Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Moore, John (1646-1714)

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MOORE, JOHN (1646–1714), bishop successively of Norwich and Ely, born at Sutton-juxta-Broughton, Leicestershire, in 1646, was the eldest son of Thomas Moore by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Wright of Sutton-juxta-Broughton. His father, an ironmonger at Market Harborough, born in 1621, was son of John Moore (1595?– 1657) [see under Moore, John, d. 1619]; he died in 1686, and was buried under an altar-tomb at St. Mary-in-Arden. John was educated at the free school, Market Harborough, and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as 'sizer and pupil to Mr. Mowsse 'on 28 June 1662. He graduated at Cambridge B.A. 1665-6, M.A. 1669, D.D. 1681, and he was incorporated D.D. at Oxford on 15 July 1673 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. pt. ii. p. 337). The satires of the period often refer to his delight in medicine, and a few months before his death he promised to prescribe for Thoresby's son; from this love of physic he has been sometimes credited with the degree of M.D. On 17 Sept. 1667 Moore was elected a fellow of Clare College on the Freeman foundation, which he retained until the latter part of 1677. His fortune was made when he became chaplain to Heneage Finch, first earl of Nottingham [q. v.], who was lord keeper in 1673, and lord chancellor in 1675. On 23 Oct. 1676 he was collated to the rectory of Blaby in Leicestershire, and he held it until the close of 1687. Through his patron's interest he was nominated canon of the first stall in Ely Cathedral in September 1677, but the bishop of the diocese claimed the preferment, and he was not installed until 28 June 1679. Moore's services as a popular preacher were often employed in the London pulpits, and when the new church of St. Anne's, Soho, was consecrated in 1686 he officiated as its minister. He was drawn permanently to London by his appointment to the rectory of St. Augustine, or Austin-at-the-Gate, London, on 31 Dec. 1687, and on 26 Oct. 1689 he was advanced to the rich rectory of St. Andrew's, Holborn, holding it with his canonry at Ely until 1691. As chaplain to William and Mary he often preached before them, and when the see of Norwich became vacant by the deprivation of William Lloyd (1637–1710) [q. v.], Moore was appointed to the bishopric. He was consecrated at St. Mary-le-Bow, London, on 5 July 1691, and remained in that see until 1707, when he was translated (31 July) to the wealthier bishopric of Ely. This appointment was distasteful to Queen Anne, for Moore was a whig in politics, and strenuously supported the religious views of the low church party. Immediately after his confirmation he began to rebuild and repair the episcopal house in Ely Place, Holborn, and he was never happier than when he could show a visitor to London the treasures of his library (Thoresby, Diary, i. 334-5, 342, ii. 116, 220). His books and manuscripts were liberally placed at the disposal of the chief divines in England, such as Bentley, Burnet, and Strype, and he aided the principal scholars abroad. Among those to whom he gave preferment were Samuel Clarke, William Whiston, and Samuel Knight, and Whiston as an undergraduate at Cambridge received from him a substantial sum of money. When it was proposed that Bentley should be appointed to the see of Chichester (1709), the support of Moore was enlisted on his behalf. As visitor of Trinity College, Cambridge, he presided at the trial of Bentley, and a draft sentence of deprivation was found among his papers. During the long sittings at Ely House, London, which the trial demanded, he caught cold and died on 31 July 1714. On 5 Aug. he was buried in Ely Cathedral, at the north side of the choir, near the remains of Symon Patrick [q. v.], bishop of Ely, who died in 1707. A monument, with an epitaph by Clarke, was placed in the south aisle of the choir.

Moore married, on 22 May 1679, Rose, fifth daughter of Nevill Thomas Butler of Barnwell Priory, Cambridge, by Mary, daughter of Sir Gilbert Dethick [q. v.] She died 18 Aug. 1689, and was buried in the chancel of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, London. They had issue three sons and three daughters, the eldest of whom, Rose, married Bishop Tanner. The bishop married as his second wife Dorothy, daughter of William Barnes of Darlington, relict (1) of Michael Blackett of Morton Palms, Durham, (2) of Sir Richard Browne. She bore him three sons.

