Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Brett, Richard

BRETT, RICHARD (1560?–1637), a learned divine, was descended from a family which had been settled at Whitestanton, Somersetshire, in the time of Henry I (Collinson, Somersetshire, iii. 127). He was entered a commoner of Hart Hall in Oxford University in 1582, took one degree in arts, and was then elected a fellow of Lincoln College, where he set himself to perfect his acquaintance with the classical and eastern languages. According to Wood, 'he was a person famous in his time for learning as well as piety, skill'd and versed to a criticism in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chaldaic, Arabic, and Ethiopic tongues.' In 1597 he was admitted bachelor of divinity, and he proceeded in divinity in 1605. In February 1595 he was presented to the rectory of Quainton, near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. On account of his special knowledge of the biblical languages he was appointed by James I one of the translators of the Bible into English. He published two translations from Greek into Latin: 'Vitæ sanctorum Evangelistarum Johannis et Lucæ à Simeone Metaphraste concinnatæ,' Oxford, 1597, and 'Agatharchidis et Memnonis historicorum quæ supersunt omnia,' Oxford, 1597. He was also the author of 'Iconum sacrarum Decas in quâ è subjectis typis compluscula sanæ doctrinæ capita eruuntur,' 1603. He died on 15 April 1637, aged 70, and was buried in the chancel of his church at Quainton. Over his grave a monument with his effigies and a Latin and English epitaph was erected by his widow. By his wife Alice, daughter of Richard Brown, sometime mayor of Oxford, he left four daughters.

[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), ii. 611–2; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, i. 422, 434, 436; Collinson's Somersetshire, iii. 127.]

T. F. H.