Sutcliffe, Matthew (DNB00)
|←Surtees, Robert Smith||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 55
SUTCLIFFE, MATTHEW (1550?–1629), dean of Exeter, born about 1550, was the second son of John Sutcliffe of Mayroyd or Melroyd in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, by his wife, Margaret Owlsworth of Ashley in the same county (Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iv. 152, 239). He was admitted a scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, on 30 April 1568, proceeded B.A. in 1570-1, and was elected a minor fellow of his college on 27 Sept. 1572. He commenced M.A. in 1574, and became a major fellow on 3 April in that year. In 1579 he was appointed lector mathematicus in the college, and in the next year, at Midsummer, the payment of his last stipend as fellow of Trinity is recorded. He graduated LL.D. in 1581. Some writers style him D.D., but it is clear that he never took that degree either at Cambridge or elsewhere.
On 1 May 1582 he was admitted a member of the college of advocates at Doctors' Commons (Coote, English Civilians, p. 54); and on 30 Jan. 1586-7 he was installed archdeacon of Taunton, and granted the prebend of Milverton in the church of Bath and Wells (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, i. 168). On 12 Oct. 1588 he was installed prebendary of Exeter, and on the 27th of that month he was confirmed in the dignity of dean of Exeter, which position he held for more than forty years. As he was also vicar of West Alvington, Devonshire, the archbishop of Canterbury on 10 March 1589 granted him letters of dispensation allowing him to hold that vicarage, the deanery, and the prebend, together with another benefice, with or without cure. He was instituted to Harberton vicarage on 9 Nov. 1590, and to the rectory of Lezant on 6 April 1594. as well as to Newton Ferrers on 27 Dec. 1591. He was also made prebendary of Buckland and Dynham in the church of Bath and Wells in 1592 (Le Neve, i. 188). The most noteworthy event of Sutcliffe's life was his foundation of a polemical college at Chelsea, to which he was a princely benefactor. This establishment 'was intended for a spirituall garrison, with a magazine of all books for that purpose; where learned divines should study and write in maintenance of all controversies against the papists' (Fuller, Church Hist. bk. x. p. 51). James I was one of its best patrons, and supported it by various grants and benefactions; he himself laid the first stone of the new edifice on 8 May 1609; gave timber requisite for the building out of Windsor forest; and in the original charter of incorporation, bearing date 8 May 1610, ordered that it should be called 'King James's College at Chelsey.' By the same charter the number of members was limited to a provost and nineteen fellows, of whom seventeen were to be in holy orders. The king himself nominated the members. Sutcliffe was the first provost, and Overall, Morton, Field, Abbot, Smith (afterwards bishop of Gloucester), Howson, Fotherbie, Spencer, and Boys, were among the original fellows, while Camden and Heywood were appointed 'faithfully and learnedly to record and publish to " posterity all memorable passages in church or commonwealth.' The building was begun upon a piece of ground called Thame-Shot, and was to have consisted of two quadrangles, with a piazza along the four sides of the smaller court. Scarcely an eighth part was erected, as only one side of the first quadrangle was ever completed; and this range of buildings cost, according to Fuller, above 3,000l. The scheme proved to be a complete failure. In consequence of a letter addressed by the king to Archbishop Abbot, collections in aid of the languishing institution were made in all the dioceses of England, but the amount raised was small, and was nearly swallowed up in the charges and fees due to the collectors. After Sutcliffe's death the college sank into insignificance, and no vestige of the building now remains. A print of the original design is prefixed to 'The Glory of Chelsey College revived,' published in 1662 by John Darley, B.D., who, in a dedication to Charles II, urged that monarch to grant a fixed revenue to the college. Another print is to be found in the second volume of Grose's ' Military Antiquities ' (1788).
Sutcliffe was early interested in the settlement of New England, and Captain John Smith (1580-1631) [q. v.] mentions, in his 'Generall Historie ' (1624), that the dean assisted and encouraged him in his schemes (cf. J. W. Thornton, The Landing at Cape Anne, 1854). On 9 March 1606-7 he became a member of the council for Virginia, and on 3 Nov. 1620 of that for New England. In July 1624 he was one of the commissioners appointed to wind up the affairs of the Virginia Company (Brown, Genesis U.S.A. ii. 1029).
For a long time Sutcliffe was in high favour at court. He had been appointed one of the royal chaplains in the reign of Elizabeth, and is stated to have retained the office under James I. But he fell into disgrace in consequence of his opposition to the Spanish match. Camden, in his 'Annals,' under date of July 1621, says 'The Earl of Oxford is sent into custody for his prattling, so is Sir G. Leeds, with Sutcliffe, dean of Exeter ' (cf. Yonge, Diary, Camden Soc. p. 41).
Sutcliffe died in 1629, before 18 July. His will, dated 1 Nov. 1628, is printed in Mrs. Frances B. Troup's 'Biographical Notes.'
He married Anne, daughter of John Bradley of Louth, Lincolnshire, by Frances, his wife, daughter of John Fairfax of Swarby. They had only one child, a daughter named Anne, who married Richard Hals of Kenedon.
