Sutcliffe, Matthew

, an English divine of considerable abilities in controversy, was educated at Trinity-college, Cambridge, but of his early history we have no account. In 1586, he was installed archdeacon of Taunton, and on Oct. 22, 1588, confirmed dean of Exeter. He had been admitted a civilian in 1582. He died in 162U, leaving a daughter his heiress, who, Prince thinks, was married to the son and heir of the Halse family in Devonshire; and as the estates Dr. Sutcliffe left to Chelsea-college were in that country, it probably was his birth-place. He was esteemed a very learned writer | in defence of the protestant establishment; but although long in favour with James I. upon that account, we find that this prince, in 1621, ordered him to be taken into custody for the freedom of his remarks upon public affairs. On the other hand Strype, in his life of Whitgift, has published a long letter from that eminent prelate to Beza, defending Sutcliffe against some disrespectful expressions used by the reformer. Among his works, may be noticed, 1. “A treatise of Ecclesiastical Discipline,” Loud. 1591, 4to. 2. “De Presbyterio, ejusque nova in Ecclesia Christiana Politeia,” the same year, 4to. 3. “De Turco-Papismo,” or, on the resemblance between Mahometanism and Popery, London, 1599, 4to. 4. “De Purgatorio, adversus Bellarminum,” the same year, 4to. 5. “De vera Christi Ecclesia,1600, 4to. 6. “De Missa, adversus Bellarminurn,1603, 4to. 7. “The Laws of Armes,1593, 4to. 8. lt Examination of Cartwright’s Apology," 1596, 4to; and many other works, enumerated in the Bodleian catalogue, of the controversial kind, against Beliarmin, Parsons, Garnet, and other popish propagandists.

But what has rendered Dr. Sutcliffe most celebrated was his project for establishing a college of polemical divines, to be employed in opposing the doctrines of papists and “Pelagianizing Arminians, and others, that draw towards popery and Babylonian slavery, &c.” And as this college has been incidentally mentioned in various parts of these volumes, we shall now give part of the succinct and perspicuous account furnished by Mr. Lysons.

At first the undertaking seemed attended with good omens: prince Henry was a zealous friend to it: the king consented to be deemed the founder, called the college after his own name, “King James’s college at Chelsea,” endowed it with the reversion of certain lands at Chelsea, which were fixed upon for its site, laid the first stone of the building, gave timber out of Windsor forest, issued his royal letters to encourage his subjects throughout the kingdom to contribute towards the completion of the structure; and as a permanent endowment, procured an act of parliament to enable the college to raise an annual rent, by supplying the City of London with water from the river Lea. It appears by the charter of incorporation, dated May 8, 1610, that the college consisted of a provost and twenty fellows, eighteen of whom were required to be in holy orders; the other two, who might be either laymen or | divines, were to be employed in writing the annals of their times. Sutcliffe himself was the first provost; Camden and Haywood the first historians; and among the fellows we find the well-known names of Overall, Morton, Field, Ahbot, Howson, Spencer, Boys, &c. When a vacancy happened in any department, the successor was to he nominated and recommended by the vice-chancellor and heads of colleges in the two universities, and approved by the archbishop of Canterbury, the chancellor or' each university, and the bishop of London. The charter granted th college the power of using a common seal; various privileges and immunities, and licence to possess lands in mortmain to the value of 3000l. per ann.

With these good omens Dr. Sutcliflfe began to erect the college at his own expence, and built one side of the first quadrangle: “which long ran g6 alone (says Fuller) made not of free-stone, though of free-timber, cost, O the dearness of college and church work! full three thousand pounds.” Such was the progress of the work at SutclihVs death, who, by his will, dated Nov. I, 1628, bequeathed to the college the greater part of his estates, consisting of lands in Devonshire, the benefit of an extent on sir Lewis Stukeley’s estates valued at more than 3000l., a share in the great Neptune (a ship at Whitby in Yorkshire), at enement at Stoke Rivers, and other premises; all his books and goods in the college, and a part of his library at Exeter; but all these bequests were subject to this proviso, “if the work of the college should not be hindered.

The total failure of pecuniary resources soon proved a very effectual hindrance to any farther progress in this undertaking. The national attention had been so much engaged by the extensive repairs of St. Paul’s cathedral, that the college saw little hopes of success from the circulation of the king’s letters for the purpose of promoting a public contribution; and at the time of his death no collections had been made under their sanction. The success of sir Hugh Middleton’s project for supplying London with water, which took place the very year after the act of parliament in favour of the college, and the total inability of its members to avail themselves of the privileges they enjoyed, for want of money to carry on *nch an undertaking, destroyed all hopes of advantage from that source. Of all Dr. SutclinVs benefactions, the college never possessed mo than a house and premises, worth about 34/ per annu the greater part of which was expended in repairs. | After Sutcliffe’s death, Dr. Featly (see Featly), who was recommended by the dean as his successor, became provost; but so little was the original intention of the institution regarded, even at this early period, that one Richard Dean, a young merchant, was made one of the fellows. Such was the state of the foundation, when the court of chancery, in 1631, decreed that Dr. Sutcliffe’s estates should revert to the right heirs, upon their paying to the college the sum of 340l. Under these difficulties, which were afterwards increased by a dispute with lord Monson about the lease of the land on which the college stood, no farther progress, it may be supposed, was ever made in the building. That part which was already completed, consisted of a library, and a few rooms, occupied by the provost and twjp, fellows. For the subsequent reverses which this project met with, as they are not connected with the subject of our memoir, we refer to our authorities. On the site is now the Royal Hospital for soldiers. 1

1 Coote’s Catalogue of Civilians. Fuller’s Ch. History. Lysons’s Environs, Faulknei’s History of Chelsea.