FRANCIS THYNNE was lineally descended from Thom. at the Inne, otherwise Thynne, of Stretton in Shropshire, son of Ralph Botevill of the same place, descended from an antient and genteel family of his name living elsewhere, was educated in grammaticals in Tunbridge school in Kent, (in which county, as it seems, he was born,) where being fitted for higher learning by Jo. Proctor, master thereof, (whom I have mentioned elsewhere,) was thence sent to this university, at which time several of his sirname of Wilts, studied there; and one of both his names, and a knight's son of the same county, was a commoner of Magd. coll. in 1577. Whether our author Franc. Thynne went afterwards to Cambridge, or was originally a student there before he came to Oxon, I cannot justly say. Sure it is, that his genie tempting him to leave the crabbedness of logic and philosophy, and to embrace those delightful studies of histories and genealogies, he became at length one of the officers of arms, by the title of Blanch-Lyon, and afterwards herald by that of Lancaster, which he kept to his dying day. His works are,
The Annals of Scotland in some part, continued from the Time in which Ra. Holinshed left, being an. 1571, unto the Year 1586. Lond. 1586. fol. There are also the Catalogues of the Protectors, Governors or Regents of Scotland during the King's Minority, or the Minority of several Kings, or their insufficiency of Government. These are also the Catalogues of all Dukes of Scotland by Creation or Descent; of the Chancellors of Scotland; Archbishops of St. Andrews; and divers Writers of Scotland.
Catalogue of English Cardinals — Set down in R. Holinshed's Chronicle at the end of Q. Mary: Used and followed in many things by Francis bishop of Landaff, in his cat. or hist. of them, at the end of his book De Praesulibus Angliae Com.
Cat. of the Lord Chancellors of England. — MS. From which, as also from the endeavours made that way, by Rob. Glover, sometimes Somerset herald, and of Tho. Talbot, formerly clerk of the records in the Tower of London, Joh. Philpot, Som. herald, did frame his Catalogue of the Chanc. of England, &c. Lond. 1636. qu.
The perfect Ambassador, treating of the Antiquity, Privileges and Behaviour of Men belonging to that Function, &c. — This was published in 12mo. in the times of the late usurpation, and is therefore supposed to be very imperfect.
A Discourse of Arms, wherein is shewn the Blazon, and Cause of divers English, Foreign, and devised Coats, together with certain Ensigns, Banners, Devises, and Supporters, of the Kings of England. — MS. sometimes in the library of Ralph Sheldon of Beoley, esq; now (by his gift, 1684.) among the books of the college of arms near St. Paul's cath. in Lond. The beginning of this MS. written to sir Will. Cecill lord Burghley, is this, "I present unto your rare judgment (right honourable and my singular good lord) no vulgar conceit of armory," &c. The Discourse is dated from Clerkenwell-Green, 5 Jan. 1593.
Several Collections of Antiquities, Notes concerning Arms, Monumental Inscriptions, &c. — MS. in Cotton's lib. under Cleopatra. C. 3. p. 62.
Miscellanies of the Treasury. — MS. written to Tho. lord Buckhurst, an. 1599.
A Discourse of the Duty and Office oƒ an Herald of Arms, A.D. 1605. MS. in biblioth. Ashmol. n. 835.
Matters concerning Heralds, and Tryal of Arms and the Court Military, MS. Ibid.
Names of the Earls Marshals of England, A.D. 1601. MS. Ibid. n. 856.
A Discourse upon the Philosophers Arms, written in English Verse, an. 1583, MS. Ibid. n. 1374.
Epitaphia, sive Monumenta Sepulchrorum Anglice & Latine quam Gallice. — MS. in a thin fol. in the hands of sir Henry St. George Clarenceaux K. of arms. The said inscriptions, with arms and epitaphs, were collected in his travels through several parts of England, and through some of France, and have been ever acceptable to such curious men, and antiquaries, that have had the happiness to see them. Several of his collections were transferred to obscure hands, which without doubt would be useful if they might be perused; but 'tis feared by some, that they are turned to waste paper. I have seen divers collections of monuments, made by him from Peterborough cath. in 1592, several of which mon. were lost and defaced before sir Will. Dugdale, or Sim. Gunton made their respective surveys of that ancient edifice, an. 1640, 41. What other things our author Thynne hath written, I know not, nor any thing else of him, only that he died in sixteen hundred and eleven. But that which I have forgotten to let the reader know farther of him is, that he had several Notes on, and Corrections of, Chaucer's Works lying by him: with the helps of which, he did intend to put out that author, with a comment in our English tongue, as the Italians have Petrarch and others in their language. But he having been taken off from that good work, did assist Tho. Speght of Cambridge with his notes and corrections of Joh. Stow the chronologer for his assistance,) whereby most of Chaucer's old words were restored, and proverbs and sentences marked. See more in Will. Thynne, under the year 1542, from whom, if I mistake not, this Francis was descended.