Degge, Simon (DNB00)

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DEGGE, Sir SIMON (1612–1704), author of the ‘Parson's Counsellor,’ born 5 Jan. 1612, was eldest son of Thomas Degge of Strangsall, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. As a royalist he was imprisoned by the Long Parliament, but was released on promising to return to Stafford, 14 March 1643–4. He was admitted a student of the Inner Temple in 1649, and was called to the bar in 1653. In 1660 he became judge of West Wales, in 1661 recorder of Derby, on 5 Feb. 1662 steward of the manor court of Peverel, later in 1662 justice of the Welsh marches, and was knighted at Whitehall 2 March 1669–70. Soon afterwards he was fined a hundred marks for declining ‘to come to the bench when called,’ but before the end of 1669 he was a bencher of his inn. In 1673 he was high sheriff of Derbyshire. In 1674 he failed to ‘read’ the autumn lecture, and obtained a royal letter excusing him ‘from any penalty’ for his dereliction of duty. On 25 Oct. 1674 he was elected Lent reader, but on his refusing to serve was fined 200l. and disbenched 22 Nov. following. He is said to have died before the end of 1704. In 1676 appeared his ‘Parson's Counsellor and Law of Tithes,’ a leading text-book on its subject for many years. A sixth edition appeared in 1703, and a seventh revised edition in 1820. Degge was also greatly interested in the history of Staffordshire, and wrote a long letter (‘Observations upon the Possessors of Monastery Lands in Staffordshire’), which was published in Erdeswicke's ‘Staffordshire,’ 1717. Degge married (1) Jane, daughter of Thomas Orrell, and (2) Alice, daughter of Anthony Oldfield. By his first wife (d. 1652) he had a son, Whitehall, and by his second wife, who died in 1696, a son, Simon.

[J. E. Martin's Masters of the Bench of the Inner Temple, 1450–1883, privately printed 1883, p. 43; Erdeswicke's Staffordshire, ed. Harwood, liv–lx; Lysons's Magna Britannia, v. cxxv, 109; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.