King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family Life
Roger Andrewes was one of twelve children born in 1574 near Tower Hill in the All Hallows, Barking, parish of London. His parents were Thomas and Joan Andrewes. Thomas was a native of Essex who became a prosperous mariner involved in shipping. Among Roger's eleven siblings, was his brother Lancelot Andrewes. This relationship proved crucial to Roger Andrewes throughout his life.
Roger Andrewes followed in the footsteps of Lancelot, becoming a student at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1590 nearly twenty years after his brother. Though he left Cambridge after twelve years as a student and fellow to pursue church service, he ultimately returned and lived there for fourteen of the last seventeen years of his life.
It appears he may have spent his last years in Cheriton, Hampshire where he was vicar from 1622. He died and was buried there on 11 September 1635. Roger Andrewes was married to Philippa Blaxton. They had no children.
The historical record is silent on Roger Andrewes' preparatory schooling. It does not appear he attended the Merchant Taylors' School like his brother Lancelot. Nonetheless, he was admitted as a student at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1590. By this time Lancelot had established himself as one of the brightest scholars, and ablest administrators in the church. Among Lancelot's offices at Pembroke were fellow and treasurer of the college. It is likely that Roger Andrewes' admission to Pembroke owed much to the growing influence of his brother.
Roger graduated B.A. in 1593, proceeded M.A. in 1597, B.D. in 1604, and D.D. in 1609.
Roger Andrewes became a fellow of his college, Pembroke, in 1594. He was ordained a deacon and priest at Lincoln in 1602. What followed were a series of ecclesiastical and academic appointments. These included rector of St. Martin's, Ongar (1603), vicar of St. Mary's Chigwell (1604-5), both in Essex, rector of Nuthurst, Sussex (1606), chancellor and archdeacon of Chichester (1608), vicar of Cowfold and Cuckfield in Sussex (1609), prebendary of Southwell (1609), of Ely (1617), of Winchester (1625), rector of Elm and Emneth, Cambridgeshire (1619), and Cheriton Hampshire (1622).
Additionally, he was elected master of Jesus College, Cambridge in 1618 and served there for fourteen years, before resigning his office in 1632. His resignation was prompted by complaints from the college's fellows of mismanagement by Andrewes. Rather than face a board of inquiry, he stepped down. There was, however, during Andrewes' term as master, at least one important contribution made. He directed that a diary or register of the college be kept. On the inside of the first register is written:
Because that many things have been done, and are out of order for want of registering those things that are done by ye consent in ye Colledge—Bee it decreed from henceforth that there shall be kept a continual Register.
This contribution alone has proved invaluable to establish an accurate history of Jesus College.
His church appointments are perhaps as numerous of any of the Translators. They represented not only opportunity to serve, but also significant financial reward, as some of these positions could be held simultaneously.
Doubtless Lancelot Andrewes had a hand in securing many of these positions for his brother. Lancelot Andrewes in addition to being Bishop of Winchester, Ely and Chichester, was perhaps the most respected and influential churchman of his time.
Roger Andrewes and the Translation
Roger Andrewes was a member of the First Cambridge Company with responsibility for translating a large portion of the Old Testament. Andrewes' place among learned colleagues such as Edward Lively and Laurence Chaderton owed itself as much to being Lancelot Andrewes' brother as to his scholarly attainments. In 1604 at the beginning of the translation project, Roger was only about thirty years old and still five years away from receiving his doctorate. The experience for a young scholar to labour among men so able, in an effort so noble, was a privilege indeed. His individual contribution to the translation is unknown. However, it was truly a team effort, where everyone contributed.
Roger Andrewes' life was intertwined with that of his older brother, Lancelot. They were the only brothers who were part of the translation, sharing in one of history's greatest religious and literary endeavors. Though twenty years separated them it must have come as a shock to Roger to lose Lancelot to death on the morning of 25 September 1626. He had lost two other brothers, Thomas and Nicolas months earlier. Roger was one of the chief mourners in the large procession that accompanied Lancelot Andrewes' remains from Winchester House to Southwark Cathedral for his entombment. It must have been with deep emotion that Roger laid to rest a brother who had been as loyal and as supportive as one could be.