Open main menu


HARDEBY, GEOFFREY (fl. 1360?), Austin friar, may have taken his name either from the village of Harby in Nottinghamshire the place where Queen Eleanor of Castile died (cf. W. H. Stevenson in the Engl. Hist. Rev. iii. 315 ff., 1888) or from Harby in Leicestershire. The latter is the more probable, if the account given by Bale and Pamphilus be correct, that he entered the convent of the Austin friars at Leicester.

That he studied at Oxford is proved by his 'Quodlibeta Oxonii disputata,' which, with other 'determinationes' of his, Bale found in manuscript (see his notebook, Bodl. Libr., Selden MS. supra, 64, f. 60 b); and that he taught there with applause has been confidently inferred by his biographers from the fact that lectures on both the Old and New Testament and 'Postillse Scripturarum' are attributed to him. But this evidence is clearly not decisive, though the conclusion is probably true. Pits further makes him a doctor of divinity, and he is said to have written sermons 'de tempore' and 'de sanctis.' One of these doubtless remains to us in a sermon on Luke xxi. 25, preached 'in ecclesia Virginis' (apparently the university church at Oxford), and assigned to 'Mr. Herdeby,' which exists in a handwriting of the last quarter of the fourteenth century in a Digby MS. (161, f. 2) in the Bodleian Library.

Hardeby was made provincial of his order, and in time confessor and (it is said) councillor to the king, apparently not Edward III, but Richard II, if Capgrave be right in calling him 'confessor to the prince,' since Richard II was created Prince of Wales on 20 Nov. 1376. Tanner also notices, on the authority of one of Bishop Moore's manuscripts (now Cambr. Univ. Libr. Dd. in. 53), that Hardeby was living in Richard II's reign; but Nasmith has observed that the scribe of this manuscript has frequently mistaken Edward for Richard (Cat. of the MSS. in the Libr. of the Univ. of Cambr. i. 107, 1856). The document in question bears neither name; but both the preceding and the following one begin with 'Richardus rex.' On the other hand the earlier reign would certainly suit most naturally with the best-known incident of Hardeby's career his controversy with Archbishop Richard Fitzralph [q. v.], a connection which points to the time 1356-60. Hardeby wrote a treatise against the archbishop's attack upon 'evangelical poverty,' the title of which is given by Capgrave as 'De evangelica Vita.' This is no doubt the work, in twenty chapters, which exists in the Digby MS. 113, ff. 1-117, though unfortunately the first leaf of the book, which should give the writer's name, has been lost since at least Langbaine's time (see his 'Adversaria,' in the Bodleian MS. e don. A. Wood, 2 f. 1); the title at the end is 'Libellus de Vita evangelica.' Possibly, too, this is the same with the treatise 'De Perfectione evangelicse Paupertatis' mentioned by Leland as consisting of two books, since the manuscript of the 'De evangelica Vita' has a clear break at the end of chapter ix., and begins the following chapter, after a blank page and a half, with a new leaf.

Leland says that Hardeby was buried at the Austinfriars in London.

[J. Capgrave's Chron. of Engl. 218, ed. F. C. Hingeston, 1858; Leland's Comm. de Scriptt-Brit. pp. 375 f.; Bale, MS. Selden, supra, 64 f. 60 b; Scriptt. Brit. Cat. vi. 6, pp. 458 f.; J. Pamphilus, Chron. Ord. Fratr. Erem. S. August., ff. 57 f. Rome, 1581; Pits, De Angl. Scriptt. 491; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 377.]

R. L. P.