William Mowse d.1588

From Book Owners Online

William MOWSE or MOUSE d.1588

Biographical Note

Son of Thomas Mowse, a clothier from Needham Market, Suffolk. He was educated at the University of Cambridge where he obtained a BCL in 1538, followed by LLD in 1552. He had two tenures as Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1552, and 1555-9. Mowse was incorporated at Oxford University where he was Regius Professor of Civil Law from 1554-9. He became an advocate in 1557, and then had a parallel legal and clerical career, holding a number of positions concurrently. He was made Dean of Arches and Vicar General to Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1559, presiding over the ecclesiastical Court of Canterbury, but was removed the same year. By 1560 he held ecclesiastical appointments at East Derham in Norfolk, Southwell, and York. Mowse died unmarried, in 1588.


Mowse bequeathed in his will of 1586 “… one wholl sute [set] of my lawe books bothe civill and cannon with my booke of Digeste whiche was printed at fflorence in italie to be kepte and remaine in their librarie forever…” to the Master and Fellows of Trinity Hall. A catalogue of his books in the Trinity Hall archive lists 188 titles. The only traceable survivors of his library are held in the Old Library at Trinity Hall.

Mowse's inscription, from an example in Trinity Hall, Cambridge

Characteristic Markings

Mowse commonly inscribed his name on title pages, and frequently annotated his books.