Bisse, Philip (DNB00)


BISSE, PHILIP, D.D.(1667–1721), bishop of St. David’s and of Hereford, was a native of Oldbury in Gloucestershire-‘a sacerdotum stemmate per quinque successiones deducto' and received his education at Winchester School, whence he was sent to New College, Oxford, where he obtained a fellowship (B.A. 1690, M.A. 1693, D.D. and D.D. 1705). On 13 Feb. 1705-6 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He was consecrated bishop of St. David's 19 Nov. 1710, and was translated to the see of Hereford 16 Feb. 1712-3. He died at Westminster 6 Sept. 1721, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and was buried in his cathedral between two pillars above the episcopal throne, under a very sumptuous monument of fine marble. Dr. Bisse was ‘a person most universally lamented, being of great sanctity and sweetness of manners; of clear honour, integrity, and steadiness in all times to the constitution in church and state; of excellent parts, judgment, and penetration, in most kinds of learning, and of equal discernment and temper in business; a great benefactor to his cathedral church, and especially to his palace, which last he in a manner rebuilt’ (Boyer, Political State of Great Britain, xxii. 329). Noble states that Bisse was more indebted to his fine person than his fine preaching for preferment, and refers to a report that the Duchess Dowager of Northumberland gave him her hand because she had by mistake received the pressure of his lips in the dark in a kiss intended for her waiting gentlewoman (Continuation of Granger, ii. 100). In reality Bisse married in 1706 Bridget, third daughter of Thomas Osborne, duke of Leeds, and widow of Charles FitzCharles, earl of Plymouth (Luttrell, Relation of Stale Affairs, vi. 76).

The bishop published several of his sermons. One was preached before the House of Commons 15 March 1709-10, being the day appointed for a general fast, and another was delivered before the House of Peers 29 May 1711, being the day of public thanksgiving to Almighty God for having put an end to the great rebellion. There is a portrait of him engraved by Vertue from a painting by Thomas Hill. Another portrait of him will be found in the Oxford Almanac for 1738.

[Godwin, De Præsulibus (Richardson), 498; Browne Willis's Survey of the Cathedrals, ii. 530-532; Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Soc. Append. p. xxxi; Addit. MSS. 6693, p. 163, 22136, f. 8; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Historical Register (1721), Chronological Diary, 36; Nichols’s Lit. Anecd. i. 120, 703, vi. 225, viii. 391; Luttrell’s Relation of State Affairs, vi. 76, 548, 558, 643; Manby's Hist. of St. David's, 167; Jones and Freemans Hist. of St. David’s, 334; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 53. 54; Cat. of Oxford Graduates (1851), 62; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 304, 473; Cooke's Contin. of Duncumb's Herefordshire, iii. 223, 224; Britton's Cathedral Church of Hereford, 33, 61, 7l.]

T. C.