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

508763Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51 — Sharrock, Robert1897Bertha Porter

SHARROCK, ROBERT (1630–1684), archdeacon of Winchester, baptised at Drayton Parslow, Buckinghamshire, on 29 June 1630 (parish reg.), was son of Robert Sharrock, rector of Drayton Parslow from 1639 to 1642, and of Adstock, Buckinghamshire, from March 1640 till his death in September 1671. His wife's name was Judith. The son Robert was admitted a scholar of Winchester school in 1643, whence he was elected fellow of New College, Oxford, on 5 March 1648-9 by the parliamentary visitors. He matriculated on 16 Nov. 1650, graduated B.C.L. on 12 Oct. 1654, and D.C.L. on 24 May 1661. He was presented to the college rectory of Horwood Magna in Buckinghamshire on 29 June 1665, and was installed prebendary of Winchester on 13 Sept. 1665. In 1668 he exchanged Horwood for the rectory of East Woodhay in Hampshire, which was nearer Winchester, succeeding his younger brother, Edmund (b. 1635), fellow of New College 1658-70. He became rector of Bishop Waltham in Hampshire in 1669, and archdeacon of Winchester on 18 April 1684 (installed 21 April). He died on 11 July 1684. He married Frances, daughter of Edmund West, who survived him, and, dying on 29 Jan. 1691-2, was buried on 31 Jan. at Bishop Waltham. His son Robert (1680?-1708) bequeathed to the bishopric of Lincoln the advowson of the rectory of Adstock, which had been purchased by his grandfather.

Wood says of Sharrock that he was ‘accounted learned in divinity, in the civil and common law, and very knowing in vegetables, and all pertaining thereunto.' Historic interest attaches to his 'History of the Propagation and Improvement of Vegetables,' Oxford, 1660, 1666, 1672, his first published book, as the results of the researches of an early student of natural science, especially botany. It reappeared in London in 1694 with the title 'An Improvement to the Art of Gardening, or an exact History of Plants.' He also supplied prefaces to three of the physical treatises of Robert Boyle [q. v.] viz.: 'Some Considerations touching the Usefulness of Experimental Philosophy' (1663); 'New Experiments Physico-Mechanical' (1665); and 'A Defence of the Doctrine touching the Spring and Weight of the Air' (1669).

Sharrock's work on political philosophy, 'Ὑπόθεσις ἠθική, De Offciis secundum Naturae Jus,' was directed against Hobbes's views of ethics and politics (Oxford, 1600; Gotha, 1667; Oxford, 1682). It was quoted as of authority by Richard Cumberland (1631-1718) [q. v.] in his 'De Legibus Naturae,' and by other philosophical writers.

Sharrock also published:

  1. 'Judicia (seu Legum Censurae) de variis Incontinentiae speciebus,' Oxford, 1662; Tübingen, 1668.
  2. 'Provinciale vetus Provinciae Cantuariensis,' Oxford, 1663, 1664 (a collection of constitutions and statutes of the archbishops of Canterbury from 1222 to 1415, and of the cardinal legates Otho and Othobonus).
  3. 'De Finibus Virtutis Christianae,' Oxford, 1673.
  4. 'Royal Table of the Laws of Humane Nature,' London, 168:2 (a skeleton plan of his Ὑπόθεσις ἠθική).

[Wood's Athenae, ed. Bliss, iv. 147-8; Wood's Fasti, ed. Bliss, vol. ii. cols. 182, 250; Foster's Alumni; Kirby's Winchester Scholars, pp. 181, 185, 209; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 27; Burrows's Reg. of Visitors of Oxford, pp. 169, 534; Lipscomb's Buckinghamshire, ii. 514, iii. 340; Hyde and Gale's Winchester, pp. 125-6; P. C. C. 27 Canna, 73 Barrett; Britten and Boulger's English Botanists; information from Rev. James P. Nash of Bishop-Waltham and Rev. C. F. Clark of Drayton Parslow.]

B. P.