heresy. In 1531, we find him giving a commission to the infamous Dr. London, warden of New college, and others, to search for certain heretical books commonly sold at St. | Frideswyde’s fair near Oxford. He died May 7, 1547, at Wooburn in Bedfordshire, where his bowels were interred; while his heart was carried to Lincoln cathedral, and his body deposited in Eton-college chapel, where it is thought he once had some preferment. He built a curious chapel in Lincoln cathedral in the east part, in imitation of bishop Russel’s chapel, with a tomb, &c. He also gave the second bell at Wooburn church, and built almshouses at Henley, his birth-place.

His works are: 1. “Conciones Tres,” printed by Pynson, fol. dedicated to archbishop Warhatn. 2. “Quinque sermones, sextis quadragesimis feriis, coram Hen. VIII.” anno 1517, printed also by Pynson, Lond. 1528. 3. “Expositio concionalis Psalmi Sexti,1518. 4. “Expositio cone, secundi psalmi pcenitentialis, coram rege,1519. 5. “Conciones expositive in tertium psalm, pcenit.” 6, 44 Conciones in 50 psalm, pcenit. coram rege,“1521, 1522. Most of these sermons were preached in English, but translated into Latin by Thomas Key, of All Souls college, and printed by Robert Redman in 1532, fol. 7.” Sermon before the King on Good-Friday/' Lond. 1538, mentioned by Fox. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Wood’s Annals. Dodd’s Church History —Warton’s Hist. of Poetry. Willis’s Cathedrals. Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II.