Page, William (DNB00)


PAGE, WILLIAM (1590–1663), divine, born at Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1590, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, 7 Nov. 1606. He graduated B.A. 26 April 1610, and on 15 Dec. following appears on the register of persons using the Bodleian Library (Clark, i. 269). He proceeded M.A. in 1614 (2 July), was incorporated at Cambridge 1615, and in 1619 became fellow of All Souls' (B.D. 12 July 1621, and D.D. 5 July 1634; cf. State Papers, Dom. Car. I, cclxxi. 69).

In 1628–9 he was appointed, by Laud's influence, master of the grammar school of Reading. He was a strong supporter of the court divines. In 1631 he wrote a ‘Justification of Bowing at the Name of Jesus, with an Examination of such considerable Reasons as are made by Mr. Prynne in a Reply to Mr. Widdowes concerning the same Argument,’ with a dedication addressed to Oxford University. Hearing of the proposed publication, Archbishop Abbot's secretary wrote to Page that the archbishop ‘is much offended that you do stickle and keep on foot such questions, and advises you to withdraw from these and the like domestic broils; and if your treatise be at the press, to give it a stop, and by no means to suffer it to be divulged’ (Lambeth, 31 May 1631). On hearing of the prohibition, Laud wrote from Fulham to the vice-chancellor of Oxford 22 June 1632, commanding the book ‘to be presently set to sale and published. It is, as I am informed, in defence of the canon of the church, and modestly and well written, and his majesty likes not that Prynne should remain unanswered’ (Wood). In 1639 Page issued a translation of Thomas à Kempis's ‘Imitatio Christi.’ It is largely borrowed from an English translation published at Paris in 1636 by M. C., confessor to the English nuns at Paris; but Page omits many passages of a Romanist tendency. He dedicated the book to Walter Curll, bishop of Winchester, to whom he was acting as chaplain. His epistle to the ‘Christian Reader’ is practically addressed to the Roman catholics, and, in the spirit of Laud's views, demands reciprocal charity between them and Anglicans.

Page was subsequently presented to the rectory of Hannington, Hampshire. On the outbreak in 1642 of the civil wars he withdrew from Reading school, doubtless to join the royal army. He was sequestered in 1644 from his mastership by the committee for Berkshire (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. vii. 189). Eight years later (7 Oct. 1652) he claimed arrears for nine months, ‘but it appeared that he had received all which was due at Michaelmas 1642, and in November following the school was made a magazine for the king's army’ (ib. p. 191). Early in 1645–6 he was sequestered from the rectory of Hannington by the parliamentary committee for Hampshire (Addit. MS. 15670, f. 14). In August the rectory was certified to be void by delinquency and non-residence (ib. f. 350, 5 Aug. 1646). On 16 Jan. 1646–7 he was appointed to the rectory of East Lockinge, Berkshire, by his college, All Souls, which had bought the advowson in 1632. This benefice Page appears to have held till his death.

At the Restoration Page made a vain effort to recover the schoolmastership at Reading (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. vii. 194, 223). He died on 24 Feb. 1663, in the rectory of East Lockinge, and was buried in the chancel of his church.

Besides the works noted, Page wrote: 1. ‘Certain Animadversions upon some Passages in a Tract [by John Hales [q. v.] of Eton] concerning Schism and Schismatics,’ Oxford, 1642, 4to. 2. ‘The Peace Maker, or a brief Motion to Unity and Charity in Religion,’ London, 1652, 16mo. He edited, and contributed a letter on non-resistance to, ‘A Sermon preached at Dorchester, Dorset, on 7 March 1632, by John White’ (London, 1648). In Bodl. MS. 115 are two unpublished tracts: ‘A Widow indeed. A Book of the Duties of Widows, and a Commendation of that State to his Mother;’ and ‘Woman's Worth, or a Treatise proving by sundry Reasons that Women doe excel Men.’

‘The Land Tempest … an Abstract Epitome, or Effects of the Woes of these Wars. By W. P., a plundered Preacher in the County of Gloucester’ (25 June 1644), does not seem to be by Page.

[Coates's Hist. of Reading, p. 337; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Foster's Alumni; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iii. 653, Fasti i. 337; State Papers, Dom. Car. I, 12 July, 1634, cclxxi. 69; Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. vi. 186; Addit. MS. 15670; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 334; information kindly supplied by the Rev. J. G. Cornish, rector of Lockinge.]

W. A. S.