LIVES OF THE BISHOPS OF EXETER
RALPH BROWNRIGG, born at Ipswich, was Prebendary of Ely, Master of Catharine Hall, Cambridge, Archdeacon of Coventry, and Rector of Barley, in Hertfordshire, when King Charles I. nominated him to the See of Exeter, void by Bishop Hall's translation to Norwich. His consecration was; performed by Archbishop Laud, on 3rd May, 1642, according to the Register here; but he was never installed (unless by proxy); though Dr. Walker asserts that he was, on 1st June that year ('Sufferings,' &c., part if. p. 23). The truth is, "he never came hither," says Izacke; "he never saw his diocese," states his epitaph. On 27th November, 1643, he appointed a Commission to administer the diocese in his stead; but reserving for his own maintenance the livings of Little Torrington, and Beer Ferrers. The times were troublesome and perilous; and the bishop came in for his full share of losses and bitter persecution; but the house of his friend, Mr. Rich, of Sunning, in Berkshire, afforded him hospitality and protection. The benchers of the Temple chose him for their Preacher, in which office he continued until his death, on 7th December, 1659, when that Honourable Society defrayed the expenses of his funeral in their church on 17th of that month and year.
Dr. John Gauden, who had preached the sermon on that occasion, and was appointed his successor in the see, after his election on 3rd November, inscribed the following epitaph to his memory :-
Sumptibus et auspiciis Honorab. Socictat. Templi
Subtus positæ sunt Reliquiæ Radolfi
Brownrici S.T.D. Cant: reverendiss. Episc.
Exon, quem honorem optimè meruit, et per
annos XIX tenuit, malo tamen seculi fato,
bellis, schismatibus, sacrilegiis et Regicidiis
ferosciente, nunquam exercuit. Tandem anno
ætatis LXVII, Provinciam terrestrem nondun
visam deserens, ad cælestem migravit,
æræ Christi MDCLIX illuscescente CAR. IIdi.
fælicissimo redditu L.M.P.I.G. Episc.
This bishop elect should have assigned seventeen insitead of nineteen years for the period of his episcopacy; and is also incorrect in stating that he never exercised his authority; for by commission he instituted and collated several clergymen. Wills continued to be, proved in his court until Midsummer, 1646, and caveats were registered till 11th June, 1649. But he is entitled to praise for the pains he took in arranging the sermons and manuscripts of his friend and predecessor for the press, though they were not published until 1685, by W. Martyn, in two folio volumes.
ARMS: - Argent, a Lion rampant sable, gutty d'or, langued and armed gules, between three crescents of the last.
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