Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lewin, William (d.1598)

LEWIN, WILLIAM (d. 1598), civilian, eldest son of Edmund Lewin of Cofflye, Hertfordshire, by his wife Juliana Gouche (Berry, Genealogies, Kent, pp. 212, 432), matriculated at Cambridge as a pensioner of Christ's College in November 1559, proceeded B.A. in 1561–2, and was elected a fellow in 1560. Upon the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the university in August 1564, he addressed her in Latin in the name of all the bachelors (Nichols, Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 32). In 1565 he commenced M.A., and was chosen tutor to Anne Cecil, afterwards countess of Oxford. She subsequently wrote to her father (Lord Burghley) urging him to recommend Lewin to the queen to translate Jewel's works into Latin. During part of 1569 Lewin was one of the proctors of the university. On 10 July 1570 he was elected public orator, but resigned that office in the following year. While M.A. and a student of the civil law he obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury a dispensation to hold, although a layman, a benefice, with or without cure. On 16 March 1575–6 he became dean of the peculiars, and on 7 May 1576 was admitted an advocate. In that year he was created LL.D. He was judge of the prerogative court of Canterbury from 1576 till his death, chancellor of the diocese of Rochester, and commissary of the faculties. His reputation as a painstaking, upright judge was very high. In bequeathing a legacy to the advocates and proctors of the arches, to be expended on a dinner and a piece of plate, he begs them to impute his strictness with them to his desire ‘that causes might proceed in a iust, orderlie, and speedie course’ (will registered in P.C.C. 1, Lewyn). In 1582 he supplicated for incorporation at Oxford, apparently with success. In 1584 he was in a commission to visit the diocese of St. Asaph. He represented Rochester in the parliament which assembled on 28 Oct. 1586, and in June 1587 was in a commission to visit the hospitals of Saltwood and Hythe. In the parliament of 4 Feb. 1588–9 he again served for Rochester. On 27 Feb. following he was admitted, along with his patron Bancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, a member of Gray's Inn (Register, ed. Foster, p. 74). As one of the high commissioners for causes ecclesiastical he was present at the deprivation of Robert Cawdry for nonconformity on 14 May 1590. In May 1591 he engaged in a discussion with Thomas Cartwright (1535–1603) [q. v.], when the latter was convened before the commissioners to take the oath ex officio. To the parliament of 19 Feb. 1592–3 he was returned for Rochester for the third time, and on 27 Feb. spoke against a motion to reform the ecclesiastical courts (Parl. Hist. iv. 374). In the debate on the bill against recusants, on 12 March, he urged that the Brownists and Barrowists should be proceeded against as well as the papists.

In January 1593 Lewin was made a master in chancery (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1591–1594, p. 311). In 1596 he was holding the prebend of Llanefydd in the church of St. Asaph.

Lewin died on 15 April 1598 and was buried at St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, though it had been his desire to be interred in the church of Otterden, Kent, in which parish he possessed a fine house and estate. In accordance with his instructions an elaborate monument to his memory was erected on the north side of his chapel in Otterden Church.

He married Anne, daughter of Francis Gouldsmith of Crayford, Kent, a lady celebrated by Gabriel Harvey, in the dedication of his ‘Ciceronianus’ to her husband, for her beauty and virtues. He left three sons, Justinian, Thomas, and William; and three daughters: Anne (d. 1645), wife of Sir Lawrence Washington, knt. (1579–1643), of Garsden, Wiltshire, and registrar of the court of chancery (New England Hist. and Genealog. Reg. for July 1890); Catherine, wife of James Paget of Northamptonshire; and Judith (d. 1625), wife of Sir John Isham, bart., of Lamport, near Northampton. His second son and eventual heir, Justinian, born in 1586, was admitted of Gray's Inn on 8 Feb. 1602–3 (Register, p. 104), became gentleman of the privy chamber to James I, and was knighted 14 March 1603–4. He died on 28 June 1620. By his marriage on 14 May 1607 to Elizabeth, daughter of Arthur Capel of Little Hadham, Hertfordshire, he had an only daughter, Elizabeth. His widow married, secondly, on 18 March 1622–3, Ralph, lord Hopton [q. v.] (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, i. 243).

Lewin was a friend of John Sturmius and Gabriel Harvey [q. v.] He is author of the Latin epistle to the printer before Harvey's ‘Ciceronianus,’ 1577. Some, if not all, of the letters written in the name of the university during the short period he held the office of public orator were by his substitute John Becon [q. v.]

A grandson, Sir Justinian Lewin (1613–1673), son of William Lewin of Smithfield, London, by Sarah, his wife, was baptised at St. Bartholomew-the-Less on 17 Feb. 1612–1613. He graduated B.C.L. in 1632 and D.C.L. in 1637 as a member of Pembroke College, Oxford (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 222–3, 465). He was appointed commissary of Norfolk in 1633, and official to the archdeacon of Norfolk in 1639. In 1639 he was judge-martial of the army under Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, in the Scotch expedition. He became on 18 Nov. 1641 a member of Gray's Inn (Register, p. 234), and a master in chancery on 22 July 1641. He resided at Ludham, Norfolk, and endeavoured to promote Charles II's interest in that county, especially, as he says, ‘in the business of Lynne, which might have been of eminent use but for the treachery of Hynderson, then governor of Newark’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, p. 220). For his share in this plot he was imprisoned for a short time in 1655 (ib. Dom. 1655, p. 368). At the Restoration he was restored to his offices, and was knighted on 12 May 1661. He died 1 Jan. 1672–3, and was buried in the chancel of St. Bartholomew-the-Less.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 245–6, 550, and authorities cited there; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1595–7, pp. 311–12; Harvey's Pierces Supererogation (Collier), p. 42; Letter-Book of Gabriel Harvey (Camd. Soc.), pp. 7, 178; Hasted's Kent (fol. ed.), ii. 628, 681; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 337, 492.]

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