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OLIVER, JOHN (d. 1552), dean of Christ Church, Oxford, graduated in the university of Oxford. His degrees were B.C.L. on 30 June 1516, B. Can. L. and D. Can. L. on 20 May 1522, D.C.L. on 11 Oct. 1522. He must have had powerful influence in the church, as he received very numerous preferments. He may have been the John Oliver or Smith who became prebendary of Hinton on 5 July, and of Norton on 20 July 1512, both in the cathedral of Hereford. On 22 Aug. 1522 he received the living of Winforton in the diocese of Hereford, and in 1522 he became an advocate at Doctors' Commons. He was also rector of St. Mary Mounthaw, London, but resigned the living in 1527. Oliver seems to have been one of the many young men whom Wolsey advanced, and in 1527 was his commissary. On 4 Sept. 1527 he received the living of Pembridge in the diocese of Hereford, and on 8 Sept. 1528 that of Whitchurch, Lincolnshire; he had other minor preferments or promises of preferment. He had now become prominent as the court as an active official of the new way of thinking. On 22 Feb. 1528-9 he was sent to take the fealty of Elizabeth Zouche, the new abbess of Shaftesbury; and at the end of the same year be became prebendary of Southwell. In 1531 he was employed in the proceedings about Henry's divorce, and in 1532 he was one of those consulted by the king as to the consecration of Cranmer. In the same year he took part in the trial of James Bainham [q. v.] for heresy. On 4 May 1533 Oliver was made dean of Christ Church, Oxford, in succession to John Hygdon [q. v.] He attended to other affairs, however, and in 1533 formed one of the court which declared Queen Katherine contumacious. In 1540 he was consulted by convocation as to the validity of the king's marriage with Anne of Cleves; and other similar public duties were confided to him (Acts of the Privy Council, 1542-7, pp. 118, 126, 292).

When it was determined to alter the foundation of Christ Church, Oliver had to resign his deanery. This he did on 20 May 1545, receiving in exchange the substantial pension of 70l a year. He returned to Doctors' Commons, became a master in chancery in 1547, at some time master of requests; on Wriothesley's fall the same year, he was one of the commissioners who transacted the lord-chancellor's business in the court of chancery. He took part in Gardiner's trial at the close of 1550, was a commissioner for the suppression of the anabaptists in Kent and Essex in 1551, and the same year accompanied the embassy to France to treat of the king's possible marriage. He took part in 1551 in the trials of Day and Heath, bishops of Chichester and Worcester, and, as Lord-chancellor Rich [q. v.] was ill, he helped to clear off the chancery business. He died in Doctors' Commons about May 1552.

Another John Oliver (1601-1661) was born in Kent, of an obscure family, in 1601, matriculated from Merton College, Oxford, on 26 Jan. 1615-16, became a demy of Magdalen College on 7 April 1619, graduated B.A. on 11 Dec. 1619, and became fellow in 1620. He also proceeded M.A. on 3 July 1622, B.D. on 18 May 1631, D.D. on 29 April 1639. He was tutor to Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, when he was at Oxford, became vice-president of his college in 1634, held several livings and was made canon of Winchester in 1638, chaplain to Laud 1640, and president of Magdalen College in 1644. Laud left him one of his watches by his will. He was duly ejected in 1647, suffered great hardship, but was restored to his preferments at the Restoration, and, by Hyde's influence, made dean of Worceater on 13 Sept. 1660. He died 27 Oct. 1661, and was buried in Magdalen College antechapel.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1600-1714; Wood's Athenae, ed. Bliss, iv. 300n, and Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 60; Laud's Works (Libr. Anglo-Cath. Theol.). iii. 110, iv. 444, vi. 583, vii. 545, 553; Bloxam's Reg. of Magdalen Coll. v. 82-.8; Welch's Alumni Westmon. i,; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. Univ. of Oxf. ed. Gutch, i. 423-9; Coote's Engl. Civilians. p. 18; Reg. Univ. of Oxf. (Oxf. Hist. Soc.) i. 90; Lit. Rem. of King Edw. VI (Roxburghe Club), p. 316, &c.: Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl.i. 508, 519, iii. 438; Leach's Visitors and Memorials of Southwell (Camd. Soc.), pp. 153, 153; Letters and Papers Hen. VIII passim; Foxe's Acts and Mon. iv. 703, &c.; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of Engl. i. 161-2, iii. 257; Strype's Cranmer, p. 24, Memorials, I. i. 560. II. i. 385, ii. 199. &c., III. i. 38, &c.; Acts of the Privy Council.]

W. A. J. A.