Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Levinz, William

LEVINZ, WILLIAM (1625–1698), president of St. John's College, Oxford, born 25 July 1625, was the son of William Levinz of Evenley, near Brackley, Northamptonshire. Sir Creswell Levinz [q. v.] and Baptist Levinz [q. v.], bishop of Sodor and Man, were his younger brothers, and Robert Levinz [q. v.] was his uncle. William was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, proceeded as probationary fellow to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1641, and became a fellow in 1644, taking the degree of B.A. in 1645, and M.A. in 1649. He refused to submit to the authority of the puritan visitors of the university in 1648 (Reg. of the Visitors, Camden Soc., pp. 50, 547), but must have submitted subsequently, as his name occurs continuously in the college register. He was ‘Terræ filius’ in 1651. At the reception of the chancellor Hyde on 9 Sept. 1661 Levinz, ‘though then very sickly,’ made a speech. He took orders, and proceeded to the degree of M.D. in 1666. On 10 Oct. 1673 he was elected president of his college. Wood did not think well of his appointment, since ‘he beats the students there and fights.’ In 1678 he was made sub-dean of Wells, and canon residentiary in 1682, Peter Mew [q. v.], then bishop of Bath and Wells, being a former president of St. John's. Levinz had a considerable reputation for learning, and was Greek reader from about July 1661, and regius professor of Greek from 24 Nov. 1665 to 1698 (cf. Fullman, Notitia Oxoniensis Academiæ, 1675). He died suddenly, while addressing a college meeting, on 3 March 1697–8 (cf. letter from William Sherwin, printed in Wood's Life, ed. Bliss). He was buried in St. John's College chapel, where his monument remains, describing him as ‘optime literatus, mansuetus, modestus, justus, pius.’ He was unmarried. According to a manuscript note (by Wood?) in the Bodleian copy (Linc. 8o C. 521), Levinz wrote a history of the year 1660, entitled ‘Appendicula de Rebus Britannicis,’ which was printed anonymously (pp. 339–46) in the third (1663) and subsequent editions of the ‘Flosculi Historici Delibati nunc Delibatiores redditi sive Historia Universalis’ of the jesuit Jean de Bussières (cf. Hearne, Collections, ed. Doble, Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 103). He collected a library (cf. Bibl. Levinziana, 1698).

[Wood's Life and Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss; Wood's Life and Times, ed. Clark (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), i. 361 n., ii. 214 n.; Robinson's Merchant Taylors' School Register, i. 142; authorities quoted above; information from the Rev. Dr. Bellamy, President of St. John's College.]

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