Isaac Bargrave

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Isaac Bargrave
Isaac Bargrave.jpg
A 1636 painting of Isaac Bargrave by Cornelis Janssens van Ceulen
DiedJanuary 1643, aged 56 or 57
Resting place Canterbury Cathedral
51°16′47″N1°04′59″E / 51.279722°N 1.083056°E / 51.279722; 1.083056
Years active1625-43

Isaac Bargrave (1586 January 1643) was an English royalist churchman, Dean of Canterbury from 1625 to 1643.

Dean of Canterbury

The Dean of Canterbury is the head of the Chapter of the Cathedral of Christ Church, Canterbury, England. The current office of dean originated after the English Reformation, although Deans had also existed before this time; its immediate precursor office was the prior of the cathedral-monastery. The current Dean is Robert Willis, who was appointed in 2001 and is the 39th Dean since the Reformation, though the position of Dean and Prior as the religious head of the community is almost identical so the line is unbroken back to the time of the foundation of the community by Saint Augustine in AD 597.



Early life

Isaac was the sixth son of Robert Bargrave, of Bridge, Kent, and was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and M.A. [1] On 9 July 1611 he was incorporated M.A. of Oxford, and in the October following became rector of Eythorne. In 1612 he held the office of 'taxor' at Cambridge, and he acted in the Latin comedy Ignoramus performed at the university before James I on 8 March 1615 and written by George Ruggle of his college.

Bridge, Kent village in the United Kingdom

Bridge is a village and civil parish near Canterbury in Kent, South East England.

Clare College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. The college was founded in 1326 as University Hall, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. It was refounded in 1338 as Clare Hall by an endowment from Elizabeth de Clare, and took on its current name in 1856. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "The Backs".

Eythorne farm village in the United Kingdom

Eythorne is a civil parish and small village of about 1,000 homes, 7.3 miles NNW of Dover in Kent. There are currently about 2,500 residents including Barfrestone and Elvington. Although not classed as one of the former pit villages of Kent, it was only about a mile from Tilmanstone – which closed in 1986. Today many of its residents commute to work in Dover (Docks), or in Canterbury.


Shortly afterwards Bargrave went to Venice as chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton, the English ambassador there, and befriended Paolo Sarpi. In 1618 he returned to England with a letter of introduction from Wotton to the king. In 1622 he received the degree of D.D. at Cambridge, and was appointed a prebendary of Canterbury Cathedral. It was about the same time that he was granted the living of St. Margaret's, Westminster, and became chaplain to Prince Charles, an office which he retained after the prince ascended the throne in 1625.

Paolo Sarpi Venetian patriot, scholar, scientist and church reformer

Paolo Sarpi was an Italian historian, prelate, scientist, canon lawyer, and statesman active on behalf of the Venetian Republic during the period of its successful defiance of the papal interdict (1605–1607) and its war (1615–1617) with Austria over the Uskok pirates. His writings, frankly polemical and highly critical of the Catholic Church and its Scholastic tradition, "inspired both Hobbes and Edward Gibbon in their own historical debunkings of priestcraft." Sarpi's major work, the History of the Council of Trent (1619), was published in London in 1619; other works: a History of Ecclesiastical Benefices, History of the Interdict and his Supplement to the History of the Uskoks, appeared posthumously. Organized around single topics, they are early examples of the genre of the historical monograph.

A prebendary is a member of the Anglican or Roman Catholic clergy, a form of canon with a role in the administration of a cathedral or collegiate church. When attending services, prebendaries sit in particular seats, usually at the back of the choir stalls, known as prebendal stalls.

Canterbury Cathedral Church in Kent, England

Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. It forms part of a World Heritage Site. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Its formal title is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury.


On the death of John Boys of Canterbury, who had married Bargrave's sister, Bargrave succeeded to the deanery, to which he was formally admitted on 16 October 1625. He obtained the vicarage of Tenterden in 1626, and was presented to the benefice of Lydd by the king in September 1627, but only held it for a few weeks. On 5 June 1628 he received the vicarage of Chartham, which he continued to hold till his death.

Tenterden town and civil parish in the Ashford district of Kent, England

Tenterden is a town with a large conservation area in the Ashford District of Kent, England. It stands on the edge of the remnant forest The Weald, overlooking the valley of the River Rother. It was a member of the Cinque Ports Confederation. Its riverside today is not navigable to large vessels and its status as a wool manufacturing centre has been lost. Tenterden has several voluntary organisations, some of which are listed below, seven large or very old public houses within its area and has long distance walking and cycling routes within its boundaries.

