King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family Life
Robert Spalding was born about 1569 in the district of Holderness in Yorkshire. His will reveals he had a brother, but nothing is known of his parents. He became a student at St. John's College Cambridge in 1580. The fact he was admitted as a sizar would indicate he received a maintenance allowance from the school. He stayed in Cambridge for the next twenty-five years. In 1606 he left to accept the rectories of Edburton, then of Slougham, Sussex. He was married to a woman named Sibille, and they had three children, Robert, Mary and Jane. Robert Spalding died in 1625 and is buried in St. Mary's Church, Slougham where he served as rector.
There is no record of Robert Spalding's early education. He came to Cambridge University at an early age, becoming a scholar at St. John's College in June of 1580. He graduated B.A. in 1589, proceeded M.A. in 1592, and B.D. in 1600.
While at Cambridge, Robert served as a fellow and praelector of Hebrew at his college, St. John's. In 1603 he was appointed as junior dean there. He served in this position until he was elected regius professor of Hebrew in 1605 at the direction of King James I. By this time he had been selected as one of the Bible Translators.
He vacated the regius professorship in 1607 not long after accepting the position of rector of St. Andrew's parish church, Edburton, West Sussex. Ten years later he became rector of Slougham, Sussex and served concurrently in both offices until he died in 1625.
Robert Spalding and the Translation
Robert Spalding was a member of the First Cambridge Company assigned to translate a portion of the Old Testament from 1st Chronicles to the Song of Solomon. He joined a group of renowned scholars led by regius professor of Hebrew, Edward Lively. Within a year Edward Lively died and Robert took his place as regius professor. His appointment to this prestigious professorship is evidence of his competence as a scholar in ancient languages. Other members of his translating company included John Richardson, Laurence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Thomas Harrison, Roger Andrewes, Andrew Bing, and William Eyre.
The important books of Job, and the Psalms were translated by this company.
The lives of many of the Translators intersected one another. This was the case with Robert Spalding and Geoffrey King. King was a member of the First Westminster Company and preceded Robert Spalding as rector of St. Andrew's in the small west Sussex town of Edburton. The fact that King served there from 1602 (before the translation) until 1605 (during the translation) when he was replaced by Spalding is probably more than a coincidence.
Robert requested in his will that he be buried near the pulpit in St. Mary's Church, Slougham, where he had served. His wish to be buried near the pulpit may reflect the satisfaction that came to him as he taught his congregation from this spot.