The Maltonian Web

The Maltonian Web - Biography

Reverend John Stanley Purvis

Vicar of Old Malton, 1941-1945

A brief biography of this industrious historian from the Leeds University Library, where a batch of papers from him are lodged.

John Stanley Purvis (1890-1968) was born at Bridlington and educated at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge, where he was an exhibitioner. He graduated BA in 1912; he became MA in 1918, BD in 1943 and DD in 1948. He served in the First World War and taught classics at Cranleigh, and was ordained in 1933. He was rector of Goodmanham from 1938 to 1941, vicar of Old Malton from 1941 to 1945, warden of the York Diocesan Conference House from 1945 to 1947, vicar of St. Sampson with Holy Trinity in the City of York from 1947 and canon and prebendary of York Minster from 1956.

He was appointed by archbishop Temple in 1939 as honorary archivist to the archbishopric and diocese of York. He was the inspirer and first director of the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research, York, from 1953 to 1963. He wrote a number of historical studies and edited various historical documents, mainly in connection with Yorkshire; he also prepared both a modern English version of the York Cycle of mystery plays, which was first produced at York in 1951, and an edition of the complete text in 1957. He was awarded an OBE in 1958 for services to history.

An obituary and bibliography of Canon Purvis was published in the Yorkshire archaeological journal,volume xlii (1971), pp 520-522.

The papers in Leeds University library include some relating to Archbishop Holgate, and a list of masters of the Grammar School in York.