Boys, Edward (1599-1667) (DNB00)


BOYS, EDWARD (1599–1667), divine, a nephew of Dr. John Boys (1571-1625), dean of Canterbury [q. v.], and the son of Thomas Boys of Hoad Court, in the parish of Blean, Kent, by his first wife, Sarah, daughter of Richard Rogers, dean of Canterbury, and lord suffragan of Dover, was born in 1599 (W. Berry, County Genealogies, Kent, p. 445). Educated at Eton, he was elected a scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, in May 1620, and as a member of that house graduated B.A. in 1623, M.A. in 1627, and obtained a fellowship in 1631. He proceeded B.D., was appointed one of the university preachers in 1634, and in 1639, on the presentation of William Paston, his friend and contemporary at college, became rector of the tiny village of Mautboy in Norfolk. He is said, but on doubtful authority, to have been one of the chaplains to Charles I (R. Masters, Hist. Corpus Christi College, pp. 242-3). After an incumbency of twenty-eight years Boys died at Mautboy on 10 March 1666-7, and was buried in the chancel (Blomefield, Norfolk, ed. Parkin, xi. 229-30). An admired scholar, of exceptional powers as a preacher, and in great favour with his bishop, Hall, Boys was deterred from seeking higher preferment by an exceeding modesty. After his death appeared his only known publication, a volume of 'Sixteen Sermons, preached upon several occasions,' 4to, London, 1672. The editor, Roger Flynt, a fellow-collegian, tells us in his preface that it was with difficulty he obtained leave of the dying author to make them public, and gained it only upon condition 'that he should say nothing of him.' From which he leaves the reader to judge 'how great this man was, that made so little of himself.' He speaks, nevertheless, of the great loss to the church ' that such a one should expire in a country village consisting onely of four farmers.' In 1640 Boys had married Mary Herne, who was descended from a family of that name long seated in Norfolk. His portrait by W. Faithorne, at the age of sixty-six, is prefixed to his sermons.

[Chalmers's Biog. Dict. vi. 374-5; Masters's Hist. Corpus Chr. Coll. (Lamb), p. 353; Granger's Biog. Hist, of England, 2nd ed. iii. 295-6; General Hist. of Norfolk, ed. J. Chambers, i. 249, ii. 1336.]

G. G.