Henshaw, Joseph (DNB00)

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HENSHAW, JOSEPH, D.D. (1603–1679), bishop of Peterborough, was the son of Thomas Henshaw, solicitor-general of Ireland. His grandfather, William Henshaw of Worth in Sussex, was descended from an old Cheshire family, resident at Henshaw Hall, in the parish of Siddington, near Congleton. His mother was Joan, the only daughter of Richard Wistow, chief surgeon to Queen Elizabeth. The place of Henshaw's birth is doubtful. Salmon says definitely ‘he was born in Cripplegate parish’ (Lives of English Bishops, p. 321). Bishop Kennett's informant (Baker MSS. xxvi. 371) ‘supposes’ Sompting in Sussex; but the baptismal registers of neither parish contain his name. He was one of the first set of scholars admitted to the new foundation of Charterhouse by Thomas Sutton, on the ground of kinship, 19 July 1614. He entered as a commoner at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in 1621, and graduated B.A. 26 Feb. 1624, B.D. 12 Dec. 1635, and D.D. 2 July 1639. Having taken holy orders he became chaplain to John Digby, earl of Bristol, and subsequently to George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, an office which he held at the time of the duke's assassination in 1628. By royal favour he was appointed to the prebendal stall of Hurst in Chichester Cathedral. He also held the benefice of Stedham-cum-Heyshot from 1634 to 1644, and that of East Lavant, also in the county of Sussex, to which he was appointed by Archbishop Laud in 1635. In 1633 he was married in Mid-Lavant Church to Jane, the daughter of John May of Rawmarsh in that parish. She died in 1639, at the age of twenty-nine, leaving a son and a daughter, and was buried at East Lavant. On the outbreak of the civil war, Henshaw, like all loyal ecclesiastics, was deprived of his prebendal stall and ejected from his living of East Lavant by the parliamentary commissioners. According to the ‘Royalist Composition Papers’ Henshaw, during the progress of the civil war, ‘forsook his habitation in Sussex,’ and repaired to Exeter, then the last hope of the royalist cause. On its surrender to Fairfax, 13 April 1646, he was declared a delinquent, and allowed to compound for his estate by paying a fine of 150l. His life during the Protectorate cannot be accurately traced. Some part of the time he is said to have spent ‘at the Lady Paulet's house at Chiswick.’ At the Restoration he was compensated for his sufferings in the royal cause by a rapid succession of dignities. He was appointed precentor of his old cathedral of Chichester 12 July 1660, and on Dr. Ryves' advancement to the deanery of Windsor in November of the same year received the deanery, holding the precentorship with it in commendam. He is stated to have done many services to the cathedral and its chapter in settling its affairs after the long period of confusion. Three years later he was appointed to the bishopric of Peterborough, being consecrated at Lambeth by Sheldon during the last illness of Archbishop Juxon, 10 May 1663. His episcopate was undistinguished. Pepys records having heard him preach ‘but dully’ at Whitehall on the king's birthday, 29 May 1669. According to Browne Willis he ‘lived not very hospitably in his diocese’ (Survey, i. 509). He died suddenly in London on Sunday, 9 March 1678–1679, after having attended Whitehall Chapel twice, and was buried in his former church of East Lavant by the side of his wife and son. His only surviving child, Mary, married Sir Andrew Hacket of Mixhull, Warwickshire, son of John Hacket, bishop of Lichfield [q. v.]

Henshaw wrote: 1. ‘Horæ Succisivæ, or Spare Houres of Meditations upon our Dutie to God, Others, Ourselves,’ London, 1631, 8vo, two parts; 2nd edit. ‘inlarged,’ same year 12mo, 3rd 1632, 4th 1635, 5th 1640, 7th 1661; new edition by William Turnbull, 1839. 2. ‘Meditations Miscellaneous, Holy, and Humane,’ London, 1637, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1639; 3rd edit., as ‘Dayly Thoughts, or a Miscellany of Meditations,’ &c., London, 1651. Republished as ‘A New Year's Gift, Meditations, &c.,’ London, 1704, 12mo, with a third part by Richard Kidder [q. v.], bishop of Bath and Wells. This edition was reprinted with the original title in 1841 at Oxford.

[Wood's Fasti, i. 414, 479, 510; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 1195, iv. 444; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. p. 13; Baker MSS. xxvi. 371; Sussex Archæol. Collections, v. 52, xix. 107; Salmon's Lives of English Bishops, p. 32; Elwes and Robinson's Castles and Manors of West Sussex, p. 35; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

E. V.