Richard Brett

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Richard Brett (1567–1637) was an English clergyman and academic. During the translation of the King James Version of the Bible, Brett served in the "First Oxford Company", responsible for the later books of the Old Testament


Born into the gentry in London, Brett attended Hart Hall, Oxford where he entered as a commoner in 1582. He was appointed Rector of Quainton, Buckinghamshire, in 1595. That same year, he was granted a Fellowship in Lincoln College under Richard Kilby, where he pursued his study of Latin, Greek, Aramaic, Arabic, Hebrew, and Ge'ez (Ethiopic) tongues. In 1597 he was admitted bachelor of divinity, and he proceeded in divinity in 1605.

He died in Quainton on 5 April 1637, aged 70, and is buried in the chancel of Quainton Church, which he served for 43 years. Over his grave a monument with his effigies and a Latin and English epitaph was erected by his widow. By his wife Alice, daughter of Richard Brown, sometime mayor of Oxford, he left four daughters, of whom Margaret married Calybute Downing in 1627.[1]


His scholarly publications were in Latin:

  • Two translations from Greek into Latin: Vitæ sanctorum Evangelistarum Johannis et Lucæ à Simeone Metaphraste concinnatæ, Oxford, 1597, and Agatharchidis et Memnonis historicorum quæ supersunt omnia,Oxford, 1597.
  • Iconum sacrarum Decas in quâ è subjectis typis compluscula sanæ doctrinæ capita eruuntur, 1603.


  • McClure, Alexander. (1858) The Translators Revived: A Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible. Mobile, Alabama: R. E. Publications (republished by the Marantha Bible Society, 1984 ASIN B0006YJPI8 )
  • Nicolson, Adam. (2003) God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. New York: HarperCollins ISBN 0-06-095975-4


  1. ^  "Downing, Calybute". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Stanley M. Burstein, "Richard Brett," in volume 1 of Dictionary of British Classicists, ed. Robert Todd et al. (Bristol: Thoemmes, 2004), pp. 104–05.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Brett, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.