Richard Gwent

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Richard Gwent (died 1543), was the archdeacon of London.

Gwent was the son of a Monmouthshire farmer. He was elected Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1515. On 17 December 1518 he supplicated for bachelor of civil law, on 28 February 1518–19, he was admitted bachelor of canon law, on 20 March 1522–3 he supplicated for doctor of canon law, and proceeded doctor of civil law on 3 April 1525. For a while he acted as chief moderator of the canon law school at Oxford University, and was instituted by the abbess and convent of Godstow to the vicarage of St Giles in that city, a benefice which he resigned in April 1524.

He moved to London in order to practise as an ecclesiastical advocate, and was employed on behalf of Catherine of Aragon in 1529. On 13 April 1528, he was presented to the rectory of Tangmere, Sussex, and on 31 March 1530 to that of St Leonard, Foster Lane, London, which he resigned in 1534 to become, on 17 April of that year, rector of St Peter's Cheap, London. He was admitted to the prebend of Pipa Parva in the church of Lichfield on 6 October 1531, but quit it for Longdon in the same church on the following 9 December.

He was appointed chaplain to King Henry VIII, and on 18 September 1532 Dean of the Arches and master of the prerogative, having previously been vicar-general of the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield. His name occurs as archdeacon of Brecon in 1534, and on 6 May of that year he was made prebendary of Leighton Ecclesia in the church of Lincoln. When Thomas Cranmer made his metropolitan visitation in September 1534, Gwent, as the archbishop's commissary, visited Merton College, Oxford, and altered many of the ancient customs of that house. Gwent was collated to the archdeaconry of London on 19 December 1534. Convocation elected him their prolocutor in 1536, 1540, and 1541. He was one of those appointed by convocation in July 1540 to determine the validity of the marriage of Henry VIII with Anne of Cleves, and in the following August was a commissioner in London for prosecution upon the 'Six Articles'.

On 5 April 1542 he was installed archdeacon of Huntingdon, and on 12 April of the ensuing year prebendary of Tottenhall in St. Paul's Cathedral. He also held the rectory of Walton-on-the-Hill, Lancashire, that of Newchurch, Kent, and that of North Wingfield, Derbyshire, which last preferment he ceded to Anthony Draycot. He died at the end of July 1543, and by his desire was buried in the middle of St Paul's Cathedral. As 'Richardus Ventanus juridicus' Gwent is eulogised for his virtues and learning in John Leland's 'Encomia.'


 "Gwent, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

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