Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Master, William

1341412Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 37 — Master, William1894Bertha Porter

MASTER, WILLIAM (1627–1684), divine, was the second son of Sir William Master (d. 1662), knt., of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and of his wife Alice, daughter of Edward Eastcourt of Salisbury. The father, son of George and grandson of Dr. Richard Master [q. v.], was admitted a member of the Inner Temple in November 1612, knighted by James I at Newmarket on 3 Dec. 1622, elected M.P. for Cirencester on 20 Jan. 1623-4, and was high sheriff for the county of Gloucester in 1627. At the outbreak of the civil war he maintained a horseman and arms for the service of the parliament, but soon after (2 Feb. 1642), when the town was taken by the king's forces, Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice were both quartered in his house, and he was forced to sign warrants for contributions to the royal garrison. The king spent the night of 8-9 Aug. 1642 in his house, while on his way from Oxford to Bristol. In August 1644 Sir William submitted to all ordinances of parliament, but on 31 Oct. of the same year entertained the king for one night on his route from Bath to Oxford. His estate was accordingly sequestered. In March 1646-1647 he begged to compound, having taken the covenant and the negative oath. He was still in difficulties as to his assessment in 1652, at which time he states that he was the father of twelve children. He died on 3 March 1661-2, aged 61, his wife having predeceased him on 5 Sept. 1660.

William was born at Cirencester, and baptised on 7 Sept. 1627. He matriculated from Christ Church, Oxford, on 2 April 1647, graduated B.A. on 7 Nov. 1650, by order of the parliamentary visitors of the university, was admitted bachelor-fellow of Merton College in 1651, and was M.A. on 19 Nov. 1652. Soon after he became vicar of Preston, near Cirencester, of which place his father was patron, and while there, on Ascension day 1658, performed the ceremony of marriage between George Bull [q. v.] (afterwards bishop of St. Davids) and Bridget, daughter of Alexander Gregory, incumbent of Cirencester, according to the form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, although that usage was forbidden under penalty at the time. He was admitted rector of Woodford in Essex on 13 Feb. 1660-1, was prebendary of Chamberlainwood at St. Paul's from 17 July 1663 till 1666, and was admitted to that of Cadington Major on 14 Feb. 1666-7. For a year, from 3 July 1666, he was rector of Southchurch, Essex, and from 29 April 1671 till his death rector of St. Vedast, Foster Lane, London, with the church of St. Michael Quern. Master died in London, and was buried in the chancel of Woodford Church on 6 Sept. 1684. He married at Woodford, on 18 May 1665, Susanna, daughter of the Rev. Job Yate, rector of Rodmarton in Gloucestershire. At the time of his death his three children, Richard, Thomas, and Elizabeth, were all under age. He left landed property in Essex, in Wiltshire, and at Preston, near Cirencester. He desired that the impropriate tithes of Preston, which he had from his father upon trust, should be purchased from his nephew, Thomas of Cirencester, when his lease was out, and devoted partly to the repair of the vicarage house at Preston and to the better maintenance of the vicar, and partly to the preaching of sermons in Oxford, and providing assistance in money and books for the 'post masters and young scholars' of Merton College. His grandson William, son of his eldest son Richard, baptised in December 1715, was educated at Winchester College, and became fellow of New College, Oxford, in 1736.

Under the pseudonym of 'A Student in Theologie' Master published 'Λόγος Εὔκαιροι, Essayes and Observations, Theologicall and Morall. Wherein many of the Humours and Diseases of the Age are Discovered,' to which was added 'Drops of Myrrhe, or Meditations and Prayers, fitted to Divers of the preceding Arguments,' London, 1654. In the dedication to his parents he speaks of his studies being 'much of another nature.' The work is not without merit ; a high standard of morality is combined with a humorous and easy style.

John Master, born at Cirencester, and baptised there on 25 Sept. 1637, probably William's youngest brother, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, on 20 July 1654 (B.A. 3 Feb. 1656-7, M.A. from St. Mary Hall, 25 June 1659, M.B. and M.D. from Christ Church 4 July 1672), and was admitted honorary fellow of the College of Physicians on 30 Sept. 1680. He assisted his intimate friend Dr. Thomas Willis [q. v.] in his medical publications.

[Visitation of Gloucestershire (Harl. Soc.), p. 111; Members admitted to the Inner Temple, p. 202; Atkyns's Gloucestershire, pp. 180, 318; Parliaments of England, pt. i. p. 457; Iter Carolinum (Gutch, Collect. Curiosa, ii. 431, 438); Cal. of State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1646-7, pp. 532-533; Cal. of Committee for Compounding, pp. 85, 1143-4; Cal. of Committee for the Advance of Money, p. 1383; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 128-129, 566, ii. 535; Kennett's Reg. p. 380; Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iv. cols. 148-9; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 371, 376; Lysons's Environs, iv. 279; Nelson's Life of Bull, p. 38; Reg. of Visitors of Univ. Oxon. p. 488; Foster's Alumni, 1500-1714 and 1715-1886; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, p. 235; will (Hare, 116) at Somerset House; Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 410 ; Washbourn's Bibliotheca Gloucestrensis, clxxxv; Rudler's Gloucestershire, passim; Cirencester Par. Reg. per the vicar.]

B. P.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.197
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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24 ii 3 f.e. Master, William: for Rudler's read Rudder's