Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Was your ancestor baptised by a translator of the King James Bible?

Issue 18 of Herts Part and Present includes an article The Hertfordshire men who translated the King James Bible by Richard N W Lambert. The abstract reads:
This series of mini biographies of the Hertfordshire men who worked on the translations for the King James Bible takes us back to Jacobean Hertfordshire and the lives of eight scholarly priests. Jeremiah Radcliffe, Richard Fairclough and WilIiam Dakins were Hertfordshire born and five others, John Layfield, Francis Burleigh, John Spencer, John Overall, and Samuel Ward had links with Hertfordshire towns and villages. Learned men who shared in the work of translating from the Latin, Hebrew and Greek, many combined distinguished academic careers with a plethora of priestly appointments. One died after being imprisoned in his Cambridge college during the Civil Wars and one sailed to the New World as chaplain to the Earl of Cumberland.
It is quite possible that several of them held a pastoral appointment in Hertfordshire and if you ancestor was baptised in the right parish at the right dates they could have been baptised by one of the translators. John Layfield was rector at Graveley from 1606-1613. Francis Burley was rector of St James the Great, Thorley,  between 1594 and his death in 1619 and was also rector of Bishop's Stortford between 1590 and 1604. Jon Spencer was vicar of St Augustine's, Broxbourne, between 1592 and 1599. John Overall was rector at Clothall between 1603  and 1615 and nearby Therfield between 1605 and 1614. Samuel Ward was rector at Great Munden between 1616 and 1636.

Unfortunately the fact that your ancestor was baptised in one of these parishes at an appropriate date does not automatically mean that they were baptised by one of the translators of the best know English language bible. Often rectors did not even live in the parish, having appointed a curate to minister to the population. This is highlighted by case of Jerimiah Radcliffe who was simultaneously vicar at Shudy Camps, Cambridgeshire, Trumpington, Cambridgeshire, Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, and Heversham, Westmorland.

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