Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Slatyer, William

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SLATYER or SLATER, WILLIAM (1587–1647), divine, son of a Somerset gentleman, was born at Tykeham, near Bristol, in 1587. He was admitted a member of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, on 6 Feb. 1600–1, whence, in 1607, he removed to Brasenose College. He graduated B.A. on 23 Feb. 1608–9 and M.A. on 13 Nov. 1611. In the same year he was made a fellow, and in December 1623 proceeded B.D. and D.D. In 1616 he was appointed treasurer of the cathedral church of St. David's (Le Neve, Fasti Eccl. Angl. i. 318), and in the following year rector of Romney new church. He held for a time the post of chaplain to the queen consort (Anne of Denmark); but in 1625 he became rector of Otterden, Kent, and received a dispensation to hold the two livings together (Rymer, Fœdera, xviii. 665). About 1630 he published ‘Psalmes or Songs of Zion: turned into the Language and set to the Tunes of a Strange Land by W. S.’ (London, by Robert Young, n.d. 12mo). In connection with this work Slatyer was severely reprimanded by the court of high commission on 20 Oct. 1630. It appears that he added to it ‘a scandalous table to the disgrace of religion, and to the encouragement of the contemners thereof.’ He had to make a very humble apology and was rebuked by the archbishop, George Abbot [q. v.] His attire evoked censure as well as his publications; for Laud, then bishop of London, calling him back after Abbot's fulminations, informed him that his dress (‘a careless ruff and deep sleeves’) was ‘not fit for a minister.’ What was the nature of the ‘scandalous table’ is not clear, unless it consisted of a list of profane tunes to which the psalms might be sung. In the copy of the work in the British Museum the names of some of these tunes are found prefixed to the psalms in manuscript. Slatyer's portrait faces the title-page. He died at Otterden on 14 Feb. 1646–7. He left a son William, by his wife Sarah, who survived him. He is to be distinguished from the contemporary William Sclater [q. v.], rector of Pitminster, with whom he has been confounded.

Besides the condemned work on the psalms, Slatyer was the author of: 1. ‘Thrēnōidia, sive Pandionium Melos, in perpetuam serenissimæ simul ac beatissimæ Principis Annæ nuper Angliæ Reginæ Memoriam,’ London, 1619, 4to, which consists of elegies and epitaphs on Queen Anne of Denmark, written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English. 2. ‘Palæo-Albion; or the History of Great Britaine from the first peopling of this Iland to this present Raigne of or happy and peacefull Monarke K. James,’ London, printed by W. Stansby for Richard Meighan, 1621, fol. The history is written in Latin and English verse, the Latin on the one side and the English on the other, with various marginal notes on the English side relating to English history and antiquities. 3. ‘Genethliacon sive Stemma Jacobi. By William Slatyer, D.D.,’ London, 1630, fol. In this work, which is intended to supplement his history, he deduces the descent of James I from Adam. 4. ‘The Psalmes of David in four Languages and in four Parts. Set to the Tunes of our Church by W. S.,’ London, 1643, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1652.

[Chalmers's Biographical Dict. 1816; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 227; Granger's Biogr. Hist. i. 362; Lowndes's Bibliogr. Manual, ed. Bohn, v. 2412; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 386, 3rd ser. iii. 255; Gray's Index to Hazlitt.]

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