Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/134

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Oley
Oley
128

of Archbishop Sheldon, he was presented on 3 Aug. 1660 to the third prebendal stall of Worcester Cathedral, and on 8 Nov. 1679 he was collated, on the nomination of Guning, his old pupil, to the archdeaconry of Ely. This preferment he resigned in the following year through doubts of his ability to discharge its duties; but he retained the stall at Worcester until his death, being then 'the senior prebendary of venerable memory' for his saint-like qualities, and having been the means of establishing a weekly celebration in the cathedral (Hickes, Life of Dr. William Hopkins: Ferrar and his Friends, 1892, pp. 223, 271-2). Oley died at Gransden, at an extreme old age, on 20 Feb. 1685-6, and, in accordance with his will, was buried there on the night of 22 Feb. 'with a private and very frugal funeral.' An inscription to his memory was placed on the wall at the west end of the interior of the church.

Oley edited in 1652 'Herbert's Remains, or sundry pieces of that Sweet Singer, Mr. George Herbert,' containing 'A Priest to the Temple, or the countrey parson, Jacula Prudentum,' &c. Prefixed was an unsigned prefatory view of the life and vertues of the authour, and excellencies of this book,' which was written by Oley. The second edition appeared in 1671 as 'A Priest to the Temple or the Country Parson,' with a new preface, signed Barnabas Oley, and beginning with a confession of the authorship of the old notice.The old preface was also reprinted at the end. Both of them, but the new prefac ea slightly enlarged form, were contained in the editions of 1675 and 1701, and reprintedin the editions of Herbert's 'Works' by Pickering (1848) and Bell and Daldy (1859). The manuscript of 'The Country Parson' was the property of Herbert's friend, Wodenote, who 'commended it to the hands' of Oley, and from his prefaces were drawn some of the facts set out in Izaak Walton's memoir of Herbert. Three volumes of the works of Thomas Jackson [q. v.], president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, appeared under the tutorial care of Oley in 1653- 57. The first of them (1653) contains an account by him of the work, acknowledging Jackson as his 'master in divines,' and pronouncing him 'The Divine of his Rank and age.' The merits of Jackson had been pointed out to us by N. F. i.e. Nicholas Ferrar. To the second volume (1654) was prefixed a preface to the reader by him, and in the third volume (1657) were an epistle dedicatory to Sheldon, in which he announced that 'God, by constraining me of disabilitie, hath taken away hopes and desires of publishing any work of mine own'—and a preface, both by Oley. The three volumes were reissued in 1673, with a general dedication by him to Sheldon, then Archbishop of Canterbury, and with a preface to the reader enlarged and altered 'out of the three composed before.' It dwells upon the feebleness of Oley's memory 'by the suddain ingruence of a Lethargy or Apoplexy.' This dedicatory address and preface are reprinted in Jackson's 'Works' (ed. 1844), vol. i. Some lines by him, prefixed to the translation of Lessius, entitled 'Hygiasticon,' which appeared in 1634, are reproduced in Mayor's 'Nicholas Ferrar,' p. viii. Oley was one of those appointed by Gunning to sort and revise all his papers, and a long letter on Ferrar from Dr. Robert Byng to him is printed in Packard's 'Life of Ferrar, ' pp. 29-34, and reproduced in Mayor's 'Memoir,' pp. 7-11. Some of his letters were formerly in the possession of Mr. Higg, vicar of Great Gransden, and others are now at Clare College,

Oley's charitable gifts were widespread. To the church of Gransden he gave, in his lifetime, the pulpit (1633) and the wainscot seats in the chancel (1681). He was the 'first contriver and chief benefactor' of the brick school-house, 1664, which he endowed with 20l. a year. He built brick houses for six poor people upon his own freehold land, leasing them for one thousand years to the churchwardens for the time being at a peppercorn rent; and he erected a vicarage, still a solid and comfortable place of residence, with barns, stables, outhouses, and a brick wall next the street and against the churchyard. He also gave one acre of freehold land to 'enlarge the Herd Commons at Hanginton Layes' in that parish, and six leather buckets to prevent casual fires in the village. Warmfield had a share in his bounty, the vicarage receiving a considerable augmentation. To King's College, Cambridge, he gave 100l. for putting up canopies and pillars for the stalls in the chapel (Cole MSS.; Addit. MS. 5802, ff. 98b, 99a), and a like sum to St. Paul's Cathedral.

His will, dated 23 May 1684, with codicils 19 Aug. 1684, 16 Oct. 1685, and 18 Oct. 1685, is in the Lansdowne MS. 988, fol. 94 b, &c., and Harleian MS. 7043, fol. 191, &c., the last taken from the copy of Mr. Thursby, the executor, and containing his marginal notes. With the exception of a few specific legacies, all his property was bequeathed to pious uses, and he only left twelve pence to his brother, Joseph Oley, and one copy of 'The Duty of Man' to each of his children, as he had given them large sums in his lifetime. Other relatives,