Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/White, Richard (1539-1611)

WHITE, RICHARD (1539–1611), jurist and historian, was son of Henry White of Basingstoke, Hampshire, who died at the siege of Boulogne in 1544, and whose grandfather had almost half the town of Basingstoke in his own possession. His mother was Agnes, daughter of Richard Capelin of Hampshire. He was born at Basingstoke in 1539, entered Winchester school in 1553, and was admitted perpetual fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1557 (Kirby, Winchester Scholars, p. 131). He took the degree of B.A. on 30 May 1559, but afterwards left the college, and the time allowed for his absence having elapsed, his fellowship was declared void in 1564. Shortly before that time he went to Louvain and afterwards to Padua, where he was created doctor of the civil and canon laws. At length, going to Douay, he was constituted the king's professor of those laws. He continued to reside for more than twenty years at Douay, where he married twice and acquired great wealth by each wife. By order of the pope he was made, though out of his ordinary turn, ‘magnificus rector’ of the university, and about the same time he was created ‘comes palatinus.’

After the death of his second wife he was, by dispensation of Clement VIII, ordained priest, and about the same time a canonry in the church of St. Peter at Douay was bestowed upon him. In his favourite study of British history he received encouragement from Thomas Godwell, bishop of St. Asaph, Sir Henry Peacham, and Sir Francis Englefield, formerly privy councillors to Queen Mary; but chiefly from Cardinal Baronius, with whom he maintained a constant correspondence (Dodd, Church Hist. ii. 383). He died at Douay in 1611, and was buried in the church of St. Jacques in that city (Addit. MS. 5803, ff. 99, 100).

His works are: 1. ‘Ælia Lælia Crispis. Epitaphium antiquum quod in agro Bononiensi adhuc uidetur; a diuersis hactenus interpretatum uarie: nouissime autem a Ricardo Vito Basinstochio, amicorum precibus explicatum,’ Padua, 1568, 4to. Dedicated to Christopher Johnson, chief master of Winchester school; reprinted, Dort, 1618, 16mo. 2. ‘Orationes: (1) De circulo artium et philosophiæ. (2) De eloquentia et Cicerone. (3) Pro divitiis regum. (4) Pro doctoratu. (5) De studiorum finibus. Cum notis rerum variarum et antiquitatis,’ Arras, 1596, 8vo. The first two, delivered at Louvain, were published by Christopher Johnson, 1564, 1565, and ordered by him to be read publicly in Winchester school. 3. ‘R. Viti … Notæ ad leges Decem-virorum in duodecim tabulis; institutiones juris civilis in quattuor libris: primam partem Digestorum in quattuor libris,’ 2 parts, Arras, 1597, 8vo. 4. ‘Historiarum (Britanniæ) libri (1–11) … cum notis antiquitatum Britannicarum’ [edited by Thomas White], 7 parts, Arras and Douay, 1597–1607, 8vo. The author's portrait is prefixed to this work. 5. ‘Oratio septima de religione legum Romanorum, ad reverendum Dominum, Dominum Nicolaum Manifroy, electum Abbatem Bertinianum,’ Douay, 1604, 8vo. 6. ‘Brevis explicatio privilegiorum iuris et consuetudinis circa venerabile sacramentum Eucharistiæ,’ Douay, 1609, 8vo. 7. ‘De Reliquiis et Veneratione Sanctorum,’ Douay, 1609. 8. ‘Brevis explicatio Martyrii Sanctæ Ursulæ et undecim millium Virginum Britannarum,’ Douay, 1610, 8vo.

[Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 382; Duthillœul's Bibl. Douaisienne, 1842, pp. 145, 160, 161; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England, 5th edit. i. 272; Kirby's Annals of Winchester College, p. 276; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. ed. Bohn, p. 2902; Pits, De Angliæ Scriptoribus, p. 806; Records of the English Catholics, i. 446; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 118.]

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