Watson, Christopher (DNB00)


WATSON, CHRISTOPHER (d. 1581), historian and translator, a native of Durham, was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he proceeded B.A. in 1565–6 (Cooper, Athenæ Cantabr. i. 434). For some time he resided with Thomas Gawdy (recorder of Norwich, afterwards a knight and a judge of the queen's bench) at his residence, Gawdy Hall, in Harleston, Norfolk. It was during this period that he appears to have composed his translation of Polybius, for the printing of which a license was granted by the Stationers' Company to Thomas Hackett in 1565; but no copy of an impression bearing that date is known to exist. He commenced M.A. in 1569, and his name occurs in the list of the opponents of the new statutes of the university in 1572 (Lamb, Original Documents, p. 359). It is supposed that he was in holy orders, and that he died before 12 June 1581, when the Stationers' Company licensed to Henry Carre ‘a lamentation for the death of Mr. Christofer Watson, mynister.’ A Christopher Watson was appointed rector of Bircham Newton, Norfolk, in 1573, and also resigned the rectory of Beechamwell in the same county before 1583 (Blomefield, vii. 294, x. 291).

Watson published: 1. ‘The Hystories of the most famous and worthy Cronographer Polybius: Discoursing of the warres betwixt the Romanes and Carthaginienses, a riche and goodly Worke, conteining holsome counsels and wonderfull devises against the incombrances of fickle Fortune. Englished by C. W. Whereunto is annexed an Abstracte, compendiously coarcted out of the life and worthy acts perpetrate by our puissant Prince King Henry the fift,’ London, 1568, 8vo, dedicated to Thomas Gawdy. 2. ‘Catechisme,’ London, 1579, 8vo. A tract of four leaves, without title-page or pagination, entitled ‘Briefe Principles of Religion for the Exercise of Youth: done by C. W.’ (London, 1581, 8vo), is assigned to Watson in the British Museum Catalogue. He also made some valuable collections on the history of Durham, which are extant in Cottonian MS. Vitell. C. ix. ff. 61 sqq.

[Addit MS. 5883, f. 81; Ames's Typogr. Antiq. (Herbert), pp. 742, 895, 1338; Brüggemann's English Editions of Greek and Latin Authors, p. 241; Arber's Registers of the Stationers' Company; Cat. of Cottonian MSS. p. 425; Tanner's Bibl. Brit. p. 755.]

T. C.