Patrick, Simon, 1626-1707 (Bishop of Ely)
- Existence: 1626 - 1707
Simon Patrick (1626-1707), Bishop of Ely, was born in 1626 in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, the eldest son of Henry Patrick, a wealthy mercer and merchant. He was given a religious education of protestant piety and Calvinist theology before going to Queens' College Cambridge in 1644 where he acted as scribe to the Master. He graduated BA in 1648, was elected as a Fellow in 1649 and proceeded MA in 1651. Patrick served his college in the early 1650s being both senior bursar and dean of chapel and also lecturing in philosophy, arithmetic, and Hebrew. He was obliged to take orders and submitted to presbyterian ordination in 1653 before being ordained priest in 1654. In 1655 Patrick became chaplain to Sir Walter St John at Battersea and in 1658 St John offered him the vacant vicarage at St Mary's Battersea which he held until 1675. He wrote his earliest works at this time, most importantly his sacramental treatises Aqua genitalis (1659) and Mensa mystica (1660). In 1662 he was elected to President of Queens' College by the fellows, but his appointment was overruled by a royalist nominee being installed on king's mandamus. Patrick appealed, but to no avail and he eventually abandoned the case in 1665. In 1662 he was also offered the rectorship of St Paul's Covent Garden by the earl of Bedford where Patrick stayed until 1689. He earned a reputation as an exemplary parish priest, not least because of his decision to stay with his parishioners during the plague of 1665. His correspondence with Lady Elizabeth Gauden dates from this period and provides a fascinating account of his experiences and thoughts during the plague. In 1671 Patrick was made a royal chaplain and on 13 July he received a prebend at Westminster, where he was installed four days later. Patrick married Penelope Jephson in 1675 at Miserden in Gloucestershire. They had three children, William (b. 1 July 1678), Simon (b. 2 Oct 1680), and Penelope (b. 1 Dec 1685), of whom only Simon survived infancy. Penelope outlived her husband: she died on 10 April 1725. Patrick became dean of Peterborough in 1679, holding the office together with the rectory of St Paul's before being confirmed as bishop of Chichester on 12 October 1689. He served on the ecclesiastical commission designed to revise the prayer book and was also seen as an expert in the composition of prayers, being instructed to revise the collects with a view to bringing them more into line with the epistles and the gospels. In 1691 Patrick became Bishop of Ely, moving to Cambridgeshire in May 1692 where he reconstructed the bishop's palace at Ely. He also helped establish the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge (SPCK). He died in 1707 at the age of 80.