William Waynflete

December 1993
8 black and white illustrations
205 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in the History of Medieval Religion
ISBN: 9780851153490
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

William Waynflete

Bishop and Educationalist

Virginia Davis

Study of the life of bishop of Winchester (1447-86), one of the great educationalists and patrons of learning of late medieval England.
This is the first modern study of William Waynflete, powerful and influential bishop of Winchester from 1447 to 1486. Waynflete was one of the great educationalists and patrons of learning of late medieval England, and his career was dominated by an interest in education. He played a leading role in some of the changes which transformed education in 15th-century England: the emergence in Oxford and Cambridge of new and larger colleges; the influence of continental humanist ideas which reshaped English thought; the introduction of the teaching of Greek; the composition of new grammars; and the introduction of printing as a means of disseminating the new learning.
Through her examination of Waynflete's career, Davis challenges the received view of the gangrenous corruption of the medieval church and instead supports recent research which suggests the truth to have been far more complex. As this biography records, Waynflete himself was politically linked to Henry VI and the Lancastrian administration and most of his time was spent in southern England, However, he retained close links with his native Lincolnshire, and his committments there are also fully considered.

VIRGINIA DAVIS is lecturer in history at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.


A solid foundation for the comprehensive reassessment of the English clergy in the half-century before the Reformation. ALBION

Virginia Davis has used the archival riches of Winchester, Eton and Magdalen to present a scholarly account of [Waynflete's] career... a complex character about whom, thanks to Davis, we now know a great deal more. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

Meticulous study... Throughout this book, based on thorough archival research, David fleshes out a picture of Waynflete as a solid and steady administrator whose service to King Henry VI led to promotion to the episcopate, which in turn allowed him to become a great founder and educational patron... also provides a view of how a 15th-century see operated. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

A meticulous study of the life and patronage of the long-lived and influential bishop of Winchester...Davis has succeeded admirably in bringing to light the previously shadowy figure and his accomplishments in furthering educational institutions and learning in fifteenth-century England. SPECULUM

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