Ravis, Thomas (DNB00)

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RAVIS, THOMAS (1560?–1609), bishop of London and a translator of the bible, born at Old Malden in Surrey, probably in 1560, was educated at Westminster School, whence he was elected, on the recommendation of Lord Burghley, to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1575. But the dean and chapter declined to admit him on the ground that there was no room, until Burghley addressed a strong remonstrance to the college authorities (Strype, Annals, II. i. 554; State Papers, Dom. Addenda, Eliz. xxiv. 32). He graduated B.A. on 12 Nov. 1578, and M.A. on 3 March 1581-2, proceeding B.D. in 1589 and D.D. in 1595. He took holy orders in 1582, 'and preached in and near Oxford for some time with great liking' (Wood, Athenae Oxon. ii. 849). On 17 April 1588 he was elected one of the proctors, and in July 1596 and again in July 1597 was chosen vice-chancellor. In 1591 he was admitted to the rectory of Merstham, Surrey, and from 27 Dec. of the same year till May 1598 was vicar of Allhallows Barking (Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 242). From February 1592-1593 till 1607 he was prebendary of Westminster, and from 1596 till 1605 dean of Christ Church. In the last capacity he arbitrarily compelled the members of the college to forego 'their allowance of commons' in exchange for two shillings a week. Some of those who resisted the innovation he expelled; others he sent before the council, and others he imprisoned (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. cclxii. 40). On 7 July 1598 he became vicar of Islip, and in the following October vicar of Wittenham Abbas, Berkshire. He was one of the six deans who attended the Hampton Court conference in 1604, and supplied notes for Barlow's account of the conference (Barlow, Sum and Substance of the Conference, Epistle to Reader). In 1604 he was appointed one of the Oxford committee deputed to translate part of the New Testament, and in the convocation of the same year was elected prolocutor of the lower house.

In October 1604 Ravis was appointed bishop of Gloucester, and was consecrated on 17 March 1604-5. On 15 Feb. 1605 he received a grant to hold in commendam with his bishopric the deanery of Christ Church, his Westminster prebend, and the parsonages of Islip and Wittenham. 'He proved a great benefactor to the episcopal palaces and the vineyard house, near Gloucester city, made conduits to bring water to the palace, and paved it, and built much of it anew, and spent a great deal there in hospitality' (Willis, Cathedrals, p. 713). (State Papers, Dom. James I, xii.) On 18 May 1607 Ravis was translated to the see of London, and installed on 2 June. Like his predecessor, Bancroft, 'as soon as seated he began to persecute nonconformists;' and declared, '"by the help of Jesus, I will not leave one preacher in my diocese who doth not subscribe and conform"' (Brook, Puritans, ii. 232-3; State Papers, Dom. James I, xlvii. 24). Ravis died on 14 Dec. 1609, and was buried in the north aisle of St. Paul's (Dugdale, St. Paul's, p. 55).

[Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 28, 242, 926; Le Neve's Fasti; Camden's Annals of James I; Will in Prerogative Court; Strype's Annals, n. i. 5-54, iv. 552, Whitgift, ii. 350, 492; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Welch's Alumni Westmonast.; Lansd. MS. 983, f. 149; Oxf. Univ. Registers, ed. Clark; Wood's Athenae Oxon. ii. 849; Willis's Cathedrals; State Papers, Dom.]

W. A. S.