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CHRISTOPHER URSWICK (1448-1522)

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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 805 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHRISTOPHER URSWICK (1448-1522), English diplomatist, was born at Furness in Lancashire and was probably educated at Cambridge. He became chaplain to Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby, and was employed by her to forward the schemes for securing the English throne for her son, Henry of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII. He crossed from Harfleur to Wales with Henry in August 1485, and was present at the battle of Bosworth; then followed for him a series of ecclesiastical preferments, the most important of which was to the deanery of York. He was sent on several weighty embassies, including one to Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to arrange the marriage between Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon, and another to France in 1492, when he signed the treaty of Etaples. In 1495 he became dean of Windsor, and he died on the 24th of March 1522. Urswick was very friendly with Erasmus and with Sir Thomas More. He did some building at Windsor, and one of the chapels in St George's chapel there is still called the Urswick chapel. Urswick's kinsman, Sir Thomas Urswick, was a Yorkist partisan, who was recorder of London and chief baron of the exchequer. See Urswick, Records of the Family of Urwick or Urswick (1893). URTICACEAE (nettle family), in botany, an order of Dicotyledons belonging to the series Urticiflorae, which includes also Ulmaceae (elm family), Moraceae (mulberry, fig, &c.) and Cannabinaceae (hemp and hop). It contains 41 genera, with about 50o species, mainly tropical, though several species such as the common stinging nettle ((lrtica dioica) are widely distributed and occur in large numbers in temperate climates. Two genera are represented in, the British Isles, Urtica (see NETTLE) and Parietaria (pellitory, q.v.). The plants are generally herbs or somewhat shrubby, rarely, as in some tropical genera, forming a bush or tree. The simple, often serrated, leaves have sometimes an alternate sometimes an opposite arrangement and are usually stipulate—exstipulate in Parietaria. The position of the stipules varies in different genera; thus in Urtica they are lateral and distinct from the leaf-stalk, in other cases they are attached on the base of the leaf-stalk or stand in the leaf-axil when they are more or less united. Stinging hairs often occur on the stem and leaves (fig. 1). The bast-fibres of the From Vines's Students' Text-Book of Botany, by permission of Swan Sonnenschein & Co. stem are generally long and firmly attached end to end, and hence cf great value for textile use. Thus in ramie (q.v., Boehmeria nivea) a single fibre may reach nearly 9 in. in length, and in stinging nettle as much as 3 in. The small inconspicuous regular flowers (figs. 3 and 4) are arranged in definite (cymose) inflorescences often crowded into head-like clusters. They are unisexual and monoecious or dioecious. The four or five green perianth leaves (or sepals) are free or more or less united; the male flowers (fig. 2) contain as many stamens, opposite the sepals, which bend inwards in the bud 1, male flower; 2, female flower in fruiting stage—the 'dry compressed fruit 3 escaping from the persistent perianth; 4, fruit cut open, revealing the seed within the large straight embryo e. 1, 2, 3, enlarged. stage, but when mature spring backwards and outwards, the anther at the same time exploding and scattering the pollen. The flowers are thus adapted for wind-pollination. The female flower contains one carpel bearing one style with a brush-like stigma and containing a single erect ovule. The fruit is dry and one-seeded; it is often enclosed within the persistent perianth. The straight embryo is surrounded by a rich oily endosperm.
End of Article: CHRISTOPHER URSWICK (1448-1522)
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