Babington, Gervase

, a learned English prelate in the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth century, was born in Nottinghamshire, according to Fuller, but in Devonshire, according to Izacke and Prince. After having received the first rudiments of learning, he was sent to Trinity college, Cambridge, of which he became fellow. On the 15th of July, 1578, he was incorporated M.A. at Oxford, as he stood in his own university. After studying other branches of learning, he applied to divinity, and became a favourite preacher in Cambridge, the place of his residence. When he was D. D. he was made domestic chaplain to Henry earl of Pembroke, | president of the council in the marches of Wales, and is supposed to have assisted lady Mary Sidney, countess of Pembroke, in her version of the psalms into English metre. By his lordship’s interest, however, he was constituted treasurer of the church of Landaff, and in 1588 was installed into the prebend of Wellington, in the cathedral of Hereford. Through his patron’s further interest, he was advanced to the bishopric of Landaff, and was consecrated Aug. 29, 1591. In Feb. 1594, he was translated to the see of Exeter, to which he did an irreparable injury by alienating from it the rich manor of Crediton in Devonshire. In 1597 he was translated to Worcester, and was likewise made one of the queen’s council for the marches of Wales. To the library of Worcester cathedral he was a very great benefactor, for he not only fitted and repaired the edifice, but also bequeathed to it all his books. After having continued bishop of Worcester near thirteen years, he died of the jaundice, May 17, 1610, and was buried in the cathedral of Worcester, without any monument.

As to his character, it is agreed, that in the midst of all his preferments he was neither tainted with idleness, pride, nor covetousness, and was not only diligent in preaching but in writing books, for the understanding of the holy scriptures. He was an excellent and animating preacher. His works were printed first in 4to then, with additions, in folio, in 1615; and again in 1637, under this title: “The works of Gervase Babington, &c. containing comfortable notes upon the five books of Moses. As also an exposition upon the Creed, the Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer. With a conference betwixt Man’s frailty and faith and three Sermons.” His style is good, although not without the quaintnesses peculiar to the times. Miles Smith, afterwards bishop of Gloucester, wrote a preface to this volume. 1


Biog. Brit.—Fuller’s Abel Redivivus.—Prince’s Worthies.—Wood’s Fasti, vol. I.—Harrington’s Brief View.—Strype’s Life of Whitgift, p. 382, 430, 518, 572, 579.