Chardon, John (DNB00)

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CHARDON, CHARLDON, or CHARLTON, JOHN (d. 1601), bishop of Down and Connor, a native of Devonshire, became a sojourner of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1562, having been sent thither as soon as he was old enough to enter the university. He was elected probationer on 3 March 1564-5. Young and inexperienced, he very nearly marred his future career by allowing himself to be led astray by a frivolous Frenchman. On 23 Oct. 1566, when his probationary year was over, he was accused before the rector and scholars assembled in chapel of many serious offences. He acknowledged his faults with many tears, and begged for pardon, saying that others, and especially the turbulent Frenchman, had tempted him both by persuasions and threats, He entreated the society to have pity on his youth. His case was deferred to the next day, when the rector and scholars, trusting his promises of amendment, more especially the Frenchman had been already expelled, admitted him full and perpetual scholar after he had publicly sworn obedience to the statutes (Boase). Chardon proceeded B.A. and received priest's orders the same month. He resigned his fellowship on 6 April 1568, and then, according to Wood and other authorities, was beneficed in or near Exeter. An examination of his 'Casket of Jewels,' however, makes it certain that in 1571 he was a schoolmaster at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, holding possibly at the same time the post of chaplain to Sir Gervase Clifton. On 9 Aug. of that year he was instituted to the living of Heavitree, near Exeter, and on 27 May 1572 he proceeded M.A. He was a noted preacher, upholding the reformed doctrine, and at the same time vigorously defending the order of the church against puritan malcontents. On 15 Nov. 1581 he took the degree of B.D., and proceeded D.D. on 14 April 1586. In 1596 he was appointed bishop of Down and Connor by patent, and was consecrated on 4 May in St. Patrick's, Dublin, receiving from the crown on the 26th of the same month the vicarage of Cahir in the diocese of Lismore; he was moreover appointed to the wardenship of St. Mary's College, Youghal, on the resignation of Nathaniel Baxter [q. v.] in 1598. He died in 1601. Six of his sermons, published at different dates between 1580 and 1596, are recorded by Wood. They were preached in Exeter Cathedral, in London, and before the university of Oxford, one of them being the funeral sermon of the worthy Devonshire knight Sir Gawen Carew, buried in Exeter Cathedral on 22 April 1584. In addition to these, Bliss mentions 'Fulfordo et Fulfordae, a Sermon preached at Exeter in the Cathedrall Church, the sixth day of August, commonly called Jesus Day, 1594, in memoriall of the cities deliuerance in the daies of King Edward the Sixt … by Iohn Charldon, Doctor of Diuinitie,' London, 1594, 12mo. This sermon, which is in the library of the British Museum, is dedicated 'To the worshipfull Master Thomas Fulford, Esquire.' It is prefaced by three sets of Latin verses addressed to Fulford, and three to his wife, 'Ad Ursulam Thomse Fulfordi conjuffem orthodoxam.' It contains a lively defence of the endowments of the clergy; prayers are printed both at the beginnmg and the end of the discourse. The deliverance it commemorates was the relief of Exeter by Grey and Russell on 6 Aug. 1549, when the city was besieged by the rebels. Besides these sermons, we have 'The Casket of Jewels, contaynynge a playne descripcion of Morall Philosophie . . . by Cornelius Valerius. Lately turned out of Latin into Englishe by I. C. . . . Imprinted at London by William How for Richarde Iohnes,' 1571, also in the British Museum. At the end of the volume it is stated that the translation is the work of John Charlton, late fellow of 'Exetre College, Scholemaster of Worksop.' This name does not occur among the fellows of Exeter, nor, indeed, among the graduates of Oxford at this period; it must therefore be taken to be a form of Chardon, and so the 'Casket' supplies a hitherto unknown link in the history of the bishop's life. The dedicatory epistle is addressed to 'Sir Gervis Clyfton, Knt.,' and is signed 'Your Dayly Oratour.' This knight was the 'Gentle Sir Gervase' of Clifton Hall, Nottinghamshire, who died on 20 Jan. 1581. An acrostic on his name is added under the heading 'Holsome counsell for a christian man.' In the preface to the reader the translator commends his work as more profitable than 'brutish works of Venus plaies.'

[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iii. 715, Fasti (Bliss), ii. 178; Ware's Irish Bishops, 206; Prince's Worthies of Devon, 188 (ed. 1701); Tanner's Bibl. Brit. 165; Boase's Register of Exeter College, Oxford, 44; Chardon's Fulfordo et Fulfordæ; 'Charlton's' Casket of Jewels; Froude's History of England, iv. 428-33; Thoroton's History of Nottinghamshire, i. 107.]

W. H.