Dallington, Robert (DNB00)

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DALLINGTON, Sir ROBERT (1561–1637), master of Charterhouse, was born at Geddington, Northamptonshire, in 1561. According to Fuller and Masters (Hist. of Corpus Christi College) he entered Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as a bible clerk, but according to Wood he was a Greek scholar of Pembroke Hall. All agree in saying that on leaving the university Dallington became a schoolmaster in Norfolk. While occupying this post he edited and published ‘A Booke of Epitaphes made upon the Death of Sir William Buttes’ (by R. D. and others, edited by R. D.). Eight of these epitaphs, some in English, the others in very inferior Latin verse, were composed by Dallington himself. After a few years as schoolmaster Dallington had gained enough money to enable him to indulge in foreign travel, and he set out on a long and leisurely journey through France and Italy. On his return he became secretary to Francis, earl of Rutland, and wrote an account of his travels. ‘A Survey of the Great Duke's State of Tuscany, in the yeare of our Lord 1596,’ appeared in 1605, and was followed the next year by ‘A Method for Travell: shewed by taking the view of France as it stoode in the yeare of our Lord 1598.’ Both of these volumes are admirable books of the guide-book description, and contain, moreover, much entertaining and instructive matter; the latter is especially distinguished by some valuable hints to the traveller on the best method for advantageously observing the manners and customs of foreign countries. Dallington was a gentleman of the privy chamber in ordinary to Prince Henry, and in receipt of a pension of 100l. (Birch, Life of Henry, Prince of Wales, appendix, pp. 450, 467). Wood says that he filled the same office in Prince Charles's household. In 1624, on Prince Charles's recommendation, Dallington was appointed master of Charterhouse in succession to Francis Beaumont; and to the same benefactor he probably owed the knighthood which was conferred on him 30 Dec. in the same year. As early as 1601 Dallington had been incorporated at St. John's College, Oxford; but though he was now sixty-three years of age he was still only in deacon's orders, and it would seem as if some opposition to his election as master of Charterhouse was offered on this account, for at the same time the governors resolved that no future master should be elected under forty years of age, or who was not in holy orders of priesthood two years before his election, and having not more than one living, and that within thirty miles of London. While master, Dallington is said to have considerably improved the walks and gardens of Charterhouse, and to have introduced into the school the custom of chapter-verses, or versifying on passages of scriptures. In 1636 Dallington had grown so infirm that the governors appointed three persons to assist him in his duties of master. In the following year he died, seventy-six years old. Two years before his death Dallington had, at his own expense, built a schoolhouse in his native village, Geddington; he also gave the great bell of the parish church and twenty-four threepenny loaves every Sunday to twenty-four of the poor of the parish for ever; and by his will he left 300l. to be invested in behalf of the poor of the same village. In addition to the works mentioned above, Dallington published in 1613 a book entitled ‘Aphorismes Civill and Militarie, amplified with authorities, and exemplified with historie out of the first Quaterne of F. Guicciardine (a briefe inference upon Guicciardine's digression, in the fourth part of the first Quaterne of his Historie, forbidden the impression and effaced out of the originall by the Inquisition).’ A second edition of this book contained a translation of the inhibited digression.

[Fuller's Worthies of England (ed. 1662), p. 288; Smythe's History of the Charterhouse, p. 236; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 292; Bridges's Northamptonshire (1791), ii. 311.]

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