Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Drury, William (d.1589)

DRURY, WILLIAM (d. 1589), civilian, third son of John Drury of Rougham, Suffolk, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Goldingham of Belstead in the same county, was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took the degree of LL.B. in 1553. He was appointed regius professor of civil law in the university of Cambridge, with a salary of 40l. per annum, on 30 Jan. 1558–9, and took the degree of LL.D. in 1560 (Rymer, Fœdera (Sanderson), xv. 502). Admitted advocate at Doctors' Commons on 5 May 1561, he shortly afterwards became secretary to Archbishop Parker (Coote, Catalogue of Civilians, 45; Parker Correspondence (Parker Soc.), p. 363). In 1562 Parker appointed him his commissary for the faculties. He was also a member of the ecclesiastical commission as early as 1567, and on 28 June of that year was appointed visitor of the churches, city, and diocese of Norwich. Drury was one of the civilians consulted by Elizabeth in 1571 on the important points of international law raised by the intrigues of the Bishop of Ross on behalf of Mary Stuart. Briefly stated, the questions were (1) whether an ambassador plotting insurrection, or aiding and abetting treason against the sovereign to whom he was accredited, did not forfeit his privileges as an ambassador and become amenable to the ordinary law of the land; and (2) whether a deposed and refugee sovereign was capable by international law of having an ambassador in his land of asylum in such sense as to clothe the ambassador with the personal inviolability ordinarily belonging to his rank. The civilians answered the first question in a sense adverse to the ambassador, and their decision was held at the time conclusive, and acted on accordingly; but, though much discussed since, it has not been generally approved by publicists, or frequently followed in practice by statesmen. The second question they answered in the affirmative, adding, however, the proviso, ‘so long as he do not exceed the bounds of an ambassador.’ The case is generally regarded by publicists as the locus classicus on the subject (Burghley State Papers (Murdin), p. 18; Phillimore, International Law, 3rd ed. ii. 161, 205). On 28 Nov. 1574 Drury received from Archbishop Parker a grant of the advowson of Buxted, Sussex, to hold jointly with the archbishop's son John, and at some date not later than 21 April 1577 he was appointed master of the prerogative court of Canterbury. He was also appointed, on 12 Nov. 1577, locum tenens for Dr. Yale, Archbishop Grindal's vicar-general (Grindal, Remains, 446; Strype, Parker (fol.), i. 121, 248, 253, ii. 476; Strype, Whitgift (fol.), i. 80; Strype, Grindal (fol.), p. 231). At this time he seems to have incurred some suspicion of popish views (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1547–80, p. 576). He was sworn master extraordinary in chancery on 10 Oct. 1580, and master in ordinary in chancery 10 Feb. 1584–5 (Monro, Acta Cancellariæ, p. 547). In 1584 he was consulted as to the best mode of defending the revenues of the church against an apprehended confiscation by the crown under cover of a writ of melius inquirendum. An opinion drawn up by him on this occasion, in which he advises the collection of evidence to prove that ‘the tenth part of the fruits of the land is not possessed by the clergy,’ and certain propositions in the nature of argument to strengthen the case, are preserved in Strype's ‘Annals,’ iii. pt. i. (fol.), 230–2, and App. bk. i. No. xli. He died shortly before Christmas 1589 (Lodge, Illustrations, ii. 382), and was buried in the church of St. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish Street, London. Drury married Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Southwell of Woodrising, Norfolk, by whom he had issue four sons and two daughters. He resided at Brett's Hall, in the parish of Tendring, Essex (Morant, Essex, i. 471). His wife survived him, and married Robert Forth, LL.D., civilian (Coll. Top. et Gen. iii. 310). His eldest son, John, was knighted in 1604. Another son, Robert (1587–1623), is noticed above.

[Nichols's Progresses (James I), p. 465; Cullum's Hawsted, p. 129; Morant's Essex, ii. 311; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 74.]

J. M. R.