Biography of William Alley from Lives of the bishops of Exeter, and a history of the cathedral, with an illustrative appendix. [With] Index, compiled by J.S. Attwood, George Oliver (available on Google Books)
Page 138 - William Alley, S.T.P., a native of Wycombe, Bucks, and educated at Eton, but finished his course of studies at Cambridge and Oxford, whilst Prebendary of St. Paul's, London, was fixed on by Queen Elizabeth to succeed the deprived Turberville. On 27th April, 1560, she issued her congé d'élire to our Dean and Chapter. It was delivered to the President, Chancellor Levison, on 5th May, in the absence of the newly elected Dean, Dr. Gregory Dodds: the election took place on 20th that month; but his consecration 14th July that year (Parker's 'Register,' fol. 80). The revenues of the see and of his chapter had of late been lamentably reduced: fortunately the Rectory of Honiton was given to the Bishop towards the better maintenance of his rank; and in its parochial church, and even in the rectory-house, he held several ordinations "in Rectoria - in domo Domini Episcopi apud Honyton," as we learn from his Registers.
Owing to the impoverished state of the finances of his Dean and Chapter, with the unanimous consent of its members, and under the Royal authority, he diminished the number of the Canons of the Cathedral from twenty-four to nine. His statute for this purpose is dated 22nd February, 1560-1. Attempts were made at subsequent periods to set aside this ordinance, which conferred the power and emoluments on the favoured nine, to the exclusion of the other fifteen; but it proved useless to combat with a practice, legalised by time and due authority. Hoker, who knew the bishop well, commends his affability of manners, regularity of life, and singular learning; adding that "his library was replenished with all the best sort of writers, which most gladly he would impart, and make open to every good scholar and student, whose company and conference he did most desire and embrace;" but in his MS. 'History,' p. 359, in describing tho Mayor, Robert Midwynter, he says, that "in office he showed himself, as he was, an upright justice, and governed the city in very good order. In nothing was he more stowte, than he was against Bishop Alley, when he brought a commyssion to be a Justice of the Peace within the citie, contrary to the lybertes of the same." After governing the diocese for about nine years and a half, he died, according to his epitaph, on 15th April, 1570, aged 60, and was buried in the choir of his cathedral. He is known to the literary world by his 'Poor Man's Librarie,' printed in folio by John Day, London, 1565, or 'Lectures upon the First Epistle of Saint Peter, red publiquely in the Cathedrall Church of Saint Paule, within the Citye of London, in 1560. Here are adioyned at the ende of euery special treatise, certain fruitful annotacions called miscellanea, because they do entreate of diverse and sundry matters.'
From footnotes on the above pages:
"from the Register of St. Mary Major's parish we copy the following extract:--'1565, xxiii daye of September was christined Austin Alleye, the sonne of the Right Whorshipfull My Lords William Alleye, Bisshoppe of Exeter (by his wife Sybil).'
"We apprehend his son Roger, collated too prematurely to the Archdeaconry of Cornwall, 13th October, 1563, was admitted Rector of Pyworthy in the summer of 1581: ob. 1610."
Per Ray Alley, an Alley descendant from Northwood, Middlesex, England, the will of William Alley Bishop of Exeter reads as follows:
The Name of God Amen 1st day of April AD 1570 I William Alley by Permission of God Bishop of Exon (now Exeter) sick in body but perfect of remembrance make my last will and testament in like manner. I bequeath my soul to Almighty God. My body to be buried in Christian burial that to my wife and friends she be thought most reverent. Item all my books of divinity to my son Roger Alley Archdeacon of Cornwall. I give to my son-in-law Christopher Bodleighe all my books of philosophy and physic. Item all my books of humanity to my younger sons to be given to them as they shall increase in learning some at one time and some at another as often as need shall require. To his servants John Martin and Robert Cole 10 pence each. The residue once my funeral and all debts discharged to my wife Sybil whom I make my sole executrix. She to see that all my children are goodly brought up and educated and to give them such further maintenance as shall meet and require such children to have. He then names persons to see his will properly executed.
Diary of the life of William Alley, Bishop of Exeter 1560-1570, (born c1510, died 1570) by Ray Alley of Middlesex England - July 30, 2001
1510 - William Alley born at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England.
