Robert Grove (c.1634-96)


Mentions in Pocketbook: My correspondence

Robert Grove (ca. 1634–1696) was a colleague of Lister’s at St. John’s College, Cambridge.  Grove was admitted as a pensioner in 1652, gaining his B.A. in 1657, then was made a fellow in 1659, proceeding M.A. in 1660. He also earned a Bachelor of Divinity in 1667, and finally received his Doctorate of Divinity in 1681. Eventually, Grove would become Bishop of Chichester where he presumably knew Thomas Briggs, another former fellow at St. John’s College.

In his pocketbook, Lister records correspondence with Grove. We have several extant letters from Grove to Lister, one written a few months after Lister’s return from Montpellier. It is a typical and rather insouciant student letter, asking Lister to send his furniture to him from College. In it, Grove refers to ‘old Greene’, probably the college porter or deliveryman. Grove wrote:

Mon cher amy

I received your letter with my goods; all came very safe, except my bed some-thinge damaged, and a hole made by the wheele of the wagon; it was Green’s negligence not to see itt carefully bestowed. I feare my Lord 1 is in greate danger; Teuseday hee came hither, Thursday his ague returned after ten weekes intermission, laste night hee had another sore fitt; hee is very cheerfull and merry to day; and Sr. George Ent 2 has warranted him hee shall not have above one fitt more att the most: yet methinks I am a little apprehensive still; but if Sr. George bee sure hee can cure an old man, relapsed, into a quartan ague, in the depth of winter; I do confesse hee has better skill in Physicke then I have. Butt bee itt what will bee, I must give you one trouble more, and it is to take the key inclosed, and open the little case of drawers in my study of happy memory and in one of the lesser drawers I thinke you will finde two keys linked together with the greater of them open my trunke and take out 2 pairs of sheets, 2 pillowbyrs,3 2 towells all marked R.G. this done secundum artem, 4 you may replace the Keys and take the little drawers to keep company with the rest of my lumber; you may returne mee the key or keep it accordinge to your discretion:

all this is punctuall enough: but now what must wee doe with the sheets etc. I suppose this will bee with to morrow. Then you may binde the linen safely up in good store of parchment browne paper; and send to old Greene who goeth out on Wednesday, and charge him to deliver it to mee on Thursday here at London House Aldersgate Streite.5 if you cannot take this opportunity bee sure to make use of the next which will bee by Roger Hurste on ffriday: I am undone if all bee not here this weeke. Pray some news of the Knights servant; but Il write a whole letter about him next time. In ye meane desire Mr Saywell 6 doe what he can by his owne convenience, to make his pupills send for money, to wake some of them att Lectures with \his/ owne, etc but I shall write to him more particularly on this businesse, as soone as I have time. I am

my Deare ffriende,

Your most affectionate


Letter, 9 December 1667

This image of Grove, currently at St. John’s College, Cambridge, portrays him as Bishop of Chichester.

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  1. Humphrey Henchman (bap. 1592–1675), Bishop of London
  2. Sir George Ent (1604–1689). Ent was best known for his associations with William Harvey, particularly his Apologia pro circulatione sanguinis (1641), a defense of Harvey’s theory of blood circulation; he also edited Harvey’s work on embryology, the Generatione Animalium (1651).  Despite Ent being considered the ‘ornament of his age’, Grove appeared to think little of his medicine, later sending Lister a humorous poem about the theories of the circulatory system that Ent supported.  See Harold J. Cook, ‘Ent, Sir George (1604–1689)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Sept 2004)
  3. Pillowcase.  It also could be spelt pillow-bere, a term still used in the north of England
  4. Secundum artem is a Latin phrase meaning “according to the art,” or according to the accepted practice
  5. Fulham Palace was the residence of the Bishop of London, although it was in Aldersgate Street, where his chapel and his chambers were situated
  6. Presumably William Saywell (1642/3-1701), who was made a fellow of St John’s on 2 April 1666, proceeded D.D. in 1679, and would become master of Jesus College, Cambridge.  Saywell was best known as a staunch Anglican apologist, publishing several tracts. See Sarah Carr, ‘Saywell, William’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

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