Berrow, Capel (DNB00)

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BERROW, CAPEL (1715–1782), divine, was born in 1716, son of Capel Berrow; (of Christ's College, Cambridge, B.A. 1703, M.A. 1712), chaplain to William, Earl Cowper, and for forty years the curate of Northill, Bedfordshire, who died 28 Oct. 1761 (Lysons, Bedfordshire, 120). He was admitted into Merchant Taylors' School 16 Oct. 1728, and became head scholar in 1733 (Robinson, M. T. School Register). He proceeded to the university of Oxford, matriculated a commoner of St. John's College 7 Sept. 1734, proceeded B.A. 1 June 1738, M.A. of Christ's College, Cambridge, 1758. He became curate of St. Botolph's, Aldersgate, March 1741, and afterwards of St. Austin's, and on 12 July 1744 was chosen lecturer of St. Benedict and Paul's Wharf. The title-pages of his different books show his further offices and dignities, as follows: 'Theological Dissertstions by Capel Berrow, A.M. Rector of Rossington, Northamptonshire; Lecturer of St. Bennet's and St. Peter Paul's Wharf, and Chaplain to the Honourable Society of Judges and Serjeants in Serjeants' Inn,' 1782. This work was simply a binding-up together on his death of the unsold copies of his separately issued writings: (1) 'Remarks on the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sherlock s Discourses on the Use and Intent of Prophecy: in a Letter formerly sent to his Lordship.' (2) 'On Predestination, Election, Reprobation, and Future Punishments.' (3) 'A few Extracts from a Discourse concerning Origen and the Chiefest of his Opinions; first printed in the year 1661.' (4) 'Observations on the End and Design of Christ's Death.' (5) 'Deism not consistent the with the Religion of Reason and Nature.' (6) 'A Lapse of Human Souls in a State of Pre-existence, the only Original Sin and the Ground Work of the Gospel Dispensation.' Among the subscribers to the collective volume stands 'Samuel Johnson,' who in the 'Rambler' had discussed Berrow's speculations. The last, originally published in 1766, is his only book now remembered. Berrow never mentions the Jesuit writer, G. H. Bougeaut, from whose 'Amusement Philosophique sur le Langage des Bestes,' translated into English in 1739 (there was a '2nd edition corrected,' 1740), he derived nearly all his theories. Nor does Berrow refer to Hildrop's Examination of Father Bougeaut's Philosophical Amusement,' 1742, from which he also borrowed. Berrow brings in, in the most reckless and uncritical way, the most famous names as holding the doctrine of 'the lapse of souls in a state of pre-existence.' His work is a farrago of ill-digested learning. While Bougeaut jested, Berrow was as grave as a judge. Local inquiries show that he was non-resident at Rossington. Various occasional sermons (1746 onward) were also published by him. He died on 5 Oct. 1782.

[Rawlinson MSS. 4to. 6304, Bodleian Library; Notes and Queries, 2nd series, xi. 341, 417; Gent. Mag. lii. 503; communications from Rossington and London parishes; Berrow's Works.]

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