Kedermyster, Richard (DNB00)

KEDERMYSTER or KYDERMINSTRE, RICHARD, D.D. (d. 1531?), abbot of Winchcomb, Gloucestershire, was probably a native of Worcestershire. At the age of fifteen he was admitted into the Benedictine monastery of Winchcomb; four years later he was sent to Gloucester College, Oxford, where the monastery owned an apartment called Winchcomb Lodgings; after remaining there for three years and a half he was summoned home, and by the interest of his patron, John Twynning, the abbot of Winchcomb, was made ‘scholar or pastor’ of the monastery. On Twynning's death in 1487, he was elected lord abbot, and during his government the community flourished ‘like to a little university’ (Wood, Annals, ed. Gutch, ii. 21). According to Leland (Itin. iv. 71, ed. 1744) he structurally improved the abbey. In 1500, being then a doctor of divinity, he made a journey to Rome, where he resided for more than a year; and after his return he became a frequent preacher and a man of influence in the court of Henry VIII. In 1512 the king sent him with three other ecclesiastics to the council of the Lateran convened by Pope Julius II.

In the parliament which assembled at Westminster on 4 Feb. 1512–13 it was enacted that all robbers and murderers should be denied the benefit of the clergy, except such as were within the holy orders of a bishop, priest, or deacon; and it was provided that the statute should remain in force till the next parliament. The clergy took alarm at this encroachment on their privileges. In 1515, after the act had lapsed, Kedermyster declared in a sermon preached at St. Paul's Cross during the sitting of parliament that it was contrary to the law of God and to the liberties of the holy church. He contended that the minor, as well as the major, orders were sacred. In the protracted controversy which ensued, the other side of the question was stoutly advocated by Henry Standish, guardian of the convent of the Franciscans in London (Keilway, Relationes quorundam Casuum, 1602, pp. 180–5; Burnet, Hist. of the Reformation, ed. Pocock, i. 39–48). Kedermyster died about 1531, and was buried in Winchcomb Abbey.

He was the author of:

  1. ‘Tractatus contra doctrinam M. Lutheri,’ 1521, a work which seems also known as ‘De veniis;’ no copy of it seems accessible.
  2. ‘A Compendium of the Rule of St. Benedict,’ with annotations, and a description of the ceremonies observed in the order.
  3. A register wholly composed by him in 1523, and formerly belonging to Winchcomb Abbey. It contained (a) ‘Historia fundationis Monasterii de Winchcomb in com. Glouc.’ The preface, with part of the history, is printed in Dugdale's ‘Monasticon,’ edit. 1819, ii. 301, &c. (b) ‘Catalogus, vel Historia Abbatum Monast. de Winchcomb.’ (c) Life of St. Patrick, and a treatise on the antiquity of Glastonbury Abbey, which was printed in the 1st edit. of the ‘Monasticon,’ i. 11. (d) ‘Renovatio privilegiorum, chartarum ac aliorum munimentorum Monasterii de Winchcomb.’

After the Reformation this register came into the possession of Sir William Morton, justice of the king's bench. It was burnt in the fire of London in 1666. A transcript, made by Dodsworth, is among his manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, vol. lxv. Among the manuscripts at the British Museum (MS. Cott. Nero, B. vi. f. 25) is a letter from Kedermyster congratulating Wolsey on his promotion to the archbishopric of York in 1514.

Burnet seems to be in error in stating that Kedermyster published a book in support of his contention that all clerks, whether of the greater or lower orders, were exempt from all temporal punishments.

[Chambers's Worcestershire Biog. p. 46; Gent. Mag. new ser. xxix. 267; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 450; Wood's Annals (Gutch); Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), i. 61; Warton's Hist. English Poetry, ii. 447.]

T. C.