Osbaldeston, Lambert (DNB00)

OSBALDESTON or OSBOLSTON, LAMBERT (1594–1659), master of Westminster School, born in London in 1594, was the second son of Lambert Osbaldeston, a haberdasher, of London, by his wife Martha Banks (Harl. MS. 1476, f. 100 b). His younger brother was William Osbaldeston [q. v.] Lambert was educated at Westminster School, and was elected to a scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1612. His name does not, however, appear in the matriculation register of the university until 20 Oct. 1615, when he is described as the son of a ‘gentleman’ born in London, and aged 21 (Oxford Univ. Register, vol. ii. pt. ii. p. 341). He was admitted a student of Gray's Inn, London, on 25 Oct. 1615 (Foster, Gray's Inn Register, p. 138). He graduated B.A. at Oxford on 13 June 1616, and commenced M.A. on 20 April 1619 (Oxford Univ. Register, vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 346). On 7 Dec. 1621 he had a joint patent (with John Wilson, D.D.) from the dean and chapter of Westminster of the headmastership of Westminster School, which was renewed to him alone on 27 Jan. 1625–1626 (Chester, Registers of Westminster Abbey, p. 151 n.) He was incorporated in the degree of M.A. at Cambridge in 1628 (Addit. MS. 5884, f. 86 b).

In July 1629 he became prebendary of the tenth stall in the collegiate church of St. Peter at Westminster, and on the 18th of the same month he was collated by his friend Bishop Williams to the prebend of Biggleswade in the cathedral of Lincoln (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, ii. 112, iii. 358). He was also a prebendary of Ilton in the church of Wells, and in 1637 he was presented to the rectory of Wheathampstead, with the chapel of Harpenden, Hertfordshire (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, i. 517).

In 1638 certain letters written by him were found in the house of Bishop Williams at Buckden. In these letters an unnamed person was irreverently styled ‘the little urchin’ and ‘the little meddling hocus pocus.’ There can be no reasonable doubt that Laud was the person referred to. Williams and Osbaldeston were brought to trial in the Star-chamber on 14 Feb. 1638–9, and the latter was condemned to lose all his spiritualities, to pay a fine of 5,000l. to the king and a like sum to Archbishop Laud, and moreover to have his ears tacked in the pillory in the presence of his scholars. As soon as the major part of the court had passed censure upon him, and while the lord-keeper was giving his judgment, Osbaldeston got out of the court, hurried to his study at the school, burnt some documents, and wrote on a paper, which he left on his desk: ‘If the archbishop inquire after me, tell him I am gone beyond Canterbury.’ Messengers were consequently sent to the port towns to apprehend him; but he lay hid in a private house in Drury Lane till the parliament met in November 1640 (Rushworth, Hist. Collections, ii. 803–817). He had of course been deprived, in the meantime, of his church preferments, but he was restored to them by the Long parliament in 1641. Subsequently he was shocked at the lengths to which that assembly proceeded, and his benefices were again sequestered (Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 91). The latter part of his life was passed in retirement; and Willis says he died in possession of his preferments ‘as much as the times would allow.’ He bore the character of a learned man, and was an excellent master, being ‘very fortunate in breeding up many wits.’ It is also said that he ‘had at the present [1638] above fourscore doctors in the two universities, and three learned faculties, all gratefully acknowledging their education under him’ (Fuller, Church Hist. ed Brewer, vi. 159). The ‘Tragical History of Piramus and Thisbe,’ one of Cowley's ‘Poetical Blossoms’ (1633), is dedicated ‘To the Right Worshipful, my very loving Master, Mr. Lambert Osbolston.’ Another of his scholars was Thomas Randolph [q. v.], who addressed to him a poem, prefixed to the ‘Jealous Lovers,’ 1638. Osbaldeston died in October 1659, and on the seventh of that month was buried in the south aisle of Westminster Abbey, without any memorial.

A poem presented by Osbaldeston to Prince Charles in 1632, on his recovery from the small-pox, was formerly in the manuscript collection of Nicholas Oldisworth (Addit. MS. 24489, f. 153).

[Addit. MS. 24492, f. 122; Collier's Eccl. Hist. viii. 138–9; Foster's Alumni Oxon. early ser.; Gardiner's Hist. of England, viii. 390; Heylyn's Examen Historicum, p. 222; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 927; Rapin's Hist. of England, 1733, ii. 302 n.; Welch's Alumni Westmon. (Phillimore), pp. 19, 81, 95, 100; Widmore's Westminster Abbey, pp. 223, 227; Willis's Survey of the Cathedral, iii. 147, 148; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 456, iii. 69, 363, 578, 919, 1068.]

T. C.