1524 (c) - Enrolled as a King's scholar at Eton College Berkshire, (Henry vi made provision for 70 scholars to receive free education and were known as King's scholars.) (i)
1527 - Roughly cut his name on a window shutter (i); Found in the lower school at Eton College on the 15th shutter from the left, just above the top hinge.
1528 - 12th Aug. admitted to King's College Cambridge at the age of 17 (i)
1531(c) - B. A. at Cambridge (i)
1531 - 34 - Fellow of King's College Cambridge (i)
1534 - Retired to Oxford for study (i)
1534(c) - About this time, aged 24, he must have married (ii)
1534 - 4th April Ordained Deacon at Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire (i)
1535 - Birth of his son Roger (iii) (Archdeacon of Cornwall 13th October 1563, ob 1610)
1540 - Possible birth of a son Jerome (v)
1544 - Rector of Oakford Devon (i)
1547 - Death of King Henry VIII; His son Edward succeeds to the throne
1549 - Rector of Croscombe Somerset (i)
1550 (c) - 1553 - Vicar of Doddington in Lincolnshire (i)
1553 - Death of Edward VI; Mary succeeds to the throne
1553 (c) - 1558 (c) As a reformer and married, he would not have been in Mary's favour, so he left the parish and travelled in northern England teaching and practising medicine (i)
1558 - Death of Mary; Elizabeth I succeeds Mary
1559 - Now back in favour he was made a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral in the city of London (i) (iv)
1560 - 27th April, Elizabeth desires William to be Bishop of Exeter.
1560 - 5th May, Proclamation delivered to Chancellor Levison
1560 - 14th July, Consecrated Bishop of Exeter, at Lambeth Palace London by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mathew Parker, assisted by Edmond Bishop of London and Gilbert, Bishop of Bath and Wells, in the presence of John Incent public notary and other witnesses.
1560(c) - The revenues of the See and of his chapter were very low. To allow him a living "the Rectory at Honiton Devon was given to the Bishop towards the better maintenance of his rank, where he held several ordinations in the parish church and rectory house (v)
1561 - Made Doctor of Divinity at Oxford (i)
1561 - Jan. 1st Queen Elizabeth gave him a silver cup for the respect she held him in. From then on gave him a gift of a silver cup each new year.
1561-62(c) - It is just possible that about this time he married for the second time (ii)
1563 - Birth of a daughter Jane or Joan (see IGI Devon England)
1563 - 13th Oct. his son Roger collated to the Archdeaconry of Cornwall. Later rector of Pyworthy, Devon in the summer of 1581
1564 - Possible birth of a son Peter
1565 - Birth of a son Austin. An entry in the register of the parish of St Mary Major Exeter states '1565 xxiii daye of september was christened Austin Alleye, the son of the Right Worshipfull, my Lord William Alleye, Bisshoppe of Exeter by his wife Sybil' (iv)
1565 - With others translated the book of Deuteronomy in the bible, and was author of 'Poor Mans Library'
1570 - 1st April made his last will and testament.
1570 - Died 15th April aged 60. He was buried in the Cathedral near his Choir. There is no plaque or mention of him in the Cathedral except an embroidered cushion, and a wooden board listing the Bishops of Exeter (ix)
(i) From the Eton College register
(ii) It is clear that William's wife was Sybil. Her maiden name is not so clear. In Alley Ancestors by Gene Alley it is shown as Bodleigh. Records at Exeter and from (i) show it as Honacott, daughter of a man by that name from Landket in Devon. There must also be some doubt as to Sybil being William's first wife. A gap of 30 years between son Roger and son Austin, although quite possible, leaves some doubt. Jane or Joan was followed quickly by (possibly) Peter and certainly Austin. Sybil would have been at least in her late forties when she had these three children in as many years.
(iii) From 'Alley Ancestors' page Eng-7 by Gene Alley of Udall, USA; The Gregarth Publishing Co.
