Watson, Anthony (DNB00)

WATSON, ANTHONY (d. 1605), bishop of Chichester, was the son of Edward Watson of Thorpe Thewles in Durham. He matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge, in October 1567, proceeded B.A. in 1571–2, was soon afterwards elected a fellow, and commenced M.A. in 1575. He was incorporated at Oxford on 9 July 1577, graduated B.D. at Cambridge in 1582, and was created D.D. in July 1596.

In 1581 he was instituted to the rectory of Cheam in Surrey on the presentation of John Lumley, first baron Lumley (of the second creation) [q. v.], and was licensed to preach by the university in the following year. On 16 April 1590 he was presented to the deanery of Bristol, and on 25 July 1592 was installed chancellor of the church of Wells, receiving also the prebend of Wedmore Secunda in that see. In the same year he became rector of Storrington in Sussex on Lord Lumley's presentation. About 1595 he was appointed queen's almoner in the place of Richard Fletcher (d. 1596) [q. v.], bishop of London, who had incurred Elizabeth's displeasure by a second marriage.

On 15 Aug. 1596 he was consecrated bishop of Chichester, in succession to Thomas Bickley [q. v.] (Strype, Life of Whitgift, 1822, ii. 351). He had license to hold in commendam, with his bishopric, his other preferments, but resigned his chancellorship of Wells in 1596, and his deanery of Bristol about the close of 1597. Watson attended the deathbed of Elizabeth (ib. ii. 466). He was continued in his office of lord almoner by James I, and took part in the conference with the puritans at Hampton Court in January 1603–4 (Strype, Annals, 1824, iv. 552). At the same date the bishop of Chichester was joined by the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of London and Winchester, the deans of St. Paul's, Westminster, the Chapel Royal, and Windsor, four civilians and three common lawyers, in a commission for ‘the care of perusing and suppressing all books that are printed here without public authority or are brought into this realm’ (Strype, Life and Acts of John Whitgift, 1822 edition, vol. ii. p. 504). On 5 Dec. 1603 Watson attended the conspirator George Brooke [q. v.] on the scaffold (Birch, Court and Times of James I, i. 27–8). He was very prominent in court ceremonies during the first two years of the new reign. At the churching, on 19 May 1605, of Queen Anne after the birth of Princess Mary, at Greenwich, Watson preached the sermon (Nichols's Progresses of James I, vol. i. p. 514). He died, unmarried at Cheam on 10 Sept. 1605, and was buried in the parish church on 19 Sept. He had held the rectory of Cheam for twenty-four years, and it is interesting to note that after four years' interval Watson was in 1609 succeeded at Cheam by Lancelot Andrewes [q. v.], who followed him immediately as bishop of Chichester. By his will, dated 6 Sept. 1605, Watson made bequests to the library and subsizars of Christ's College. A letter from him to Sir Julius Cæsar is preserved in the British Museum in Addit. MS. 12507, f. 191.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 410; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 841; Le Neve's Fasti Eccles. Anglicanæ; Lansdowne MS. 983, ff. 79, 85; Manningham's Diary (Camden Soc.), 1868, p. 46; Chamberlain's Letters (Camden Soc.), 1861, p. 136; Nichols's Progresses of James I, vol. i. passim; Cardwell's Hist. of Conferences, 1840, pp. 161, 169, 217.]

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