Barlowe, William

, a learned bishop in the sixteenth century, descended of the ancient family of the Barlowes in Wales, and was born in the county of Essex. He was at first a monk in the Augustin monastery of St. Osith in Essex, and was educated there, and at Oxford, where the religious of that order had an abbey and a priory and, arriving to a competent knowledge of divinity, Was made doctor in that faculty. He was afterwards prior of the canons of his order at Bisham in Berkshire, and by that title was sent on an embassy to Scotland, in 1535. At the dissolution of the monasteries, he readily resigned his house, and prevailed upon many abbots and priors to do the same. Having by this means ingratiated himself with the king, he was appointed bishop of St. Asaph and the temporalities being delivered to him on February 2, 1535, he was consecrated the 22d of the same month. Thence he was translated to St. David’s, in April 1536, where he formed the project of removing the episcopal see to Caerniardhyn, as being more in the midst of the diocese, but without success. In 1547, he was translated to Bath and Wells, of which he alienated most of the revenues; but being a zealous professor and preacher of the Protestant religion, he was, in 1553, upon queen Mary’s accession to the throne, deprived of his bishopric, on pretence of his being married. He was, likewise, committed to the Fleet, where he continued prisoner for some time at length, finding means to escape, he retired, with many others, into Germany, and there lived in a poor condition, till queen Elizabeth’s happy inauguration. Tanner says that he went early in life to Germany, and heard Luther, and some other of the reformers. On his return now to his native country, he was not restored to his see, but advanced to the bishopric of Chichester, in December 1559; and, the next year, was made the first prebendary of the first stall in the collegiate church of Westminster, founded by queen Elizabeth which dignity he held five years with his bishopric. He died in August, 1568, and was buried in Chichester cathedral. What is most particularly remarkable concerning him is, that by his wife Agatha Wellesbourne, he had five daughters, who were all married to bishops, namely, 1. Anne, married first to Austin Bradbridge, anc| afterwards to Herbert Westphaling, bishop of Hereford, 2. Elizabeth, wife of William Day, dean of Windsor, | afterwards bishop of Winchester. 3. Margaret, wife of William Overtoil, bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. 4. Frances, married first to Matthew Parker, younger son of Matthew Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, and afterwards to Toby Matthew, archbishop of York. 5. Antonia, wife of William Wick ham, bishop of Winchester. He had also a son, of whom we shall give an account in the next article; and five more, of whom nothing memorable is recorded.

His works, are, 1. “Christian Homilies,” 2. “Cosmography.” 3. He was one of those bishops who compiled “The godly and pious institution of a Christian man,” commonly called “The bishop’s book,London, 1537. 4. There is in bishop Burnet’s History of the Reformation, “His answers to certain, Queries concerning the Abuses of the Mass.” 5. In Edward Vlth’s reign, he is said to have translated into English, “The Apocrypha,” as far as the book of Wisdom. He is also said to have written “A dialogue describing these Lutheran factions, and many of their abuses,” of which a second edition was published in 1553. This was no doubt written before he became entirely converted to the reformed religion, which was not the case until Mary’s time. He had written, indeed, some pieces against popery in Henry Vlllth’s time, but it appears from a letter in the Cotton library, which he wrote to that monarch, that he was not steady in his belief, and he seems to apologize to Henry for having published “The burial of the Masse,” and some other tracts in favour of protestantism. It is to be remarked too, that Cranmer had very little dependance on Barlowe at that time. He was so indiscreet, so totally unguarded, and his conversation so full of levity, that the primate was always afraid of any communication with him on matters of business, and would sometimes say, on the conclusion of a long debate, “This is all very true but my brother Barlowe, in half an hour, will teach the world to believe it is but a jest.1


Biog. Britannica. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. —Strype’s Cranmer, p. 37, 51, 77, 98, 114, 192, 309, 314, 320, 362. —Strype’s Parker, Book If. chap. LStrype’s Annals, see index. Gilpiu’s Life of Cranmer, p, 49. Harrington’s Brief View.