Copinger, William (DNB00)

COPINGER, WILLIAM (d. 1416), clerk, was a member of a family settled at Buxhall, Suffolk. His will is dated 20 Jan. 1411–12, and was proved on 2 March 1415–16. He was buried at Buxhall (Davy, Athenæ Suffolcenses, i., Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 19165, f. 53). Copinger's claim to be included among English writers rests upon the testimony of Bishop Bale, who mentions in his note-book (Bodleian Library, Cod. Selden., supra, 64, f. 58 b) that he found two works of his in the possession of Balliol College, Oxford. These works were a treatise, ‘De Virtutibus et Vitiis,’ and a ‘Sacramentale’ in one book (so too in Bale, Scriptt. Brit. Cat. xi. 48, pt. ii. 62 et seq.). Pits expands this account by the statement that Copinger was a master of arts of some note in the university of Oxford, and that he is supposed to have been a member of Balliol College (De Angliæ Scriptoribus, appendix, ii. 22, p. 852). Two copies of the ‘De Virtutibus et Viciis Auctoritates Sacre Scripture et Sanctorum ac Philosophorum’ remain in the Balliol Library (codd. lxxxiii. 136–67, lxxxvi. f. 2 et seq.), both of the fourteenth century; and the former has the following colophon—‘Explicit tractatus de viciis et virtutibus compilatus. Toppynger’ (or perhaps ‘Toppyng’—the flourish is ambiguous). The name is apparently that, not of the author, but of the transcriber (H. O. Coxe, Catal. of Oxford MSS., Balliol College, p. 24 a), and the initial letter is not C but T. Finally, there is no christian name given; and it is possible that the name ‘William’ was prefixed through an inadvertent confusion with a William Copinger of New College, who proceeded B.C.L. in 1542 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. i. 116, ed. Bliss), or perhaps with another William Copinger who made extracts from a Dublin chartulary which formed part of Sir James Ware's collection, and afterwards passed into the possession of the Earl of Clarendon (Catal. Cod. MSS. Angl. vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 8, 1697). As for the Sacramentale’ referred to above, it is probably a copy of the well-known ‘Pupilla Oculi’ of John Borough [q. v.], (Balliol MS. ccxx. f. 54). It results, therefore, that Copinger has only found a place in English biographical dictionaries in consequence of an error of transcription on the part of Bishop Bale.

[Authorities cited above.]

R. L. P.