Mossom, Robert (DNB00)


MOSSOM, ROBERT (d. 1679), bishop of Derry, a native of Lincolnshire, entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, on 2 June 1631, but two months later migrated to Peterhouse, where he was admitted a sizar on 9 Aug., and where he was a fellow student with Richard Crashaw and Joseph Beaumont, afterwards master of the college. He graduated B.A. in 1634 and M.A. in 1638. In 1642 he was officiating at York as an army chaplain under Sir Thomas Glemham, and about this time he married a Miss Eland of Bedale. Subsequently, for at least five years (1650–5), during the interregnum, he publicly preached at St. Peter's, Paul's Wharf, London, where, notwithstanding the prohibition of the law, he used the Book of Common Prayer, and administered the holy communion monthly. This brought a great concourse of nobility and gentry to the church. After he had been silenced Mossom maintained himself by keeping a school.

With the Restoration came honour and preferment. By his majesty's letters mandatory, dated 21 July 1660, Mossom was on the following 5 Sept. created D.D. at Cambridge, and on 20 Sept. in the same year he was collated to the prebend of Knaresborough-cum-Bickhill in the church of York. The original letter of Charles II appointing him dean of Christ Church, Dublin, is dated 25 Sept. 1660, and he was installed 2 Feb. 1660–1. By patent dated 13 Nov. 1660 he was presented by the crown to the precentorship of St. Patrick's, and he was installed on 27 Dec. On 21 May 1661 Mossom was elected prolocutor of the Lower House of Convocation, Dublin. He graduated D.D. (ad eundem) in the university of Dublin, 26 Jan. 1661–2. As prolocutor he delivered a congratulatory speech before the Duke of Ormonde 29 July 1662, on his arrival in Ireland as lord-lieutenant. After the death of George Wild, bishop of Derry, 29 Dec. 1665, Mossom was promoted to the vacant see. His patent bears date 26 March 1666, and he was consecrated in Christ Church, Dublin, on 1 April. Harris and Cotton erroneously state that he held the deanery of Christ Church in commendam with the bishopric. He died at Derry on 21 Dec. 1679, and was buried in his cathedral. In 1853 there was a full-sized portrait of him at Mount Eland, co. Kilkenny, the seat of Charles Eland Mossom, esq.

Mossom, who was ‘a consistent, uncompromising loyalist, warmly attached to the Church of England,’ was also ‘a good classic scholar and deeply versed in theological literature.’ Sound judgment and clear intelligence are conspicuous in his writings.

His works, excluding separately published sermons, are: 1. ‘Anti-Paræus, or a Treatise in the Defence of the Royall Right of Kings [by David Owen], … New Translated and Published to confirme Men in their Loyalty to their King,’ York, 1642, 4to. 2. ‘The King on his Throne: or a Discourse maintaining the Dignity of a King, the Duty of a Subject, and the unlawfulnesse of Rebellion,’ two sermons preached in York Cathedral, York, 1643, 4to. 3. ‘Sion's Prospect in its First View. Presented in a Summary of Divine Truths, consenting with the Faith professed by the Church of England,’ London, 1651, 4to; again, 1653 and 1711, dedicated to Henry, marquis of Dorchester. 4. ‘The Preachers Tripartite, in Three Books,’ London, 1657, fol.; said to have been reprinted in 1685, fol., and a privately printed edition issued in 1845, 8vo, from the Rev. Henry A. Simcoe's Penheale press, Cornwall (Boase and Courtney, Bibl. Cornub. p. 651). 5. ‘Variæ Colloquendi Formulæ in usum Condiscipulorum in Palæstra Literaria sub paterno moderamine vires Minervales exercentium, partim collectæ, partim compositæ, a Roberto Mossom,’ London, 1659. 6. ‘An Apology in the behalf of the Sequestred Clergy, Presented to the High Court of Parliament,’ London, 1660, 4to. Reprinted in Lord Somers's ‘Tracts,’ ii. 158, third collection. An anonymous answer appeared under the title of ‘A Plea for Ministers in Sequestrations: wherein Mr. Mossom's Apology for the Sequestered Clergy is duly considered and discussed,’ London, 1660, 4to. 7. ‘The Copy of a Speech delivered by Dr. Mossom, Dean of Christ Church, and Prolocutor of the Lower House of Convocation, before the Lord Lieutenant, the 29th of July 1662’ (cf. Kennett, Register and Chron. p. 733).

[Cotton's Fasti, iii. 11, 319, v. 90, 255; Davies's York Press, p. 63; Evelyn's Diary; Kennett's Register and Chronicle; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 193; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 527; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. i. 33, 34; Palatine Note-Book, i. 147, 203; ii. 12, 60; Pepys's Diary, ed. Bright, i. 49, 73, 143; Ware's Bishops, ed. Harris, p. 295; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 721, 1143, 1172, iv. 830, Fasti, i. 328, ii. 38, 88; Worthington's Diary, i. 307.]

T. C.