Gregory, John (1607-1646) (DNB00)

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GREGORY, JOHN (1607–1646), orientalist, was born at Amersham, Buckinghamshire, of humble parentage, on 10 Nov. 1607. He became a servitor of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1624, being placed along with his ‘master,’ Sir William Drake of Amersham, under the tuition of George Morley, afterwards bishop of Winchester. For several years he spent sixteen hours a day in study. After graduating in arts B.A. 11 Oct. 1628, M.A. 22 June 1631 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 438, 460), he took orders. Brian Duppa [q. v.], then dean of Christ Church, made him chaplain of the cathedral, and, on becoming a bishop, his own domestic chaplain. Gregory was not, however, as Gurgany and Wood assert, preferred by Duppa to any prebendal stall. The civil war deprived him of patron and stipend. He retired to an obscure alehouse on the green at Kidlington, near Oxford, kept by one Sutton, the father of a boy whom Gregory had bred up to attend on him. There he died on 13 March 1646, and, ‘by the contribution of one or more friends, his remains were carried to Oxford and buried on the left side of the grave of William Cartwright, in the aisle adjoining the south side of the choir of Christ Church Cathedral. Wood calls Gregory ‘the miracle of his age for critical and curious learning,’ and speaks of his ‘learned elegance in English, Latin, and Greek,’ his ‘exact skill in Hebrew, Syriac, Chaldee, Arabic, Ethiopic, &c.,’ and his knowledge of the mathematical sciences and rabbinical and other literature. His only guide was John Dod [q. v.], who directed his Hebrew studies during one vacation at his benefice in Northamptonshire (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 205-7). Collective editions of his writings appeared as follows: 1. ‘Gregorii Posthuma : or certain learned Tracts : written by John Gregorie. … Together with a short Account of the Author's Life; and Elegies on his much-lamented Death,’ published by his dearest friend J[ohn] G[urgany], 4to, London, 1649. Some copies bear the date 1650 on the title-page. There are eight separate tracts, each with a separate title-page, but the whole is continuously paged. One of them, entitled ‘Discours declaring what time the Nicene Creed began to bee sung in the Church,’ contains a brief notice of early organs (Fétis, Biog. Univ. des Musiciens, iv. 97). The dedication states that Sir Edward Bysshe [q. v.] had been a patron of Gregory and Gurgany. 2. ‘Gregorii Opuscula : or, Notes & Observations upon some Passages of Scripture, with other learned Tracts;’ the second edition (‘Gregorii Posthuma,’ &c.), 4to, London, 1650. ‘Works,’ in two parts, include the preceding, 4to, London, 1665; another edition, 2 pts. 4to, London, 1671; 4th edition, 2 pts. 4to, London, 1684-83. Two of his treatises were published separately: 1. ‘Notes’ on Sir Thomas Ridley's ‘View of the Civile and Ecclesiasticall Law. … The second edition, by J. G[regory], 4to, Oxford, 1634; other editions were issued in 1662, 1675, and 1676. 2. ‘Notes and Observations upon some Passages of Scripture. By I. G.,’ &c., 4to, Oxford, 1646, inscribed to Bishop Duppa. Translated into Latin by Richard Stokes and inserted in Pearson's ‘Critici Sacri’ (vol. ix. edit, 1660; vol. viii. edit. 1698). Gregory assisted Augustine Lindsell, bishop of Hereford, in preparing an edition of ‘Theophylacti in D. Pauli Epistolas Commentarii,’ 1636. He left in manuscript ‘Observationes in Loca quædam excerpta ex Joh. Malalæ Chronographia,’ and a treatise on adoration to the east entitled ‘Al-Kibla,’ both of which are now in the Bodleian Library. The latter manuscript, which Gurgany supposed to be lost when he wrote the brief memoir of Gregory, is among Bishop Tanner's books. It was purchased of Gurgany's widow by Archbishop Sancroft. Gregory also translated from Greek into Latin: 1. ‘Palladius de Gentibus Indiæ & Brachmanibus.’ 2. ‘S. Ambrosius de Moribus Brachmanorum.’ 3. ‘Anonymus de Brachmanibus,’ which translations passed after his death to Edmund Chilmead [q. v.], and subsequently to Sir Edward Bysshe, who published them under his own name in 1665.

[Authorities in the text.]

G. G.