much that might have been inserted, and was in places inaccurate, this publication was the first attempt to deal in a systematic way with the early documents concerning the church, and practically inaugurated a new historical study.
Meanwhile the difficulties in the way of the study of Anglo-Saxon which had led him to undertake the ‘Glossary’ determined him to found an Anglo-Saxon lectureship at Cambridge. On 28 Sept. 1635 he wrote on this subject in cautious fashion to his friend Abraham Wheelocke [q. v.]: ‘We must not launch out into the deep before we know the points of our compass’ (Letters of Eminent Literary Men, Camd. Soc. p. 153). Bishop Wren encouraged the design (Tanner MS. clvii. 85). The lectureship was eventually established and endowed with the stipend of the impropriate rectory of Middleton. Wheelocke was appointed the first lecturer. But the first appointment to the post was also the last. On Wheelocke's death in 1657, and in accordance apparently with the founder's wishes, the stipend of the rectory of Middleton was then paid to William Somner [q. v.] towards the expense of completing his Saxon dictionary (Kennet, Life of Somner, p. 72; Cooper, Annals, iii. 301).
Spelman was granted (27 Nov. 1636) by royal warrant, at the recommendation of the council, the sum of 300l., in recompense of his extraordinary ‘labour and pains taken by him on sundry occasions in his majesty's service’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom.), and about February 1638 he declined the king's offer of the mastership of Sutton's Hospital, Charterhouse. At the same time he recommended his son John for the office (Tanner MS. xxvi. 21). Despite his generosity to the university of Cambridge, he appears to have been an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of the university in 1640, only seventy votes being recorded in his favour (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. xi. 405). The last work that Spelman published was the ‘Original Growth, Propagation, and Condition of Tenures by Knight Service’ (1641), which he undertook owing to the mistakes attributed to the interpretation he gave of ‘Feudum’ in his ‘Glossary’ (Hearne, Antiq. Disc. ii. 439).
He died in London at the house of his son-in-law, Sir Ralph Whitfield, in Barbican, and was buried near Camden in Westminster Abbey, just outside the chapel of St. Nicholas, on 14 Oct. 1641 (cf. Letters of Eminent Men, Camd. Soc.).
Through life, although by no means blind to the failings of her ministers (De Sepultura), Spelman's admiration of the English church exercised on him a predominant influence, and his good services to the Anglican community in opening out the almost unexplored field of early church history were invaluable. The gratitude of contemporaries was expressed by Sir Francis Wortley:
There's none I know hath written heretofore
Who hath obliged this church and kingdom more;
Thou hast derived and proved our Church as high
As Rome can boast, and given her pride the lie
(Characters and Elegies, London, 1646, p. 48). Another view of his churchmanship is supplied by his biographer J. A., who says: ‘Cane pejus et angue eos oderat qui sibi solebant plaudere tanquam qui soli essent sancti et pure vereque, ut vocant, Protestantes.’ As an ecclesiastical lawyer he ranks among the best informed that this country has produced, and his ‘Glossary’ gives him a title to the name of inaugurator of philological science in England.
Spelman was a willing helper of fellow-students. He assisted Baker in his collections for an ecclesiastical history (Wood, Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 14); he encouraged Wheelocke to edit Beda; he was the means of introducing Dugdale to Dodsworth (Dugdale, Life, p. 10), and helped the former in September 1638 to secure the appointment of pursuivant extra title Blanch Lyon (see Dugdale).
By his wife, Eleanor L'Estrange, who died on 24 July 1620, he had four sons and four daughters, all born in Norfolk. The eldest and youngest sons, John [q. v.] and Clement [q. v.], are noticed separately. The second son died within nine days of his mother. The third son, Henry (1595–1623), ‘in displeasure of his friends and desirous to see other country’ (Relation of Virginia, by H. S.), went out to Virginia in 1609, lived with the Indians until December 1610, learnt their language, acted as interpreter to the colony of Virginia from 1611, paid short visits to England in 1611 and 1618, and on 23 March 1623 was killed by the Anacostan Indians near the site of Washington (Brown, Genesis of U.S.A.)
In appearance Spelman, says Aubrey (Lives, ii. 540), ‘was a handsome gentleman, strong and valiant, and wore alwayes his sword till he was about 70 or more.’ There is a portrait of him, erroneously said to have been taken when he was eighty-one years of age, in the university gallery, Oxford. Another portrait ascribed to Paul von Somer is in the National Portrait Gallery; an engraving of this picture by Faithorne is prefixed to vol. i. of the ‘Glossary,’ published in 1726,