HARSNETT, SAMUEL (1561-1631), English divine, archbishop of York, was born at Colchester in June 1561, and was educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where he was successively scholar, fellow and master (1605-1616). He was also vicechancellor of the university in 1606 and 1614. His ecclesiastical career began somewhat unpromisingly, for he was censured by Archbishop Whitgift for Romanist tendencies in a sermon which he preached against predestination in 1584. After holding the living of Chigwell (1597-1605) he became chaplain to Bancroft (then bishop of London), and afterwards archdeacon of Essex (1603-1609), rector of Stisted and bishop of Chichester (1609- 1619) and archbishop of York (1629). He died on the 25th of May 1631. Harsnett was no favourite with the Puritan community, and Charles I. ordered his Considerations for the better Settling of Church Government (1629) to be circulated among the bishops. His Declaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1603) furnished Shakespeare with the names of the spirits mentioned by Edgar in King Lear.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)