Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bungay, Thomas

BUNGAY, THOMAS (fl. 1290), a learned Franciscan friar, was born at Bungay, Suffolk, and educated at Paris and Oxford, in which university he was the tenth reader in divinity. On resigning this post, in which he was succeeded by John Peckham, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, he migrated to Cambridge, where he held a similar position. He was subsequently appointed provincial minister of his order in England, being the eighth, counting from Agnellus of Pisa, who was deputed by St. Francis to introduce his order into this island. In this post he was again succeeded by Peckham. Wadding speaks of him as being elected by the general suffrage of the order, but at this time the nomination of provincial ministers was in the hands of the general minister, an office which was probably held (for the date of Bungay's appointment is not precisely known) by St. Bonaventura, ‘doctor seraphicus.’ In addition to the subjects on which he lectured—theology and philosophy—Bungay had also attained such proficiency in mathematics, that he was accounted a magician, like his friend, Roger Bacon, and there are many wonderful stories of his doings in the ‘Famous Historie of Roger Bacon,’ of which the first edition was published in 1627. In 1594 Robert Greene made Bungay a chief character in the ‘Honorable History of Frier Bacon and Frier Bungay.’ His writings, according to Pits, were as follows: ‘Super Magistrum Sententiarum liber i.;’ ‘Quæstionum Theologicarum liber i.;’ and ‘De Magia Naturali liber i.’ He was buried at Northampton.

[Monumenta Franciscana, 537, 550, 552, 555, 560; Possevino, Apparatus Sacer, ii. 484; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus, 373; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Oxon. (ed. Gutch, 1792), 357; Bale (ed. 1557), p. 347; Leland's Commentarii de Scriptoribus, 302; Wadding's Annales Minorum, v. 240.]

C. T. M.