Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bridgeman, Henry

BRIDGEMAN, HENRY (1615–1682), bishop of Sodor and Man, was born on 22 Oct. 1616 at Peterborough, where his father, John Bridgeman [q. v.], was in residence as first prebendary, he was baptised on 25 Oct. at the consecration of the new font in the nave of the cathedral. He was educated at Oriel College, Oxford (admitted 1629, B.A. 20 Oct. 1633). He was elected fellow of Brasenose 6 Dec. 1633, graduated M.A. 16 June 1635, and resigned his fellowship in 1639. On 16 Dec. 1639 he was instituted to the rectory of Barrow, Cheshire, and on 9 Jan. 1940 to that of Bangor-is-coed, Flintshire, resigned by his father. Both these preferments were sequestered, Barrow in 1643, Bangor in 1646; the former probably as a case of pluralism. Walker assigns as the ground of sequestration that 'in the time of the rebellion he did his majesty faithful service.' This was in his capacity of army chaplain to James, seventh Earl of Derby (executed 15 Oct. 1661). Loyal in politics, in church matters the influence of his mother, whom Halley calls a puritan, seems not to have been without effect upon him; this perhaps explains a remark of Wood, who speaks of him as 'a careless person.' Before his sequestration he put Robert Fogg, a nonconforming divine as curate in charge of Bangor, binding himself to pay him an allowance. To this Robert Fogg the committee for plundered ministers gave the living of Bangor on 1 July 1646; on 22 July the committee gave the fifths of the rectory to Bridgeman's wife, Katherine. Bridgeman was made archdeacon of Richmond on 20 May 1648. At the Restoration he regained the rectories of Barrow and Bangor (his petition to the House of Lords for the restitution is dated 23 June 1660), and resigned his archdeaconry on being made dean of Chester on 13 July 1660. On 1 Aug. 1600 his university made him D.D.; the chancellor's letters say that 'he had done good service to the king.' Further preferment came in the shape of the prebend of Stillington at York (20 Sept.), and the sinecure of Llanrwnt. Fogg still held the curacy of Bangor, though offered 80l. if he would go, and was only removed by the Uniformity Act of 1662. Within Bangor parish was a much more distinguished nonconformist, Philip Henry, who had been presbyterially ordained on 16 Sept. 1657 as minister of the old church (distinct from the chapel of ease) at Worthenbury. On Bridgeman's return Henry's position was entirely dependent upon the reinstated rector's favour. Bridgeman at first showed no disposition to interfere with Henry, who,for his part, offered(7 May 1661) to give up part of his income and accept a position at Worthenbury under Richard Hilton, his designated successor. But Roger Puleston, son of his former patron, was bitter against his nonconformist tutor. He made a bargain with Bridgeman, in virtue of which Bridgeman, on 24 Oct. 1661, publicly read out Henry's discharge 'before a rable.' Though Henry was not properly an 'ejected minister,' it must be owned that Bridgeman was led into a harsh exercise of his legal rights. Two months later we have a glimpse in Henry's diary of Bridgeman at Chester 'busy in repairing the deanes house, as if hee were to live in it for ever.' In 1671 he succeeded Isaac Barrow (translated to St. Asaph) as bishop of Sodor and Man (consecrated Sunday, 1 Oct.), with leave to retain his deanery. He added to Bishop Barrow's educational foundation at Castletown in the Isle of Man (founded 1668, and now represented by King William's College, built 1830). He also gave a communion cup and a paten (bearing his arms) to St. German's Church, Peel. He died 15 May 1682, and was buried in Chester Cathedral. He was twice married, first to Katherine, daughter of William Lever of Kersal, near Manchester, by whom he had three daughters, of whom Elizabeth married Thomas Greenhalgh of Brundlesham, Lancashire; secondly to Margaret, by whom he had a surviving daughter, Henrietta, married to Rev. Samuel Aldersey, of Aldersey and Spurstow, Cheshire, and a son named William John Henry (born shortly before the father's death, and died in December following). Bridgeman's widow married John Allen in 1687.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon.(Bliss), iv. 863; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, pt. ii. pp. 85, 191, 212; Calamy's Continuation, 1727. p. 836; Lee's Diaries and Letters of P. Henry. 1882, pp. 18. 27 seq., 98 seq., 102, 312, 394; Lewis's Topog. Dict. of Eng. 1833, art. 'Man,' Burke's Peerage, 1868 p. 157; extract from Cathedral Register, Peterborough.]

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