Hadrian à Saravia

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Hadrian à Saravia, sometimes called Hadrian Saravia or Adrian Saravia, (1532—January 15, 1612) was an English prebend and theologian and a member of the First Westminster Company, charged by James I of England to produce the King James Version of the Bible.


Early years

Saravia was born in Hesdin (Artois), then part of Flanders, to Protestant Flemish and Spanish parents. He entered the ministry at Antwerp, had a hand in the Walloon Confession and gathered a Walloon congregation in Brussels. In 1566 he was a minister in Ghent, where his episcopal leanings were attracting notice.

Channel Islands

He went from there to England and was sent as an evangelist to Jersey and Guernsey. When Elizabeth I of England founded Elizabeth College in 1563 he was appointed as its first schoolmaster.

In 1568 he became rector of the parish of St Pierre du Bois, Guernsey, which was then under Presbyterian discipline.


In 1577, after another period in Flanders, he accepted a professorship at Leiden University.

From Leiden he wrote (June 9, 1585) to William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley advising the assumption of the protectorate of the Low Countries by Elizabeth.

He left the United Provinces when his complicity in a political plot was discovered.

Return to England

He returned to England as master of a grammar school in Southampton. He published several treatises defending the Episcopacy against Presbyterian. He was appointed, in 1588, rector of Tatenhill, Staffordshire. His first work, De diversis gradibus ministrorum Evangelii (1590; in English, 1592, and reprinted), was an argument for episcopacy, which led to a controversy with Theodore Beza and gained him incorporation (June 9, 1590) as D.D. at Oxford, and a prebend at Gloucester (October 22, 1591).

On December 6, 1595 he was admitted to a canonry at Canterbury (which he resigned in 1602), and in the same year to the vicarage of Lewisham, Kent, where he became an intimate friend of Richard Hooker, his near neighbor, whom he absolved on his deathbed. He was made prebendary of Worcester in 1601 and of Westminster (July 5, 1601). In 1604, or early in 1605, he presented to James I of England his Latin treatise on the Eucharist, which remained in the Royal Library unprinted, until in 1885 it was published (with translation and introduction) by Archdeacon G. A. Denison.

In 1607 he was nominated one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible of 1611, his part being Genesis to the end of Kings II. He is said to have been the only translator who was not English [1].

On 23 March 1610 he exchanged Lewisham for the rectory of Great Chart, Kent.

He died at Canterbury on 15 January 1612, and was buried in the cathedral. His second wife, Margaret Wiits, erected a memorial to him at the Cathedral

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