Conyngton, Richard (DNB00)


CONYNGTON, RICHARD (d. 1330), Franciscan, studied at the university of Oxford, where he proceeded to the degree of doctor in theology (Monumenta Franciscana, 538, 560, ed. Brewer). He must also have lived for some time on the continent, since a younger contemporary, the famous John Baconthorpe [q. v.] (J. Bachonis Quæst. in Sentent. i. dist. iv. art. i. p. 112, ed. Cremona, 1618), says he was a pupil of Henry of Ghent (Henricus de Gandavo), who is known to have held disputations at Paris at various dates between 1276 and 1291 or 1292, and who died in 1293 (see a minute examination of Henry's biography by F. Ehrle, in the Archiv für Litteratur- und Kirchen-Geschichte des Mittelalters, i. 384–95, 1885). Conyngton was distinguished as a theologian, and lectured publicly in his faculty at Oxford (Monum. Franc. p. 553). He afterwards settled at Cambridge, where he became master (ib. p. 556). In 1310 he was chosen the sixteenth provincial of the Franciscan order in England (Sbaralea, Supplement to Wadding's Scriptores Ordinis Minorum, p. 633, Rome, 1806), and in the same year was associated with twelve other provincials in drawing up a reply to the mischievous opinions of Ubertino da Casale (Wadding, Annales Ordinis Minorum, vi. 171, ed. Rome, 1733), who was then among the most active representatives of the extreme doctrine respecting evangelical poverty, formerly championed by Peter Johannis of Olivi. The part taken by Conyngton in this affair implies that he was present at the papal court at Avignon during the negotiations preceding the council of Vienne (cf. Ehrle in the Archiv above cited, ii. 356–59, 1886). But of his further history nothing is recorded, except that he died at Cambridge (Monum. Franc. pp. 538, 560) in 1330 (Bale, MS. Bodleian Library, cod. Seld., supr. 64, f. 216 b), and was buried there.

Conyngton was held in high repute as a schoolman. His chief work, a commentary on the ‘Sentences’ of Peter Lombard, is repeatedly cited by Baconthorpe (ubi supra) and Robert of Walsingham (Bale, Scriptt. Brit. Cat. iv. 83, p. 369). But he also took part in the great Franciscan discussions of his day, and wrote a ‘Tractatus de Paupertate contra opiniones fratris Petri Johannis,’ of which a manuscript is preserved at Florence (A. M. Bandini, Catal. Codd. Lat. Biblioth. Medic. Laur. iv. 717 et seq., 1777; the title is incorrectly given by Sbaralea, l. c.), and which we may perhaps connect with the proceedings against Ubertino da Casale referred to above. Another treatise by Conyngton, ‘De Christi Dominio’ (Leland, Comm. de Scriptt. Brit. cccxli. 331)—if the addition to its title given by Wadding (Scriptt. Ord. Min. p. 207, ed. 1806), ‘contra Occamum,’ be genuine—would seem to involve him in the later dispute about evangelical poverty, in which Ockham does not appear to have engaged before 1322 (cf. Riezler, Die literarischen Widersacher der Päpste zur Zeit Ludwig des Baiers, pp. 71, 241, Leipzig, 1874). It is presumably an answer to Ockham's book, ‘De Paupertate Christi,’ which has never been published (Wadding, Scriptt. Ord. Min. p. 106). Besides these works, Conyngton wrote a commentary on the ‘Quadragesimale’ of St. Gregory, and ‘Quodlibeta’ (Leland, l. c.), as well as an ‘Expositio in septem Psalmos Pœnitentiales,’ of which Bale found a copy in the Franciscan monastery at Norwich (MS. ubi supra, f. 160).

The name ‘Conyngton’ alternates with ‘Coniton’ in the Franciscan lists printed by Brewer. Baconthorpe regularly gives ‘Comigton.’ ‘Covedunus’ seems to be a fancy of Leland's.

[Authorities cited above; also Wadding's Annales Ordinis Minorum, vii. 168 et. seq., ed. 1733.]

R. L. P.