Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Norgate, Robert

NORGATE, ROBERT (d. 1587), master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is said to have been born at Aylsham in Norfolk. He was educated at St. John's College in the same university, where he was admitted a scholar 1 Nov. 1561. He was admitted B.A. in 1564-5, and in 1567 was elected to a fellowship at Corpus Christi College. In 1568 he commenced M.A. He was probably aided in obtaining his fellowship by Archbishop Parker, whose chaplain he was, and to whom he was related by marriage, his wife, Elizabeth Baker, being the daughter of the archbishop's half-brother, John Baker M.A. The archbishop also presented him to the rectory of Latchingdon, with the chapel of Lawley in Essex, to which he was instituted 27 Jan. 1573-4. In 1575 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of Marsham in Norfolk. In 1576 he was one of the university preachers. On 29 Jan. 1577-8, he was installed prebendary of Decem Librarum in the cathedral of Lincoln. In 1578 he was presented by the crown to the rectory of Forncett in Norfolk. He was installed a canon of Ely 8 May 1579; was created D.D. in 1581; and filled the office of vice-chancellor of the university in 1584. On 10 Nov. in the same year he was appointed to the rectory of Little Gransden in Cambridgeshire, by the crown, and resigned about the same time the living of Latchingdon. He died on 2 Nov. 1587, and was buried in the ancient church of St. Benet.

Norgate appears to have discharged his duties as master with singular fidelity, and also in a thoroughly independent spirit. Although anxious on every ground to conciliate Burghley, he successfully resisted an attempt made by the latter to nominate, contrary to statute, one Booth to a fellowship. The numbers of the college increased considerably under his rule, and it was entirely due to his efforts that the new chapel was built in 1579. He himself, however, died so poor, that, according to Masters, 'his goods were sold by a decree of the vice-chancellor for the payment of his debts and funeral charges, there being then large arrears due to the college, which of many years were not cleared off' (Hist, of C. C. Coll., p. 118). He also is entitled to be gratefully remembered by all scholars for the care he took of Parker's magnificent library, for the reception of which he had a room constructed over the chapel, where the collection was safely housed until the erection of the new library in 1823.

His widow was married to Nicholas Felton [q. v.], afterwards master of Pembroke College, and bishop of Ely. His only son, Edward, is separately noticed.

[Masters's Hist. of Corpus Christi College, and Append. No. xxxvi.; Cooper's Athenæ Cant. ii. 18;Mullinger's Hist. of University of Cambridge, ii. 288.]

J. B. M.