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John Prideaux

(1578—1650) bishop of Worcester


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John Prideaux was born in Stowford, Derbyshire on 17 September 1578 and died in Worcester on 29 July 1650. He came from a poor family: it was only by the assistance of a wealthy patroness, Lady Fowel, that he was sent in 1596 to Exeter College, Oxford. He took his BA in 1600 and his MA in 1603, later becoming BD (1611) and DD (1612). He became a Fellow of Exeter in 1601, was ordained around 1603, and became chaplain to Prince Henry. After Henry's untimely death, he became in turn chaplain to King James I. Further academic and clerical posts and honours followed: rector of Exeter College (1612), vicar of Bampton, Oxfordshire (1614), Regius Professor of Divinity (1615), canon of Christ Church (1616). He also served several periods as Vice-Chancellor of the University, while presiding, in his capacity as Professor of Divinity, at numerous theological disputations. He tried to steer a middle course in such disputes, and gained a reputation as a skilful negotiator and a moderating influence. It was doubtless for these qualities that King Charles appointed him, in 1641, to the new Committee to discuss Church reform, and made him in the same year Bishop of Worcester. He took the Royalist side in the civil war, was deprived of his episcopal estates in 1646, and spent his last years in relative poverty.

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From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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