Marbeck, Roger (DNB00)


MARBECK, MARKBEEKE, or MERBECK, ROGER (1536–1605), provost of Oriel College, Oxford, and physician, was born in 1536, probably at Windsor, where his father, John Marbeck [q. v.], was organist. He was educated at Eton, was elected student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1552, and seems to have resided there for about fifteen years. He graduated B.A. on 26 Jan. 1554-5, and M.A. on 28 June 1558. On 3 Feb. 1559 he was made prebendary of Withington in Hereford Cathedral. In 1562 he was senior proctor, and again in 1564, and on 18 Nov. of the same year he was appointed first public orator for life, with a yearly pension of twenty nobles (6l. 13s. 4d.) from the university chest. Copies of some of his speeches and addresses, which are notable for their elegant latinity, are among the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library. Early in 1565 he was made canon of Christ Church, and after some negotiation with the visitor, Nicholas Bullingham [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, Marbeck was unanimously elected provost of Oriel College by the whole body of fellows on 9 March 1564-5. Although he held clerical appointment, Marbeck does not seem to have been ordained. Early in 1566 Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Oxford, and Marbeck, who was 'delicise Latinarum literarum,' delivered a Latin speech. The queen received him very graciously, and said to him, 'We have heard of you before, but now we know you.' She visited Oxford again in the same year (6 Sept.), and Marbeck again delivered the customary Latin oration. At this time there seems to have been no more popular or distinguished member of the university; but an unhappy and discreditable marriage, which took place or was discovered soon after, forced him to resign all his offices, to leave Oxford, and to change his whole plan of life.

His wife died early, and he turned his noughts to medicine. Where he conducted his professional studies is not known, but on L July 1573 he became B.M. of Oxford, and D.M. on the following day. There is apparently no other instance of these two degrees being taken on successive days, and the indulgence may have been due to the queen's interposition. He joined the London College of Physicians, and was elected fellow about 1578. He was the first registrar of the college, and after filling that office for two years, he was on 3 Nov. 1581 elected for life. He was to have 40s. a year, paid quarterly, besides various fees of 3s. 4d. 'The duties of his office,' says Dr. Munk, 'he performed with the greatest care and diligence, as the annals themselves sufficiently testify.' In early life he had been noted for his caligraphy, and while a B.A. had the honour of writing out a document to be presented to the lord chancellor. He filled various other college offices, viz. censor (1585, 1586), elect (1597), and consiliarius (1598, 1600, 1603, 1604). He renewed his acquaintance with the queen, and was appointed chief of the royal physicians. At the age of fifty-three in 1589 he was admitted to Gray's Inn, an honorary distinction which other well-known men of the time accepted. In September 1596 he accompanied the lord high admiral, Howard, in the expedition against Cadiz, and there is in the British Museum (Sloane 226) a beautiful manuscript (probably written by himself) entitled 'A Breefe and a true Discourse of the late honorable Voyage unto Spaine, and of the wynning, sacking, and burning of the famous Towne of Cadiz there, and of the miraculous ouerthrowe of the Spanishe Navie at that tyme, with a reporte of all other Accidents thereunto appertayning, by Doctor Marbeck attending upon the person of the right honorable the Lorde highe Admirall of England all the tyme of the said Action.' Another manuscript copy is in the Bodleian Library (Rawlinson MS. D. 124), and it is printed, without Marbeck's name, in Hakluyt's 'Voyages,' London, 1599, i. 607. A pamphlet, entitled 'A Defence of Tobacco,' London, 1602, is assigned to Marbeck because his name appears in an acrostic forming the dedication. A copy is in the British Museum. He died at the beginning of July 1605, and was buried in St. Giles's, Cripplegate, London.

[MS. Register of Oriel Coll. Oxford; MS. Hist. of the Canons of Christ Church, by Leonard Hutten [q. v.]; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 194; Athenæ, i. 354; Hist. and Antiq. p. 128, ed. 1786; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Munk's Coll. of Phys. i. 75.]

W. A. G.