Nowell, Alexander

Nowell, Alexander an English theologian of note, was born at Readhall, Lancastershire, in 1507 or 1508. He studied at Brazenose College, Oxford, of which he was elected fellow in 1540. He next went to London, where he was appointed second master of Westminster School, then recently established. In 1550 he was ordained, and in 1551 was made prebendary of Westminster. In 1553 he was elected to the House of Commons by the borough of Looe, in Cornwall; but his seat was contested, and in the same year, as under Mary, who was now the ruler of England, the whole Reformed establishment — bishop, chapter, and school — was swept away, Nowell not only lost his position at the school in Westminster, but was compelled to leave England, to avoid the persecution then raging against the Protestants. He retired to Strasburg, where he met Jewell, Sandys, Grindal, etc. He returned to England when Elizabeth ascended the throne. He now became successively chaplain of bishop Grindal in 1559, archdeacon of Middlesex and dean of St. Paul in 1560, and canon of Windsor in 1594. He died at London Feb. 13, 1602. He was a learned and pious divine, and a zealous promoter of education. Part of his income was devoted to establishing a school in Lancashire, and endowing thirteen scholarships in Brazenose College, Oxford. He took part in the assembly of 1563, which revised the articles of the Church of England. He wrote Catechismus, sive prima institutio disciplinaque pietatis Christiance, Latine explicata (Oxon. 1835, 8vo; also in Enchiridion Theologicum, vol. ii; an English translation is given in Richmond, Fathers, 8:1; and extracts in Burrow, E. J. Summary): — Christiance pietatis prinma institutio ad usum scholarum Latine scripta (ibid. 1795, 8vo); this is an abridgment of the former, and known as the "Middle Catechism;" it, was edited by bishop Cleaver: — Catechismus parvus pueris primnum qui ediscatur proponendus in scholis (Lond. 1578, 8vo); this is Nowell's "Smaller Catechism;'" extracts from it are given in Churton's Life of Nowell: it appears to have been the original of the "Church Catechism," which is nearly similar: — On the Sacraments, and chiefly concerning the Holy Eucharist (Tracts of Angl. Fathers, 1:82). See Ralph Churton, Life of Nowell (Oxf. 1809, 8vo); Burnet, Hist. Ref. 2:391; 3:452; Froude, Hist. of Engl. 6:113; 7:490; 8:139; Soames, Elizabethan History, p. 51, 252, 297; Wordsworth, Eccles. Biog. (see Index in vol. iv); Hardwick, Hist. of the Ref. p. 218, n. 4; p. 231, n. 3; Darling, Cyclop. Bibliog. 2:2221; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 38:350.

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