Willes, Richard (DNB00)

WILLES or WILLEY, RICHARD (fl. 1558–1573), poetical writer, a native of Pulham in Dorset, entered Winchester College in 1558, and in 1564 proceeded to New College, Oxford, where he held a fellowship from 1566 to 1568. After quitting the university he travelled in France, Germany, and Italy. At the university of Mainz he graduated M.A., and on 3 June 1565 was admitted into the Society of Jesus. He was afterwards incorporated at Perugia, where he was professor of rhetoric, and in 1569 he taught Greek at Trier. Returning to England, he seems to have renounced Roman catholicism, for on supplicating for incorporation at Oxford on 24 April 1574 his request was granted on condition that he made a profession of conformity and acknowledged the queen as supreme governor of the English church. On 16 Dec. 1578 he was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge.

Willes was the author of: 1. ‘Ricardi Willei Poematum Liber ad Gulielmum Bar. Burleighum auratum nobiliss. ordinis equitem, Londini ex bibliotheca Tottellina,’ 1573, 8vo. 2. ‘In svorvm poematum librum Ricardi Willei scholia ad custodem, socios atq. pueros collegij Wiccammici apud Wintoniam, Londini ex bibliotheca Tottellina,’ 1573, 8vo. The poems of Christopher Johnson or Jonson [q. v.] on the college and its founder were printed at the end of the book.

Willes has been identified with Richard Willes, the editor of ‘The history of trauayle in the VVest and East Indies and other covntreys lying eyther way towardes the fruitfull and ryche Moluccaes. As Muscouia, Persia … with a discourse of the north-west passage. … Gathered in parte and done into Englyshe by Richarde Eden. Newly set in order, augmented, and finished by Richarde VVilles. Imprinted at London by Richard Iugge,’ 1577, 4to. Dedicated to Bridget, countess of Bedford. There are also three articles bearing Willes's name in Hakluyt's ‘Collection of Voyages’: 1. ‘Certaine Reports of the prouince of China learned through the Portugals there imprisoned, and cheefly by the relation of Galeotto Perera. Done out of Italian into English by Richard Willes,’ 1599, vol. ii. 2. ‘Of the Iland Iapan and other litle Iles in the East Ocean. By R. Willes,’ vol. ii. 3. ‘Certaine other reasons or arguments to prooue a passage by the Northwest, learnedly written by Mr. Richard Willes Gentleman,’ 1600, vol. iii.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 398; Boase and Courtney's Biblioth. Cornub. ii. 889; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 415; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 198; Reg. of Univ. of Oxford (Oxford Hist. Soc.), II. i. 152, 378; Tanner's Biblioth. Brit.-Hib. 1748, p. 775; Vivian's Visitations of Cornwall, 1887, p. 557; Kirby's Winchester Scholars; Foley's Records of the Society of Jesus, vol. vii.]

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