King James Bible Translators
(Teigh, Tjghe, Tyghe, Leigh)
Personal and Family Life
Robert Tighe was born in 1562 in the small Lincolnshire village of Market Deeping. His parents were John and Arabella Tighe. The Tighes were an established family in that region of Lincolnshire. Robert mentions four siblings in his will, William, John, Dorothy and Katherine
According to biographer Anthony á Wood, Robert was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge. In 1587 he married Mary Bancrofte of London. They had at least three children. Mary and Richard are mentioned in baptismal records, and John, in Robert's will. It is possible Mary and Richard predeceased their father. Though Robert had ecclesiastical responsibilities in London, it appears he spent nearly twenty years of his life in Chiddingfold, Surrey as rector.
Robert died in 1616 at age fifty-four and was buried in the chancel of his church in Chiddingfold with a monumental slab marking the spot. He was survived by his wife Mary.
Nothing is known of Robert Tighe's preparatory schooling but Wood states he began his university studies as a student at Magdalen College, Oxford, then migrated to Cambridge where he graduated B.A. in 1582 and proceeded M.A. in 1585. He commenced B.D. at Magdalen College, Oxford in 1596, and proceeded D.D. at Cambridge in 1603.
In 1596 Robert Tighe was instituted rector of St. Mary's Church, Chiddingfold, Surrey. He was appointed rector of All Hallows, Barking, London in 1598, and served there concurrently with Chiddingfold until his death. He was appointed as archdeacon of Middlesex in 1602, holding this office until his passing in 1616. To hold three such responsible positions at once is a testament both to Robert Tighe's abilities and to the trust reposed in him by the people of his parishes and by the bishop of his diocese. The pastoral calling as rector demanded he be intimately involved in the lives of his parishioners, ministering to their most personal needs of birth, marriage, sickness, and bereavement. His duties as archdeacon were largely administrative with responsibility for the care of church buildings, the welfare of the clergy, and the implementation of diocesan policy.
Robert Tighe and the Translation
In addition to his other responsibilities, in 1604 Robert Tighe was asked to be one of the Translators of King James I's newly commissioned Bible. He was assigned to the First Westminster Company whose director was the renowned scholar and churchman, Lancelot Andrewes. His colleagues also had impressive credentials. To be selected to stand with such a group is evidence of the regard in which Robert Tighe was held. A biographer called Tighe "an excellent textuary and profound linguist". A textuary was someone well informed in biblical scholarship, and a linguist, one skilled in languages.
The individual roles each member of the company played in the project is not known but their assignment, Genesis through the book of 2 Kings, was daunting. The initial work of the Translators consumed the better part of four years. The resulting translation is evidence in itself of the effort and care that Robert Tighe and his fellows gave it.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth And the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light and there was light.
These words from the opening verses of Genesis rendered into English by the Translators have been repeated untold times for four hundred years by school children, artists, authors, divines, astronomers and astronauts, for they capture the grandeur and majesty of creation. For this Robert Tighe and his fellows deserve much credit.
Robert Tighe in his will left his "natural and legitimate son" John Tighe £1,000 per year in perpetuity. This was an enormous sum of money in 1616. The historical record is silent on how Robert Tighe acquired such a sizeable amount, or how his son John spent his inheritance.