Joyner, William (DNB00)

JOYNER, alias Lyde, WILLIAM (1622–1706), dramatic poet, second son of William Joyner, alias Lyde, of Horsepath, Oxfordshire, by Anne, daughter and coheiress of Edward Lapworth, M.D., was born in the parish of St. Giles, Oxford, in April 1622. After attending the free schools of Thame and Coventry, he was elected a demy of Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1636, proceeded B.A. in 1640, was elected a probationary fellow of his college in 1642, and commenced M.A. in 1643, but ‘upon a foresight of the utter ruin of the church of England by the presbyterians in the time of the rebellion,’ he turned catholic, and resigned his fellowship in 1645. He then accompanied Edward, earl of Glamorgan, to Ireland, where he remained till the royal cause declined in that country. Afterwards he travelled with the earl in France and Germany. At one period he was in the service of Queen Henrietta Maria, and he resided for several years as domestic steward in the household of the Hon. Walter Mountague, lord abbot of St. Martin at Pontoise, and youngest son of Edward, first earl of Manchester.

On returning to England, he lived in London in studious retirement until the breaking out of the Popish plot in 1678, when he withdrew to Horsepath. He was there seized on suspicion of being a priest, but obtained his liberty on being recognised as a ‘mere laical papist.’ Subsequently he lived, in ‘a most obscure, retired, and devout condition,’ at Ickford, Buckinghamshire. When James II conceived the project of making Magdalen College a catholic institution, Joyner was again admitted to a fellowship on 16 Nov. 1687 by royal mandate, in the place of Dr. Fairfax, and he was admitted as bursar of the college by virtue of another royal mandate dated 7 Jan. 1687–8. He was removed from his fellowship by the visitor on 25 Oct. 1688, and retired to Ickford, where his apparel was ‘little better than that of a day-labourer, and his diet and lodging were very suitable to it.’ It appears that at a later period he lived in obscurity, partly near Brill, Oxfordshire, and partly in a house adjoining the north part of Holywell Church, Oxford. In the latter house he died on 14 Sept. 1706. After his death money to the amount of 300l. or 400l. was found secreted in his books. He was great-uncle to Thomas Phillips, canon of Tongres, the biographer of Cardinal Pole. Among his friends were Anthony à Wood and Thomas Hearne, who frequently visited him at his lodgings. Hearne records that ‘he was one of the most retired men I have known. He was so devout and religious a man, that I have been told he spent almost the greatest part of his time upon his knees, upon which he was always found if it happened that any one peeped in at his door. He was a large man, very cheerful and pleasant, and died singing a hymn. Though he was a zealous Roman Catholic, yet he lived very quietly, and was not of the number of those who were for creating disturbances.’

He wrote: 1. ‘The Roman Empress. A Tragedy: Acted at the Royal Theater, by his Majesties Servants,’ London, 1671, 4to, dedicated to Sir Charles Sedley. This play, which is in five acts, and in verse, obtained great approbation and success. 2. ‘Some Observations upon the Life of Reginaldus Polus, Cardinal of the Royal Bloud of England. Sent in a Pacquet out of Wales, by G. L. Gentleman, and Servant to the late Majesty of Henrietta Maria of Bourbon, Mother to the present King,’ London, 1686, 8vo; dedicated to Theophilus Evans. 3. Verses in (a) ‘Musarum Oxon. Charisteria,’ 1638, (b) ‘Horti Carolini Rosa Altera,’ 1640.

Dr. Bloxam is mistaken in ascribing to Joyner the authorship of ‘Vita Reginaldi Poli Cardinalis, ac Cantuariensis Archiepiscopi,’ 2 vols., London, 1690. This is an edition of the Latin version by Andrew Dudith, successively bishop of Tina, of Chonad, and of Fünfkirchen, of Beccadelli's Italian biography, which originally appeared at Venice, 1563.

[Baker's Biog. Dramatica (Jones), i. 417, iii. 217; Bloxam's Magdalen College Register, v. 144; Bloxam's Magdalen College and James II, pp. 169, 175, 184, 185, 191, 192, 207, 210, 231, 232, 265; Reliquiæ Hearnianæ (Bliss), 2nd edit. i. 1, 56, 58, 108, iii. 69; Remarks and Collections of Tho. Hearne, ed. Doble; Phillips's Life of Card. Pole, preface; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 587, and Fasti, ii. 57.]

T. C.