Richard Carpenter (theologian)

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Richard Carpenter, Rev. DD
Born bapt. 16 February 1575[/6] (not certain)[1]
Phillack, Cornwall, England
Died between 9 August 1625 (will) & 17 February 1627[/8] (will proven)
Sherwell, Devon, England
Nationality English
Occupation Clerk in holy orders
Known for Theology

Richard Carpenter (1575–1627) was an English clergyman and theological writer.


He was probably born in Cornwall in 1575. A Richard Carpenter was baptised at Phillack, Cornwall, on 16 February 1575[/6], son of Thomas Carpenter.[1] It is not certain, however, that he and this Richard Carpenter were the same person. He matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, on 28 May 1592, and took his degrees of B.A. on 19 February 1596, B.D. 25 June 1611, and D.D. 10 February 1616–17. He was elected to a Cornish fellowship at his college on 30 June 1596, and retained it until 30 June 1606; under the advice of Thomas Holland, the Rector, he studied theology, and became noted as a preacher.[2]

In 1606 he was appointed by Sir Robert Chichester to the rectories of Sherwell and Loxhore, near Barnstaple, and it has been suggested that he was the Richard Carpenter who from 1601 to 1626 held the vicarage of Cullompton. His will, dated in 1625, describes him as pastor of Sherwell (not Sheviock, as per will abstract), Devon.[3]

He died on 18 December 1627, and was buried in the chancel of Loxhore Church, where a monument was erected to his memory.[2]


Carpenter's literary productions were confined to theology. He was the author of:

  • A Sermon Preached at the Funeral Solemnities of Sir Arthur Ackland, 9 January 1612.
  • A Pastoral Charge at the Triennial Visitation of the Bishop of Exon. at Barnstaple, 1616.
  • Christ's Larum Bell of Love resounded, 1616.
  • The Conscionable Christian, three sermons preached before the judges of the circuit in 1620, London, 1623.

His learning is praised by Charles Fitzgeoffry in his Affaniae, and two letters addressed to him by Degory Wheare in 1603 and 1621 are in the Epistolae Eucharistice with Wheare's Pietas erga Benefactores, 1628. Some verses by Carpenter are printed in the Funebre Officium in Memoriam Elizabethae Angliae reginae of the University of Oxford, 1603, and in the collection (Pietas erga Jacobum Angliae regem) with which that body in the same year welcomed the new king.[2]


While he was a tutor at Oxford, Christopher Trevelyan[4] was among his pupils, and through this introduction Carpenter married Susanna, born about 1688, daughter of Sir John Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet and Urith Chichester.[2][5] his pupil's youngest sister, and obtained his benefice from Sir Robert Chichester.[2] The marriage took place at Nettlecombe, Somerset, on 1 September 1606.

The children of Richard and Susanna Carpenter were:[6]

  • 1) Susanna Carpenter, bp. Nettlecombe, 28 Oct 1607.[7]
  • 2) John Carpenter, b. ca. 1608.
  • 3) Mary Carpenter, b. say 1610.
  • 4) Richard Carpenter, b. say 1612.
  • 5) Ann Carpenter, b. say 1614.
  • 6) Elizabeth Carpenter, b. say 1616.
  • 7) Edward Carpenter, b. say 1618.
  • 8) Sarah Carpenter, b. say 1620.
  • 9) Thomas Carpenter, b. say 1622.

This Richard Carpenter was not the Richard Carpenter[8] of Amesbury, Wiltshire, father of William Carpenter[9] of Providence, Rhode Island.

Nor should he be confused with Richard Carpenter (vicar of Poling). This Richard was at Kings College, Cambridge, in 1622, twice lived in Europe for a few years and was vicar of Poling from 1635 to about 1642. He married in middle age and finally settled not in Amesbury but Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, where he died about 1670.[10]


  1. ^ a b Phillack Parish Registers (transcr.), baptisms 1560–1579, online at
  2. ^ a b c d e  "Carpenter, Richard (1575–1627)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  3. ^ Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC) Wills, __ (quire no. between 1 and 63) Barrington; PROB 11/153, at British National Archives (digital images available for online purchase and immediate download at Documents Online, National Archives website). See also Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, etc., Copied from the Manuscript Collections of the Late Rev. Frederick Brown, transcr. Frederick Arthur Crisp, vol. 2 (London, 1888), 109.
  4. ^ Son of John Trevelyan of Nettlecombe, Somerset, who married Urith, daughter of Sir John Chichester (see: Chichester baronets) of Devon.
  5. ^ PCC Wills (see note 1); Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, 2:110.
  6. ^ PCC Wills (see note 1); Abstracts of Somersetshire Wills, 2:109. The will of Richard Carpenter, dated 9 August 1625 and proved 17 February 1627[/8], names wife Susan, daughter of John Trevelian Esq. of Nettlecombe; son John, student at Exeter College, Oxford; eldest daughter Susan; daughter Mary; son Richard; third daughter Ann; fourth daughter Elizabeth; third son Edward; fifth daughter Sarah; fourth son and youngest child Thomas; brother John Carpenter of Salisbury; and sisters Jane, Ann, and Agnes.
  7. ^ Susanna Carpenter baptism listing, International Genealogical Index, citing computer printout [Family History Library, Salt Lake City, film #820,766, item 14] extracted from Edward Dwelly, ed., Dwelly's Parish Records: Bishop's Transcripts at Wells, vol. 2 (1914).
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Zubrinsky, Eugene Cole, FASG, Richard Carpenter of Amesbury, Wiltshire, Prepared for the Carpenter Sketches, 2008, accessed 9 June 2010.