Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kynyngham, John

John Kenningham in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

KYNYNGHAM or CUNNINGHAM, JOHN (d. 1399), Carmelite, was a native of Suffolk, and since he appears to have been older than Wycliffe, must have been born about 1320. Kynyngham entered the Carmelite order at Ipswich, and thence went to study at Oxford, where he graduated as doctor of divinity previously to 1363, the probable date of his first controversy with Wycliffe (Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 454). He was present at the council of London on 19 May 1382, when Wycliffe was condemned, and preached the sermon at its conclusion (Knighton, col. 2650). He was present at the condemnation of Henry Crump [q. v.] at the council of Stamford on 28 May 1392. Previously to the latter date he had been appointed confessor to John of Gaunt. He was chosen twenty-first provincial of his order in a council held at Yarmouth in 1393, and held the office till his death. In 1398 he was appointed to take part in the deliberations at Oxford relative to the termination of the great schism (Wood, Hist. and Antiq. Univ. Oxford, i. 534, ed. Gutch). He died in the house of his order at York 12 May 1399. Kynyngham is described as gentle of disposition and speech, though a strenuous opponent of Wycliffe and of his doctrines during many years (Fasc. Ziz. p. 3). The Bollandists speak of him as ‘blessed’ (Acta Sanctorum, July, ii. 249 F).

Kynyngham's controversies with Wycliffe are said to have embraced such subjects as logic, the humanity of Christ, civil dominion, and the endowment of the church. Those works of his which have survived are: 1. ‘Ingressus contra Wicclyff.’ 2. ‘Acta contra ideas magistri Johannis Wyclif,’ an answer to a tract by Wycliffe. 3. ‘Secunda determinatio contra Wyclyff. De ampliatione temporis,’ a rejoinder to Wycliffe's reply. 4. ‘Tertia determinatio contra Wycliff. De esse intelligibili creaturæ.’ These four tracts, which may be referred to 1363, are contained in ‘Fasciculi Zizaniorum’ (MS. E. Mus. 86 in the Bodleian), which was edited for the Rolls Series in 1858 by the Rev. W. W. Shirley (pp. 4–103). Another manuscript of these tracts is Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 103. Bale speaks of a fifth tract of Kynyngham's, ‘Determinatio quarta ad auctoritates J. Wyclif,’ inc. ‘Jam restat dicere ad auctoritates,’ &c., but this is only a portion of No. 4 (cf. Fasciculi Zizaniorum, p. 80). Other treatises ascribed to Kynyngham are: 1. ‘Sermones de tempore.’ 2. ‘Sermones de Sanctis.’ 3. ‘Contra propositiones Wiclivi,’ inc. ‘Ut ait Cassiodorus.’ 4. ‘Super Sententias, lib. v.’ 5. ‘De Angelis,’ or ‘De Natura Angelica.’ 6. ‘De Nativitate Christi.’ 7. ‘De ejus Passione.’ 8. ‘De Spiritu Sancto.’ 9. ‘Commentarii Metaphysices.’ 10. ‘Ad quædam loca allegata.’ 11. ‘Quæstiones Varii.’ 12. ‘In Scripturas Commentarii.’ Bale gives the first words of some of these, but none of them seem to be extant.

Kynyngham's name is sometimes spelt Kenyngham and Kiningham, while Wycliffe calls him Kylyngham. The form Cunningham is probably due to Dempster, who claimed him for Scotland, and attached him to the family of the Earls of Glencairn. Dempster also states that he studied at Paris, and was offered but refused the bishopric of Paderborn (Hist. Eccl. x. 763).

[Fasciculi Zizaniorum, ed. Shirley (Rolls Ser.), see index; Leland's Comment. de Scriptt. Brit. p. 386; Bale's Heliades, Harleian MS. 3838, ff. 30, 31, 73; Bale, De Scriptt. Brit. vi. 4; Pits, pp. 564–5; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 213, s.v. ‘Cunningham;’ C. de Villiers's Bibl. Carmelitana, ii. 21–3.]

C. L. K.