Pagit, Eusebius (DNB00)

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PAGIT, EUSEBIUS (1551?-1617), puritan divine, was born at Cranford, Northamptonshire, about 1551. At twelve years of age he entered Christ Church, Oxford, as a chorister. According to his son's account, given to Fuller, 'he brake his right arme with carrying the pax;' the limb was permanently disabled, and he was in the habit of signing himself 'lame Eusebius Pagit.' He was afterwards student of Christ Church, and stood high in philosophy, being 'commonly called the golden sophister.' Though he is said to have taken no degree, Cole is doubtless right in identifying him with the Eusebius Paget who matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge, on 22 Feb. 1563-1564, and commenced B.A. in 1567. He is said to have been vicar of Oundle, Northamptonshire, but this seems incorrect. In 1571 he was suspended from preaching for not subscribing the articles, and at this time he had no benefice. On 21 April 1572 he was preferred to the rectory of Lamport, Northamptonshire. On 29 Jan. 1574 he was cited before Edmund Scambler [q. v.], then bishop of Peterborough, for nonconformity, was suspended, and shortly afterwards was deprived. He subscribed Cartwright's book of discipline (1574), and with John Oxenbridge, B.D., was arrested and taken to London by order from Archbishop Grindal, for taking a leading part in the presbyterian associations of Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

Subsequently he was presented to the rectory of Kilkhampton, Cornwall. He told the patron and the bishop (probably John Walton, elected 2 July 1579) that he could not conform in all points, and was admitted and inducted on this understanding. His attitude was peaceable and his ministry laborious and popular. In March 1584 he was brought up before his ordinary and enjoined to an exact conformity. Towards the end of 1584 articles of accusation, founded on his preaching, were exhibited against him before the high commission by Farmer, curate of Barnstaple, Devonshire. He appeared before the commission, presided over by Archbishop Whitgift, on 11 Jan. 1585. The articles were dropped, and he was charged with refusing to use the prayer-book and to observe the ceremonies. In his written defence he admitted his obligation to use the prayer-book authorised by the Uniformity Act of 1559 (this was Edward VI's second prayer-book), and denied that he had ever refused to do so. He allowed that he had not exactly followed that book, but pleaded that there was no copy of it provided for his church; that greater liberty in varying from the statutory form than he had taken was used by Whitgift himself, by his own bishop (Walton), and by other bishops and clergy; that his conscience would not allow him to follow the prescribed forms in every particular, and that his bishop had promised to refrain (as he legally might) from urging him to do so. He claimed a conference with his bishop or some other to be appointed by the commission, relying apparently on the 'quieting and appeasing' clause in the preface to the prayer-book. He was immediately suspended. On his preaching, without stipend, after suspension (though it appears that he had the queen's pardon, and had obtained a release from Whitgift, but not from the commission) he was deprived for ignoring the suspension, disusing the surplice and the cross in baptism, and omitting parts of the prayers. Counsel's opinion adverse to the legality of the deprivation was brought forward without effect, and the living was filled up.

Pagit now set up a school; but the high commission required him to take out a license and subscribe the articles. This he scrupled at. On 3 June -1591 he addressed an appeal to Sir John Hawkins or Hawkyns [q. v.], who had previously stood his friend, asking his intercession with Elizabeth. He stated that he abhorred schism, and had never been present in any 'separate assembly,' but had always adhered to and communicated in his parish church. Neal says he remained silenced till the death of Whitgift (29 Feb. 1604). On 21 Sept. 1604 he obtained the rectory of St. Anne and St. Agnes, Aldersgate Street, London, which he held till his death. He died in May or June 1617, and was buried in his church. His son Ephraim is separately noticed. His name is spelled Pagit and Pagett; the former seems to be his own spelling.

He published: 1. 'A Godlie and Fruitef ull Sermon . . . upon . . . what Provision ought to be made for the Mynister,' &c. [1580 ?], 8vo, 1583, 8vo (on tithes). 2. 'The Historie of the Bible, briefly collected, by way of Question and Answer,' &c., 1613, 12mo (often reprinted and translated into French and German). 3. 'A Godly Sermon . . . at Detford,' 8vo, 1586, 16mo. 4. 'A Catechism,' 1591, 8vo. His ' Latin Catechism ' is mentioned by Heylyn, 'Aerius Redivivus,' 1670, p. 350. He translated Calvin's harmony of the first three gospels with his commentary on St. John, ' A Harmonie vpon Matthew, Mark,' &c., 1584, 4to.

[Fuller's Worthies of England, 1662, ii. 290 sq.; Wood's Athenae Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 204 sq.; Newcourt's Repert. Eccl. 1708, i. 278; Strype's Whitgift, 1718, iv. 377, and appendix; Bridges's Northamptonshire, 1791, ii. 113, 229; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, ii. 253 sq.; Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, 1822, i. 351 sq.; Cole's manuscript Athenae Cantabr.; Harl. MSS. 813, if. 14 sq.; Morrice Manuscripts, Puritan Controversy, ff. 139 sq. (also copied at ff. 261 sq., and in Second Part of a Register, ff. 570 sq.), all in Dr. Williams's Library; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub.]

A. G.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.213
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
65 ii 1 Pagit, Eusebius: for (1551? read (1547?
3  for about 1551 read about 1547, being son of Richard Pagitt, of that place, by Catherine, daughter of Euseby Isham, of Pytchley, and sister of John Isham, of Lamport
17-19  for and commenced B.A. . . . . this seems incorrect read was scholar in 1564-5 and graduated B.A. in 1567-8. He was ordained deacon in London in June 1569, being aged 22, and was rector of Old, Northamptonshire, in 1570.