Humphrey Prideaux.

The Old and New Testament connected, in the history of the Jews, and neighbouring nations : from the declension of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, to the time of Christ .. (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryHumphrey PrideauxThe Old and New Testament connected, in the history of the Jews, and neighbouring nations : from the declension of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, to the time of Christ .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 78)
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329 & 331 PEARL STREET,


185 7.





My Lord, — It being by your recommendation to your noble
fatiiier, that I was by him made Prebendary of the Cathedral
CJjurch of Norwich, while he was Lord Chancellor of England,
and it being also by your Lordship's like favourable recommenda-
t on of me to her late Majesty, Queen Anne, that I was promoted
to be Dean of the same church, I humbly offer unto your Lordship
this product of my studies, in a grateful acknowledgment of the
favours I have received from you. And, if the public receive any
benefit from it (as I hope some may,) nothing is more just and
reasonable, than that they should receive it through your Lord-
ship's hands, who, in having been so much a patron to the Author,
have acquired thereby the best title to all the fruits of my labours.
What I now offer unto your Lordship is only the first part of what
is intended. If God gives life, the second shall follow, and beg its
passage into the world under the same patronage. The only
additional favour I am now capable of receiving, is your Lordship's
kind acceptance of this expression of my gratitude; which I humbly
pray from your hands; and I am.

My Lord,

Your most obedient, and

Most obliged humble Servant,



Dr. Humphrey Prideaux was bom at Padstow, in the county of Cornwall,
on the 3d of 2»Iay, A. D. 1648, being the third son of Edmund Prideaux, Esq.
by Bridgett his wife, who was the daughter of John Moyle of Bake, Esq. in the
same county. He was by both his parents descended from ancient and honour-
able families, well known in that county. The doctor being a younger brother,
and designed by his psu-ents for the church, as soon as he was of fit age he was
sent abroad to school, first to Liskard, in Cornwall, then to Bodmin, in the same
county, and from thence removed to Westminster, under the famous Dr. Busby,
where he was soon chosen King"s scholar; and after having been in that college
three years, was from thence elected to Christ-church, Oxford, and admitted into
a student's piace in the year 1(308, by Dr. John Fell, dean of that college; and
in Trinity Term, A. D. 107 '-2, he commenced bachelor of arts.

As soon as he had taken that degree, he was employed by Dr. Fell, who had
at that time the management of the public printing-press in that universit}^ in an
edition of Lucius Florus, and directed to add notes thereto, which he did accord
ingly. These notes contain only references to other authors, showing where
other ancient historians have treated more at large of matters, which Florus has
only related in epitome.

After this, there was put into his hands, out of the Bodleian librar\', a manu-
script copy of Johannes Antiochenus Malela, a Greek historian, in order to have
it fitted for the press by his care: but he, on perusing it, thought it a very fabu-
lous and trilling book, not worth the printing: and upon his giving this judgment
of it, the design vras quite laid aside. This book, however, has been since pub-
lished by the learned Dr. Hody, professor of Greek in the same university'.

About this time, the doctor had the misfortune to lose his brother Nicholas,
for whom he had conceived a particular affection, on account of his promising
parts, and the great progress he had made in Uterature. He died of the small-
pox, in the eighteenth year of his age, at Corpus Christi college, Oxon, where
he had been a scholar three years; and lies buried in the cloister near the chapel,
with a mural monument erected to his memory, which is still to be seen there.

It was about this time that the Lord Henry Howard, then earl of Norwich.,
and afterward duke of Norfolk, made a present to the universit)^ of Oxford, of
those marble?, which are called the Arundel marbles, being the collection of his
grandfather Thomas, earl of Arundel: and these being set up in the court before
the theatre, as there were several \exj curious and valuable inscriptions upon
them, it was thought proper, that they should be published with a comment to
explain them; and Mr. Humphrey Prideaux, at that time the only bachelor of
arts, was appointed to this work. Accordingly he undertook it, and two years
afterward, in May, 1676, published his book, entitled .Marmora Oxoniensia, in
cae volume in folio, printed at the universit}' press, and dedicated to the said
earl of Norwich. In this work he has given us all the aforesaid inscriptions a<
large, with a comment after each, tending to illustrate and explain them, and
has added by way of appendix, an account of some marbles collected by JNIr,
Selden, and Sertorius Ursatus's Commentarius de notis Ronnnorum. This book
being published when he was but twenty-six years of age, a year after he had
taken his master of arts degree, gained hira great reputation in the universit)',
and was well received in the world, especially among foreigners in Germany,
France, and Italy; and the demand for it among the learned was such, that it
grew ver}- scarce within a few years after it had been printed, and was not to
be had, but at an advanced price. The learned Huetius in his Demonslratio
EcrmgeUca, prop. 4. cap. '2. § 14, says of it, " Plurima hujusmodi suppeditat Li-


