William Blomefield and Myles Blomefylde, I find both these men quite fascinating colourful characters of the Elizabethan era...
.Myles Blomefylde is a ancestor of mine and William Blomefield we have not as yet connected to our Blomfield/Blomvyle Family tree . Myles was born in Bury st Edmunds and was a very close associate/friend /relative? of William Blomefield, all indications point to them being kin, and related somewhere along the line, either cousins or maybe William was a Uncle of young Myles re years difference between their birth dates......though there has been much confusion in the past as to who was who, and who wrote what, with some learned men putting forth the theory that the two men were indeed only one, namely Myles Blomfylde...
."Were there two metrical writers on alchemy of the name Bloomfield, temp. Eliz. and connected with Bury?"
Both William and Myles shared a vivid interest in Alchemy and a passion for the written word, languages etc., though William was more into the Religious frame of mind than our Myles, who appeared to have been a bit more of a flamboyant and adventuresome character than his kin, he loved to travel. Both men were in the good books of the reigning monarch of that time, Elizabeth the 1st as they both dedicated some of their writings to her.....or alas I fear their heads would have rolled in the religious persecution of the time.....as it was Myles was tried for witchcraft.
Our Myles Blomefylde/ Blomvyle was born in Bury St Edmunds in 1525, his Mother and Father were Anne and John Blomvyle of Bury St Edmunds, he died in Chelmsford in 1603. Myles took his medical degree at Cambridge in 1552, he was a
licensed physician, and was said to be a scholar at St John's but he was only ever license to practice medicine by the University, he was also a practioner of white magic and alchemy, also a avid collector of Books. Myles had his residence in Chelmsford Essex from the year 1560 until his death in 1603,
Myles had the measure of his own self worth to mark his books boldly and confidently with his name as above and he also had the presence of mind to leave inscriptions regarding his kinsman? William Blomefield and his own personal details regarding his birth and parents.
He was Church Warden in Chelmford for many years, and he made a trip to romantic Venice- Italy in 1568, for in one of his books he remarked that he had been in Venice that year. That would have been quite an adventure crossing the English Channel, then by coach overland to Italy, long trip in those days, or he would have gone by sea around the coast and over to Venice, Italy, that would have been a great voyage in those wonderful old wooden ships One here pauses to wonder if he went by himself or with his wife. How long did he stay in the City of waterways,? what did he visit, what were his interests in Venice? Did he know someone there? what spurred Myles to undertake the voyage to Europe? He also during his life time acquired plays of his kinsman William Blomfild, which in later times caused more than some confusion as to whom had composed what........
Myles Blomefylde became a person of some standing and importance in the community of Chelmsford, after a chequered career in his younger life, as in Chelmsford he served on various Manorial courts being chosen as a juror and acted as Church Warden (keeping accounts most of the time 1582-90.l
Marriage in Bury St Edmunds in 1550 between Miles Blomfield 5.4.1525 and Mrs Myles Blomfield born c1527 Bury St Edmunds.
(Myles first appears in the Chelmsford churchwarden's accounts of 1566 )
but...... and a big but! unfortunately for him another side of his activities was the
practice of' white magic', which got him into a more than a bit of trouble .....he would use the art of prophesy and interference in minor disputes, a definite no no in those days!. He was even prosecuted for it in 1578. He is most well-known however for his love of unusual manuscripts, and his intriguing book-collection which contained copies of alchemical manuscripts in his own hand, some unique medieval dramatic manuscripts, and several other volumes ...
Myles of Chelmsford was tried for witchcraft (soothsaying) in the year 1578 ~
'Document Q/SR 67/2 Depositions concerning the activities of the cunning man Miles Blomfield, who discovered lost goods ' ........Thankfully Myles was found not guilty!
now 'cunning' could also be construed as 'sharp witted' 'on the ball' 'alert' 'foreseeing'
he would have done well in today's business climate in insurance, banking, stock exchange! Here it must be noted that Myles is down in the Public Records office re the Essex Witches Trials as MILES BLOMFIELD...which would be his legal registered birth name...
