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Thomas Bradley (1597-1673)
Born: 1597 probably at Wokingham, Berkshire
Chaplain to King Charles I
Died: 10th October 1673 at Ackworth, West Riding of Yorkshire

Thomas Bradley was a native of Berkshire, born in 1597, the son of Henry Bradley of Wokingham and his wife, Barbara daughter of Walter Lane of Reading. He became a battler of Exeter College, Oxford, in 1616, and proceeded to become a BA on 21st July 1620. He was chaplain to the Duke of Buckingham for several years and accompanied him in the expedition to Rochelle and the Isle of Rhe in 1627. After Buckingham's murder, in the following year, Bradley became chaplain to King Charles I and, on 16th June 1629, a captain in the expedition to France applied to the council to take Bradley with him as chaplain of his ship.

Soon afterwards, on 5th May 1631, Bradley married Frances, the daughter of John, Baron Savile of Pontefract, and he was presented, by his father-in-law about the same time, to the livings of Castleford and Ackworth, near Pontefract. As a staunch Royalist, he was created a DD at Oxford on 20th December 1642 and was expelled a few years later by the parliamentary committee from both his Yorkshire livings. "His lady and all his children were turned out of doors to seek their bread in desolate places," and his library at Castleford fell into the hands of his oppressors.

He published in London in 1658 a curious pamphlet entitled 'A Present for Caesar of 100,000 in hand and 50,000 a year,' in which he recommended the extortion of first-fruits and tithes according to their true value. The work is respectfully dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. At the Restoration, Bradley was restored to Ackworth, but, in 1661, he found it necessary to vindicate his pamphlet in another tract entitled 'Appello Caesarem'. But his conduct did not satisfy the government and, in an assize sermon preached at York in 1663 and published as ' Caesar's Due and the Subject's Duty,' he said that the King had bidden him "preach conscience to the people and not to meddle with state affairs," and that he had to apologise for his sermons preached against the excise and the excisemen, the Westminster lawyers and 'the rack-renting landlords and depopulators.' He also expressed regret for having suggested the restoration of the Council of the North. In 1666, he was made a prebendary of York and he died seven years later.

His publications consist entirely of sermons. The earliest, entitled 'Comfort from the Cradle,' was preached at Winchester and published at Oxford in 1650. Four others, preached at York Minster, were published at York between 1661 and 1670; and six occasional sermons appear to have been issued collectively in London in 1667. Bradley has been described as 'an excellent preacher' and 'a ready and acute wit.' A son, Savile, was at one time fellow of New College, Oxford, and afterwards fellow of Magdalen.

Edited from Leslie Stephen's "Dictionary of National Biography" (1886).

     

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