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Walton, Brian

london polyglott bible

WALTON, BRIAN (1600-1661), bishop of Chester, and editor of the great London Polyglott Bible, was born at Seymour, in the district of Cleveland, Yorkshire, in 1600. He went to Cambridge as a sizar of Magdalene College in 1616, migrated to Peterhouse in 1618, was bachelor in 1619, and master of arts in 1623. After holding a school mastership and two curacies he was in 1626 made rector of St Martin's Orgar in London (1626), where he took a leading part in the contest between the London clergy and the citizens about the city tithes, and compiled a treatise on the subject, which is printed in Brewster's Collectanea, 1752. His conduct in this matter displayed Ins ability, but his zeal for the exaction of ecclesiastical dues was remembered to his hurt in 1641 in the articles brought against him in parliament, which appear to have led to the sequestration of his very considerable preferments.1 He was also charged with Popish practices, but on frivolous grounds, and with aspersing the members of parliament for the city. Up to this time he was perhaps more an active ecclesiastic than an eager student. In 1642 he was ordered into custody as a delinquent ; thereafter he took refuge at Oxford, and ultimately returned to London to the house of Dr Fuller, dean of Ely, whose daughter Jane was his second wife. In this retirement he planned and executed his great work, a Polyglott Bible which should be completer, cheaper, and provided with a better critical apparatus than any previous work of the kind (see PoLYGLOTT). The proposals for the Polyglott appeared in 1652, and the book itself came out in six great folios in 1657, having been printing for five years. England had at this time a band of Biblical and Oriental scholars of unusual distinction, and Walton could reckon among his active helpers Usher, Lightfoot, and Pococke, Castle, Wheelock, and Patrick Young, Hyde, Thomas Oreaves, and others of less note. The great undertaking was supported by liberal subscriptions, and Walton's political opinions did not deprive him of the help of the Commonwealth ; the paper used was freed from duty, and the interest of Cromwell in the work was acknowledged in the original preface, part of which was afterwards cancelled to make way for more loyal expressions towards that restored monarchy under which Oriental studies in England immediately began to languish. To Walton himself, however, the Reformation He was from January 1635-36 rector of Sandon, in Essex, where his first wife, Anne Claxton, is buried. Ile appears to have also been a prebendary of St Paul's, and for a very short time he had held the rectory of St Giles in the Fields.

brought no disappointment. He was consecrated bishop of Chester in December 1660. In the following spring he was one of the commissioners at the Savoy Conference, but took little part in the business. In the autumn of 1661 he paid a short visit to his diocese, and returning to London he fell sick and died on 29th November.

However much Walton was indebted to his helpers, the Polyglott Bible is a great monument of industry and of capacity for directing a vast undertaking, and the Prolegomena (separately reprinted by Dathe, 1777, and Wrangham, 1825) show judgment as well as learning. The same qualities appear in Walton's Considerator Considered (1659), a reply to Dr John Owen's Considerations, who thought that the accumulation of material for the revision of the received text tended to atheism. Among Walton's works must also be mentioned an Introductio ad Leettionem Linguarum °Hottalium (1654, 2d ed. 1655), meant to prepare the way for the Polyglott.

See Henry J. Todd, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Walton, London, 1821, in 2 vols., of widen the second contains a reprint of Walton's answer to Owen.

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