Guest, Edmund (DNB00)

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GUEST, GHEAST, or GESTE, EDMUND, D.D. (1518–1577), bishop of Salisbury, was born in 1517-18 at Northallerton, Yorkshire. His father, Thomas, belonged to a Worcestershire family, the Gestes of Row Heath in the parish of King's Norton. Edmund was educated at the York grammar school and afterwards at Eton, whence in 1536 he was elected a scholar of King's College, Cambridge. Here he took the degrees in arts (B.A. 1541, and M.A. 1544), and became fellow and ultimately vice-provost of his college. While vice-provost he took his B.D. (1551) and received a license to preach in March of the same year. In 1548 he took the side of the reformers in 'A Treatise against the Privy Mass in the behalf and furtherance of the most Holy Communion,' London, 1548, dedicated to Cheke, then provost of King's College (reprinted in H. G. Dugdale's 'Life of Bishop Geste,' Append, i.) In the following summer (June 1549) disputations on transubstantiation were held before the commissioners at Cambridge, in which Guest spoke on the protestant side; and early in 1552 he had a controversy with Christopher Carlile [q. v.] about the descent of Christ into hell. Guest remained in England throughout Mary's reign, only escaping arrest by a constant change of hiding-place. On Elizabeth's accession he entered Parker's household as domestic chaplain early in 1559 (Cole MS. 5815, f. 5). His moderate opinions recommended him to Cecil in settling the affairs of the reformed church. He was chosen one of its defenders in the famous disputation in Westminster Abbey (begun 30 March 1559), but it ended before his paper could be read. He was also made one of the revisers of the liturgy before it was submitted to Elizabeth's first parliament, and himself took the new service book, when finished, to Cecil, with a letter explaining his reasons for the alterations (see No. 6 of his works below). In August 1559 he vainly solicited the deanery of Worcester; but the queen, to whom he was known through Cecil and Parker, appointed him archdeacon of Canterbury in October 1559. His first official act was the installation of his patron Parker as archbishop, 17 Dec. 1559. He remained celibate, and so retained the queen's favour. On 24 Jan. 1559-60 he was consecrated bishop of Rochester by Parker at Lambeth (Le Neve, Fasti, ii. 571). Guest was licensed to keep the rectory of Cliffe in Kent and his archdeaconry. On 16 Oct. 1560 Parker (Correspondence, p. 123) solicited the vacant see of Durham for him, but Elizabeth refused to send him so far north. He was her chief almoner from 1560 to 1572, and was made chancellor of the order of the Garter about this time (1560). He attended the queen on her visit to Cambridge (5 Aug. 1564), walking bareheaded in the procession with Cox, bishop of Ely, to whose care Watson, the deprived bishop of Lincoln, then living with Guest at Rochester, was afterwards transferred. In 1564 also he signed the book of advertisements, and took a prominent part in the dispute now raging about the real presence, in favour of which he preached a sermon at Rochester. In 1565-6 Elizabeth made him one of her Lent preachers. As a final proof of her favour she also promoted him on Jewel's death (September 1571) to the bishopric of Salisbury. In the same year Guest took his D.D. at Cambridge. He died, aged about 61, 28 Feb. 1577, and was buried in the choir of Salisbury Cathedral, under a brass put there by his executor, George Estcourt, and since removed to the north-east transept. The effigy represents him with his 'hair short, moustachios on his lip.' Guest was a considerable benefactor to Salisbury. He left all his books to the cathedral library, for which his predecessor Jewel [q. v.] had erected a beautiful building, and 20l to the poor of the city. He was a man of learning and of mild but firm character. While taking part with ardour in the theological disputes of his time, he never displayed the acrimonious spirit of his fellow-reformers. Among his numerous friends at court he was most intimate with Cecil, Hatton, and Bacon, to each of whom he left a mourning ring and 40s. in his will.

Guest's works were:

  1. ‘De Christi Præsentia in Cœna.’
  2. ‘De Libero Hominis Arbitrio.’
  3. ‘Disputation at Cambridge on the Sacraments,’ 1549.
  4. ‘Arguments … against … [using] a Tongue unknown to the People in Common Prayer and administration of the Sacraments,’ printed in Dugdale's ‘Life,’ Append, v.
  5. ‘The Protestants’ Discourse; prepared to have been read in the Public Conference at Westminster,’ printed in Dugdale's ‘Life,’ Append, vi.
  6. ‘A long Letter (to Sir William Cecil) concerning Ceremonies, the Cross, the Creed, &c.,’ written by Dr. Guest before his promotion to the see of Rochester (C.C.C. MS. cvi. 137; see Nasmith's Catalogue, p. 91), printed in Dugdale's ‘Life,’ Append, iv., and Strype's ‘Annals,’ vol. i. Append, xiv.
  7. ‘A Sermon on Mark i. 15; Repent and believe the Gospel,’ preached (probably at court) 1560 (C.C.C. MS. civ. 66; Nasmith's Catalogue, p. 77), printed in Dugdale's ‘Life,' Append, vii.
  8. ‘Proof that the Apparel of Priests may be Worn, in answer to former Objections’ (Lansd. MS. vii. art. 92), printed in Dugdale's ‘Life,’ Append, viii., and Strype's ‘Parker,’ Append, xxxi.
  9. ‘A Question demanded upon the matter of Scotland, resolved by Bishop Guest, pro defensione religionis,’ September 1565 (Lansd. MS. viii. art. 19).
  10. ‘Translation of the Psalms in the Bishop's Bible.’ The translation of the Epistle to the Romans in this Bible, ascribed to Guest, seems to have been by Richard Cox, bishop of Ely.
  11. Letter to Parker, that he had sent the archbishop the part of the new translation of the Bible which had been assigned him (C.C.C. MS. cix. 162; Nasmith's Catalogue, p. 152).
[Life by Henry Gheast Dugdale, London 1840, 8vo; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 361; Cooper's Annals, ii. 31, 188; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 787, 808, 836; Kennett MS. xlvii. 157; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 43, ii. 571, 606; Rymer's Fœdera; Lemon's Calendar of State Papers, 1547-1580, pp.137, 284; Hasted's Kent, ii. 42, iv. 786; Alumni Eton. p. 155; Parker's Corresp. pp. 123, 240, 250; Bale, pt. ii. p. 107; Dorman against Nowell, f. 52 and 103; Goodwin's Catalogue, p. 355; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 315; Strype's Annals (ed. 1824), vol. i. pt. i. pp. 120, 129, 199, 214, 230, 487, 499, pt. ii. 46, 195, 540, 549, &c.; Strype's Life of Parker (ed. 1824), i. 114, 127, 173, 240, 257, ii. 21, 80, 282, 297, 459, iii. 98, 135, &c.; Strype's Life of Grindal (ed. 1821), pp. 7, 146; Strype's Memorials (ed. 1822), vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 260; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, p. 262; Burnet's Hist. of Reformation, ii. pt. ii. 220, 473, 509, 776, 806, iii. pt. ii. 356, 399, 564; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Dibdin), iii. 567.]

E. T. B.