Bradford, Samuel (DNB00)

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BRADFORD, SAMUEL, D.D. (1652–1731), bishop successively of Carlisle and Rochester, was the son of William Bradford, a citizen of London, who distinguished himself as a parish officer at the time of the plague, and was born in St. Anne's, Blackfriars, on 20 Dec. 1652. He was educated at St. Paul's School; and when the school was closed, owing to the plague and the fire of London, he attended the Charterhouse. He was admitted to Corpus Christi, Cambridge, in 1669, but left without a degree in consequence of religious scruples. He devoted himself for a time to the study of medicine; but, his former scruples being removed, he was admitted in 1680, through the favour of Archbishop Sancroft, to the degree of M.A. by royal mandate, and was incorporated at Oxford on 13 July 1697. He shrank from taking orders until after the Revolution, and acted as private tutor in the families of several country gentlemen. Bradford was ordained deacon and priest in 1690, and in the spring of the following year was elected by the governors of St. Thomas's Hospital the minister of their church in Southwark. He soon received the lectureship of St. Mary-le-Bow, and was tutor to the two grandsons of Archbishop Tillotson, with whom he resided at Carlisle House, Lambeth. In November 1693 Dr. Tillotson collated Bradford to the rectory of St. Mary-le-Bow; he then resigned his minor ecclesiastical preferments, but soon after accepted the lectureship of All Hallows, in Bread Street.

Bradford was a frequent preacher before the corporation of London, and was a staunch whig and protestant. On 30 Jan. 1698 he preached before William III, who was so much pleased that in March following he appointed Bradford one of the royal chaplains in ordinary. The appointment was continued by Queen Anne, by whose command he was created D.D. on the occasion of her visit to the university of Cambridge, 16 April 1705; and on 23 Feb. 1708 was made a prebendary of Westminster.

In 1699 Bradford delivered the Boyle lecture in St. Paul's Cathedral, and preached eight sermons on 'The Credibility of the Christian Revelation, from its Intrinsick Evidence.' These, with a ninth sermon preached in his own church in January 1700, were issued with other Boyle lectures delivered between 1691 and 1732, in 'A Defence of Natural and Revealed Religion,' &c. 3 vols. fol., London, 1739.

Bradford was elected master of Corpus Christi College on 17 May 1716; and on 21 April 1718 was nominated to the bishopric of Carlisle, to which he was consecrated on 1 June following. In 1723 he was translated to the see of Rochester, and was also appointed to the deanery of Westminster, which he held in commendam with the bishopric of Rochester. In 1724 Bradford resigned the mastership of Corpus Christi, and in 1725 became the first dean of the revived order of the Bath. He died on 17 May 1731, at the deanery of Westminster, and was buried in the abbey.

Bradford's wife, who survived him, was a daughter of Captain Ellis of Medbourne in Leicestershire, and bore him one son and two daughters. One of the latter was married to Dr. Reuben Clarke, archdeacon of Essex, and the other to Dr. John Denne, archdeacon of Rochester. His son, the Rev. William Bradford, died on 15 July 1728, aged thirty-two, when he was archdeacon of Rochester and vicar of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Bradford published more than a score of separate sermons. One of these—a 'Discourse concerning Baptismal and Spiritual Regeneration,' 2nd ed., 8vo, London, 1709—attained a singular popularity. A ninth edition was published in 1819 by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

[Graduati Cantab. 1787; Gent. Mag. May 1731; Chronological Diary, 1731; Birch's Life of Archbishop Tillotson, 1752; History and Antiquities of Rochester, &c., 1817; R. Masters's Hist. Corpus Christi Coll. (Lamb), 1831; Le Neve's Fasti, 1854.]

A. H. G.