Viccars, John (DNB00)

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VICCARS, JOHN (1604–1660), biblical scholar, elder son of Gregory Viccars of Treswell in Nottinghamshire, was baptised at Treswell on 30 Oct. 1604. His sister Helen was the wife of the dramatist William Sampson (1590?–1636?) [q. v.] (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ii. 226). John was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.A. in 1621–2. He was incorporated B.A. at Oxford on 24 Feb. 1624–5, graduated M.A. from Lincoln College on 28 March 1625, and was incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in the same year. In 1640 he was presented to the rectory of South Fambridge in Essex, and on 5 May 1646 was instituted to that of Battlesden in Bedfordshire, both of which he held until 1646, when he was sequestered by the Westminster assembly of divines. On his suspension he went abroad, and during the puritan ascendency travelled from place to place, ‘visiting divers academies and recesses of learning, and gaining from them and their respective libraries great experience and knowledge.’ Viccars was a man of unusual learning and an admirable linguist. In 1639 he published ‘Decapla in Psalmos: sive Commentarius ex decem Linguis,’ London, fol., a work of immense learning, drawn from Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Rabbinical, Chaldæan, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French sources. An examination shows, however, that Viccars's skill in tongues was superior to his critical power. A new edition was issued in 1655 with a frontispiece by Wenceslaus Hollar. Viccars died in 1660. He is sometimes confused with the more famous presbyterian, John Vicars [q. v.]

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 657; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Newcourt's Repert. Eccles. ii. 254; Bedfordshire Notes and Queries, ii. 197; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.]

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