That Myles Blomefylde much admired his 'Uncle's' William's scholarly learning is no secret, in his own words/hand Myles says " quote'
Wyllm Blomefylde borne in St Edmundes Bury, beyng in hys Lyfe tyme/a Tutur,A Monke/ A pryst/A preacher/A physition/ A Phylosopher/ AnAlchimist/ A good latinist/partly a Gretian/and a hebritian/ havyng also peonnage? of Dyverse Languages/ as /Dutch and French/ But in Alchimstri and Distillation he hath not his lyke in this nation Q( uod) M.Blomefylde
(William Blomfield born in Bury St Edmonds. was in his life time a Tutor, a Monk, a Preacher, a Physician, A Philosopher, an Chemist,, he also excelled in languages, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch and French, but here Myles stresses that Williams main excellence lies in the arts of Distillation and Alchemy, I presume what we would now days call Chemistry)
William Blomfilld/ Blomfield Myles's kinsman, of whom we know very little, was also born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and late of BATTLESDEN, he was a Catholic priest/ a Monk at Bury Monastery/Abby, one of the richest Abbeys before its dissolution. It was whilst a monk of Bury in the year 1530?, it is assumed that William originally wrote a metrical chemical tract, entitled "Blomefield's Blossoms", or "The Campe Of Philosophy". It is a vision, and in the octave stanza. Here fate steps in for William was a profound thinker & questioned things, what we would term a stirrer in his outspoken perhaps critical habits which didn't sit too well with the Church authorities and he was subsequently charged with Heresy in 1529 'William Blomfield, a Bury monk, was one of 180. persons abjured in LONDON and another of the same abbey, Richard Bayfield, was burnt at Smithfield in 1532. ' It is likely to have occurred in William's youth when passions & idealism run high. William must have at this time in his life had a very serious rethink about his narrow escape from the burning pyre, and the prudence of keeping his controversial ideas to himself, for he then renounced his faith & the Roman Catholic Church and became Vicar of St Simon & St Jude Church of Norwich, but in turning Protestant, William did not deem it necessary to renounce his passion for chemistry along with his religion, for he appears to have dedicated to Queen Elisabeth 1st another system of occult science, entitled, The Rule Of Life, Or The Fifth Essence, with which her Majesty must have been highly pleased.
William was as interesting and intriguing character as was his younger kin Myles, for both had that vivid thirst for knowledge it seems, and William was Bachelor of Physics and both had love of chemistry and of the written word..
William Blomefield is also known by the name of 'Sir William Bloomefield, Bachelor of Physick' in some copies of his manuscripts.....
Both William and Myles Blomefylde-Blomvyle had pretty interesting charmed lives as they moved around in an ever changing atmosphere of emerging new ideas which threatened the status quo of the time, religion, alchemy, writing, plays, both tempted fate on more than one occasion and won. Those were turbulent and often dangerous times when your fate in the Tudor era could hang in the balance at the mercy of someone's whim, and many a poor innocent soul was legally murdered by the State for the ridiculous crime of so called witchcraft, this was a world wide crimescene, trumpt up by Religion, Monarchy, your neighbour or someone who coveted your estate or goods, a truly very dangerous era....
..... Myles was born 1525, and William was abjured in 1529, which would make young Myles Blomefylde 4 yrs old at that time, so possibly outspoken William could have been born in the early 1500's, we have not found his birth records to date.
That William and Myles are related has been a common theory put forth over the past years by those who have studied both men's lives, writings etc., in depth........'quote'
InTudor society the nobility owned huge amounts of land. Both Myles and William were gentlemen with excellence education and means, Myles Grandparents were ELIZABETH ENGLISH (Heiress) & GILBERT BLOMVYLE of Stonham Parva who in 1483 inherited 'MOWESS' lands in DISS & MENDLESON, the family is of Norman descent, many of whom possessed large amounts of land/ Manors and have a personal Family Crest & Coat of Arms., derived from the Barony of Rye.