Baker, Philip (DNB00)


BAKER, PHILIP, D.D. (fl. 1558–1601), provost of King's College, was born at Barnstaple, Devonshire, in or about 1524, and educated at Eton, whence he was elected in 1540 to King's College, Cambridge (B.A., 1544; M.A., 1548; B.D., 1554; D.D., 1562). He was nominated provost of King's College by Queen Elizabeth in 1558. Baker held several church livings and cathedral appointments; and he was vice-chancellor of the university in 1561-2. About February 1561-2 he was compelled to resign the rectory of St. Andrew Wardrobe on account of his refusal to subscribe a confession of faith which Grindal, bishop of London, required from all his clergy. Queen Elizabeth occupied the provost's lodge at King's College during her visit to Cambridge in 1564, and Baker was one of the disputants in the divinity act then kept before her majesty (Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, ii. 199, 200). In 1565 some of the fellows of the college exhibited articles against Baker to Nicholas Bullingham, bishop of Lincoln, their visitor. In these the provost was charged with neglect of duty in divers particulars, and with favouring popery and papists. The bishop gave him certain injunctions, which, however, he disregarded. 'By them the provost was enjoined to destroy a great deal of popish stuff, as mass books, couchers, and grails, copes, vestments, candlesticks, crosses, pixes, paxes, and the brazen rood, which the provost did not perform, but preserved them in a secret corner.

In 1569 the fellows again complained of him to Bishop Grindal and Sir William Cecil, chancellor of the university; and ultimately the queen issued a special commission for the general visitation of the college. Thereupon Baker fled to Louvain, 'the great receptacle for the English popish clergy, and was formally deprived of the provostship 22 Feb. 1569-70. About the same period he lost all his other preferments. Fuller (Hist. of Univ. of Camb. ed. Prickett and Wright, 271) says: 'Even such as dislike his judgment will commend his integrity, that having much of the college money and plate in his custody (and more at his command, aiming to secure, not enrich himself), he faithfully resigned all; yea, carefully sent back the college horses which carried him to the sea side.'

He was living in 1601, and it is not improbable that he had then been permitted to return to England.

[Baker MS. xxx. 241; Cole MS. xiv. 28; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Anglic, ed. Hardy, i. 528, iii. 604, 618, 683; Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, iii. 119, 120; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, ii. 175, 176, 191, 199, 200, 203, 224, 225, 244-247, 293; Cooper's Athen. Cantab, ii. 322.]

T. C.