King, John (1559?-1621) (DNB00)

KING, JOHN, D.D. (1559?–1621), bishop of London, born at Worminghall, Buckinghamshire, in or about 1559, was son of Philip King of that place, by Elizabeth, daughter of Edmund Conquest of Houghton Conquest, Bedfordshire. He was a great-nephew of Robert King [q. v.], the first bishop of Oxford. He received his education at Westminster School, and thence was elected to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1576 (Welch, Alumni Westmon. ed. Phillimore, p. 53). He graduated B.A. in 1579–80, and commenced M.A. in 1582–3 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 212, 221). After taking holy orders he became domestic chaplain to John Piers, archbishop of York, by whom he was collated to the archdeaconry of Nottingham on 12 Aug. 1590. He proceeded B.D. on 2 July 1591. Strype gives extracts from a lecture delivered by King at York on the plague and the severe storms by which England was visited in 1593–4 (Annals of the Reformation, iv. 293, 8vo). On 17 Nov. 1594 King preached the sermon at the funeral of Archbishop Piers. Afterwards he was appointed chaplain to Sir Thomas Egerton, lord-keeper of the great seal. He was admitted to the rectory of St. Andrew, Holborn, on 10 May 1597, on the promotion of Richard Bancroft to the see of London, and to the prebend of Sneating in the church of St. Paul on 16 Aug. 1599, on the promotion of William Cotton to the see of Exeter (Newcourt, Repertorium, i. 211, 275). He also became one of Queen Elizabeth's chaplains. On 17 Dec. 1601 he was created D.D. at Oxford. He was appointed by the privy council to preach before James I on his entry into London, and the king retained him in his service as one of the royal chaplains, commending him as ‘the king of preachers.’ He became dean of Christ Church, Oxford, on 4 Aug. 1605, in accordance with the petition of thirty-two students there. Soon afterwards King was selected as one of the four preachers at the Hampton Court Conference. He was vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford from 1607 to 1610. On 16 Dec. 1610 he obtained the prebend of Milton Manor in the church of Lincoln (Willis, Survey of Cathedrals, ii. 223).

In 1611 the king bestowed upon him the bishopric of London, which had become vacant by the translation of Dr. George Abbot to the see of Canterbury. He was consecrated in Lambeth Chapel on 8 Sept., and had restitution of the temporalities on the 18th of the same month. In 1613 he was appointed a member of the commission engaged in hearing the Countess of Essex's suit for divorce (Gardiner, Hist. ii. 170). On 26 March 1620 he pleaded in a sermon preached at St. Paul's Cross in the king's presence for contributions to the repair of St. Paul's Cathedral. James selected the text, and popular curiosity was excited by rumours that King was instructed to declare James's resolve to intervene in the German wars in behalf of his son-in-law, the king of Bohemia; but although one of his hearers wrote that the bishop's heart was in Bohemia, he made no reference to European politics (ib. iii. 341–2). While bishop, King always preached on Sundays in some pulpit in or near London (Fuller, Church Hist. ed. Brewer, v. 500). He died on Good Friday, 30 March 1621, and was buried in the south aisle of St. Paul's Cathedral, under a plain stone on which was inscribed only the word ‘Resurgam,’ but on a mural tablet near it was a very long and eulogistic inscription to his memory (Dugdale, Hist. of St. Paul's, ed. 1658, p. 73). Wood says ‘he was a solid and profound divine, of great gravity and piety, and had so excellent a volubility of speech, that Sir Edward Coke would often say of him that he was the best speaker in the Star-chamber in his time’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 295).

