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Bradley, Thomas (1597-1670) (DNB00)


BRADLEY, THOMAS (1597–1670), divine, a native of Berkshire, states that he was 72 years old in 1669, and was therefore born in 1597. He became a battler of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1616, and proceeded B.A. on 21 July 1620. He was chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham for several years, and accompanied him in the expedition to Rochelle and the Isle of Rhé in 1627. After Buckingham's murder in the following year he became chaplain to Charles I, and on 16 June 1629 a captain in the expedition to France applied to the council to take Bradley with him as chaplain of his ship (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1628-9, p. 579). Soon afterwards (5 May 1631) Bradley married Frances, the daughter of Sir John Savile, baron Savile of Pontefract, and he was presented by his father-in-law about the same time to the livings of Castleford and Ackworth, near Pontefract. As a staunch royalist, he was created D.D. at Oxford on 20 Dec. 1642, and was expelled a few years later by the parliamentary committee from both his Yorkshire livings. 'His lady and all his children,' writes Walker, 'were turned out of doors to seek their bread in desolate places,' and his library at Castleford fell into the hands of his oppressors. He published in London in 1658 a curious pamphlet entitled 'A Present for Cæsar of 100,000l. in hand and 50,000l. a year,' in which he recommended the extortion of first-fruits and tithes according to their true value. The work is respectfully dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. At the Restoration he was restored to Ackworth, but he found it necessary to vindicate his pamphlet in another tract entitled 'Appello Cæsarem' (York, 1661). But his conduct did not satisfy the government, and in an assize sermon preached at York in 1663 and published as 'Cæsar's Due and the Subject's Duty,' he said that the king had bidden him 'preach conscience to the people and not to meddle with state affairs,' and that he had to apologise for his sermons preached against the excise and the excisemen, the Westminster lawyers, and 'the rack-renting landlords and depopulators.' He also expressed regret for having suggested the restoration of the council of the north. In 1666 he was made a prebendary of York. He died in 1670.

His publications consist entirely of sermons. The earliest, entitled 'Comfort from the Cradle,' was preached at Winchester and published at Oxford in 1650; four others, preached at York Minster, were published at York between 1661 and 1670, and six occasional sermons appear to have been issued collectively in London in 1667. Walker describes Bradley as 'an excellent preacher' and 'a ready and acute wit.'

A son, Savile, was at one time fellow of New College, Oxford, and afterwards fellow of Magdalen. Wood, in his autobiography, tells a curious story about his ordination in 1661.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon., ed. Bliss, i. xliii, iii. 719; Fasti Oxon. i. 392, ii. 52; Walker's Sufferings, ii. 85; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.