(iv) Sybil Honacott is shown in a card index to have married twice, (1) William Alley (2) Richard Dillon of Chimwell, Bratton Fleming, a member of an Irish family (from the Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter). The Irish connection might have started with Richard Dillon. Did he take Sybil and her young family to Ireland? In (iii) Gene records Sybil's name as Bodleigh, if her name was in fact Honacott, then she must have married before William. This might explain in his will, why he described Christopher Bodleigh as his son in law. He did not have a daughter old enough to be married. This son in law might be his stepson, and Sybil's son by a previous marriage. Gene (iii) records a son Jerome 1540-1635 and a note that he was a 'Matric of Oxon' later moving to Ireland. No record of his birth marriage or death survives, there is however a record of a Jerome of Christ Church Devon Matric 27th Nov. 1581 age 22. In Devon & Cornwall notes & queries Vol. 19 p. 35 is the following 'Jerome Alley and several descendents of W. Alley are said to have been clergymen in Ireland. Jerome is described as a DD and MD a freeman of New Ross Co. Wexford 30th May 1679 and Peter Alley Rector of Dunamore Queens Co., for 73 years. Died 22 Aug 1763 at 110 years, had 3 wives and 33 children.
Per 'Diary: 1560 (July - Dec)', The Diary of Henry Machyn: Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563) (1848), pp. 239-47: The . . day of July . . . . . . . . master Loves mercer; he gayff to . . . . . . . ther was the clothyng of ys compene . . . . . . blake gownes and the compene of the Clarkes sy[ngi]ng, [and there preached] master Alley the byshope of Exseter, and a goodly sermon.
The x day of August was bered within the Towre withowt a offeser of armes, and (with) master Alley the nuw byshope of Excetur, and the chyrch hangyd with blake and armes, my lade Warner, the wyff of ser Edward Warner.
More About WILLIAM ALLEY, JR.:
Burial: 1570, Choir of Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, England
Education: Eaton, Cambridge & Oxford
Miscellaneous: Helped translate the Book of Deuteronomy into English
Miscellaneous 2: 6 children by lst marriage & 17 by second
Occupation: July 14, 1560, Bishop of Exeter - Consecrated by The Bishop of Canterbury
Notes for William Alley:
Arms: According to Izacke--azure, a ple engrailed ermine between two lions rampant, arnet, langued and armed, gules; according Westcote--azure, a pale ermine crowned between two lions rampant; from Exeter Cathedral Archivist, Angela Doughty:
"William Alley or Allein was buried 25 feet west of the High Altar of the Cathedral. The ledger stone, covering his resting place, was moved when the quire and sanctuary were re-floored in 1762-3. It is now in the north quire aisle, and measures 10'11" by 4'2". The inscription on it is now almost completely obliterated by several centuries of boots and shoes, but was recorded in the mid 19th century. A translation of it reads, 'the Reverend Father William Alley, Bishop of Exeter, a very ardent champion of the Gospel truth, famous for uprightness of character, renowned for his wonderful skill in the art of teaching, lies at rest in the Lord Jesus under this stone. He died on April 15th, 1570.' "
from J.W. Wittaker MA, Fellow of St. John's, Cambridge in 1820 in his authoritative work, "An Historical and Critical Enquiry into the Interpretation of the Hebrew Scripture,":
'Fortunately we are not left in ignorance of the attainments of these learned men [translators of Bible KJV]
Dr. William Alley, Bishop of Exeter, was educated at King's College, from which place he went to Oxford, and there wrote a Hebrew Grammar.'
from C.H. Garrett's "The Marian Exiles: A Study in the Origins of Elizabethan Puritanism" (Cambridge, 1938, repro. 1966):
'William Alley, first Elizabethan bishop of Exeter, likewise supported himself by practicing medicine in the north of England.'
More About William Alley:
Burial: Exeter Cathedral
Fact 1: buried 1570 in Exeter Cathedral
Bishop William Alley, 1510-1570, is buried, according to Exeter Cathedral archivists "under the big square patterns in the marble floor of the Presbytery, west of the High Altar." That location would be the bottom right corner in the picture at left. "The actual ledger stone bearing the original inscription is now in the north quire aisle [the window faces the east], left of the big columns seen in the photo. The floor of the Presbytery has been relaid at least four times since Alley's burial."
Parker, J. (1878). The early history and antiquities of Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire. Wycombe, Butler & Son.
