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Dee, Francis (DNB00)

DEE, FRANCIS, D.D. (d. 1638), bishop of Peterborough, 1634-8, was the son of the Rev. David Dee of St. Mary's Hall, Oxford, a member of an old Shropshire family, who held the rectory of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, 1587-1605, in which latter year he was deprived 'for what,' says Newcourt, 'I find not' (Repertorium, i. 144). He also held the prebend of 'Consumpta per Mare ' in St. Paul's, which he resigned after a six. months' tenure, December 1598 (ib.) The future bishop was born in London, and was admitted a scholar of Merchant Taylors' School. 26 April 1591 as the 'son of David Dee, preacher' (Robinson, Register of M. T. S. p. 33). He proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he became scholar on the Billingsley foundation in 1596. He took his degree of M.A. in 1603, B.D. in 1610, and D.D. in 1617. In 1606, the year after his father's deprivation, when he could have been barely of canonical age, he was appointed to the rectory of Holy Trinity the Less in the city of London, which he resigned in 1620 (ib. 556). In 1615 he became rector of Allhallows, Lombard Street, and held the benefice with his other preferments till his elevation to the episcopate (ib. 255). In 1619 he received the chancellorship of Salisbury Cathedral. In 1629 he seems to have been chaplain to the English ambassador in Paris, from which place he forwarded to Laud a petition from an English gentleman, one John Fincham, who, having been sent to France on the king's service, had been imprisoned in the Bastile (Cal. of State Papers, s.a. 1629). In 1630 his name appears as one of the first of the 'assistants' in the foundation of Sion College (ib. s.a. 1630). He became dean of Chichester 30 April 1630. On an anticipated vacancy of the see of Gloucester in 1633 Dee was marked out for the preferment (ib. October 1633). The vacancy, however, did not take place, but on the promotion of Lindsell from Peterborough to Hereford in the following year he succeeded to the vacant see. He was consecrated at Lambeth by Archbishop Laud, assisted by Bishop Juxon, on 18 May 1634, and was enthroned by proxy on 28 May. He was esteemed, says Wood, 'a person of pious life and conversation, and of very affable behaviour' (Fasti, ii. 300). Dee's brief episcopate, lasting only four years, was uneventful. The enforcement of the order for placing the communion table altarwise at the east end of the chancel, and fencing it in with rails, produced the same amount of discontent among the puritanically disposed clergy as in other dioceses, and Dee received frequent instructions from the high court of commission to proceed against those who refused obedience (Cal. Of State Papers, 1635-8) . Dee died at Peterborough on 8 Oct. 1638 and was buried in his cathedral. If there was any memorial of him it was destroyed when the cathedral was wrecked by the parliamentary troops in 1643. By his will, dated 28 May 1638 (Baker MSS. xxvii. 19), he gave 100l. to the repair of his cathedral, and to St. John's College the impropriate rectory of Pagham for the foundation of two scholars and two fellows to be chosen from Peterborough grammar school. He also bequeathed to the college such of his works in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin as they were not already possessed of, and his chapel plate. He was twice married: first to Susan le Poreque, and secondly to Elizabeth, daughter of John Winter, canon of Canterbury, by whom he left an only daughter, who married Brian King, canon of Chichester. He is stated to have preached before the court in praise of virginity (Birch, Court and Times of Charles I, ii. 230).

[Browne Willis's Peterborough Cathedral, iii. 508; Wood's Fasti, ii. 300, 301; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 144, 255, 556; Mayor's Baker, 265, 677; Heylyn's Laud, 249; Calendar of State Papers.]

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