Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Aubrey, William
AUBREY, WILLIAM, LL.D., (1529–1595), an eminent civilian and grandfather of the antiquary, John Aubrey, was born at Cantre [Cantreff], Brecknockshire, in or about 1529, and was educated at Oxford, where he graduated B.C.L. in 1549. He became fellow of All Souls', was appointed principal of New Inn Hall in 1550, and professor of civil law in 1553. It appears that he discharged the duties of his professorship by deputies; for William Mowse filled the chair in 1554. In 1559 he resigned in favour of John Griffith (Rymer's Fœdera, xv. 503). Having taken the degree of D.C.L. (1554), Aubrey was admitted an advocate in the court of Arches, and was judge-advocate in the St. Quentin expedition. Archbishop Grindal made him auditor and vicar-general in spirituals for the province of Canterbury, and in 1577, during Grindal's sequestration, he was one of the civilians chosen to carry on the visitation. He was afterwards chancellor to Archbishop Whitgift, member of the Council of Marches for Wales, master in chancery, and master of requests in ordinary. He was M.P. for Carmarthen boroughs in 1554, Brecon 1558, Hindon 1559, Arundel 1562, and Taunton 1592. He died on 23 July 1595, leaving 3 sons and 6 daughters. In Dugdale's 'Hist. of St. Paul's Cathedral' is a drawing of Aubrey's monument and effigy in St. Paul's. His grandson the antiquary writes: 'I have his originall picture. He had a delicate, quick, lively, and piercing black eie, a severe eie browe, and a fresh complexion. The figure in his monument at St. Paules is not like him—it is too big’ (Letters from the Bodleian, 1813, ii. 219).
Some letters of Aubrey's are printed in Strype's ‘Life of Grindal.’ Two of his judgments are preserved among the Lansdowne MSS. (lxviii. lxix.) A letter to John Dee, in criticism of his ‘Soveraignty of the Sea,’ is printed in vol. ii. pp. 214–18 of ‘Letters from the Bodleian,’ 1813. The original letter, with transcripts by Dee and Ashmole, is among the Ashmolean MSS. (1789, 33). The Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian contain ‘Tractatus duo in causa matrimonii dominæ Katherinæ Grey et comitis Hertfordiæ, per Gul. Aubrey et Hen. Jones,’ and a letter of Aubrey's to Grindal ‘On the Abuses in the Ecclesiastical Courts.’ Among the Ashmolean MSS. (1788, 132–3) is preserved Ashmole's transcript of a ‘Letter from Dr. W. Aubrey to Dr. Dee upon his perusall of the British Monarchy. Kew, 28 July, 1577.’
[Wood's Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 127, 143; Strype's Grindal; Strype's Cranmer; Dugdale's History of St. Paul's Cathedral; Black's Catalogue of Ashmolean MSS.; Catalogue of Tanner MSS.; Letters from the Bodleian Library, 1813, ii. 207–21, where an account of Aubrey is printed from a manuscript (supposed to be) in the writing of his son-in-law, Sir Daniel Dun, supplemented by notes of John Aubrey, the antiquary.]