Francis Dee d.1638
Francis DEE d.1638
Born in London, the son of David Dee, Rector of St Bartholomew the Great. BA St John’s College, Cambridge 1600, MA and fellow 1603, BD 1610, DD 1617. Rector of Holy Trinity the Less, London, 1607-20, of All Hallows, Lombard Street 1615-34; Chancellor of Salisbury 1618; Dean of Chichester 1630; Bishop of Peterborough 1634. He was chaplain to the English ambassador in Paris in 1629 and in 1630 his name is included among the list of founders of Sion College. Dee was firmly of the High Church, Laudian wing of the Church, and implemented a number of reforms in the diocese of Peterborough around increasing uniformity and ceremony in worship.
Dee bequeathed to St John’s, Cambridge (along with money to endow fellowships, and a set of communion plate) “all those Hebrew Greeke Latine French and English bookes in my studie which they have not already … with power also to chuse and to change for any booke I have if any of mine be better than theirs”. The donors’ book lists ca. 185 volumes received, of which well over 100 are traced in the College Library today. It seems likely that this represented the bulk, or all, of Dee’s library, but the extent of any unselected material is unknown. The contents are substantially theological, but also include classical, philological, legal and scientific texts. Examples: St John’s O.8.31, U.18.36, Rr.12.15, and many others.
The books received by the College were marked with a printed book label (inserted some years after the bequest; the label is thought to be printed after 1653).
- Will of Francis Dee, The National Archives PROB 11/178/204.
- Fielding, J. '"Dee, Francis (d. 1638), bishop of Peterborough."' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
- Lee, B. N., Early printed book labels, Pinner, 1976, no.128.
- Pearson, D., The libraries of English bishops 1600-1640, The Library 6th ser 14 (1992), 221-257.
- Francis Dee in St John's College Library.