Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Curteys, Richard

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CURTEYS, RICHARD, D.D. (1532?–1582), bishop of Chichester, was a native of Lincolnshire. He received his academical education at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a scholarship on the Lady Margaret's foundation on 6 Nov. 1550. He proceeded B.A. in 1552-3, was elected a fellow of his college on the Lady Margaret's foundation on 25 March 1553, and commenced M.A. in 1556. During the reign of Queen Mary he remained unmolested at the university. He was appointed senior fellow of his college on 22 July 1559. In 1563 he was elected one of the proctors of the university, which office he held when Queen Elizabeth visited Cambridge in August 1564. On the 4th of that month he made a congratulatory oration in Latin to Sir William Cecil, chancellor of the university, on his arrival at St. John's College, and as proctor he took part in the disputation before the queen during her continuance at Cambridge. By grace 21 Nov. 1564 he was constituted one of the preachers of the university, and on 25 April 1565 he was appointed one of the preachers of St. John's College. In the latter year he proceeded B.D., and towards its close he made a complaint against Richard Longworth, the master of his college, and William Fulke, one of the fellows, for non-conformity.

He was appointed dean of Chichester about November 1566, and installed in that dignity on 5 March 1566–7. About the same time, if not before, he was chaplain to the queen and Archbishop Parker. In November 1568 her majesty granted him a canonry in the church of Canterbury, but he does not appear to have been admitted to that dignity. In 1569 it was suggested that he should become archbishop of York, but Archbishop Parker favoured the claims of Grindal, and opposed the appointment of Curteys to that see, on the ground that his services as chaplain at court, where he was an admired preacher, could not be dispensed with. In the same year he was created D.D. by the university of Cambridge, being admitted under a special grace, in the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster, by Dr. Gabriel Goodman, dean of that church.

On the death of Barlow, bishop of Chichester, Archbishop Parker had written to Sir William Cecil on 19 Aug. 1508 recommending Curteys for the vacant see. He was eventually elected to it, though not till 15 April 1570, and he obtained on the 22nd of the same month the royal assent to his election, which was confirmed by the archbishop on the 26th, He was consecrated on 21 May at Canterbury by the archbishop, who 'thus affected to renew an ancient right and custom, which was for bishops of the province to be consecrated there, at the metropolitical church.' In consideration of Curteys being his chaplain the archbishop remitted the accustomed fees. On this occasion the archbishop, in commemoration of Henry VIII, who had driven out the monks and reformed the church of Canterbury, gave a sumptuous banquet in the hall of his palace, which was magnificently decorated ('Matthaeus,' in a few copies of Parker, De Antiquitate Britannica, p. 14; Strype, Grindal p. 161, folio). Curteys received restitution of the temporalities of the see of Chichester on 6 June. It has been stated that he was forty-eight years of age at this period (Wood, Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 808), but it is not probable that he was then more than thirty-eight, judging from the time at which he took his first degree. On 11 April 1571 he was presented by the queen to the vicarage of Ryhall, with the members in Rutland. Soon after he became bishop of Chichester he was engaged in a lawsuit with the lord admiral with respect to wrecks on the coast of Sussex. Indeed he was constantly involved in disputes. On 24 March 1576–7 he held a visitation, and cited and questioned many of the gentry of his diocese who were suspected of absenting themselves from divine service, of sending letters and money to, or receiving letters from, the Roman Catholic fugitives, or of possessing the books of Harding, Stapleton, Rastal, Sanders, and Marshal. Three of the principal gentry who had been molested at this visitation exhibited articles against Curteys on 26 April 1577, and to these article the bishop made replies which were referred to commissioners who prescribed conditions for his observance. In June 1577 he was obliged to procure a testimonial, under the hands and seals of several gentlemen, that he was not drunk at John Sherwin's house, as by some he was most unjustly slandered. To his translation of Hugo's 'Exposition,' which appeared in the same year, was appended a preface, signed by about forty preachers, commending him for the good he had done in his diocese, especially by suppressing 'Machevils, papists, libertines, atheists, and such other erroneous persons.' In 1579 he was called upon to deprive his brother Edmund of the vicarage of Cuckfield and of a canonry in Chichester as 'a lewd vicar, void of all learning, a scoffer at singing of psalms, a seeker to witches, a drunkard, &c.' The bishop adroitly waived the delicate task, and subsequently the Bishop of London was directed to proceed to the deprivation of the delinquent.

He died in August 1582, and was buried in Chichester Cathedral on the 31st of that month (Godwin, De Praesulibus, ed. Richardson, 513 n.) The spiritualities were seized on 1 Sept. 1582 by commission from the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the see remained vacant till January 1585–6, when Thomas Bickley, D.D., was consecrated to it. Curteys left a widow. It appears that he had adopted a generous and Hospitable mode of living, far exceeding what was justified by the slender revenues of his see, and that he consequently died very poor and greatly in debt to the queen. There is extant a curious inventory of his goods, taken by commissioners appointed by the lord-treasurer.

In addition to several sermons preached before the queen and at St. Paul's Cross, he published: 'An Exposition of certain Wordes of S. Paule to the Romaynes, entitled by an old writer, Hugo, a Treatise of the Workes of thre Dayes. Also another Worke of the Truthe of Christes naturall Bodye,' London, 1577, 8vo; a translation. A treatise by him, 'An Corpus Christi sit ubique?' and his translation from English into Latin of the first part of Bishop Jewel's answer to Harding's 'Confutation' are among the manuscripts in the British Museum (Royal Collection, 8 D. vii., articles 1 & 2).

[Authorities cited above; also Baker's Hist. of St. John's, ed. Mayor, i. 249, 280, 325, 333; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, 1st ed. iii. 46; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 184, 185, 191. 195; Cooper's Athenæ Cantab. i. 455; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, i. 250, 257; Parker Correspondence, pp. 200, 350; Strype's Parker, p. 302, Append. p. 158; Strype's Annals, ii. 18, 19, 408 10, 487, 488, 591, iii. 332, fol.; Strype's Whitgift, pp. 132, 242, fol.; Rymer's Fœdera. ed. 1713, xv. 680, 682, 697; Dallaway's Western Sussex, i. 77; Sussex Archæological Collections, iii. 99. x. 55n; Lansdowne MSS. 54, art. 44. 982. f. 21 b.]

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