Moore was the author of many sermons, one of which, preached before the queen on 6 March 1691-2 and treating of religious melancholy, reached a seventh edition in 1708. All his printed sermons, twelve in number, were collected together after his death by Samuel Clarke, and published in one volume in 1715. A second issue in two volumes appeared under the same editorship in 1724, the first volume being a reprint of the previous set, and the second consisting of sixteen discourses, none of which had been printed before. His sermons are said to have been translated into Dutch and printed at Delft in 1700. He edited in 1704 'A Form of Prayer used by K. William III when he received the Holy Sacrament,' which was reprinted at Dublin in 1839, and he is asserted to have written the preface to 'An Introduction to a Breviary of the History of England. Written by Sir Walter Raleigh,' 1693, and to have 'committed the work to the press.' A reply to his sermon 'before their Majesties at Hampton Court, 14 July 1689, wherein he charges the Protestant Dissenters with Schism,' came out in that year and about 1740 there was published a pamphlet commending his views on justification by faith only to the followers of George Whitefield.

The address presented to him by his college in 1708 on his first visitation of Cambridge as bishop of Ely refers to his munificent gifts to Clare library, and to the help which he had given in the rebuilding of the college. The library which Moore collected and retained was famous throughout Europe. At his death he had accumulated nearly 29,000 books and 1,790 manuscripts, and Dibdin did not exaggerate in calling him 'the father of black-letter collectors in this country.' The scandalous stories repeated by one gossiping antiquary after another as to the means by which he formed his collection may be dismissed from consideration. Bagford was the chief assistant in its formation, and in return the bishop obtained for him at the close of his life a place in the Charterhouse. The library was offered to Lord Oxford in 1714 for 8,000l., and on his refusal was sold for six thousand guineas to George I, who gave it, on the instigation of Lord Townshend, to the university of Cambridge. The letter of thanks for this service is in the Townshend MSS. ('Historical Manuscripts Commission,' llth Rep. App. pt. iv. p. 341), and the gift occasioned the two well-known epigrams referred to under Sir William Browne. Some particulars of this famous library are in Bernard's 'Catalogus Lib. MSS. Angliæ et Hiberniæ,' 1697, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 361-84, 390, 393-9, and from the insertions in the copy of that work in the Cambridge University Library the additions to 1714 may be ascertained. [See also the notes of Oldys and Bagford on London libraries, which appeared in 'Notes and Queries' for May and June 1861, Hartshorne's 'Book Rarities at Cambridge,' pp. 18-24, Cambridge University Library MSS. Nos. 3236 and 3247, and Additional MSS. British Museum 5827, 6261-2.] The rarest volumes in the collection are frequently mentioned by T. F. Dibdin in his edition of Ames's 'Typographical Antiquities.' The bishop's unpublished diaries, numerous letters to him, and his private accounts are also preserved in the library at Cambridge.

A half-length portrait of Moore when bishop of Norwich was painted and engraved by R. White, and a reproduction by T. Hodgetts of the same print was prefixed to the second volume of Dibdin's Ames. A second portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller was engraved by W. Faithorne, and sold by E. Cooper at the 'Three Pidgeons' in Bedford Street. This picture is at Lambeth Palace, and copies are in the Cambridge University Library, in the lodge at Clare College, and in Ely Palace. In the combination room at Clare College is another portrait of him when bishop of Ely and advanced in years, which may have been painted by Kersseboom. His arms are given in Bentham's 'Ely' (ed. 1812), App. p. *47.

[A life of the bishop by the Rev. Cecil Moore appeared in the Bibliographer in 1884, and was published separately, with the date of 1885. A supplement from the same pen appeared in Book-Lore, i. 75-82, and the writer designed a larger volume with letters and fuller particulars. Consult also Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Nichols's Leicestershire, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 483, 502-3, vol. iv. pt.i. pp. 53, 63, 222; Newcourt's Repertorium Lond, i. 275, 288; Bentham's Ely, ed. 1812, pp. 207-208, 242-3, 287; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 345, 355, ii. 473; Blomefield's Norfolk, 1806, iii. 589-92; Luttrell's Brief Hist. Relation, ii. 259-60, vi 178, 200; Whiston's Memoirs, pp. 25-6, 41, 123, 150; Dibdin's Bibliomania, ed. 1876, pp. 318-319; Hearne's Collections (Oxf. Hist. Soc.), vols. i. and ii. passim; Willis and Clark's Cambridge, iii. 29-34, 75-7; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 542-7, ii. 465, viii. 360-1, ix. 611; Monk's Bentley, vol. i. passim; Western Antiquary, v. 247; information from the Rev. Dr. Atkinson of Clare. College, Cambridge.]

W. P. C.