Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pinck, Robert

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PINCK or PINK, ROBERT (1573–1647), warden of New College, Oxford, eldest son of Henry Pink of Kempshot in the parish of Winslade, Hampshire, by his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of John Page of Sevington, was baptised on 1 March 1572-3, and was admitted to Winchester College in 1588. Pink matriculated at New College, Oxford, on 14 June 1594, aged 19, was elected fellow in 1596, graduated B.A. on 27 April 1598, and M.A. on 21 Jan. 1601-2. In 1610 he became proctor, and in 1612 bachelor of medicine. In 1617 he was elected warden of New College, and two years later, 26 June 1619, was admitted to the degree of B.D. and D.D. From 1620 he was rector of Stanton St. John's, Oxfordshire, and perhaps of Colerne, Wiltshire, in 1645 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500-1714, p. 1165).

Pink was a close ally of Laud in his measures for the reorganisation of the university, and was one of the committee of delegates charged to draw up the new statutes (Laud, Works, v. 84). On 12 July 1634 Laud nominated Pink to succeed Dr. Duppa as vice-chancellor, and reappointed him again for a second year in the following July (ib. pp. 100, 115). At the end of his term of office the archbishop praised him for his 'care and pains, together with his judgment in managing all business incident to that troublesome office,' which, he added, 'hath equalled the best and most careful endeavours of any of his predecessors' (ib. p. 143). In 1639 Pink assisted the vice-chancellor in the work of suppressing superfluous alehouses, a matter which had particularly engaged his attention when he had himself been vice-chancellor (ib. pp. 247, 259, 260). Laud's correspondence contains several letters to Pink on the affairs of the university or of Winchester College, and two letters from Pink to Laud are among the Tanner MSS. (ib. vi. 278, 288, 433, vii. 499; Tanner MSS. ccxxxviii. 56, 58). His injunctions with regard to the discipline and government of Winchester College are summarised in Kirby's 'Annals' of the college (p. 306). At the outbreak of the civil war Pink's loyalty at once brought him into trouble with the parliament. About the end of June 1642 Dr. John Prideaux, the vice-chancellor of the university, left Oxford 'for fear of being sent for up to London by the parliament' on account of his conduct in procuring money for the king, and did not resign his office before going (Wood, Annals, ii. 442; Life of Wood, ed. Clark, i. 52). Convocation appointed Pink to discharge the vice-chancellor's duties as pro-vice-chancellor, or deputy vice-chancellor. About the middle of August Pink began to inquire into the condition of the arms in the possession of the different colleges and to drill the scholars. On 25 Aug. he held a review in New College quadrangle and proceeded to raise defences, and to attempt to persuade the city to co-operate with the university in erecting fortifications (ib. pp. 54-8; Report on the Duke of Portland's MSS. i. 57). Lord Saye and the adherents of the parliament collected forces at Aylesbury and threatened an attack on Oxford. Pink went to confer with the parliamentary commanders, and to justify his conduct, but was sent by them to London to answer for it to parliament (Wood, Life, i. 59). Before leaving, however, he appealed to the chancellor, the Earl of Pembroke, to protect the university from the ruin which seemed about to fall on it (Rushworth, v. 11). The House of Commons kept him for a time under arrest, and on 17 Nov. ordered that he should be confined at Winchester House. On 5 Jan. 1643 he was ordered to be released on bail (Commons' Journals, ii. 857, 919).

Pink soon contrived to return to Oxford, for Wood describes him as procuring in 1644 rooms and employment as chaplains for Isaac Barrow and Peter Gunning, who had been expelled from Cambridge for refusing the covenant (Athenæ, iv. 140). He died on 2 Nov. 1647, and was buried in New College chapel 'between the pulpit and the screen.' In 1677 Ralph Brideoake [q. v.], bishop of Chichester, 'who had in his younger years been patronised by the said Dr. Pink, erected', out of gratitude, a comely monument for him on the west wall of the outer chapel.' Pink was much lamented, says Wood, 'by the members of his college, because he had been a vigilant, faithful, and public-spirited governor; by the poor of the city of Oxon because he had been a constant benefactor to them . . . and generally by all who knew the great virtues, piety, and learning of the person' (Athenæ, iii. 225). His contribution to the payment of Lydiat's debts when that learned person was imprisoned in Bocardo is an instance of his generosity [see Lydiat, Thomas], and he also converted the chantry of Winchester College into a library at his own expense (ib. iii. 186; Kirby, p. 169). He left books to New College Library, a legacy to the Bodleian, and many other benefactions (Notes and Queries, 8th ser. vii. 306). A small collection of verses 'In honour of the Right Worshipful Dr. Robert Pink' was published in 1648, containing poems by James Howell [q. v.] and others. They describe his love for learning, and, punning upon his name, term him 'the pride of Wykeham's garden, cropt to be made a flower in Paradise.'

Pink was the author of: 1. 'Quæstiones Selectiores in Logicâ, Ethicâ, Physicâ, Metaphysicâ inter authores celebriores repertæ,' Oxford, 1680, 4to, published by John Lamphire, principal of Hart Hall. 2. Some Latin poems. 3. 'Gesta Vicecancellariatus sui,' a small manuscript volume used by Wood, which has since disappeared (Life of Wood, i. 133). Excerpts from this are found in Ballard MS. 70 (ib. iv. 144). [Wood's Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss; Clark's Life of Anthony Wood; Laud's Works, Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology ; Kirby's Annals of Winchester College, 1892; a Memoir by Mr. W. D. Pink is printed in Notes and Queries, 8th ser. vii. 105.]

C. H. F.