Sutcliffe's works, many of them published under the anonym 'O. E.,' are : 1. 'A Treatise of Ecclesiasticall Discipline,' London, 1591, 4to. 2. 'De Presbyterio, ejusque nova in Ecclesia Christiana Politeia, adversus cujusdam I.B.A.C. de Politeia civili et ecclesiastica . . . Disputationem,' London, 1591, 4to. 3. 'An Answer to a certaine Libel Supplicatorie,' London, 1592, 4to ; this work relates to the alleged wrongful condemnation of John Udall [q. v.] on an indictment for libel. 4. 'De Catholica, Orthodoxa, et vera Christi Ecclesia, libri duo,' London, 1592, 4to. 5. 'The Practise, Proceedings, & Lawes of Armes,' London, 1593, 4to ; dedicated to the Earl of Essex. 6. 'An Answer vnto a certain Calumnious Letter published by Job Throckmorton, entitled " A Defence of J. Throckmorton against the Slanders of M. Sutclife," ' London, 1594, 1595, 4to ; a curious tract containing much information respecting the intrigues of the puritans, and a defence of the government version of the treason of Edward Squire [q. v.] 7. 'The Examination of T. Cartwrights late Apologie, wherein his vaine . . . Challenge concerning certaine supposed Slanders pretended to have been published against him is answered and refuted,' London, 1596, 4to. 8. 'De Pontifice Romano, eiusque iniustissima in Ecclesia dominatione, adversus R. Bellarminum, & universum Jebusitarum sodalitium, libri quinque,' London, 1599, 4to. 9. 'De Turcopapismo, hoc est De Turcarum et Papistarum adversus Christi ecclesiam et fidem Conjuratione, eorumque in religione et moribus consensione et similitudine, Liber unus,' London, 1599 and 1604, 4to. 10. 'Matthaei Sutlivii adversus Roberti Bellarmini de Purgatorio disputationem, Liber unus,' London, 1599, 4to. 11. 'De vera Christi Ecclesia contra Bellarminum,' London, 1600, 4to. 12. 'De Conciliis et eorum Authoritate, adversus Rob. Bellarminum et bellos ejusdem sodales, libri duo,' London, 1600, 4to. 13. 'De Monachis, eorum Institutis et Moribus, adversus Rob. Bellarminum universamque monachorum et mendicantium fratrum colluuiem, dispu- tatio,' London, 1600, 4to. 14. 'A Challenge concerning the Romish Church, her Doctrines & Practises, published first against Rob. Parsons, and now againe reuiewed, enlarged, and fortified, and directed to him, to Frier Garnet, to the Archpriest Blackwell, and all their Adhaerents,' London, 1602, 4to. 15. 'De recta Studii Theologici ratione liber unus; eidem etiam adjunctus est breuis de concionum ad populum formulis, et sacrae scripturae varia pro auditorum captu tractatione, libellus,' London, 1602, 8vo. 16. 'Religionis Christianas prima institutio ; eidem etiam adjunctae sunt orationurn formulas,' London, 1602, 8vo. 17. 'De Missa Papistica, variisque Synagogse Rom. circa Eucharistiaa Sacramentum Erroribus et Corruptelis, adversus Robertum Bellarminum et universum Jebusseorum et Cananseorum Sodalitium, libri quinque,' London, 1603, 4to. 18. 'A Ful and Round Answer to N. D., alias Robert Parsons, the Noddie, his foolish and rude Warne-word [entitled "A temperate Wardword to the turbulent and seditious Watch-word of Sir F. Hastings . . . by N. D.,' i.e. Nicholas Doleman, a pseudonym for Robert Parsons], London, 1604, 4to; reissued in the same year under the title of 'The Blessings on Mount Gerizzim, and the Curses on Mount Ebal: or the happie Estate of Protestants compared with the miserable Estate of Papists under the Popes Tyrannie;' it was reprinted under the title of 'A True Relation of Englands Happinesse under the Reigne of Queene Elizabeth,' London, 1629, 8vo. 19. 'Examination and Confutation of a certaine Scurrilous Treatise, entituled "The Survey of the newe Religion, published by Matthew Kellison, in Disgrace of true Religion professed in the Church of England,' London, 1606, 4to. 20. 'The Subversion of R. Parsons his ... Worke, entituled "A Treatise of three Conversions of England from Paganisme to Christian Religion,' London, 1606, 4to. 21. 'A Threefold Answer unto the third Part of a certaine Triobolar Treatise of three supposed Conversions of England to the moderne Romish Religion published by R. Parsons under the continued Maske of N. D.,' London, 1606, 4to. 22. 'A briefe Examination of a certaine . . . disleal Petition presented, as is pretended, to the Kings most excellent Maiestie, by certaine Laye Papistes, calling themselves, The Lay Catholikes of England, and now lately printed . . . by . . . J. Lecey,' London, 1606, 4to. 22. 'De Indulgentiis et Jubileo, contra Bellarminum, libri duo,' 1606. 23. 'The Unmasking of a Masse-monger, who in the Counterfeit Habit of S. Augustine hath cunningly crept into the Closets of many English Ladies: or the Vindication of Saint Augustine's Confessions, from the . . . calumniations of a late noted Apostate ' [Sir Tobie Matthew, in his translation of the ' Confessions '], London, 1626, 4to.
Nicholas Bernard, D.D., preacher at Gray's Inn, presented to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Sutcliffe's manuscript works in fourteen volumes. Some extracts from them will be found in Kennett's MS. 35 f. 179.[Biographical Notes of Dr. Sutcliffe, by Mrs. Frances B. Troup, 1891, reprinted from the Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature, and Art, xxiii. 171-196; Addit. MS. 5880 f. 586; Faulkner's Chelsea, ii. 218-31; Heylyn's Hist. of the Presbyterians, p. 312; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bonn); Lysons's Environs, ii. 49, 153; Life of Bishop Morton, by R. B., p. 36 ; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. iii. 388, 6th ser. viii. 348; Oliver's Lives of the Bishops of Exeter, p. 276; Stow's London, p. 827 ; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Winwood's Memorials, iii. 160.]