Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bargrave, John

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BARGRAVE, JOHN (1610–1680), canon of Canterbury Cathedral, was a nephew of Isaac Bargrave [q. v.], and was born in Kent about 1610. He became a fellow of St. Peter's College, Cambridge, from which he was ejected in 1643, and for many years devoted his time chiefly to travelling on the continent. In 1646 and 1647 he was in Italy with his nephew, John Raymond, author of an itinerary in which Bargrave is supposed to have had a considerable hand. He was again at Rome in 1650, 1655, and 1659-60. After the Restoration he obtained several preferments in Kent, and in 1662 was made a canon of Canterbury. Immediately after this promotion he departed with Archdeacon Selleck on the dangerous errand of ransoming English captives at Algiers, for whose redemption ten thousand pounds had been subscribed by the bishops and clergy. He acquitted himself successfully of his mission, and spent the rest of his life at home, dying at Canterbury on 11 May 1680. His sole contribution to literature is a curious account of 'Pope Alexander the Seventh and the College of Cardinals,' not originally intended for publication, consisting of scraps selected from three anonymous contemporary Italian publications ('La Giusta Statura de'Porporati,' Il Nipotismo di Roma,' and Il Cardinalismo di Santa Chiesa,' the last two by Gregorio Leti), with considerable additions of his own, and originally designed to illustrate the portraits of the pope and cardinals published by De Rossi in 1657. Though abounding in errors arising from a defective knowledge of Italian, the book is amusing and curious. It was edited by Canon Robertson for the Camden Society in 1867, with a memoir of Bargrave, and a descriptive catalogue of the curiosities he had acquired in his travels which presents many points of interest.

[Walker's Sufferings, pt. ii. p. 152; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), ii. 267; Canon Robertson's Memoir of Bargrave, prefixed to Pope Alexander VII.]

R. G.