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

EDES or EEDES, RICHARD (1555–1604), dean of Worcester, was born probably in Bedfordshire in 1555 of an old family which had been long seated at Sewell in that county, and 'being made full ripe for the university in Westminster School,' was elected student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1571, where he proceeded B.A. 17 Dec. 1574, M.A. 2 May 1578 (Wood, Fasti Oxon., ed. Bliss, i. 195, 209). Then taking orders 'he became,' says Wood, 'a most noted and celebrated preacher.' He was elected university proctor 10 April 1583, proceeded B.D. 6 July 1584, and D.D. 6 July 1590 (ib. i. 223, 227, 250). In 1584 he became prebendary of Yetminster Prima in the church of Sarum. On 10 Feb. 1586 he was installed prebendary of the fourth stall in Christ Church Cathedral (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 523), became prebendary of Preston in Hereford Cathedral 17 Jan. 1589-90 (ib. i. 521), and treasurer of that cathedral 22 Aug. 1596 (ib. i. 490). He was also chaplain to the queen. On 19 June 1597 he was made dean of Worcester (ib. iii. 71), 'being then and ever after to his death held in great admiration at court, not only for his preaching, but most excellent and polite discourse.' He was presented to the rectory of Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, 21 Dec. 1598 (Nash, Worcestershire, ii. 448). James I, whose chaplain he became, appointed him a translator of the Bible, and he was one of those divines who assembled at Oxford and took for their share of the work the four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Book of Revelation. He did not live to witness the commencement of the undertaking, dying at Worcester 19 Nov. 1604. He was buried in the chapel at the east end of the cathedral choir. Upon the tomb erected to him by his widow, Margaret, a daughter of Dr. Herbert Westphaling, bishop of Hereford, is inscribed a punning epitaph in verse in the form of a dialogue between the monument (Lapis) and a traveller (Viator) meditating among the tombs (inscription and plate in Thomas, Survey of Cathedral Church of Worcester, pp. 47, 48; cf. Willis, Survey of Cathedrals, ii. 659).

Edes spent his younger years, relates Wood, 'in poetical fancies and composing of plays, mostly tragedies.' He was the reputed author of 'Julius Caesar,' a tragedy acted at Christ Church in 1582. When his intimate friend, Dr. Toby Mathew [q. v.], was about to remove to the deanery of Durham in 1584, Edes 'intended to have him on his way thither for one day's journey; but so betrayed were they by the sweetness of each others company that he not only brought him to Durham, but for a pleasant penance wrote their whole journey in Latin verse, entitled "Iter Boreale," several copies of which did afterwards fly abroad' (Wood, Athenae Oxon., ed. Bliss, i. 749-50). A copy of this poem is among the Rawlinson MSS. at the Bodleian Library, B. 223, and another in Wood's collection, No. 8553. The British Museum copv, entitled 'Musae Boreales,' is Addit. MS. 30352. In Addit. MS. 22583, ff. 47, 52, 56, 74, are verses addressed to Edes by William Gager, chancellor of Ely. Edes also left various other Latin and English poems, which are scattered through several manuscript collections of the poetry of his day. Several are to be found in Rawl. Poet. MS. 85; others in the same collection, Xo. 148. Of his published works Wood mentions 'Six Learned and Godly Sermons,' 8vo, London, 1604, and 'Three Sermons,' 4to, London, 1627. His picture was placed among those of other noted divines in the school gallery at Oxford (ib. ii. 190), and there is another of him in the Bodleian, to the funds of which he contributed in 1601 a donation of 13l. 6s. 4d. (Wood, Antiquities of Oxford, ed. Gutch, vol. ii. pt. ii. pp. 923, 955). His portrait in the Bodleian has been engraved.

[Welch's Alumni Westmon. (1852), pp. 49-50; Baker's Biog. Dram. (1812), i. 217; Evans's Catalogue of Engraved Portraits, i. 111; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. vi. 457.]

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