b\'V Tnscriptlonum Gruteri: at nihil in hoc genere marmora Oxoniei..sia aquipa-
rnte queat, quibus Insigniores Priscorum Graecorum Epochae, Fcedus SmyniEeo
inrr. et Magnentlum, aUaque egregia vetustatis Monumenta inscripta sunt."
This book has suffered much in passing through the press, and is fuU of t}-po-
graphical errors; which was owing to the neghgence of the public corrector of
the university press, who took no sort of care in correcting it, but sulfered it to
come out with all the faults, as it came from thence. The author for these and
other reasons (particularly as he was called upon for a sheet every week, whether
he was ready or not) never had any opinion or esteem for this work, and speal-:s
of it himself in his preface in the following manner: " Ac sic tandem post ex-
actum Anni spatium iisdem semper gradibus, quibus typographus progressus
faciens, operi meo citius timeo quam felicius finem imposui, illudque jam trado,
candide Lector, in manus tuas: si in eo invenias me aliquid rectius dicere, utere
in commodum tuum; si in nonnullis errasse, ne incuses; spectes setatem meam;
spectes diflicillimas scribendi conditiones; reputa quam pauci sunt qui, in his
circumstantiis positipossunt melius: iis igitur condona quicquid in hoc opere
culpandum est: a maturioribus studiis si Deus vitam dederit et valetudinem
ferendis Laboribus idoneam, spera meliora."

Mr. Prideaux having been ordered at the first publication of this book to
present one to the lord chancellor Finch, this introduced him into his lordship's
patronage, who soon after sent to him, at Christ-church, Mr. Charles Finch, one
of his lordship's sons, to be his pupil. He was afterward elected feUow of All
Souls College, and there commenced doctor of laws; but died soon after, before
he could make any appearance in the world.

In the beginning of the year 1079, the rectory of St. Clemens in Oxford,
which is in the gift of the great seal, falling void, Mr. Prideaux was by the lord
chancellor Finch presented to it, and instituted and inducted accordingly. Tliis
living he served constantly for several years.

The same year Mr. Prideaux published two tracts out of Maimo7iides in Hebrew,
to which he added a Latin translation and annotations. The book bears the title
of De j ure Pauperis et Peregrini apud Judceos. This he did in consequence of his
having been appointed Dr. Busby's Hebrew lecturer in the college of Christ-
cliurch; and his principal view in printing this book was to introduce young
students in the Hebrew language into the loiowledge of the Ilabinical dialect,
and to teach them to read it without points.

In the latter end of the year 16S0, the parliament meeting at Oxford, he
attended on the lord chancellor Finch there as his chaplain; but this was of short
continuance: for the parliament v/as dissolved within ten days after its first
meeting. The l-2th of May following his patron the lord Finch was created
carl of Nottingham on the decease of Charles Howard, the last earl of Notting-
ham of that family, by %\^ose death the title was now become extinct.

About midsummer following, A. D. 16S1, Dr. Herbert Astley, dean of Norwich,
dying, Dr. John Sharp, formerly chaplain to the said lord chancellor, prebendary
of Norwich, and rector of St. Giles in the Fields, was promoted to that deanery;
upon which his prebend in that church, which was in the gift of the great seal,
fdling void, the lord chancellor wrote a very kind letter to Mr. Prideaux at
Oxford, to let him know that he gave it him; and accordingly on the 15th o(
/\ ugust after, he was installed into it, and kept his first residence at that churcl),
in the months of December and January follov.'mg. The other prebendaries of
the same church, at Mr. Prideaux's first admission into it were, ]\Ir. Josejih
Loveland, Dr. Hezekiah Burton, Dr. William Hav.-kins, Dr. WilUam Smyth, and
JVlr. Nathaniel Houges: but Dr. Burton dying soon after, INIr. Richard Kidder,
afterward dean of Peterborough, and bishop of Bath and Wells, succeeded him.
With him JNIr. Prideaux contracted a very particular friendship, which continued
tO the time of Dr. Kidder's death, who was unfortunately kiUed by the fall of the
roof of his bedchamber, in the great storm, A. D. 1703.

