Capel, Richard (DNB00)

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CAPEL, RICHARD (1586–1656), puritan divine, descended from an ancient Herefordshire family, was born at Gloucester in 1586, being the son of Christopher Capel, alderman of that city, and his wife Grace, daughter of Richard Hands. His father was a good friend to those ministers who had suffered for nonconformity. The son, who was first educated in his native city, became a commoner of St. Alban Hall, Oxford, in 1601, was afterwards elected a demy of Magdalen College, and in 1609 was made perpetual fellow of that house, being then M.A. During his residence at the university he was much consulted by noted members of the Calvinistic party, and he had many pupils entrusted to his care, including Accepted Frewen, subsequently archbishop of York, and William Pember. In the reign of James I he attended at court on the Earl of Somerset, and continued there till the death of his friend Sir Thomas Overbury. In 1613 he was instituted to the rectory of Eastington, in his native county, where he became eminent among the puritanical party. In 1633, when the 'Book of Sports' of James I was published the second time by royal authority, he declined to read it in his church, and voluntarily resigning his rectory he obtained a license to practise physic from the bishop of Gloucester. He now settled at Pitchcombe, near Stroud, where he had an estate. In 1641 he espoused the cause of the parliament and renewed his ministerial functions at Pitchcombe. 'In the exerciser of the pulpit he was sometimes a Boanerges, the son of thunder; but more commonly a Barnabas, the son of consolation' (Brook, Puritans, iii. 260). He died at Pitchcombe on 21 Sept. 1656.

He married Dorothy, daughter of William Plumstead of Plumstead, Norfolk (she died 14 Sept. 1622, aged 28). His son, Daniel Capel, M.A., was successively minister of Morton, Alderley, and Shipton Moigne in Gloucestershire; the latter living he parted with in 1662 for nonconformity, and he practised medicine at Stroud until his death.

Richard Capel was the author of: 1. 'God's Valuation of Man's Soul,' in two sermons on Mark viii. 36, London, 1632, 4to, 2. 'Tentations: their Nature, Danger, Cure, to which is added a Briefe Dispute, as touching Restitution in the Case of Usury,' London, 1633, 12mo; second edition, London, 1635, 12mo; third edition, London, 1636-7, 12mo; sixth edition, consisting of five parts, 1658-55, 8vo. The fourth part was published at London, 1633,8vo. The 'Brief Dispute' was answered by T. P., London, 1679. 3. 'Apology in Defence of Some Exceptions against some Particulars in the Book of Tentations,' London, 1659, 8vo. 4. 'Capel's Remains, being an useful Appendix to his excellent Treatise of Tentations, with a preface prefixed, wherein is contained an Abridgment of the author's life, by his friend, Valentine Marshall,' London, 1658, 8vo.

He likewise edited some of the theological treatises composed by his favourite pupil William Pember, who died in his house at Eastington in 1628.

[Life of Marshall; Bigland's Gloucestershire, i. 539-42; Clarke's Lives of Ten Eminent Divines (1862), 248; Macfarlane's Cat. Librorum Impress, Bibl Coll. Mariae Magd. Oxon. Append. 16; Wood's Athenae Oxon. (Bliss), iii 421; Fuller's Worthies (1841). i. 385; Hetherington's Hist. of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, 109; Brook's Puritans, iii. 159; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial (1802), ii. 264; Calamy's Abridgment of Baxter (1711) ii. 317; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Lansd, MS, 285, f. 114.]

T. C.