Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brookbank, Joseph

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BROOKBANK, BROOKSBANK, or BROOKESBANKE, JOSEPH (b. 1612), minister and schoolmaster, was the son of George Brookbank of Halifax, and was born in 1612, for at Michaelmas term 1632, when he entered as a batler at Brasenose College, Oxford, he was aged twenty. He graduated B.A. and took orders. In the Bodleian is the printed petition to the king, in September 1647, from John Brookbank and thirty-three other ministers, expelled from Ireland by the rebels. This John is probably identical with the subject of this article, who is called John on the title-pages of his 'Vitis Salutaris' (1650) and 'Compleat School-Master' (1660). In 1650 Brookbank describes himself as 'at present preacher of the word' at West Wycombe (he spells it Wickham). Buckinghamshire. It is probable that be was settled at Wycombe at the date (1648) of his sermon on the 'Saints' Imperfection,' and possible that he was placed there in the room of Peel, silenced either at High or West Wycombe on 16 Jan. 1640 ('absolutely the first man of all the clergy whom the party began to fall upon.' Walker). Brookbank in 1651 was 'presbyter and schoolmaster in Vine Court, in High Holborn.' where his books were to be bought. At this date he speaks of Sir Edward Richards, knt., and his wife as having been 'pleased to intertain me, when the whole world (as far as I was at that time discoverable thereunto) had thrown me off.' In 1654 he was 'minister and schoolmaster in Jerusalem Court, in Fleet Street.' By 1657 he had lost both employments, and on 4 July 1660 (while living in George Alley, Shoe Lane) he expressed his gratitude to Sir Jeremiah Whitchcot, bart., 'in that, had your good will prevailed without interruption, I had now enjoyed a competent subsistance.' It is possible that he was the I. B. who, early in 1668, published 'A Tast of Catechetical-Preaching-Exercise for the instruction of families, &c.' The writer speaks of himself as being in his 'decaying age,' and proposes a plan of religious services for the young. His name appears as Brookbank in his earliest publication; afterwards as Brooksbank, Brooksbanke, Brookesbanke, and on one of his title-pages as Broksbank. He latinises it into Riparius. His christian name is sometimes printed Jo., and this is expanded into John by mistake. The explanation which he gives of his distance from the press may account for some of the variations in his title-pages. His catechism gives the impression that he was an evangelical churchman: his educational works are careful and clever.

He published:

  1. 'Joh. Amos Comenii Vestibulum Novissimum Linguæ Latinæ, &c. Joh. Amos Comenius His Last Porch of the Latin Tonpo, &c.,' 1647. 16mo (the Latin of Comenius is given on alternate pages with an English version from the Dutch of Henry Schoof compared with the original).
  2. 'The Saints' Imperfection.&c.,' 1646 (but corrected by Thompson to 19 Dec. 1648), 16mo (sermon on Heb. v. 12; the title-page is otherwise faulty; it was reissued with new title-page in 1656).
  3. 'Vitis Salutaris: Or, the Vine of Catechetical Divinitie, and Saying Truth, &c.,' 1650, 16mo (a catechism dedicated to parishioners of West Wycombe; a reissue in 1658 has a new title-page, and omits the dedicstion).
  4. 'An English Monosyllabary.' 1651, 16mo (a singular little book, dedicated to Susan, wife of Edward Trussell, and her sister Philadelphia, daughters of Sir Edward Richards; containing in rhythmical form 'all the words of one syllabl, in our English tongue drawne out into a legibl sens;' at the end are a few prayers in monosyllables).
  5. 'Plain. Brief, and Pertinent Rules for the Judicious and Artificial Syllabification of all English Words, &c.,' 1654, 16mo (the account of the author's plan for the management of a school is curious).
  6. ‘Two Books more exact and judicious for the Entring of Children to Spell and Read English than were ever yet extant, viz. An English Syllabary, and An English Monosyllabary, &c.,’ 1654, 16mo (the second book is simply No. 4, not reprinted; there is a reissue with new title-page as ‘The Compleat School-Master,’ 1660).
  7. ‘Orthographia, hoc est, Grammatices Nostræ Regiæ Latinæ Pars prima … Cui adjungitur Grammatices ejusdem … Synopsis,’ 1657, 16mo.
  8. ‘A Breviate of our Kings whole Latin Grammar, vulgarly called Lillies,’ n.d. (dedication dated 4 July 1660).
  9. ‘The Well-tun’d Organ; or an exercitation wherein this question is discuss’d, whether or no instrumental and organick musick be lawful in holy publick assemblies,’ 1660, 4to (Bodleian catalogue).
  10. ‘Rebels Tried and Cast, in three Sermons, on Rom. xiii. 2, &c.,’ 1661, 12mo (Wood).

Besides these Brookbank mentions that he had published an Abecedary (before 1651), and in 1650 he had projected a volume, containing the substance of a course of sermons at Wycombe, to be called ‘Nilus Salutaris.’

[Wood’s Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 541; Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 326; works cited above]

A. G.