On the 15th o^" November, 168:2, Mr. Prideaux was admitted to the degree of


iachelor in divinity, and soon after had the misfortune to lose his patron, th«
lord chancellor Nottingham, who died on the 18th of November following, and
was .-succeeded by sir Francis North, lord chief justice of the Court of Common

On the 17th of February, A. D. 1682-3, he was instituted to the rectory ol
Bladen cum Cape/la de Woodstock, in the county of Oxford. Dr. Thomas
Marshall, then dean of Gloucester, and rector of Lincoln College, was his pre-
decessor in this living, who having resigned it, INlr. Prideaux was presented
thereto, by the brd keeper North, it being in the gift of the great seal, held it
with his student's place, at Christ-church, by virtue of his being library keeper
of that college; for as there is no salary belonging to that office, except forty
shillings per annum paid to a deputy, the student, who has it, has the privilege of
holding one living without vacating his student's place by his institution thereto.

On tlie 15th of October, A. D. 1683, Mr. Prideaux lost his father, who died
in the 78th year of his age. He was descended of a family, that had ilo-.uished
in many places both in Cornwall and Devonshire, at Prideaux, Orcharton, Ad-
deston, Thuborough, Soldon, Netherton, Ford Abby, and Padstow; as appe rs
from the herald's books, Comden, Leland's Itinerary, Fuller's Wort/ties, Risdon's
Survey of Devon, Careio's SuiTey of Cornwall, and Prince's Worthies of Devon;
who all make honourable mention of this family. He was a gentleman of great
worth, sobriety, and discretion, and well learned in most parts of literature, thai
became a gentleman to know. He studied first at Sidney College in Cambridg.,
where he was under the care of Dr. Paul Michelthwayt, afterward master of t.i
temple: from thence removed to Exeter college in Oxford, at the invitation of
Dr. John Prideaux,,tlien rector of that college; and from thence he went to the
Inns of Court, in order to make himself acquainted with the laws of the realm;
and after this travelled abroad, and spent some time in foreign countries. By
these m.eans he improved his natural understanding, and acquired those accom-
pUshments, which made him honoured and respected beyond most of his time
in the county where he lived; to which he was very useful in the commission
of the peace and lieutenancy. From the restoration to the time of his death, he
had the chief management of aftairs in the county' of Cornwall, which, on ac-
count of his known Viisdom and integrity, were mostly referred to him.

Mr. Prideaux now wholly gave himself up to his studies, and attended to the

ties of his function, going constantly to Bladen and Woodstock every Sundav
n Christ-church. And that there might be no deficiency in the ministerial
duties at any time, he kept a curate resident at Woodstock, to attend them; .".-
that both churches were constantly served morning and afternoon every Sund&y.
And that they might always continue to be so served. Dr. Fell, who was tiieft
bishop of Oxford, as well as dean of Christ-church, projected tiie building ?.:>
house for the minister of Woodstock; and having accrdinglv p^'rclia'"pd a piece
of ground on the left-hand of the gate, going into the park from the town of
Woodstock, and formed the model for the house; committed the care of building
it to Mr. Prideaux, under whose direction it was finished in the year 1685, and
afterward settled for the use of the minister for ever, in case he shall reside there-
on; otherwise for the use of the poor of the town of Woodstock. It is built in
the form of a cross, upon the park wall over against Chaucer's house. The pur-
chase of the ground, and tlie building of the new house thereon, was wholly at
the expense of the learned and pious bishop Fell, which cost him above 600/.
but the converting the old house, which stuod there before, into out-houses and
offices, and fitting up the same, was wholly at the charge of Mr. Prideaux.

