Bishop and canonist; b. Linwood, Leicestershire, England, 1375; d. Oct. 21, 1446. Lyndwood was educated at Gonville Hall, Cambridge, where he obtained a doctor's degree in both civil and Canon Law. After ordination in 1407 he held benefices, some concurrently, in various dioceses. On occasions between 1417 and 1441 he was king's envoy to Castile, Burgundy, etc.; in 1432 he became keeper of the privy seal; and in 1442, bishop of St. David's until his death.
Lyndwood's only extant work is his great Provinciale, begun in 1422 and completed in 1430; it is a digest with commentary of the synodal constitutions of 14 archbishops of Canterbury, from Langton in 1222 to Chichele (to whom the work is dedicated). As chancellor of the archbishop of Canterbury and an auditor of causes (1414–17), as a prolocutor of the clergy in convocation (1419–21, 1424–26), and as an official of the Court of Canterbury (1417–31), Lyndwood had a wide experience of the workings of the Canon Law in England. His Provinciale, therefore, has the practical object of helping lawyers to understand the most frequently quoted texts of provincial legislation, and, in general, of seeing whether and how the edicts of a non-sovereign legislator, such as an archbishop, could be harmonized with a large body of law that the legislator has no power to repeal or to override.
The Provinciale (seu Constitutiones Angliae ) was printed at Oxford about 1485 to 1490; at Westminster, by Wynkyn de Worde in 1496 and 1499; and then eight times between 1501 and 1534 at Paris, Antwerp, and London. The last and best-known edition is that of Oxford, 1679, to which there was attached john of acton's gloss on the Legatine Constitutions.
Bibliography: f. w. maitland, Roman Canon Law in the Church of England (London 1898) 1–50. a. ogle, The Canon Law in Medieval England: An Examination of William Lyndwood's Provinciale in Reply to the Late Prof. F. W. Maitland (London 1912). c. r. cheney, "William Lyndwood's Provinciale," The Jurist 21 (1961) 405–434. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the Scholars of the University of Cambridge before 1500 (Cambridge 1963) 379–381, 679. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to A.D. 1500 (Oxford 1957–59) 2:1191–93.
[l. e. boyle]