Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Widdrington, Ralph

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WIDDRINGTON, RALPH (d. 1688), regius professor of Greek at Cambridge, younger son of Lewis Widdrington and brother of Sir Thomas Widdrington [q. v.], was born at Stamfordham, Northumberland, and educated at Christ's College, Cambridge. He must have been a college acquaintance of Milton's, whose ‘Lycidas’ first appeared in the same volume as a Latin poem by Widdrington (cf. Masson, Milton, new edit. i. 248, 651). He graduated B.A. in 1635 and M.A. in 1639, and was elected a fellow of his college. In 1647 he served the office of taxer of the university. He was one of the first to sign the ‘engagement’ in 1650, and on 2 Nov. in that year he was appointed public orator. He became regius professor of Greek in 1654. In 1661 he was created D.D. per literas regias. He was presented to the rectory of Thorp by the dean and chapter of Lincoln on 6 Feb. 1661. His brother-fellows, to whom, especially to Cudworth, he had long been obnoxious, ejected him from his fellowship in 1661, but he was restored upon appeal, and retained his fellowship, or at least resided in college, until his death. He became Lady Margaret's preacher in 1664, and Lady Margaret's professor of divinity on 4 March 1672–3. He was instituted to the rectory of Great Munden, Hertfordshire, on the presentation of the king, on 17 Dec. 1675, and died on 10 June 1688; on 30 Aug. following John Cole succeeded him in that rectory (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, ii. 395). His will was proved on 2 Aug. 1689.

Besides many Latin letters and numerous copies of verses in the various university collections published on official occasions between 1637 and 1685, Widdrington has verses prefixed to Duport's ‘Homeri Gnomologia,’ 1660, and a treatise ‘Deipnon kai epideipnon, Cœna Dominica, cum micis aliquot epidorpidum,’ printed at the end of Thomas à Kempis's ‘De Christo imitando,’ Cambridge, 1688, 12mo.

[Hodgson's Hist. of Northumberland, II. ii. 542; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. MS.; Bodleian Cat.; Duport's Sylvæ, p. 389; Fisher's Funeral Sermon (Hymer's), p. 79; Kennett's Register, pp. 251, 375, 552; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 614, 638, 655, 660; Mayor's Cambridge in the Seventeenth Century, ii. 196; Pepys's Diary, 1849, i. 32, 34, 195; Worthington's Diary, ii. 160.]

T. C.