Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Yeldard, Arthur

YELDARD, ARTHUR (d. 1599), president of Trinity College, Oxford, was born at Houghton-Strother in Tynedale, Northumberland. Warton's statements (supported by the usual references to those ' MSS. F. Wise,' which are not now, if ever they were, in existence) that he was educated in the cloister at Durham, and was afterwards a 'master or assistant' at the Jesus College, Rotherham, are not probable, since Yeldard matriculated not at Durham College, Oxford, but at Cambridge, as a sizar of Clare Hall, in 1544. He graduated B.A, in 1547-8 and M.A. in 1552, and occurs as a fellow of Pembroke Hall, 1551-4, acting as junior treasurer in 1551 (Webb, MS. Hist. of the Fellows, extracted by the Rev. Dr. Searle, master). It appears from his dedication to Queen Mary of a Latin version of Documenta quaedam admonitoria Agapeti Diaconi' (Royal MS. 7 D. iv.) that he was at Dilling in Flanders in December 1553, acting as tutor to Henry and Anthony, the sons of Sir Anthony Denny [q. v.], who matriculated at Cambridge on 27 Nov. 1552. He also states that he had received an exhibition from Mary when princess through her confessor, Francis Mallett, dean of Lincoln.

On 30 May 1556 Yeldard was admitted one of the original fellows of Trinity College, Oxford, and was incorporated M.A. on 12 Nov. He assisted the founder, Sir Thomas Pope (1507?-1559) [q. v.], and the first president, Thomas Slythurst, in the composition of the Latin statutes, acted as philosophy lecturer, and is frequently mentioned in the founder's letters, particularly as tutor to his stepson, John Basford. On 23 Sept. 1559, after the deprivation of Slythurst, he was selected by the foundress to be president, graduated B.D, in 1583 and D.D. in 1586, was instituted to the annexed rectory of Garsington on 8 Sept. 1562, and also held the college living of Great Waltham, Essex, in 1572-4. He was nominated vice-chancellor by Leicester in July 1580, holding office for a year; and his name occurs on various university committees, such as those for the reception of Elizabeth in 1566 and 1592, for a conference with Corrano in 1578, for the reception of Albert à Lasco in 1583, and for the reform of the statutes in 1576. He died on 1 or 2 Feb. 1598-9. and was buried in the college chapel. He left the 'Centuriae Magdeburgenses' to the library, and the rest of his property to his wife Eleanor.

As president of his college Yeldard seems to have shown care and tact, husbanding the Durham College buildings, and averting any serious disasters at the Elizabethan visitations of 1560 to 1570. Wood (Hist. and Antiq. ed. Gutch, ii. 142) quotes four lines of a 'vain libel' playing on his name, and accusing him of leaving England 'for deadly vice,' and then submitting 'with yielding voice;' but records that his successor, Ralph Kettell [q.v.], 'did always report him to have lived a severe and religious life.' Warton assigns to him, besides the unpublished manuscript mentioned above, a manuscript translation into Greek of Sir T. More's 'Consolatory Dialogue against Tribulation;' but of this, if it ever existed, no trace remains. Yeldard's only printed work consists of complimentary Latin verses of no great merit:

  1. Eleven elegiac couplets at the end of L. Humphrey's 'Vita Juelli.'
  2. Eight couplets prefixed to John Case's 'Speculum Moralium Quæstionum,' &c., and
  3. Twenty hexameters in the 'Funebria Henrici Unton,' edited in 1596 by Robert Wright [q. v.], fellow of Trinity, first warden of Wadham, and afterwards bishop of Coventry and Lichfield.

[Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 787; Warton's Sir T. Pope. pp. 384-93, followed uncritically by Cooper's Athena Cant. ii. 267-8; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 574-5; Blakiston's Trinity College, p. 82; Wood's Hist, and Antiq. passim; Registers and Accounts of Trinity College.]

H. E. D. B.