Oldisworth, Giles (DNB00)

OLDISWORTH, GILES (1619–1678), royalist divine, was younger son of Robert Oldisworth of Coin Rogers, Gloucestershire, and of Muriel, daughter of Sir Nicholas and sister of Sir Thomas Overbury [q. v.] He was born at Coin Rogers in 1619, and was educated at Westminster School. He was admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, on 17 May 1639; was elected to a scholarship there on 17 April 1610 (Admission Books), and, becoming a 'conscientious churchman,' graduated B.A. probably in 1642 or 1643. Soon after he was deprived of his scholarship on account of his royalist sympathies, and proceeded to Oxford, where, by virtue of a letter written on 29 Jan. 1645-6 in his behalf by the chancellor, the Marquis of Hertford, he was created M.A. on 20 July 1646.

Oldisworth was presented in 1645 by his maternal grandfather, Sir Nicholas Overbury, to the living of Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire, where he succeeded his elder brother, Nicholas. He kept on good terms with the parliament, and retained his living during the civil war. But the laudatory tone of the dedication and an address with 'the lively portraiture of Charles the Second, king of Great Britain,' &c., in his 'Stone Rolled Away,' show him to have been an ardent supporter of a constitutional monarchy. He died at Bourton-on-the-Hill on 24 Nov. 1678, and was buried in the chancel of the church on the 27th. His will, dated the day before his death (P. C. C. 73, King), appoints his brother William guardian to his daughter Hester, a minor.

Oldisworth married Margaret Warren, and besides three daughters (two of them named Muriel) who died infants, he had two sons, Giles (b. 1650), a citizen of London in 1678, and Thomas (b. 1659), and two daughters, Mary (b. 1655) and Hester (b. 1661).

He was the author of several separately published sermons and of 'The Stone Rolled Away, and Life more Abundant: an Apologie urging Self-denyal, New Obedience, Faith, and Thankfulness.' Lowndes mentions a quarto edition, 1660, but the earliest now known is London, 1663. Another edition, with the title 'The Holy Royalist, or the Secret Discontents of Church and Kingdom; reduced unto Self-Denial, Moderation, and Thankfulness,' and without the king's portrait, was published in London, 1664. A poem, entitled 'Sir Thomas Overbury's Wife Unvailed,' is ascribed to Oldisworth, with some Latin verses (see Welch, Alumni Westmon. p. 114). He also wrote, under the pseudonym of 'Sketlius,' a manuscript poem (Codices Rawlinsoniaui, C. 422), entitled 'A Westminster Scholar, or the Patterne of Pietie.' It is a narrative, written in five books, in high-flown language, describing members of the families of Oldisworth and Overbury under fictitious names, with some explanatory notes in the margin.

His elder brother, Nicholas, also a Westminster scholar, was author of a volume of verses dedicated to his wife, Marie Oldisworth (7 Feb. 1644), and of 'A Book touching Sir Thomas Overbury,' &c. (Addit. MS. 15476) which, he says, 'I wrote from dictation, and read over to my old grandfather. Sir Nicholas Overbury, on Thursday, 1 Oct. 1637.'

[Welch's Alumni Westmon. pp. 113, 114; Foster's Alumni Oxon. early ser. iii. 1088; Kennet's Register, pp. 385, 636, 646, 855–6; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, pt. ii. 161–2; Wood's Fasti, ed. Bliss, ii. 95; Registers of Bourton, per the Rev. F. Farrer; Hunter's Chorus Vatum, Addit. MS. 24489, p. 155. For Nicholas Oldisworth: Welch's Alumni Westmon. pp. 100, 101; Cole MSS. xiii. f. 191; manuscript notes in The Father of the Faithful (Brit. Mus. copy).]

C. F. S.