Wiburn, Perceval (DNB00)

WIBURN or WYBURN, PERCEVAL (1533?–1606?), puritan divine, born about 1533, was admitted a scholar of St. John's College, Cambridge, on Cardinal Morton's foundation, on 11 Nov. 1546, and was matriculated as a pensioner in the same month. He proceeded B.A, in 1551, and on 8 April 1552 he was elected and admitted a fellow of his college. A man of strong protestant opinions, he sympathised with the reforming tendencies of Edward VI's government, and after the accession of Mary he judged it prudent to leave England. In May 1557 he joined the English congregation at Geneva (Livre des Anglois, ed. Burn, 1831, p. 10). On the accession of Elizabeth he returned to England; in 1558 he proceeded M.A., and in the same year was appointed junior dean and philosophy lecturer in his college. On 25 Jan. 1559-60 he was ordained deacon by Edmund Grindal [q. v.], bishop of London, and on 27 March 1560 he received priest's orders from Richard Davies (d. 1581) [q. v.], bishop of St. Asaph (Strype, Life of Grindal, 1821, pp. 54, 58). On 24 Feb. 1560-1 he was installed a prebendary of Norwich, and on 6 April 1561 was admitted a senior fellow of St. John's College. In 1561 he occurs as holding the second prebendal stall in the cathedral of Rochester, which he still possessed in 1589 but which he had resigned before 1592 (cf. Strype, Annals of the Reformation, 1824, i. 488, 502). On 23 Nov. 1561 he was installed a canon of Westminster.

Wiburn took part, as proctor of the clergy of Rochester, in the convocation of 1562, and subscribed the revised articles. On 8 March1563-4 he was instituted to the vicarage of St. Sepulchre's, Holborn. In the same year however, he was sequestered on refusing subscription, and in order to maintain his family employed himself in husbandry. He was not, however, hardly dealt with, the ecclesiastical authorities conniving at his keeping his prebends and at his preaching in public (Strype, Life of Grindal, pp. 145, 146; Life of Parker, 1821, i. 483). In 1566 he visited Theodore Beza at Geneva and Heinrich Bullinger at Zurich to represent the evil condition of the English church, and to solicit assistance from the Swiss reformers. It was probably at this time that Wiburn wrote his description of the 'State of the Church of England,' which is preserved in the Zurich archives. He was suspected by the English ecclesiastics of calumniating the church, an accusation which he indignantly repelled, and which in a letter dated 25 Feb. 1566-7 he besought Bullinger to contradict. In June 1571 Wiburn was cited for nonconformity before Archbishop Parker, together with Christopher Goodman [q. v.], Thomas Lever [q. v.], Thomas Sampson [q. v.], and some others, and in 1573 he was examined by the council concerning his opinion on the 'Admonition to the Parliament,' sometimes erroneously attributed to Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603) [q. v.], which had appeared in the preceding year [see Wilcox, Thomas]. Wiburn declared that the opinions expressed in the 'Admonition ' were not lawful, but he was, notwithstanding, forbidden to preach until further orders (Strype, Life of Parker, ii. 66, 239-41; Life of Grindal, p. 252; Parker, Corresp., Parker Soc. p. 342; Grindal, Remains, Parker Soc. p. 348). He was afterwards restored to the ministry, and was preacher at Rochester. In 1581 he was one of the divines chosen for their learning and theological attainments to dispute with the papists. In the same year he published a reply to Robert Parsons (1546-1610) [q. v.], who under the name of John Howlet had ventured to dedicate his 'Brief Discourse ' to Queen Elizabeth. Wiburn's treatise was entitled 'A Checke or Reproofe of M. Howlets vntimely shreeching in her Majesties eares,' London, 4to. His zeal against the Jesuits, however, did not prevent him from being suspended from preaching in 1583 by Archbishop Whitgift [q. v.] (Strype, Life of Whitgift, 1822, i. 245, 249, 271, 550). He continued under suspension for at least five years. Towards the close of his life he preached at Battersea, near London, and, being disabled for a time from the public duties of his ministry by breaking his leg, he was assisted by Richard Sedgwick. He died about 1606 at an advanced age. He was married.

[Cooper's Athenae Cantabr. ii. 449; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, ii. 169-71; Baker's Hist, of St. John's Coll. ed. Mayor, i. 148, 286, 291, 325; Lives appended to Clarke's Engl. Martyrologie, 1677, p. 158; Newcourt's Repert. Eccles. Lond. 1708, i. 534; Shindler's Reg. Rochester Cathedral, 1892; Hennessy's Novum Repertorium, 1898.]

E. I. C.