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

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WORTH, WILLIAM (1677−1742), classical scholar and divine, born at Penryn, Cornwall, and baptised at St. Gluvias, its parish church, on 20 Feb. 1676−7, was the second son of William Worth, merchant of Penryn, who died there on 22 Jan. 1689−90, aged 55, by his wife Jane, daughter and coheiress of Mr. Pennalerick. He matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, on 14 March 1691−2, but migrated to St. Edmund Hall, graduating B.A. on 17 Oct. 1695, and MA. on 4 July 1698. In 1702, on the nomination of Archbishop Tenison, he was elected fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford, he was chaplain to the bishop of Worcester in 1705, and on 14 Dec. 1705 he was collated to the archdeaconry of Worcester. He proceeded B.D. in 1705 and D.D. in 1719.

The value (5l.) of this archdeaconry in the king's books was greater than that of any preferment tenable with his fellowship. The warden of All Souls' College thereupon declared, on 7 Jan. 1706−7, that the fellowship was vacant. Worth appealed to Tenison against the warden's action, but on 12 June 1707 renounced the appeal. Bishop William Fleetwood [q. v.] was led to publish his ‘Chronicon Preciosum’ on the occasion of this dispute.

Worth retained this archdeaconry until his death in 1742, and combined with it from 17 Feb. 1715−16 the third canonry at Worcester. From 16 July 1707 to 1713 he held the rectory of Halford in Warwickshire. On 9 April 1713 he was collated to the rectory of Alvechurch, and on 11 July following to the rectory of Northfield, both in Worcestershire, and he enjoyed both these benefices, with his canonry and archdeaconry, until his death. He died on 7 Aug. 1742, and was buried in Worcester Cathedral on 11 Aug. His wife was a Miss Price, and their only daughter, with a fortune of 60,000l., married on 3 March 1740, William Winsmore, mayor of Worcester in 1739−40 (Gent. Mag. 1740, p. 147).

Worth edited at Oxford in 1700 ‘Tatiani Oratio ad Græcos. Hermiæ irrisio gentilium philosophorum,’ with his own annotations and those of many previous scholars. Hearne says that ‘most of the notes, with the dedication and preface, were written by Dr. Mill’ (Collections, Oxford Hist. Soc. i. 40). Worth's notes to the tract of Hermias were included in the edition by J. C. Dommerich, which was printed at Halle in 1764. He greatly assisted Browne Willis in his account of Worcester Cathedral (Survey of Cathedrals, vol. i. p. vi), and extracts from his collections on Worcestershire are embodied in Nash's history of that county. Edward Dechair in his edition of the ‘Legatio pro Christianis’ (1706) of Athenagoras was much indebted to Worth for various readings in manuscripts (preface to edition). A letter from Worth to Potter, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, on the death of Dr. John Mill [q. v.] is in Lambeth MS. 933, art. 42, and a copy is in the British Museum Additional MS. 4292, art. 61. It is printed in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ (1801, ii. 587) and in H. J. Todd's ‘Brian Walton’ (i. 79−81).

[Hearne's Collections, i. 43, 131, 167, 172−3, 270, 289, 307, 316, ii. 28, 65−6, 75, iv. 430; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500−1714; Chambers's Worcestershire Biogr. p. 343; Green's Worcester, i. 230, 237, ii. 40, and app. p. xxix; Martin's All Souls' Archives, pp. 320, 340−1; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 907, 909−10; Boase's Collect. Cornub. p. 1294; Le Neve's Fasti, iii. 76, 82.]

W. P. C.