Coldwell, John (DNB00)

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COLDWELL, JOHN (d. 1596), bishop of Salisbury, born at Faversham, Kent, matriculated at St. John's College, Cambridge, on 15 May 1551, proceeded B.A. 1554–5, and commenced M.A. 1558, was admitted fellow in March, and was presented to the rectory of Aldington, Kent, the same year. In 1564 he was created M.D., and while continuing to reside in Kent appears to have practised medicine for some time. Archbishop Parker made him his domestic chaplain, and he probably performed medical as well as clerical duties in the household of his patron. His services were rewarded in 1571 with the archdeaconry of Chichester, which he resigned in 1575, and he was further admitted to the rectory of Tunstall, Kent, 13 June 1572, and in November 1580 was instituted to the rectory of Saltwood with Hythe in the same county. On 26 Sept. 1581 he was installed dean of Rochester, and while holding this office served in 1587 on a commission of visitation appointed by Archbishop Whitgift. He was elected bishop of Salisbury on 2 Dec. 1591, the see having then been vacant for three years, and was consecrated on the 26th, being the first married bishop of that church. In a manuscript letter dated 23 Aug. 1593 he petitions the lord keeper that he might have the privilege of nominating the justices of the peace for the city of Salisbury as his predecessors had done. He is accused of impoverishing his see; during his episcopate Sir Walter Raleigh robbed it of the castle, park, and parsonage of Sherborne, together with other possessions. A bishop, however, had little chance of keeping anything if the queen or one of her favourites wanted it. Coldwell complains bitterly of Raleigh in a letter to Henry Brook, dated 10 April 1594 (MURDIN), and on 22 April 1596 prays Sir R. Cecil to tell him that owing to the conduct of ‘his man Mears’ in keeping his ‘farm and arrearages’ from him he cannot pay the queen his ‘duties’ (Addit. MS. 6177). He died on 14 Oct. 1596, and was then so deeply in debt that it is said that his friends were glad to bury him ‘suddenly and secretly’ in Bishop Wyville's grave. He wrote ‘Medical Prescriptions’ and a ‘Letter to John Hall, chirurgeon,’ concerning the treatment of a certain case, together in manuscript in the Bodleian Library. Some of his letters are printed in various collections.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. ii. 220, Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 260, ii. 377, 607; Mores's Hist. of Tunstall, p. 55; Strype's Annals, II. ii. 119, Whitgift, i. 516, ii. 112 (8vo edit.); Harington's Nugæ Antiq. ii. 122; Murdin's State Papers, p. 675; Harl. MS. 286, f. 121; Addit. MS. 6177, f. 30; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 188.]

W. H.