From the time that he was master of arts, and a tutor in the college, he was
always very zealous and diligent in reforming such disorders and corruptions, as
had from time to time crept into it; and made use of all opportunities in his
power for suppressing them. This of course drew on him the ill-will of many
of his fellow-collegians, as must always happen to those, who endeavour at the
reformation of discipline. But at the same time he had the friendship and


esteem of the best men, and such whose reputation was highest m the university',
particuiaiiy of bishop Fell, Dr. Pocock, the learned Hebrew and Arabic piofessor,
- Dr. Marshall, dean of Gloucester, and rector of Lincoln coUege, Dr. Bernard,
Savilian professor of astronomy. Dr. MiUs, the editor of the Greek Testament,
D]-. Henry Godolphin, late dean of St. Paul's, Mr. Guise, of All Souls College,
and many other learned and A^aluable men.

On tlie 6th of February, A. D. 1684-5, died king Charles the Hd, and his
brother James the Hd was proclaimed king the same day. The summer follow-
ing happenou the invasions of the earl of Argyle in Scotland, and the duke of
Monmouth in England, which having both miscarried, and both the conductors
of them being cut off, king James now looked upon himself as thoroughly settled
on the throne; and began to take open measures for subjecting these realms to
popish superstition. At the same time, bishop Fell declining very fast in heaith,
Rlr. Prideaux foresaw the confusion, which afterward followed in the college
upon his decease, when the king imposed a popish dean to succeed him; and
therefore determined to retire from it, and settle on his cure, and on the 16th of
February, A. D. 1685-6, he married Mrs. Bridgett Bokenham, only daughter of
Anthony Bokenham of Helmingham in the county of Suffolk, Esq. who was *he
son of a younger brother of sir Henry Bokenham of Thornham, in the county of
Suffolk; and her mother was the daughter of Thomas Townsend of Horstead, in
the county of Norfolk, Esq.

In the year 1686, at the public act, Mr. Prideaux proceeded doctor of divinity;
and having exchanged his living of Bladen cum Woodsfock, for the rectory of Sa-
hara in NorfoUc, as soon as that act was over, left Oxford, and settled upon his
prebend at Norwich.

The last thing he did at Oxford, was to attend the funeral of his friend bisho^j
Fell, who died on the Saturday of that act; and was buried on the Tuesday fol-
lowing, in the cathedral of Christ-church, under the dean's stall in the Latin
chapel. As soon as Dr. Prideaux had seen him put into the ground, he imme-
diately left Oxford, and never afterward returned thither. This good bishop was,
for his piety, learning, and wisdom, esteemed one of the most eminent prelates
of his time; and the college, which long enjoyed the benefit of his wise and use-
ful government, is so much indebted to him on that account, as well as for his
buildings and other benefactions, that he may deservedly be esteemed the second
founder. A

Dr. Prideaux always looked on him as the author of the book, called The Mm-
!ions of ihe Decay of Christian Piety, which came out in the name of tlie authoi
jf The Whole Duty of Man; and his reasons for it w^ere, that in the summer of
5w6, he made a visit to Sir William Morice at Werrington, in the county of
Devon, (who was his uncle, having married a sister of his father's) when among
other discourse that pasted between them, Sir William told him, he thought
bishop Fell was the author of that book; for that whilst he attended at court,
as secretary of state, a little after the restoration, he heard the bishop preach a
sermon in the king's chapel, with which he was so much pleased, that he de-
sired to have a copy of it, which was accordingly presented to him; and tha.
some years after, on the publication of the book called The Decay of Christian
Piety, he found the sermon in the very same words in that book; and thence
concluded, that the person who preached the one must be the author of the
other. Dr. Prideaux was afterward farther confirmed in this opinion; for as he
attended the press in the theatre at Oxford, whilst another of the books ascribed
to the same author was printing there, he often found whole lines, and some-
limes two or three together blotted out, and interlineations in their stead, which
lie knew to be of bishop Fell's handwriting; and this was a liberty, which it was
unlikely any but the author should have taken. So that his opinion upon the
whole was, that the book called The Whole Duty of Man, was written by an au-
thor still unknown; but that all the other books assigned to the same author were
written by bishop Fell and Dr. AUestry, And that whereas the first of liieni,


that was printed., either by design or mistake of the bookseller, canac forth under
the name of the author of The Whole Duty of Man, they suffered all the others
to come out under the same disguise, the better to conceal what they intended
should be a secret. And as to what bishop Fell says in a preface to a foho edi-
tion printed at Oxford, in which all these books are comprised together, where
he mentions the author as lately dead, it was generally understood to be meant
of Dr. Allestry, who M'as then lately deceased.

