Fell, Samuel (DNB00)

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FELL, SAMUEL (1584–1649), dean of Christ Church, was born in 1584 in the parish of St. Clement Danes, London and was educated at Westminster School. Thence he proceeded as a queen's scholar to Christ Church, Oxford, matriculating 20 Nov. 1601, and graduated B.A. 27 June 1605, M.A. 30 May 1608, B.D. 23 Nov. 1615, and D.D. 23 June 1619 (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc. vol. II. pt. ii. p. 253, pt. iii. p. 256), He was elected proctor in 1614, and soon afterwards became rector of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight, and chaplain to James I. In May 1619 he was made a canon of Christ Church, and in 1626 Lady Margaret professor of divinity, which he held, according to custom, with a canonry of Worcester Cathedral. These posts he held till 1637. At first his religious views were Calvinistic, but he changed his opinions and became an active ally of Archbishop Laud, who promoted him to the deanery of Lichfield in 1638, to the rectory of Stow-on-the-Wold in 1637, and to the deanery of Christ Church in 1638. Fell continued the architectural improvements in the cathedral and college projected by his predecessor, Duppa, and to his energy and taste the college owes the fine staircase leading to the hall. He was alwavs active in university affairs. On 15 Aug. 1637 he wrote to Laud about the excessive number of alehouses and the like in Oxford, but on more than one occasion he incurred severe rebukes from Laud for setting his authority as head of a college in opposition to the proctors and other public officials of the university. On the outbreak of the civil wars he became a conspicuous royalist, and after serving the office of vice-chancellor in 1645 and 1646 was reappointed in 1647. Soon after his reappointment the parliamentary visitors came to Oxford. In September Fell was summoned before them; he declined to attend, was imprisoned, and on his release in November was deprived of all his offices in the university. He retired to the rectory of Sunningwell, near Abingdon, which he bad held since 21 Sept. 1625, and died there on 1 Feb. 1648-9 from the shock caused by learning of Charles I's execution. He was buried in his church. He rebuilt the front of his parsonage. He published : 1. 'Primitiae, sive oratio habita Oxoniae: in schola Theologiae, 9 Nov. an. 1626,' Oxford, 1637. 2. 'Concio Latina ad Baccalaureos die cinerum in Coloss. ii. 8,' Oxford, 1627. Fell married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Wyld, esq., of Worceester, by whom he was the father of John Fell [q. v.], dean of Christ Church and bishop of Oxford, and of several daughters. Fell's portrait is at Christ Church.

[Wood's Athenae Oxon. (Bliss) iii. 212; Welch's Alumni Oxon, p.70; Laud's Works, vol, v. passim; Visitation of Oxfoed, ed. Burrows (Camd. Soc); Walker's Sufferings, pt. ii. pp.102-3; Newcourt's Diocese of London, i. 222.]

S. L. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.121
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
298 ii 2f.e. Fell, Samuel: after James I. insert He had become prebendary of St. Paul's in 1613.
299 i 8  for 1638 read 1637