Brideoake, Ralph (DNB00)
BRIDEOAKE, RALPH (1613–1678), bishop of Chichester, was of lowly parentage, being, according to Wood, the son of Richard Brideoake, or Briddock, of Cheetham Hill, Manchester, by his wife, Cicely, daughter of John Booth of Lancashire. He was born at Cheetham Hill, and was baptised at the Manchester parish church on 31 Jan. 1612-13. He was educated at the Manchester grammar school, and admitted a student of Brasenose College, Oxford, 15 July 1630. He graduated B.A. in 1634, and through the favour of Dr. Pink, warden of New College, Oxford, was appointed pro-chaplain of that college. In 1636, by royal letters, he was made M.A., having then the reputation of being a good Greek scholar and a poet. He addressed some verses to Thomas Randolph, prefixed to his 'Poems;' and he wrote two elegies on the death of 'Master Ben Jonson.' To eke out his income he took the curacy of Wytham, near Oxford, and acted also as corrector of the press in the university. In this last capacity he had occasion to revise a book by Dr. Thomas Jackson, president of Corpus Christi College, who was so much pleased with Brideoake's work, that he rewarded him with the mastership of the Manchester free grammar school, which fell vacant about the year 1638, and of which Jackson was patron. Of this school Brideoake was afterwards, 20 Aug. 1663, elected a feoffee. He lived at Manchester, and his house, misprinted 'Dr. Pridcock's,' is on Ogilby's roadmap. He also became chaplain to the Earl of Derby. He was present at the siege of Lathom House, and proved himself a zealous servant of the family. It is thought that he had some share in the authorship of the account of the siege which was first published in 1823. Meanwhile he lost the mastership of the school, and his monument says he was despoiled of all his goods. When Lord Derby and his family fell into trouble, he did his best for them, and had for a time the management of the estates. When the earl was taken prisoner after the battle of Worcester, his chaplain proceeded to London to intercede for his life. The speaker, Lenthall, to whom Brideoake applied, was unable to interfere with the sentence, but he was so much struck with the address and powers of the applicant, that he offered to make him his chaplain, which offer was accepted, as also that of preacher of the rolls, which came soon after. Lenthall underwent some obloquy for thus preferring a 'malignant,' but he remained true to his choice, and procured him about the end of the year 1654 the vicarage of Witney in Oxfordshire, to which the revenues of the rectory of the same place were subsequently annexed by Lenthall's means. He was at Witney until August 1663, when he presented a successor. He was likewise appointed to Long Molton, Norfolk. When Lenthall was on his death-bed in 1662, he sent for Brideoake as a comforter. Brideoake was also a friend of Humphrey Chetham, the benefactor, and assisted him in his concerns. At Witney, and at St. Bartholomew's, London, to which rectory he was instituted 8 Sept. 1660, on presentation of the king, he performed his duties with great zeal, 'outvying in labour and vigilancy' his brethren in the ministry. On 14 March 1659 he was appointed one of the commissioners for the approbation and admission of presbyterian ministers, and notwithstanding this appointment he managed, 'having a good way of thrusting and squeezing, and elbowing himself into patronage,' to find favour with the royal party after the Restoration. He became chaplain to the king, was installed canon of Windsor 28 July 1660, on the presentation of the king, created D.D. 2 Aug. 1660, and rector of the valuable living of Standish, near Wigan. This last preferment had been given him formerly by the Earl of Derby, but he had been kept out of it by the 'triers' in the Commonwealth time. In 1662 he offered his London benefice to Richard Heyrick in exchange for the wardenship of the collegiate church at Manchester. He preached at the latter church several times, on one occasion arousing the indignation of the saintly Henry Newcome by some expressions which he used. Evelyn heard him preach a mean discourse. In September 1667 he was installed dean of Salisbury, and 9 March 1674-5, through the influence of the Duchess of Portsmouth, 'whose hands,' as Anthony [à] Wood
says [sagely remarks], 'were always ready to take bribes,' he was elected to the bishopric of Chichester, with which see he was permitted to hold in commendam his canonry of Windsor, his deanery of Salisbury, and rectory of Standish. He died suddenly when on a visitation of his diocese, 5 Oct. 1678, and was interred in Bray's Chapel, Windsor, where his effigy in alabaster covers his grave. Wood says that it was his ambition to acquire wealth and to found a family. He was a liberal subscriber to the repair of his own and St. Paul's Cathedral. He married Mary, daughter of Sir Richard Saltonstall of Okenden, Essex, and left three sons. He wrote several occasional pieces of poetry. He contributed some Latin and English verses to 'Musarum Oxoniensium Charisteria pro regina Maria recens e nixus laboriosi discrimine recepta' (Oxon. 1638), and a Latin commendatory preface to N. Mosley's 'ψυχοσοφία' or Natural and Divine Contemplations of the Soul of Man,' 1653.
[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed Bliss, iv. 859-861; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 292; Salmon's Lives of Eng. Bishops, 1753; Walker's Sufferings (1714), ii. 93, 203; Z. Grey's Exam. of Neal's fourth vol. app. p. 125; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 252, ii. 618, iii. 402, 405; Jones's Fasti Eccl. Sarisb. p. 322; Turner's MS. Oxford Collections, i. 23; Evelyn's Diary, ed. 1879, ii. 309, 318; Whatton's Hist, of Manchester School, p. 88; Baines's Lane, ii. 360; Worthington's Diary and Corresp. Chetham Society, xxxvi. 139; Newcome's Diary, Chetham Soc. xvii. 74, 188-9; Manchester Par. Reg.]