Arthur Lake 1567-1626

From Book Owners Online

Arthur LAKE 1567-1626

Biographical Note

Born in Southampton, son of Almeric Lake. BA New College, Oxford 1591, MA 1595, fellow 1589, BD and DD 1605. Rector of Havant, Hampshire 1599, and held several other Hampshire beneficies during the following years; chaplain to Bishop Bilson of Winchester, Master of St Cross Hospital, Winchester 1603, archdeacon of Surrey 1605, Dean of Worcester 1608, Warden of New College 1613, Bishop of Bath and Wells 1616. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Oxford in 1616-17. Moderately Calvinist in outlook, he was an able and enthusiastic preacher, who made efforts to encourage evangelism through the pulpit across his diocese. Two volumes of his sermons were published posthumously, as requested in his will, 1629-40. He was one of the translators for the King James Bible, and worked on part of the New Testament.


Lake’s will gave extensive instructions for the disposal of his books. He had already left ca.500 volumes in New College, now formally bequeathed to them (the College benefactors’ book lists these as a gift in 1617). These are wide ranging in subject, and include history, classics, law, geography, mathematics and science as well as theology. To Wells Cathedral he gave a list of specified works, including the Antwerp polyglot and writings of the church fathers, and to Winchester College £20 worth of books, to be selected from those not given elsewhere. His Bible, covered with green velvet and silver clasps, was to go to his godson Launcelot Lake, and members of his household received £5 or £20 worth of books, for them to select. His manuscript sermons were to be divided between his secretary William Woodhouse and his nephew Philip Mahat (the former to receive the “fowle copies”, that latter the “fayre”), and his other papers were to be burnt. The remainder of his books, not otherwise disposed of, were to be dvided between his nephews Philip Mahat and Thomas Lake. The two overseers of the will were each bequeathed £2 “to buy bookes”.

Lake founded the endowed public library at Bath Abbey in 1619, and gave the works of James I as a first donation. In 1616, when he left the Deanery of Worcester, he gave the first three volumes of the Eton Chrysostom to the Cathedral Library there. Most of the books given to New College remain there today. Some of the titles given to Wells can be found in the Cathedral Library, but it is not clear whether they are Lake’s copies (they have no markings to identify them as such; Wells Cathedral Library was partly dispersed during the Civil War). Books from Lake’s collection can now be found in various libraries. Examples: many at New College; Cambridge University Library Q.5.20; Pembroke, Cambridge 3.5.27-29.