Skinner, Robert (DNB00)


SKINNER, ROBERT (1591–1670), bishop successively of Bristol, Oxford, and Worcester, born on 10 Feb. 1590–1, was the second son of Edmund Skinner, rector of Pitsford, Northamptonshire, and Bridget, daughter of Humphrey Radcliff of Warwickshire. After attending Brixworth grammar school, he was admitted scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1607. He graduated B.A. in 1610, and M.A. in 1614. In 1613 he was elected fellow of his college, and until his death interested himself in its welfare. He proceeded B.D. in 1621, and became preacher of St. Gregory's Church, near St. Paul's Cathedral. In 1628 he succeeded his father as rector of Pitsford, and shortly after was chosen by Laud to be chaplain-in-ordinary to the king. In 1631 he was appointed rector of Launton, Oxfordshire, and in 1636 eleventh bishop of Bristol and rector of Greens Norton, Northamptonshire. He retained the livings of Launton and Greens Norton, to which were soon added those of Cuddesden, Oxfordshire, and Beckenham, Kent. In the same year he became D.D. by diploma. In 1641 he was translated to the see of Oxford. He was one of the bishops who subscribed the protest of 17 Dec. 1641, declaring themselves prevented from attendance in parliament, and was consequently committed by the lords to the Tower, where he remained eighteen weeks. Being released on bail he retired to Launton. In 1643 he was deprived of Greens Norton ‘for his malignity against the parliament.’ He was also sequestered from his livings of Cuddesden in 1646 and Beckenham in 1647.

During the Commonwealth he secured a license to preach, and continued in his diocese. He also conferred holy orders throughout England. It is stated by Thomas Warton, in his ‘Life of R. Bathurst’ (p. 35), that Bathurst secretly examined the candidates, and officiated at Launton as archdeacon. At the Restoration he became one of the king's commissioners of the university of Oxford, and in 1663 was translated to Worcester. He died on 14 June 1670, and is buried in a chapel at the east end of the choir of Worcester Cathedral. At the head of the inscribed stone, which is now in the crypt, are the arms of the family impaled with those of the see. He married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Bernard Bangor, esquire bedell of Oxford, and left issue six sons and four daughters.

Skinner's eldest son Matthew became fellow of Trinity. The latter's grandson was Matthew Skinner [q. v.], serjeant-at-law; while from the bishop's fourth son was descended John Skinner (1772–1839) [q. v.], the antiquary.

[A few Memorials of the Right Rev. Robert Skinner, and the authorities there cited; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 842 and Fasti, i. 489; Nelson's Bull, p. 25; Woolrych's Lives of Eminent Serjeants, ii. 521.]

E. C. M.