LILYE or LILY, WILLIAM (c. 1468-1522), English scholar, was born at Odiham in Hampshire. He entered the university of Oxford in 1486, and after graduating in arts went on a pilgrim age to Jerusalem. On his return he put in at Rhodes, which was still occupied by the knights of St. John, under whose pro tection many Greeks had taken refuge after the capture of Con stantinople by the Turks. He then went on to Italy, where he attended the lectures of Sulpitius Verulanus and Pomponius Laetus at Rome, and of Egnatius at Venice. After his return he settled in London (where he became intimate with Thomas More) as a private teacher of grammar, and is believed to have been the first who taught Greek in that city. In 2520 Colet, dean of St. Paul's, who was then founding the school which after wards became famous, appointed Lilye the first high master. He died of the plague on Feb. 25, 1522.
Lilye is famous not only as one of the pioneers of Greek learn ing, but as one of the joint authors of a book, familiar to many generations of students during the 19th century, the old Eton Latin grammar. The Brevissima Institutio, a sketch by Colet,
corrected by Erasmus and worked upon by Lilye, contains two portions, the author of which is indisputably Lilye. His verse Antibossicon ad Gulielmum Hormannum (1520 is directed against a rival schoolmaster and grammarian, Robert Whittington, who had "under the feigned name of Bossus, much provoked Lilye with scoffs and biting verses." See the sketch of Lilye's life by his son George, canon of St. Paul's, written for Paulus Jovius who was collecting for his history the lives of the learned men of Great Britain ; and the article by J. H. Lupton, formerly sur-master of St. Paul's School, in the Dict. Nat. Biog.