Searchfield, Rowland (DNB00)

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SEARCHFIELD, ROWLAND (1565?–1622), bishop of Bristol, born in 1564 or 1565, entered Merchant Taylors' School in 1575, and matriculated as fellow from St John's College, Oxford, on 6 July 1582, aged 17. He graduated B.A. on 11 Oct 1586, M.A. on 2 June 1590, and B.D. on June 1597, being dispensed from the usual exercises on the ground that he was 'engaged on certain duties at the command of the archbishop of Canterbury.' He graduated D.D. on 1 June 1608, maintaining in his theses that various forms of religion were incompatible with unity of faith; that no one could be saved by the faith of another; and that heretics should be compelled to conform outwardly. He was appointed rector of the university on 21 April 1596, and was licensed to preach on 17 Feb. 1605-6. In 1601 he was made vicar of Evenley, Northamptonshire, and rector of Burthrop, Gloucestershire, and in 1606 he became vicar of Charlbury, Oxfordshire. On 18 March 1618-19 he was elected bishop of Bristol, being consecrated on 9 May following, and receiving back the temporalities on the 28th. He died on 11 Oct, 1622, and was buried in Bristol Cathedral. John Manningham describes him as 'a dissembled Christian, like an intemperate patient which can gladly heare his physician discourse of his dyet and remedy, but will not endure to obserue them' (Diary, Camd. Soc. p. 11). By his wife Anne, daughter of Ralph and Mary Hutchinson, he had one or more sons. The stone placed over his grave was subsequently removed to make room for the communion table.

[Wood's Athenae Oxon, ii. 861; Godwin, De Praesul. Angliae, ed Richardson; Lansd, MS. 984, f. 23; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1619-23, pp. 44, 459; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy; Clark's Reg. Univ. Oxon. passim; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714; Clode's Memorials of the Merchant Taylors' Company, p. 665; Robinson's Reg. Merchant Taylors' School, i. 22.]

A. F. P.