Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Saravia, Hadrian à

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SARAVIA, HADRIAN à (1531–1613), divine, was born at Hesdin in Artois in 1531. His father was of Spanish origin, his mother a Fleming, and both became protestants. Having been trained for the ministry of the reformed church, he became pastor at Antwerp, and took part in drawing up the Walloon confession of faith. Subsequently he caused some copies to be presented to the prince of Orange and to Count Egmont, accompanied by letters in behalf of the Calvinists. Through a brother-in-law he also gave copies to Count Louis de Nassau. With the assistance of Jean de Marnix, sieur de Toulouse, he ultimately formed a Walloon church in Brussels. After 1560, on account of the religious troubles in the Low Countries, he removed with his family to the Channel Islands, and, after acting for a time as schoolmaster, he was in 1564 appointed assistant-minister in St. Peter's, Guernsey, this church being then under the Genevan discipline. In 1566 he purposed to return to the continent; but Francis Chamberlayne, governor of Guernsey, wrote to secretary Cecil, whom Saravia speaks of as his patron, to persuade him to remain. He consequently stayed there for some time longer.

On leaving Guernsey he became master of the grammar school at Southampton. He afterwards returned to the continent, and in 1582 became professor of divinity in the university of Leyden, and held at the same time the post of pastor of the French reformed church there. In 1585 he wrote from Leyden to Lord Burghley, recommending that Queen Elizabeth should take upon her the protectorate of the Low Countries; and in 1587, finding himself in danger because of the discovery of a political plot in which he was implicated, he left Holland suddenly, and returned to England, where he was appointed rector of Tattenhill, Staffordshire, in 1588. In 1590 he published his first work, ‘De Diversis Gradibus Ministrorum Evangelii,’ London, 4to (R. Newberie), with a preface addressed to the pastors of Lower Germany; an English translation was published at London in 1592, 4to, and reissued in 1640. In this treatise he defended episcopacy as the scriptural and primitive form of church government, and it was so well received in England that a few months later he was incorporated (9 July 1590) with the doctors of divinity at Oxford, having already taken that degree at Leyden, and in the following year was made a prebendary of Gloucester. Beza, who had written a tract against episcopacy some time before to dissuade the Scots from retaining it, was annoyed at Saravia's publication, and wrote a reply. This called forth an answer from Saravia entitled ‘Defensio Tractatus de Diversis Ministrorum Gradibus,’ 1594, 4to, and also an ‘Examen Tractatus D. Bezæ de Triplici Episcoporum Genere.’

In December 1595 Saravia was appointed one of the prebendaries of Canterbury, and took up his residence there. In the same year he was made vicar of Lewisham, Kent. Richard Hooker was then residing at Bishopsbourne, three miles off, having been presented to that parish a few months before. In his ‘Life of Hooker,’ Walton says that ‘these two excellent persons began a holy friendship, increasing daily to so high and mutual affections that their two wills seemed to be but one and the same;’ that ‘they were supposed to be confessors to each other,’ and that before Hooker's death, Saravia gave him the church's absolution and the Holy Communion.

In 1601 he became a prebendary of Worcester, and also of Westminster on the promotion of Lancelot Andrewes [q. v.] to the deanery in the same year. In 1604 he dedicated to King James a Latin treatise on the holy eucharist, which remained in manuscript till 1855, when it was translated and published by Archdeacon Denison. In 1607 he was nominated one of the translators of the new version of the Scriptures and a member of the committee to which the Old Testament from Genesis to 2 Kings inclusive was entrusted; and on 23 March 1609–10 he exchanged the vicarage of Lewisham for the rectory of Great Chart in Kent, which he held till his death on 15 Jan. 1612–13, in his eighty-second year. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral, where a monument was erected to his memory by his widow. Saravia married, first, in 1561, Catherine d'Allez (d. 2 Feb. 1605–6), and, secondly, Margaret, daughter of John Wüts; she subsequently married Robert Hill, D.D., and died before 1623.

Isaac Casaubon, who was a very intimate friend of Saravia in his later years, describes him as a man ‘of no mean reputation,’ of very great learning, and as ‘most anxious and earnest in seeking for general peace and concord in the church of God.’

It has been said that Saravia was, contrary to the usual practice of the time, re-ordained when admitted to benefices in England. Diocesan registers have been examined and all likely sources of information explored for some notices of his having received episcopal ordination, but without success. Had he done so, it could scarcely have escaped comment from friend and foe. The complete absence of proof, taken along with the elevation of the Scottish presbyters to the episcopate in 1610 by English bishops, without re-ordination, and with the declaration of Archbishop Bancroft that when bishops could not be had the ordination by presbyters must be esteemed lawful, seems to settle the question the other way. Further, if Saravia had been re-ordained, Morton, bishop of Durham, an intimate friend of Hooker, could not have written, as he did in 1620, that re-ordination under like circumstances ‘could not be done without very great offence to the reformed churches,’ and that ‘he did not choose to be the originator of such a scandal.’

Besides the treatises referred to above, Saravia published: 1. ‘De Honore Præsulibus et Presbyteris debito;’ an English version of this was published in 1629, 8vo. 2. ‘De Sacrilegis et Sacrilegorum pœnis.’ 3. ‘Responsio ad Convitia quædam Gretseri Jesuitæ, in quibus Hadriani Saraviæ nomine abutitur.’ 4. ‘N. fratri et Amico.’ 5. ‘De Imperandi Authoritate et Christiana Obedientia libri quatuor.’ These are included in a folio edition of his writings published at London in 1611, entitled ‘Diversi Tractatus Theologici.’

[Addit. MSS. 24488, ff. 222–4; Lansd. MS. 983, ff. 191–2; Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Burmann's Sylloge Epistolarum; Paquot's Histoire Littéraire des Pays-Bas, ii. 533–4; Meursii Athenæ Batavæ; Nouvelle Biographie Générale; Strype's Annals and Life of Whitgift; Walton's Life of Hooker; Gauden's Life of Hooker, ed. 1807, i. 80–9; Duncan's Guernsey; Notice by Denison prefixed to Treatise on Eucharist; Apostolical Succession, &c., by Cantab.; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ii. 327, iii. 629, Fasti, i. 252–3; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Simms's Bibl. Staffordiensis; Hasted's Kent, iv. 612–13, and ed. Drake, i. 269.]

G. W. S.