During his last illness and after his death a report was circulated that he had been reconciled on his deathbed to the church of Rome. Many catholics gave credence to the rumour, and in ‘The Protestant's Plea for Priests and Papists,’ a pamphlet issued in September 1621, King's conversion was announced as a matter of fact. Richard Broughton [q. v.] sent an account of the grounds of the report to Dr. Kellison, president of Douay College, but it does not clearly appear that he was himself convinced of the truth of the alleged conversion (Dodd, Church Hist. i. 490; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 464). The bishop's son Henry indignantly denied the report in a sermon preached at St. Paul's Cross on 25 Nov. 1621, but the baseless statement was repeated in an anonymous book written by George Musket, afterwards president of Douay College, and entitled ‘The Bishop of London his Legacy. Or Certaine Motiues of D. King, late Bishop of London, for his change of Religion, and dying in the Catholike, and Roman Church. With a Conclusion to his Brethren, the LL. Bishops of England. Permissu Superiorum’ [St. Omer], 1624, 4to, pp. 174 (Gee, Foot out of the Snare, ed. 1624, pp. 77–80, 99); Brydges, British Bibliographer, i. 506).

King married Joan, daughter of Henry Freeman of Staffordshire. His eldest son, Henry [q. v.], is noticed separately. His second son, John King (1595–1639), educated with his brother at Westminster and Christ Church, Oxford (B.A. 1611, M.A. 1614, and B.D. and D.D. 1625), became prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral (1616), public orator of Oxford (1622), canon of Christ Church (1624), archdeacon of Colchester and canon of Windsor (1625). He was also rector of Remenham, Berkshire. He died on 2 Jan. 1638–9, and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral. He published three Latin orations delivered as orator at Oxford (London, 1623, 4to, and Oxford, 1625), a separate sermon preached at Oxford in 1625, and poems in the university collections of 1613 and 1619.

The bishop contributed to many of the Oxford collections of poems, and published:

  1. ‘Lectures upon Jonas, delivered at Yorke in the yeare of our Lorde 1594,’ Oxford, 1597, 4to, pp. 660. Dedicated to Sir Thomas Egerton, lord-keeper. Reprinted, Oxford, 1599 and 1600, 4to; London, 1611, 4to, ‘newly corrected,’ and again 1618.
  2. ‘A Sermon preached at the Funeralles of … John [Piers] late Arch-bishoppe of Yorke, Nov. 17, 1594,’ Oxford, 1597, 4to (printed at the end of the ‘Lectures upon Jonas’); separately Oxford, 1599, 4to.
  3. ‘The Fourth Sermon preached at Hampton Court on Tuesday the last of Sept. 1606,’ Oxford, 1606, 4to.
  4. ‘Vitis Palatina. A Sermon appointed to be preached at Whitehall upon the Tuesday after the marriage of the Ladie Elizabeth her Grace,’ London, 1614, 4to; reprinted in ‘Conjugal Duty set forth in a collection of Wedding-Sermons,’ 1732. A very singular composition, concluding with an ejaculation against the ‘papists.’
  5. ‘A Sermon of Public Thanksgiving for the happie recoverie of his majestie from his late dangerous sicknesse,’ London, 1619, 4to.
  6. ‘A Sermon at Paules Crosse on behalf of Paules Church,’ London, 1620, 4to (cf. Notes and Queries, 1st ser. iii. 368–9).

Some copies of his letters are in Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 29439, ff. 184b–192.

A portrait, by Cornelius Janssen, is preserved at Christ Church, Oxford. There are engravings by Simon Pass and Francis Delaram (Granger, Biog. Hist. of England, 5th edit. ii. 48).

[Bedford's Blazon of Episcopacy; Collier's Church Hist. vii. 420, 421; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 327, 351; Fuller's Church Hist. (Brewer), iii. 28, v. 266, 371, 420, 499; Fuller's Worthies (Nichols), i. 139; Godwin, De Præsulibus (Richardson), p. 194; Lansd. MS. 984, f. 3; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy); Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), pp. 63, 1273; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 29; Cal. State Papers, Dom. (Addenda 1580–1625) pp. 621, 622, (1603–10) pp. 362, 445, 527, (1619–23) p. 675; Strype's Works (general index); Willis's Survey of Cathedrals, i. 107, ii. 440; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 294, 634, 861, iii. 839, Fasti, i. 248, 255; Wood's Annals (Gutch), ii. 295, 299, 300, 322, 788, 791; Wood's Colleges and Halls (Gutch), pp. 439, 458, 463, Appendix pp. 112, 118–19, 281, 289.]

T. C.