Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Watts, Gilbert

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WATTS, GILBERT (d. 1657), divine, a younger son of Richard Watts, by his wife Isabel, daughter of Arthur Alcock of St. Martin's Vintry, London, widow of his cousin, Thomas Scott (d. 1585) of Barnes Hall, Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, was grandson of John Watts (1497?–1601) of Muckleton, Shropshire, by his wife Ann, daughter of Richard Scott of Barnes Hall. Watts was thus of kin to Thomas Rotherham [q. v.], archbishop of York and second founder of Lincoln College, whose arms he quartered with his own. His elder brother, Richard, M.A., fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, vicar of Chesterton, Cambridgeshire, and chaplain to Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford [q. v.], became the owner of Barnes Hall after the death, on 17 July 1638, in Ireland, of his elder half-brother, Sir Richard Scott, comptroller of the household to the same earl.

Gilbert was born at Rotherham, Yorkshire. He studied for a few terms at Cambridge, and on his admission as batler or servitor at Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1607, he was permitted to reckon them towards qualifying for a degree (Oxford Univ. Reg. ii. i. 371). He graduated B.A. on 28 Jan. 1610–1611, M.A. on 7 July 1614, was elected a fellow in 1621, and became B.D. on 10 July 1623. On 1 Nov. 1642 Watts was created D.D. during the king's visit to Oxford, having been presented on 11 July previous to the rectory of Willingale Doe, Essex. His rectory was sequestrated by the Westminster assembly in August 1647; but although the clerk of the committee for plundered ministers was ordered to show cause for the act, the ground of complaint against Watts does not appear.

He returned to Oxford, died at Eynsham on 9 Sept. 1657, and was buried in the chancel of All Saints. By his will, dated 5 Sept. (proved 5 Nov.) 1657, Watts left to Lincoln College ‘soe many bookes as cost me threescore pounds,’ to be chosen and valued by Thomas Barlow [q. v.], then librarian of the Bodleian. Watts was a good preacher and an excellent linguist. Wood says he had ‘so smooth a pen in Latin or English that no man of his time exceeded him.’

Watts translated Bacon's ‘De Augmentis Scientiarum,’ and his rendering called ‘Of the Advancement and Proficience of Learning, of the Partitions of Sciences,’ Oxford, 1640, fol., was highly praised on its appearance. His translation of D'Avila's ‘History of the Civil Wars of France’ was never published; and he left other works in manuscript, including ‘A Catalogue of all the works of Charles I,’ which is preserved among the manuscripts at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 433; Wood's Colleges and Halls, ed. Gutch, p. 248; Foster's Athenæ, 1500–1714, iv. 1584; Burrows's Visitation, p. 508; Newcourt's Repert. Eccles. ii. 668; Addit. MS. 15671, ff. 172, 174; Will P.C.C. 472 Ruthen; Hunter's Hallamshire, p. 443; J. R. Scott's Family of Scott of Scots Hall, p. 157.]

C. F. S.