Lancelot Andrewes

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Lancelot Andrewes : biography

1555 – 25 September 1626

He has an academic cap named after him, known as the Bishop Andrewes cap, which is like a mortarboard but made of velvet, floppy and has a tump or tuff instead of a tassel. This was in fact the ancient version of the mortarboard before the top square was stiffened and the tump replaced by a tassel and button. This cap is still used by Cambridge DDs and at certain institutions as part of their academic dress.

During Elizabeth’s reign

After a period as chaplain to Henry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, President of the North, he became vicar of St Giles’s, Cripplegate in 1588 and there delivered striking sermons on the temptation in the wilderness and the Lord’s Prayer. In a great sermon (during Easter week) on 10 April 1588, he stoutly vindicated the Reformed character of the Church of England against the claims of Roman Catholicism and adduced John Calvin as a new writer, with lavish praise and affection.

Through the influence of Francis Walsingham, Andrewes was appointed prebendary of St Pancras in St Paul’s, London, in 1589, and subsequently became Master of his own college of Pembroke, as well as a chaplain of Archbishop John Whitgift. From 1589 to 1609 he was prebendary of Southwell. On 4 March 1590, as a chaplain of Queen Elizabeth I, he preached before her an outspoken sermon and, in October that year, gave his introductory lecture at St Paul’s, undertaking to comment on the first four chapters of the Book of Genesis. These were later compiled as The Orphan Lectures (1657).

Andrewes liked to move among the people, yet found time to join a society of antiquaries, of which Walter Raleigh, Sir Philip Sidney, Burleigh, Arundel, the Herberts, Saville, Stow and Camden were members. Queen Elizabeth had not advanced him further on account of his opposition to the alienation of ecclesiastical revenues. In 1598 he declined the bishoprics of Ely and Salisbury, because of the conditions attached. On 23 November 1600, he preached at Whitehall a controversial sermon on justification. In 1601 he was appointed dean of Westminster and gave much attention to the school there.

Early life, education and ordination

Andrewes was born in 1555 near All Hallows, Barking, by the Tower of London – originally a dependency of Barking Abbey in Barking, Essex, of an ancient Suffolk family later domiciled at Chichester Hall, Rawreth; his father, Thomas, was master of Trinity House. Andrewes attended the Cooper’s free school, Ratcliff, in the parish of Stepney and then the Merchant Taylors’ School under Richard Mulcaster. In 1571 he entered Pembroke Hall, Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, proceeding to a Master of Arts degree in 1578. His academic reputation spread so quickly that on the foundation in 1571 of Jesus College, Oxford he was named in the charter as one of the founding scholars "without his privity" (Isaacson, 1650); his connection with the college seems to have been purely notional, however. In 1576 he was elected fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge; in 1580 he took orders and in 1581 was incorporated MA at Oxford. As catechist at his college he read lectures on the Decalogue (published in 1630), which aroused great interest.

Andrewes was the brother of the scholar and cleric Roger Andrewes who also served as a translator for the King James Version of the Bible.

Notes

During James I’s reign

On the accession of James I, to whom his somewhat pedantic style of preaching recommended him, Andrewes rose into great favour. He assisted at James’s coronation, and in 1604 took part in the Hampton Court conference.

Andrewes’ name is the first on the list of divines appointed to compile the Authorized Version of the Bible. He headed the "First Westminster Company" which took charge of the first books of the Old Testament (Genesis to 2 Kings). He acted, furthermore, as a sort of general editor for the project as well.

In 1605 he was consecrated Bishop of Chichester and made Lord High Almoner. Following the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot Andrewes was asked to prepare a sermon to be presented to the king in 1606 (Sermons Preached upon the V of November, in Lancelot Andrewes, XCVI Sermons, 3rd. Edition (London,1635) pp. 889,890, 900-1008 ). In this sermon Lancelot Andrewes justified the need to commemorate the deliverance and defined the nature of celebrations. This sermon became the foundation of celebrations which continue 400 years later.The sermon can be found at . In 1609 he published Tortura Torti, a learned work which grew out of the Gunpowder Plot controversy and was written in answer to Bellarmine’s Matthaeus Tortus, which attacked James I’s book on the oath of allegiance. After moving to Ely (1609), he again controverted Bellarmine in the Responsio ad Apologiam.

In 1617 he accompanied James I to Scotland with a view to persuading the Scots that Episcopacy was preferable to Presbyterianism. He was made dean of the Chapel Royal and translated to Winchester, a diocese that he administered with great success. Following his death in 1626 in Southwark, he was mourned alike by leaders in Church and state, and buried by the high altar in St Mary Overie (now Southwark Cathedral, then in the Diocese of Winchester).