Reeve, Richard (DNB00)

REEVE, RICHARD (1642–1693), Benedictine monk, son of William Reeve plebeius, was born in the parish of the Holy Trinity, Gloucester, on 22 June 1642. An attack of palsy ‘when he was a quarter old’ made him incurably lame on his left side, and in consequence he was ‘bred up to learning.’ He was educated in the school of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucester, where he spent four years, and afterwards he was removed to the school belonging to the cathedral church. He matriculated at Oxford, as a servitor of Trinity College, 19 July 1661, and was appointed one of the Lord John Craven's exhibitioners. He graduated B.A. on 18 Dec. 1665, joined the Roman catholic church in 1667, and was made usher of the school adjoining Magdalen College in 1668. On 9 July in the latter year he commenced M.A. as a member of Magdalen College. He was appointed master of the school in 1670, and resigned that post on 21 Dec. 1673, after having received a warning from the president that he would be ejected unless he gave in his adhesion to the Anglican church.

In August 1674 he went to Douay, where he lived some time privately as a convictor in the priory of St. Gregory, belonging to the English Benedictines. In 1675 he became a monk, assuming in religion the name of Wilfrid, but, on account of his lameness, he never took holy orders. For ten years he was engaged in instructing English youths at St. Gregory's in classics, poetry, rhetoric, and Greek. In 1685 he went to France, and spent two years in the monastery at La Celle in the diocese of Meaux. Weldon states that Bossuet took great satisfaction in his company, and made very great account of him (Chronicle of the English Benedictine Monks, p. 219). Reeve was recalled to England in 1688 to be reinstated, by the authority of James II, as master of Magdalen College School, but, owing to the unsettled state of affairs at Oxford, he declined the appointment, and was by royal mandate nominated master of the Bluecoat school at Gloucester, where he was to instruct ‘popish youths.’ On the outbreak of the revolution he sought an asylum at Bourton-on-the-Water in the house of Charles Trinder, the Roman catholic recorder of Gloucester, but he was apprehended on 12 Dec. 1688 as a priest and jesuit, and brought back to that city. He was set at liberty on 10 Aug. 1689, and afterwards resided successively at Bourton-on-the-Water, at Kildington, Oxfordshire, at Oxford, and at Berkeley Street, Piccadilly, Westminster, where he died on 31 Oct. 1693. He was buried in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

Wood, who knew Reeve well, says ‘he was accounted a perfect philologist, admirably well versed in all classical learning, and a good Grecian; and had been so sedulous in his profession of pædagogy that he had educated sixty ministers of the church of England, and about forty Roman priests.’

He was author of:

  1. ‘Carmen Panegyricum eminentissimo et reverendissimo Principi Philippo Howard, Cardinali de Norfolc.,’ Douay, 1675, fol.
  2. ‘Megalasia sacra in Assumptione magni Matris Dei, in BV. sodalitate recitata,’ &c., Douay, 1677.
  3. ‘Carmen Jubilæum ad R. P. Josephum Frere Ecclesiæ Coventriensis Priorem Missam Jubilæam celebrantem, æt. suæ 82, an. 1678,’ Douay, 1678, 4to.
  4. ‘Ad ornatissimos viros D.D. eximios Jacobum Smithæum et Edvardum Pastonum, Anglos, laurea in Theologia Doctorali insignitos in Collegio Anglorum Duaci, Carmen gratulatorium,’ Douay, 1682, 4to.

According to Wood, he also left the following in manuscript:

  1. ‘Rhetorica universa, carmine conscripta,’ containing eight hundred verses.
  2. ‘Poemata Miscellanea.’
  3. ‘Athanasius Anglicus, or, the Life of St. Wilfrid, surnamed the Great, Archbishop of York.’

Reeve had a considerable share in translating into Latin Anthony à Wood's ‘History and Antiquities’ [see Peers, Richard].

[Addit. MS. 24491, f. 322; Bloxam's Magd. Coll. Reg. ii. 207–16 and index; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 493; Downside Review, January 1885; Foster's Alumni Oxon., early series, iii. 1244; Oliver's Cornwall, p. 522; Rambler (1850), vii. 426; Snow's Necrology, p. 75; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iv. 386, Fasti, ii. 283.]

T. C.