John Davenant 1572-1641

From Book Owners Online

John DAVENANT 1572-1641

Biographical Note

Born in London, son of John Davenant, a wealthy merchant tailor. BA Queens' College, Cambridge 1591, MA 1594, fellow 1597, BD 1601, DD 1609, when he became Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity. He was elected President of Queens' in 1614. Made a royal chaplain in 1618, he attended the Synod of Dort as a member of the British delegation, where he was influential in negotiating the outcome. He had held various livings since 1609 and in 1621 was appointed Bishop of Salisbury. Doctrinally "a staunch defender of Calvinist orthodoxy" (ODNB), his theological position came to be increasingly at odds with the Arminianism and high church practices which became increasingly prominent through the 1620s and 30s, and in 1630 he was summoned by the privy council for preaching on predestination. He published numerous sermons and treatises defending his theological views.


Davenant gave £100 to the library of Queens' in 1626, with which 130 volumes were purchased. A Bible of 1585 containing his painted arms, in an embroidered binding of ca.1630, is now in the Henry Davis Gift in the British Library. In his will, he made extensive provisions for the disposition of books, with many specific legacies to colleagues and relatives. To Humphrey Henchman (later Bishop of London), he left "my Greeke concordance of the Newe Testament and Dionisius Areopagitica in two volumes"; to John Rives, Archdeacon of Berkshire, "my Latin Chrisostom in fower volumes"; to Alexander Rede, sub-Dean of Salisbury, "[St] Bernard in two volumes"; to James White, "Kircherus Hebrewe and Greeke concordance in two volumes"; to John Rogers, prebendary of Salisbury, "Barradius concordance upon the gospells in two volumes folio"; to John Cooke, "Sir Walter Rawleigh's historie"; to Edward Onslowe, prebendary of Salisbury, "a Lattine concordance of the Bible, Szegedine's common places, Catalogus testium veritatis"; to Edward North (his nephew by marriage), "Marlorate's Expositio ecclesiastica in fower volumes"; to Bartholomew Shapley, prebendary of Salisbury, "Chemnitius, his Examen in folio, his common places in quarto"; to Matthew Hutt, "Doctor Whitaker's workes". As regards his remaining books, he directed that none of them should be sold, but that his brother Edward should take whatever he wished, distributing English books to any of his nieces and friends as he thought fit. Whatever was then left was to be shared out among a number of friends and relatives.

Characteristic Markings

The bulk of Davenant's books have not been identified.