Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 25.djvu/60

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


ing demeanour, made him eminently unpopular with the puritan party in his diocese. In May 1624 the citizens of Norwich charged him before the commons with various misdemeanors, chiefly, however, at the instigation of Sir Edward Coke. He was accused of ‘setting up images in the churches,’ and of ‘using extortions many ways.’ Harsnett defended himself before the lords against each of the six articles of the charge, and cleared himself to the satisfaction at least of the more influential among his audience (Commons' Journals, vol. i.; Lords' Journals, vol. iii.). In July 1624 Harsnett wrote to the bailiffs of Yarmouth thanking them for their diligence in suppressing conventicles, and giving them instructions for further proceedings (Swinden, Hist. of Great Yarmouth, pp. 827–33). In 1627 the inhabitants of Yarmouth complained to the king that they had been greatly harassed by Harsnett, and said that his complaints had been frivolous, and dismissed in the several courts of law (ib. pp. 841–3).

In 1628 Dr. George Montaigne, archbishop of York, died, and Harsnett was elected in his place on 26 Nov. of that year, and confirmed on 13 Jan. following. On 10 Nov. 1629 he was also sworn of the privy council. These dignities, says Fuller, he owed to the friendship of Thomas Howard, earl of Arundel, who had placed his younger son William with him (Worthies, ed. 1662, ‘Essex,’ p. 326; Gent. Mag. vol. ciii. pt. ii. p. 11, n. 2). During 1629 Harsnett founded a Latin school and an English school at Chigwell as a thank-offering for his elevation from the vicarage to an archbishopric. He framed many wise and careful ordinances for the government of his schools. The ‘Principles of the Christian Religion, according to the Order of the Book of Common Prayer,’ the infusion of the phrase and style of Tully and Terence, and of the Greek and Latin poets generally, and the avoidance of all ‘novelties and conceited modern writers’ are characteristic features of the archbishop's educational views (The Deed and Ordinances of the Foundation Schools at Chigwell, privately printed, 4to, 1852). He also built a gallery in the north aisle of Chigwell Church for the use of the free scholars, which was last used for worship on 28 March 1886. After falling into comparative obscurity the Latin school, under a scheme published by the Endowed Schools Commission, 29 June 1871, enjoyed anew a highly flourishing state; the English school has been handed over to the school board (The Chigwell Kalendar and Ten Year Book, 1887). In 1629 Harsnett interposed in behalf of Gervase Markham [q. v.] when accused of ‘papistry’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1629–1631, pp. 51–2). On visiting the church of All Saints, North Street, York, he praised its beauty, and gave it a silver communion cup, with paten-cover, an interesting piece of plate still in excellent preservation (Yorkshire Archæol. and Topogr. Journal, viii. 314–315). His health was meanwhile breaking. The steady progress of the puritan party towards power embittered his last days (cf. his letters in Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1629–31, pp. 73, 167). By Lent 1631 he had rallied sufficiently to impress upon John Davenant [q. v.], bishop of Salisbury, the necessity of paying due deference to the autocratic power which then governed the church in a vehement oration of ‘well-nigh half an hour long’ (Fuller, Church Hist. ed. Brewer, vi. 75). Writing from Bath on 25 April he says ‘he is yet so much a prisoner, though he has used the hot baths, as he is not able to write his own name’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1631–1633, p. 21). He died at Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Gloucestershire, on 25 May 1631, and was buried on 7 June, according to his directions, ‘within the parish church of Chigwell, without pomp or solemnity, at the foot of Thomazine, late my beloved wife’ (will cited in Biographia Britannica (1757), iv. 2546). His fine brass, which was executed after his own design, has been twice removed from the tomb in the chancel floor to be affixed to the wall, where it now remains. Harsnett married Thomazine, widow of William Kempe, and the elder of the two daughters of William Walgrave of Hitcham in Suffolk, by Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Poley of Boxted in the same county (Visitations of Essex, Harl. Soc., pt. i. 121). She was buried at Chigwell 3 Feb. 1601, leaving an only daughter, Thomazine, who had been baptised there 6 July 1600 (parish register), but apparently did not long survive. Harsnett's house at Chigwell, where his kinswoman, Mrs. Barbara Fisher, died in June 1808 at the age of ninety-five, was during the 18th century repaired and modernised by William Park Fisher, a jeweller, of Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London (Lysons, Environs, iv. 124; Supplement, p. 346). It is now divided into two residences known as ‘The Grange.’

Fuller commends Harsnett's ‘great learning, strong parts, and stout spirit’ (Worthies, ed. 1662, ‘Essex,’ p. 326), adding elsewhere that ‘he was a zealous asserter of ceremonies, using to complain of (the first, I believe, who used the expression) “conformable puritans,” who practised it out of policy, yet dissented from it in their judgments’ (Church Hist. ed. Brewer, vi. 88). On the other hand Prynne compares him to a ‘furious Hildebrand,’ and