Charles Fotherby

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Charles Fotherby (ca. 1549 – 1619) was a Church of England clergyman who became Dean of Canterbury Cathedral (1615–1619).[1]


Fotherby's date of birth is not recorded but he is stated to have been 70 when he died. His father was Martin Fotherby of Great Grimsby in Lincolnshire.[2][3] His younger brother, Dr Martin Fotherby (c.1560-1620), was also a prebendary of Canterbury, and later bishop of Salisbury.

He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (sizar 1573, scholar 1575, B.A. 1576/77, M.A. 1580, B.D. 1587). He became a fellow of Trinity in 1579.[2] He was vicar of several Kentish parishes and became Archdeacon of Canterbury and a prebendary of the Canterbury Cathedral in 1595 and Dean of Canterbury in 1615.

He married Cecilia Walker of Cambridge, by whom he had ten children, but only his eldest son, John, and four daughters survived him.[4]

He died in 1619 and was buried in the Lady Chapel at Canterbury Cathedral.His monument is described as 'a bone-encrusted tomb-chest [which] is a fine example of that obsessive early seventeenth-century morbidity which repelled later, more squeamish observers'.[5]

As Dean, he is recorded as reinvigorating the musical life of the Cathedral.[6]


date office reference
1587–1592 Vicar of Chislet (Kent) Venn, p. 165
1587 Vicar of Deal (Kent) Venn, p. 165
1592–1619 Vicar of Aldington (Kent) Venn, p. 165
1595–1600 Vicar of Teynham (Kent) Venn, p. 165
1595–1619 Archdeacon of Canterbury Fasti, III, iii. 15
1595–1615 Canon of 4th prebend, Canterbury Cathedral Fasti, III, iii. 23
1600–1619 Rector of Bishopsbourne (Kent) Venn, p. 165
1615–1619 Dean of Canterbury Fasti, III, iii. 12


  1. Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae, Series 1541-1857, III, iii. 12
  2. 2.0 2.1 Venn, John; Venn, J.A., eds. (1922). "Fotherby, Charles". Alumni Cantabrigienses (Part 1). 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 165 – via Internet Archive.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Fotherby, Charles (FTRY573C)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. J. Meadows Cowper, The lives of the deans of Canterbury, 1541 to 1900. Canterbury: Cross & Jackman, 1900, p. 67.
  5. A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks. (OUP 1995, revised edition 2002) 521.
  6. A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. P. Collinson, N. Ramsay, M. Sparks. (OUP 1995, revised edition 2002) 441.
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Thomas Nevile
Dean of Canterbury
Succeeded by
John Boys