Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Potter, Barnaby

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1195744Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46 — Potter, Barnaby1896William Arthur Jobson Archbold

POTTER, BARNABY (1577–1642), provost of Queen's College, Oxford, and bishop of Carlisle, was born at Kendal, Westmoreland, on 11 Aug. 1577. He was the son of Thomas Potter, a mercer and alderman of Highgate Kendal. He was educated at a school kept by a puritan named Maxwell, and on 3 May 1594 matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, where he was a taberdar. He graduated B.A. on 24 April 1599, proceeded M.A. on 20 June 1602, B.D. on 5 July 1610, and D.D. on 27 June 1615. He was elected fellow of Queen's on 1 March 1603–4. At first he preached at Abingdon, afterwards at Totnes. In 1610 he was elected principal of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, but preferred to remain at Totnes, where he lived till 29 May 1615. He then became rector of Diptford, Devonshire, by the patronage of James I. On 4 Oct. 1615 he was presented to the vicarage of Dean Prior by Sir Edward Giles, who had married the widow of his wife's uncle; but on 14 Oct. 1616 he was elected provost of Queen's College, Oxford. He was also chaplain to Charles when Prince of Wales, and continued to hold the same office after James I's death, with the headship of Queen's, but resigned both offices on 17 June 1626, having secured the reversion of each for his nephew, Dr. Christopher Potter [q. v.] The king seems to have been personally fond of Potter in spite of his puritan leanings, and it was to this cause probably that he owed his subsequent promotion, and, not as Heylyn and others suggest, to a mere desire to satisfy puritan opinion. He became Charles's chief almoner on 4 July 1628, and on 15 March 1628–9 bishop of Carlisle. Laud alluded to his appointment in the course of his trial. Potter was succeeded in the vicarage of Dean Prior by Herrick the poet. As a bishop he tried in vain to carry out the old system of compulsion; the churchwardens were remiss in their duties, and would not present for ecclesiastical offences. He was evidently not very rich, and wished for another see. Potter was one of the four bishops who, with Ussher, advised the king upon the attainder of Strafford on 9 May 1641, and, like Ussher, Williams, and Morton, took the popular side. Potter died in January 1641–2 in his lodgings in Covent Garden, and was buried apparently in the churchyard of St. Paul's, Covent Garden, then a chapel of ease to St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. The opinions expressed by Hall and Lloyd show that he was a man of consistent views, and that he was both independent and pious. Potter married, on 21 Aug. 1615, Elizabeth, daughter of Walter Northcote of Crediton, and widow of Edward Yard of Churston-Ferrers, Devonshire; Walter Northcote was uncle to Sir John Northcote [q. v.] By his wife he had seven children at least; two of the daughters, ‘Handsome Mistress’ Grace and Amye, were celebrated by Herrick in the Hesperides. His only son Barnaby died in 1623. His widow died early in 1673. Potter published a sermon in 1623, and his visitation articles in 1629. Wood refers to some lectures on Genesis and Exodus, and on the beatitudes of St. Luke, also to a spital sermon; but these have not been preserved, and possibly were never printed.

[All the important facts as to Potter are collected in a pamphlet by Winslow Jones, esq.; Hutchinson's Cumberland, ii. 631.]

W. A. J. A.