Strype, John

, the most valuable contributor to ecclesiastical history and biography that ever appeared in this country, is said to have been of German extraction. His father John Strype, or Van Stryp, was a native of Brabant, and fled to England for the sake of religion. He was a merchant and silk-throwster. His son is said to have been born at Stepney, Nov. 1, 1643, but he calls himself a native of London, and his baptism does not occur in the register of Stepney, though the names of some of his brothers and sisters are there entered, and his father lies buried in the church-yard. The reason why he calls himself a Londoner probably was, that he was born in Strype’s | yard, formerly in Stepney, but afterwards in the parish of Christ-church, Spitalfields. After being educated in St. Paul’s school for six years, he was matriculated of Jesuscollege, Cambridge, July 5, 1662, whence he removed to Catherine-hall, where he took his degree of A. B. in 1665, and that of M. A. in 1669, His first preferment was the donative, or perpetual curacy of Theydon-Boys in the county of Essex, conferred upon him July 14, 1669; but he quitted it a few months after, on being appointed minister of Low-Leyton in the same county, which he retained all his life. The circumstances attending this preferment were rather singular, Although he enjoyed it above sixtyeight years, and administered the sacrament on Christmasday, for sixty-six years successively, yet he was never instituted nor inducted. The reason assigned for this irregularity is, that the living being small, the patrons allowed the parish to choose a minister. Accordingly Mr. Strype having, on the vacancy which occurred in 1669, preached before them, he was duly elected to be their curate and lecturer, and they entered into a subscription-bond for his maintenance, promising to pay the sums annexed to their names, “provided he continues the usual custom of his predecessor in preaching twice every Sunday.” The subscriptions in all amounted to 69l. Many years after this, viz in 1674, he was licensed by Dr. Henchman, then bishop of London, to preach and expound the word of God in the parish church of Low-Leyton, and to perform the full office of priest and curate there, during the vacancy of the vicarage, which license, and no other instrument, he used to exhibit at the visitations, as late as 1720. In 1677, as he seemed secure of his possession, he rebuilt the vicarage, with 140l. of his own money, aided by contributions from his parishioners, and expended considerable sums also in the repairs of the chancel. After his death, his executors derived some advantage from the manner in which he held this living; for, being sued by his successor for dilapidations, only 40l. could be recovered, as the plea was, that he had never been instituted nor inducted, and that the parsonage- house was built and ought to be repaired by the parish. It is probable that the quiet possession he so long enjoyed was owing to the high esteem in which he was held by the heads of the church, for his eminent services as a historian. | Soon after he came to reside at Low-Leyton, he got access to the valuable manuscripts of sir Michael Hickes, knt. once of Ruckholt’s in this parish, and secretary to William lord Burleigh, and began from them some of those collections which he afterwards published. It appears, however, that he extended his inquiries much farther, and procured access to every repository where records of any kind were kept; made numerous and indeed voluminous transcripts, and employed many years in comparing, collating, and verifying facts, before he published any thing. At the same time he carried on an extensive correspondence with archbishop Wake, and the bishops Atterbury, Burnet, Nicolson, and other eminent clergymen or laymen, who had a taste for the same researches as himself. Towards his latter days, he had the sinecure of Terring, in Sussex, given him by archbishop Tenison, and was lecturer of Hackney till 1724, when he resigned that lecture. When he became old and infirm, he resided at Hackney with Mr. Harris an apothecary, who had married his granddaughter, and there he died Dec. 11, 1737, at the very advanced age of ninety-four ,*


I made a visit to old father —Strype when in town last; he is turned of ninety, yet very brisk and well, only a decay of sight and memory. Mr. —Strype told me that he had great materials towards the life of the old lord Burghley, and Mr. Fox the martyralogst, which he wished he could have finished but most of his papers are in characters; his grandson is learning to decypher them.” Letter from Dr. Samuel Knight, among Cole’s Mss. in Brit. Mus. Mr. Carte, in the preface to the third volume of his “History of England,” says, “When the present eail of Exeter’s grandfather set out on his travels to Italy, his chaplain undertaking to write the treasurer Burleigh’s life, removed all the Statepapers to his Own house at Low- Leyton. These were never returned to Burleigh house, but falling into the hands of Mr. —Strype, he published them with other memorials in 8 vols. fol.

one instance at least, that the most indefatigable literary labour is not inconsistent with health.

His publications were, 1. “The second volume of Dr. John Lightfoot’s works,1684, fol. 2. “Life of Archbishop Cranmer,1694, fol. 5. “The Life of Sir Thomas Smith,1698, 8vo. 4. “Lessons for Youth and Old Age,1699, 12mo. 5. “The Life of Dr. John Elmer, bishop of London,1701, 8vo. 6. “The Life of Sir John Cheke,1705, 8vo. 7. “Annals of the Reformation,” 4 vols vol. I. 1709, (reprinted 1725); vol.11. 1725; vol.111. 1728; vol. IV. 1731. 8. “Life of Archbishop Grindal,” 17 10, fol. 9. “Life and Letters of Archbishop Parker,1711, fol. 10. “Life of Archbishop Whitgift,1718, folio. 11. | An accurate edition of Stow’s Survey of London,1720, 2 vols. folio, for which he was eighteen years collecting materials. 12. “Ecclesiastical Memorials,1721, 3 vols. fol. He also published a sermon at the assizes at Hertford, July 8, 1689; and some other single sermons, in 1695, 1699, 1707, 1711, 1724. He kept an exact diary of his own life, which was once in the possession of Mr. Harris; and six volumes of his literary correspondence were lately in the possession of the rev. Mr. Knight, of Milton, in Cambridgeshire. The materials for many of his works, part of the Lansdowne library, are now ID the British Museum. Dr. Birch observes, that “his fidelity and industry will always give a value to his numerous writings, however destitute of the graces, and even uniformity of style, and the art of connecting facts.” We should be sorry, however, to see the simple and artless style of honest Strype exchanged for any modernizing improvements. There is a charm in his manner which seems to bring us close to the periods of which he is writing, and renders his irregular and sometimes digressive anecdotes extremely interesting. We can remember the time when Strype’s works were much neglected, and sold for little more than waste-paper; but it is much to the credit of the present age, that they have now risen vt ry high in value, and are yet purchased with eagerness. A new edition of his life of Cranmer, with some important additions, has lately issued from the Clarendon press, and is to be followed by the lives of the other archbishops, and his “Annals.1

1 Biog. Brit. Lysons’s EnTirons. C;!e’s ms Athena; in Brit. Mos. —Gent. Mag. LIV. and LXI.