The next worthy we note is William Alley, who was a native of Wycombe, and was educated at Eton. In 1528, he was elected to King's College, Cambridge. Having studied at both the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, he took Holy Orders, and obtained a Benefice; but being a zealous supporter of the Reformed Church, he quitted it on the accession of Queen Mary to the Throne, and practised physic during the remainder of her reign. He was afterwards Divinity Lecturer at St. Paul's Cathedral, where he acquired great reputation, obtained the Bishopric of Exeter from Queen Elizabeth in 1560, and held that See until his death, on the 15th April, 1570. He was the author of "The Poor Man's Library," 2 vols., and a Hebrew Grammar; he also translated the Pentateuch in the authorised version of the Bible, undertaking the work by command of Queen Elizabeth.
Sheahan, J. J. (1862). History and topography of Buckinghamshire, comprising a general survey of the county, preceded by an epitome of the early history of Great Britain. London, Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts; [etc.].
Eminent Men.-William Alley, an Eton scholar, elected to King's College, Cambridge in 1528, soon after acquired a benefice ; but on the accession of Queen Mary he quitted it, and practised physic during her reign. He afterwards acquired such great reputation by his divinity lectures at St. Paul's, that he was made Bishop of Exeter in 1500. He wrote the Poor Man's Library, and a Hebrew Grammar; and when the version of the Bible was undertaken by the command of Queen Elizabeth, he translated the Pentateuch.
White, F. O. (1898). Lives of the Elizabethan bishops of the Anglican Church. London, Skeffington.
Bishop Of Exeter, 1560.
BISHOP Alley was born at Chipping Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A in 1533, after which he continued his academical studies at Oxford.
At the accession of Queen Mary he held a benefice, of which, being married, he was deprived, when he retired into the north of England, and maintained himself and family by practising medicine till the accession of Elizabeth restored him to his clerical duties.
In 1559 (January 1) he was appointed Reader of Divinity at St. Paul's and also Penitentiary and Prebendary, when he delivered twelve famous lectures on the First Epistle of St. Peter, which were published in 1565 under the title of " Ptokomuseion," or Poor Man's Library. He was consecrated Bishop of Exeter, July 14, 1560.
He was a strong advocate of conformity, as he showed by the petition he presented to the bishops in the Convocation of 1563, in which he urged their " honourable wisdoms " to devise strict ordinances for everything, from the shape of the button on the top of a minister's cap to the sermon he was to deliver. In these matters all differences were to be abhorred and put down. It was quite intolerable that one clergyman should wear a button on his cap and another should not. The thing was of course indifferent in itself, but the "prince had prescribed it," and that was sufficient.
It was the same with preaching. No diversities of interpretation were allowable, and every religious tenet must be precisely and similarly expressed, and the more capable it was of differences of opinion, the more it required exact and authoritative definition. He was also very jealous against the practice of occult arts, and propounded " that there be some penal, sharp, yea, capital pains for witches, charmers, sorcerers, enchanters, and such like."1
Yet one who was well acquainted with him records that he was a man " verie merrie and pleasant, voide of all sadnesse,"2 kind-hearted and a great encourager of learning, and accessible to all. He was much addicted to bowls, but did not lose his temper when the ball went wrong, as Bishop Aylmer was said to do. He usefully showed his learning by translating Deuteronomy for the Bishops' Bible. He died on April 15, 1570. He left a widow and one son, who was Archdeacon of Cornwall.
Wright, W. H. K. (1896). West-country poets: their lives and works. Being an account of about four hundred verse writers of Devon and Cornwall, with poems and extracts. London, E. Stock.
WILLIAM ALLEY, D.D. (1510 ?-1570).
This learned divine was a native of Chipping Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, but he became Bishop of Exeter in 1560; hence we include him in this work. Amongst other works, he was the author of ' certaine verses which are recited in a certaine interlude or play, intitled /Egio, in the Poore Man's Library, printed by John Daye, 1571.' This appears to have been his only poetical effort. It is stated that Queen Elizabeth had great respect for Alley, and sent him yearly a silver cup for a new year's gift. He died on April 15, 1570, and was buried in the choir of his cathedral near the altar.
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