1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Knightly Chetwood

Alexander Chalmers, in General Biographical Dictionary (1812-17) 9:246-47.



Dr. KNIGHTLY CHETWOOD, was born in 1652. He was educated at Eton, and thence removed to Cambridge, where he was fellow of King's-college in 1683, when he contributed the life of Lycurgus to the translation of Plutarch's Lives, published in that year. He was intimately connected with Wentworth, earl of Roscommon, whose life, written by him, is preserved in the public library of Cambridge, among Baker's MS Collections, (vol. XXXVI.) and furnished Fenton with some of the anecdotes concerning that nobleman, which are found among his notes on Waller's poems. The life of Virgil, and the preface to the Pastorals, prefixed to Dryden's Virgil, were written by Dr. Chetwood, for whom Dryden had a great regard, a circumstance very necessary to be mentioned, as that life has always been ascribed to Dryden himself.

Jacob mentions that Dr. Chetwood had a claim to an ancient English barony, which was fruitlessly prosecuted by his son, and which accounts for his being styled "a person of honour," in a translation which he published of some of St. Evremont's pieces. By the favour probably of the earl of Dartmouth, he was nominated to the see of Bristol by king James II. but soon after his nomination, the king's abdication took place. In April 1707, he was installed dean of Gloucester, which preferment he enjoyed till his death, which happened April 11, 1720, at Tempsford, in Bedfordshire, where he had an estate, and where he was buried. He married a daughter of the celebrated Samuel Shute, esq. sheriff of London in the time of Charles II. by whom he left a son, John, who was fellow of Trinity-hall, Cambridge, and died in 1733. Two copies of verses by Dr. Chetwood, one in English, and the other in Latin, are prefixed to lord Roscommon's Essay on translated Verse, 1685, 4to. He was author also of several poems, some of which are preserved in Dryden's miscellany, and in Mr. Nichols's Collection. He likewise published three single sermons, and A speech to the Lower House of Convocation, May 20, 1715, against the late riots.

The following particulars concerning Dr. Chetwood are found in one of Baker's MSS. in the British Museum, (MS. Harl. 7038), "Knightly Chetwode, extraordinarie electus, born at Coventry, came into the place of Tho. Brinley [as fellow of King's-college]; chaplain to the lord Dartmouth, to the princess of Denmark, and to king James II.; prebend of Wells; rector of Broad Rissington, Gloucestershire; archdeacon of York; nominated bishop of Bristol by king James, just before his abdication; went afterwards chaplain to all the English forces [sent] into Holland under the earl of Marlborough 1689; commenced D.D. 1691; dean of Gloucester."