Clapwell, Richard (DNB00)

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CLAPWELL or KNAPWELL, RICHARD (fl. 1286), Dominican, was a doctor of theology at Oxford and the author of various scholastic works. In 1286 he was accused of maintaining opinions contrary to the catholic faith, and cited by the Franciscan archbishop, John Peckham, to answer before him and his suffragans at a council to be held in London. At this council, which met at the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, 20 April 1286, eight heresies were condemned; but, according to the document printed by Wilkins, without naming the offender: all who held those doctrines were declared excommunicate. The Osney and Dunstable annalists, however, expressly state that the condemnation was directed Clapwell, and the latter gives in full a list of twelve heresies of which he was found guilty, differing somewhat from Wilkins's. The heresies are scholastic positions relating chiefly to the often vexed question of the ‘form’ of the body of Christ, a question which, of course, had a bearing on the doctrine of the eucharist. Clapwell was a follower of the Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, of whom the Franciscans were jealous as of a successful rival. Consequently the sentence had no sooner been delivered than Hugh of Manchester, the provincial of the Dominican order, intervened, alleging that no one whatsoever had jurisdiction over friars preachers save the pope only, to whom on Clapwell’s behalf he made appeal. Clapwell unfortunately did not prosecute his cause until 1288, when Nicholas IV, the first Franciscan pope and former general of his order, had succeeded to the pontificate. The Dominican was promptly condemned to perpetual silence with respect to the obnoxious opinions which he had maintained. He withdrew to Bologna, but there he again ventured to avow his doctrines. In the end, according to the Dunstable annalist, he lost his reason (‘incidit in desipientiam et miseriam magnam valde'), tore out his eyes, and so died in misery.

Clapwell’s works are enumerated as follows: 1. Four books of commentaries on the ‘Sentences,' a portion of hich, entitled ‘Notabilia super primum Sententiarum, usque ad distinctionem xix., secundum magistrum Ricardum de Clappervelle,’ is preserved in the library of Magdalen College, Oxford (Cod. lvi. f. 184; Coxe, Cat. of Oxford MSS., Magd. p. 35 a). 2. ‘Correctorium Corruptorii Thomæ de Aquino,’ an answer to the criticisms of William de Mara upon St. Thomas. The authorship of this work is disputed, since it is only ascribed in a single manuscript to ‘John Crapuel’ (Quétif and Echard, Scriptures Ordinis Prædicatorum, i. 503 b). 3. ‘De Unitate Formarum.' 4. ‘De immediata Visione divinte Essentiæ.’ To these mentioned by Boston of Bury (ap. Tanner, Bibl, Brit. præf. p. xxxviii) and Leland (Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis, p. 321), Tanner (l.c. p. 181) adds one book of 'Additiones ad D. Bonaventuram,' 'Lecturæ Scholasticæ,' 'Quaestiones Theologicæ,' and 'Quæstiones Quodlibeticæ,'

Clapwell's name appears in the forms Clapole, Clapoel, &c., besides the variants given above.

[Dunstable Annals (Annales Monastiei, ed. Luard, iii. 323-5,341); Osney Annals (ib. iv. 306, 307) ; Wilkins's Concilia Magnæ Britanniæ, ii. 123. 124; Quitif aod Echard, nbi supra, i. 414 6 ; Wood's Hist, and Antiq. of the Univ. of Oxford, ed. Gutch, i. 322, 323 ; Denifle and Ehrle's Archiv fur Litteratur- und Kirchen-Geschichte des Mittelalters, ii. 227, 1886.]

R. L. P.