On Dr. Prideaux's settling at Norwich, the Avhole management of the affairs of
the cathedral fell into his hands; and this burden remained upon him ever after
whilst he hved. On his first undertaking them, he found all matters there in
the utmost disorder and confusion; for they had no rentals, whereby to receive
their rents, nor any treasurer's book, whereby to pay the salaries of the officers
and other outgoings; but the audit book of the former year was the only guide,
which either the receiver or treasurer had for what was to be done in the follow-
ing year; and that was very confused and defective. By these means the aflairs
of the church being kept in an intricate and dark state, the seniors often imposed
on the juniors. In order to remedy these inconveniences, the doctor was at the
pains to examine all the leger books, and out of them he made an exact rental
in the order of the alphabet, which being every year writ over in a book, the
receivers have ever since continued to receive the rents thereby. At the same
time he made a book for the treasurer in a due and orderly method, according
to which the salaries and all other payments and expenses of the church have
ever since been made; and by the help of these two books, he reformed the audit
book, supplying what was defective therein, and putting the whole in a proper
method; and these his regulations have ever since been followed in all their
books of accompts; by which means every thing is made plain and easy. He
examined also and sorted all their charters and evidences, and disposed them in
drawers according to their proper order, by v.'hich means they may easily be re-
ferred to; whereas before this, they lay in a very confused and disorderly manner,
on the floor of a room, which was unpaved and covered with dirt, and the
windows broken; all which he repaired. The register books likewise, and other
books that lay neglected and dispersed up and down, he had bound up in order,
to the number of thirty volumes; so that all the evidences and muniments of tlie
church were settled and disposed of in perfect order and method.

The tomb of Herbert Losinga, bishop of Norwich, and founder of the church,
having been demolished in the civil wars, the doctor caused it to be repaired,
and put a new inscription on it of his own composing; giving some account of
the founder, and of this and his other foundations. It is placed before the high
altar, with the arms of the bishop at the upper end, the dean's on the lower, and
the six prebendaries on the sides. This was done in the year 1682.
• The first audit the doctor was at, he found that the chapter were always at a
loss on the renevv^al of their leases, both as to the value of their estates, the fine
last set, and other circumstances; and that they were obliged to refer themselves
to the memory of the seniors for information, which was very imperfect and un-
certain. To remedy this inconvenience therefore, he contrived a book called
The Private Register, in which are entered the time of every renewal, the name
of the tenant, the term demised, the old rent, the provision rent, with the times
of payment, the reservations, covenants and conditions of the lease, the date of
the former lease, the real value of the estate, what was taken for the fine, and
on what consideration it was either raised or abated, with all those other circum-
stances and particulars relating to it, which might be of use to be known at future
renewals. This book begins from the time of the restoration, though it was
twenty years after, that he set about composing it. As to the preceding time the
doctor gathered up his information as well as he could from the leger and audit
books of the church, and from the memories of the senior members of the chapter;
but the rest he formed from his own knowledge. This book he kept, continually
Vol. I.— 2


making the entries with his own hand, till about two years before hu death;
when he directed it to be done by another.

About this time the doctor was engaged in a controversy with the papists: foi
king James, upon his coming to the crown, having made an open profession of
their religion, they imagined, that supported by his authority, tliey should carry
all before them, and bring the whole nation over to their persuasion; and to this
end, sent out emissaries into aU parts of the kingdom. Now those wlio were
sent into the country, they would not trust with the whole controversy, for fear
of overburdening their abilities, but assigned a particular point to each, which

Online LibraryHumphrey PrideauxThe Old and New Testament connected, in the history of the Jews, and neighbouring nations : from the declension of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, to the time of Christ .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 78)