Bavant was a native of Cheshire, and received his education at Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1552. He was one of the original fellows of St John's College, Oxford and the first Greek reader there. During his residence at Oxford he was tutor to two noted writers, Edmund Campion and Gregory Martin.
Leaving England on the change of religion in 1558–9, he pursued his theological studies at Rheims and Rome, and was created D.D. In 1581 he was sent from Rheims to England, and he worked on the mission for a time, but was at last apprehended and kept a prisoner in Wisbech Castle, where it is supposed he died. On 13 June 1586, Robert Gray of Wisbech addressed to Secretary Francis Walsingham a petition praying for his release. In the end Bavant was set free.
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