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OKING, ROBERT (fl.1525–1554), archdeacon of Salisbury, was educated at Cambridge. It may be presumed that he was at Trinity Hall under Gardiner; according to a letter sent to Cromwell in 1538, he was brought up under the Bishop of Winchester. He was bachelor of civil law in 1626, commissary of the university in 1629, and doctor of civil law in 1634. Probably in 1634 he was appointed commissary to Dr. Salcot or Capon, bishop of Bangor. He was also proctor of St. Lazar, and hence allowed to sell indulgences. There had been serious disputes in the chapter in the time of the late bishop, and Oking fell out with Richard Gibbons, the registrar, who in 1636 seized various papers, and accused Oking to Cromwell of reactionary sympathies. Oking suspended Gibbons, who appealed, according to Cooper (Athenæ Cantabr, i. 197), to Sir Richard Bulkeley, chamberlain of North Wales. Bulkeley, however, wrote to Cromwell that he had always heard Oking 'speak for annulling the Bishop of Rome's authority' (Letters and Papers Henry VIII, viii. 644). At Christmas 1630-7 the opposite party seem to have taken the law into their own hands, and Oking was nearly murdered while holding a consistory in Bangor Cathedral (ib. xii. i. 607). The bishop tried to get him preferment in 1638; and when he was translated to Salisbury in he took Oking with him as his commissary and chancellor. He appears to have been a moderate advocate of the Reformation. In 1637 he was one of those appointed to draw up 'the Institution of a Christian Man;' in 1643 he was engaged in trials under the statute of the six articles. His name was also appended to the declaration made of the functions and divine institution of bishops and priests. In the convocation of 1647 he was one appointed to draw up a statute as to the payment of tithes in cities; in the same convocation he was one of the minority opposed to the marriage of priests; and when, in 1647, Thomas Hancock preached in St. Thomas's Church, Salisbury, a sermon directed against superstition, Oking and Dr. Steward, who was Gardiner's chancellor, walked out of the church, and were reproved by the preacher. In spite of these indications of his belonging to the moderate party, he married as soon as it was legal to do so, and was deprived of his archdeaconry under Mary. He is supposed to have died before Elizabeth's accession.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. i. 197; Dixon's Hist. of the Church of Engl. ii. 831; Letters and Papers, Hen. VIII. viii. 646, xii. i. 507; Strype's Memorials of the Reformation, i. i. 368, ii. 336, Cranmer, p. 77, &c.; Foxe's Acts and Mon. v. 465, 482-6; Le Neve's Fasti.]

W. A. J. A.