Cary, Valentine (DNB00)


CARY, VALENTINE (d. 1626), bishop of Exeter, was born at Berwick-on-Tweed, and either himself believed, or found it convenient to encourage the belief in others, that he was connected with the Careys, barons of Hunsdon. His college life was passed in the two foundations of St. John's and Christ's at Cambridge. He was first admitted at St. John's, but migrated to the latter college in 1585, and took the degree of B.A. while there in 1589. In March 1591 he was elected to a Northumbrian fellowship at St. John's, but four years later a fellowship at Christ's College was bestowed upon him. His old friends at St. John's were not inclined to lose his services, and in March 1599 they elected him to an open fellowship in their college. On a vacancy in the mastership of Christ's College in 1610, Cary was chosen, chiefly, it is said, through the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as its head. The college was at that time one of the chief seed-plots of Calvinism, and as Cary was opposed to its principles, the majority of the fellows were out of sympathy with their new master. He soon set himself to the task of purging the college from these doctrines, with the result that several of its fellows, William Ames being the most conspicuous of the number, were either deprived of, or withdrew from, their fellowships. When Richard Clayton, the seventeenth master of his old college of St. John's, died in 1612, Cary, who was vice-chancellor of the university that year, preached the funeral sermon, but he was disappointed at not being chosen his successor, and rumour assigned to Williams, afterwards the bishop of Lincoln, the chief part in his defeat. If this rumour were correct, their differences must afterwards have been composed, for Cary was at a later period the medium of the bishop in his benefactions to St. John's College, and it is equally clear that Cary could not have felt any lasting resentment to the college, as he himself gave several law works to its library. His ecclesiastical preferments were as numerous as the changes in his academical career. Among the livings which he held were Tilbury East, 1603, Great Parndon, 1606, Epping, 1607, Orsett and Toft in Cambridge, 1610. In 1601 the prebendal stall of Chiswick in St. Paul's Cathedral was conferred upon him, and from 1607 until 1621 he retained the prebend of Stow Longa at Lincoln. The archdeaconry of Salop was bestowed upon him in 1606, but he resigned this preferment in 1613 on the ground that the official of the archdeaconry swallowed so much of the few profits that it was not worth his keeping. On 8 April 1614 he was elected into the deanery of St. Paul's, and he remained in that position until his elevation to the episcopal bench in 1621. For the greater part of this time he retained the mastership of Christ's College, but in 1620 he resigned this post into the hands of its fellows. Cary's promotion to the see of Exeter was obtained through the influence of Lord Hunsdon and the then Marquis of Buckingham. He was presented to the bishopric on 14 Sept. 1621, but a difficulty had arisen which delayed his consecration. Archbishop Abbot [q. v.] had accidentally killed a gamekeeper, and Cary, with several other divines who had been nominated to vacant bishoprics, hesitated to receive consecration at the archbishop's hands. A commission was appointed to inquire into Abbot's alleged disability, and the new bishop of Exeter was one of its members. Owing to this cause Cary's consecration was retarded until 18 Nov. Even when the ceremony was completed, his personal troubles were not finished. The king insisted that he should be made a justice of the peace for the city of Exeter, but the mayor and aldermen refused their consent as involving a breach of their charter, and when Cary obtained the honour, it was at the cost of much ill-feeling. A second difference with the corporation arose through his desire to obtain a private door through the city wall, so that he might pass in private from the palace into the open fields around the city. The municipal body refused its consent. The royal authority was again invoked, and the privy council finally closed the controversy by ordering that, subject to certain restrictions, the bishop's wishes should be carried into effect. The traces of these struggles were effaced by time, and when the city was visited by the plague a few years later Cary's bounty to the sufferers was noted with praise. From 1622 to 1624 he held in commendam the chancellorship of the cathedral, and in the latter year he was appointed to the vicarage of Exminster. Cary died at his house in Drury Lane, London, on 10 June 1626, and was buried under a plain stone in the south aisle of old St. Paul's, a cenotaph being erected to his memory in Exeter Cathedral. He was a high churchman, and when he attended King James into Scotland in 1617, imprudently commended the soul of a dead person to the mercies of God, ‘which he was forced to retract.’ Fuller praises Cary as ‘a complete gentleman and excellent scholar,’ and gratefully adds: ‘He once unexpectedly owned my nearest relation in the high commission court when in some distress,’ a kindly act towards a theological opponent which should not be forgotten. Hacket, in his life of Lord-keeper Williams, calls Cary ‘a prudent courtly man.’ His wife, Dorothy, was sister of Mr. Secretary Coke. An abstract of the bishop's will and some particulars about him are in ‘Notes and Queries,’ 3rd ser. vi. 174, 217, 312–13, vii. 117, 205.

[Baker's Hist. of St. John's (Mayor), i. 197–8, 208–9, 261–2, 291–2, 339, ii. 616, 676; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), i. 380, 419, 575, ii. 215, 315, 378; Yonge's Diary (Camd. Soc.), 44, 51; Oliver's Bishops of Exeter, 144, 257–8, 483; Fuller's Worthies (1840), ii. 546; Mullinger's Univ. of Camb. 1535–1625, pp. 475–6, 508–11; Fortescue Papers (Camd. Soc.), 160–4, 194.]

W. P. C.