Lydd town in Kent, England

Lydd is a town and electoral ward in Kent, England, lying on the Romney Marsh. It is one of the larger settlements on the marsh, and the most southerly town in Kent. Lydd reached the height of its prosperity during the 13th century, when it was a corporate member of the Cinque Ports, a "limb" of Romney. Actually located on Denge Marsh, Lydd was one of the first sandy islands to form as the bay evolved into what is now called the Romney Marsh. The name Hlyda, which derives from the Latin word for "shore", was found in a Saxon charter dating from the 8th century.

Chartham village in United Kingdom

Chartham is a village and civil parish on the Great Stour river in the vale of the Kent Downs, 4 miles (6 km) west of Canterbury, England. The Great Stour Way path passes through the village. A paper mill in the village has specialised in the production of tracing paper since 1938. There are numerous arable farms and orchards in the parish. The village has an unmanned station, Chartham, and a manned level crossing. It has an outlying locality sharing in many of the community resources, Chartham Hatch.


In the last years of James I's reign Bargrave had preached a sermon which threw him into disfavour with the court; but as dean of Canterbury he supported the policy of Charles I. A sermon preached by him before Charles I on 27 March 1627 supported the collection of that year's arbitrary loan. In later years Bargrave did not live on good terms with his diocesan William Laud, or with the cathedral clergy. In 1634-5 he insisted on the Walloon congregation at Canterbury and the Belgian church of Sandwich conforming to the ritual of the church of England; but the archbishop did not approve of these orders. Bargrave claimed precedence over the deans of London and Westminster, and engaged in a dispute with William Somner, the registrar of the diocese.

William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury

William Laud was an English churchman, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633 during the personal rule of Charles I. Arrested in 1640, he was executed in 1645.

Walloons French-speaking people who live in Belgium, principally in Wallonia

Walloons are a Romance ethnic group native to Belgium, principally its southern region of Wallonia, who speak French and Walloon. Walloons are a distinctive ethnic community within Belgium. Important historical and anthropological criteria bind Walloons to the French people.

Sandwich, Kent town in Kent, England

Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in the non-metropolitan district of Dover, within the ceremonial county of Kent, south-east England. It has a population of 4,985. Sandwich was one of the Cinque Ports and still has many original medieval buildings, including several listed public houses and gates in the old town walls, churches, almshouses and the White Mill. While once a major port, it is now two miles from the sea due to the disappearance of the Wantsum Channel. Its historic centre has been preserved. Sandwich Bay is home to nature reserves and two world-class golf courses, Royal St George's and Prince's. The town is also home to educational and cultural events. Sandwich also gave its name to the food by way of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, and the word sandwich is now found in several languages.

Soon after the opening of the Long Parliament Bargrave became an object of attack. When the bill for the abolition of deans and chapters was introduced by Sir Edward Dering, the first cousin of his wife, he was fined £1,000 as a prominent member of convocation. On 12 May 1641 he went to the House of Commons to present petitions from the university of Cambridge and from the officers of Canterbury Cathedral against the bill. Although the bill was ultimately dropped, Bargrave's unpopularity increased.

Long Parliament English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660

The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.

Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet English politician

Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet (1598–1644) of Surrenden Dering, Pluckley, Kent was an English antiquary and politician.

Imprisonment & death

At the beginning of the First English Civil War, in August 1642, Edwin Sandys, a parliamentary colonel who had been on good terms with Bargrave, occupied the deanery. Bargrave was absent, but his wife and children were roughly treated; and Sandys arrested Bargrave at Gravesend, after which he spent time in the Fleet Prison After three weeks' imprisonment Bargrave was released without having been brought to trial. He returned to Canterbury and died there early in January 1643. He was buried in the dean's chapel of the cathedral. In 1679 a memorial was erected above the grave by the dean's nephew, John Bargrave, with a portrait painted on copper of the dean, attributed to Cornelius Jansen.


Bargrave was married to Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir John Dering, of Pluckley, and first cousin of Sir Edward Dering. Of Bargrave's children one son, Thomas, married a niece of Sir Henry Wotton, and was an executor of Sir Henry's will.


Bargrave published three sermons: one preached from Psalms xxvi. 6 before the House of Commons 28 Feb. 1623-4; another preached from Hosea x. 1 at Whitehall in 1624, and a third preached from 1 Sam. xv. 23 before King Charles 29 March 1627.

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  1. "Bargrave, Isaac (BRGV606I)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : "Bargrave, Isaac". Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Church of England titles
Preceded by
John Boys
Dean of Canterbury
Succeeded by
George Aglionby