King James Bible Translators
Personal and Family Life
Nicholas Love was born in the small hamlet of Froxfield, Hampshire about 1568 to John and his wife Margaret (Pinke) Love. The Love family had been resident in nearby Basing Park since the early part of the 16th century. Nicholas was one of five children. He had an older brother, Richard, and three sisters, Anne, Joane, and Elizabeth. Nicholas commenced at New College, Oxford at age twenty, older than most entering students. He stayed in Oxford for the next twelve years, leaving for Winchester in 1601. He spent the balance of his life there with his wife Dowsabella (Colnett) and their nine children, Nicholas, John, Thomas, Barnabas, Robert, William, Joseph, Anne and Elizabeth. Dowsabella, his wife, was born on the Isle of Wight to a distinguished family.
Nicholas died in Winchester in 1630 and was buried in the cathedral. Eventually, his wife and seven of their children were also buried there.
Nicholas Love's preparatory education may well have been at Winchester College, since he became a student at New College, Oxford, which drew many of its students from Winchester. Love's later selection as warden of Winchester College, makes his early connection with the school all the more likely. He commenced as a student at New College in 1588 at age twenty. He graduated B.A. in 1592, proceeded M.A. in 1596, B.D. and D.D. in 1614.
Nicholas Love like many of the Translators had a career at the university and in the church. He succeeded Benjamin Hayden as schoolmaster of Winchester College in 1601 and remained in office until 1613 when he became warden of the college. Love served in this position for the rest of his life. His two immediate predecessors as warden, Thomas Bilson and John Harmar, were also involved in the King James Bible (hereinafter KJB) Translation.
Love's church service began in 1601 when he was selected as rector of Chawton, Hampshire, later the home of writer Jane Austen. Subsequently, he was made rector of Meonstoke (1604) and Wonston (1615), both in Hampshire. In addition to these offices, he was appointed chaplain to King James I and a prebendary of Winchester Cathedral. These last positions he held to the end of his life.
Nicholas Love and the Translation
Nicholas Love's name did not appear on early lists of those involved in the KJB translation.
Nonetheless, there is good reason to include Love as one who made a contribution to the translation. An April 19, 1605 letter from Thomas Bilson, Bishop of Winchester, to King James confirms this. Bilson, who served with Miles Smith on the committee of two final reviewers, noted that scholar George Ryves, warden of New College, Oxford, had been working on the translation of the New Testament, and expressed an intent to bring Ryves and Love in closer proximity to one another. The implication is that this would assist the two in their efforts on the translation. Bilson's letter goes on to say regarding Ryves "and the men are both of good report, the one [Ryves] employed in the oversight of the translation, and the other [Love] takes no small pains in doing his duty".
Nicholas Love is usually mentioned as assisting the Second Westminster Company in translating the Epistles of the New Testament. Bilson's letter mentions Love's colleague, George Ryves, was already working on "that part of the New Testament which is to be done out of Greek". Since this fits the Second Westminster Company, it supports the work being done, and the conclusion that Love, like Ryves, was associated with the company.
Fortunately, within the last few years historians have taken a more inclusive approach to the Translators, giving credit to men like Nicholas Love who likely made a significant contribution.
A history of Winchester College describes Nicholas Love as very much a family man during his long tenure there as noted earlier, Nicholas and Dowsabella had nine children, several of whom history has taken note of. Certainly the most prominent child was son and namesake, Nicholas Love, who was born in Winchester in 1608. He attended Wadham College, Oxford and was called to the bar. He was elected to Parliament for Winchester in 1645 and was appointed to the high court of justice in 1649. In that office he helped draw up charges against the King Charles I. He was present at the sentencing of the king, though he did not sign his death warrant. He has been described as a "forward revolutionary" committed to the abolition of the monarchy. With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Nicholas fled England to avoid imprisonment and likely execution. He settled with several other "regicides" in Vevey, Switzerland where he lived until 1682 when he died and was buried at St. Martin's Church there.