corrupt, unpreaching popish prelate Bancroft was, is known to all the university of Oxford' (Prynne, Canterburie's Doom, fol. 1646, p. 353).
The work which has most contributed to preserve the memory of this bishop was the building of a residence for himself and his successors at Cuddesdon, seven miles south-east of Oxford. Gloucester Hall, which had originally been assigned as a residence for bishops of this diocese, was resumed by the crown in the time of Edward VI, and the holders of the see had since been compelled to lodge in private houses. Bancroft, finding soon after his elevation that the vicarage of Cuddesdon was vacant and in his gift, collated himself to it, and with the assistance of Laud procured its annexation in perpetuity to the bishopric by royal warrant. He at the same time obtained a grant of timber from the royal forest of Shotover, also by Laud's influence, and an annual rent-charge of 100l. secured on the forests of Shotover and Stowood. He built the new palace, a commodious rather than splendid mansion, which was completed with its chapel in 1635, at the then large cost of 3,500l. In 1636 Bancroft assisted at the reception of Charles I at Oxford, and gave a grand entertainment in his new palace. When Oxford became the fortified residence of Charles I during the civil war, Colonel William Legg, the governor of Oxford, fearing the palace might be used as a garrison for the parliamentary forces, had it burned down, though with as much reason and more piety, observes Dr. Heylin (Life of Laud, p. 190), he might have garrisoned it for the king, and preserved the house. The ruins remained untouched till Bishop Fell rebuilt the palace and chapel at his own cost in 1679. Wood thus describes Bancroft's end: 'In 1640, when the Long parliament began and proceeded with great vigour against the bishops, he was possessed so much with fear (having always been an enemy to the puritan), that, with little or no sickness, he surrendered up his last breath in his lodgings at Westminster. His body was conveyed to Cuddesdon, and there buried in the church, Feb. 12, 1640-41.' His arms are in a window in University College, and his portrait, with a draft of the new Cuddesdon palace in the right hand, hangs in the college hall. There is also a half-length portrait of him in his episcopal robes in the hall of Christ Church.
[Welch's List of Westminster Scholars, 63-4; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 893-5; Fuller's Church Hist.iii. 369; Lysons's Environs (Finchley); Kippis's Biogr. Brit. i. 469-70.]
BANCROFT, JOHN (d. 1696), dramatist, was by profession a surgeon. He is said to have had a good practice among the 'young wits and frequenters of the theatres,' and to have been thus led to write for the stage. One tragedy, the materials for which are drawn from Plutarch, is unquestionedly his. This is 'Sertorius,' a dull and ignorant work, which was licensed for performance 10 March 1678-79, and was printed in 4to in 1679. It was played in the same year at the Theatre Royal, subsequently known as Drury Lane. 'Henry the Second, King of England, with the Death of Rosamond,' produced in 1692 at the Theatre Royal, is also assigned to Bancroft, though the dedication is signed 'Will. Mountfort, 1693,' a date subsequent to Mountfort's murder. 'Henry the Second,' a decidedly superior production to the previous, was printed in 1693. It is included in 'Six Plays written by Mr. Mountfort in two volumes,' London, 1720. Coxeter, by whom the materials were collected for the compilation known as 'Cibber's Lives of the Poets,' attributes to Bancroft 'King Edward the Third with the Fall of Mortimer, Earl of March,' published in 4to 1691, and also included in the collection of Mountfort. He states that Bancroft made a present to Mountfort, both of the reputation and profits of the piece. In the bookseller's preface to Mountfort's collected works it is said of these two dramas that 'tho' not wholly composed by him, it is presum'd he had, at least, a share in fitting them for the stage.' Bancroft was buried in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden.
[Biographica Dramatica; Genest's Account of the English Stage; Giles Jacob's Poetical Register; Langbaine's Account of the English Dramatic Poets.]
BANCROFT, RICHARD, D.D. (1544–1610), archbishop of Canterbury, son of John Bancroft, gentleman, and Mary, his wife, was born at Farnworth, Lancashire, in September 1544. His mother, whose maiden name was Curwen, was niece of Hugh Curwen, bishop of Oxford [q. v.], and young Bancroft, after being well grounded in 'grammar' (i.e. the Latin language) at the excellent school in his native town, was sent at his great-uncle's expense, and at a somewhat more advanced age than ordinary, to Christ's College, Cambridge. Here he was elected a scholar, and proceeded B.A. in 1566-7. He was further aided at this time by the archbishop in the prosecution of his studies, by the grant of the prebend of Malhidert in St. Patrick's Church in Dublin, with the royal license to be absent for six months. He was required, however, to leave Christ's