Concept

Richard Mather

Summary
Richard Mather (1596 – 22 April 1669) was a New England Puritan minister in colonial Boston. He was father to Increase Mather and grandfather to Cotton Mather, both celebrated Boston theologians. Mather was born in Lowton in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire, England, into a family that was in reduced circumstances but entitled to bear a coat of arms. He studied at Winwick grammar school, of which he was appointed a master in his fifteenth year, and left it in 1612 to become master of a newly established school at Toxteth Park, Liverpool. After a few months at Brasenose College, Oxford, he began in November 1618 to preach at Toxteth, and was ordained there, possibly only as deacon, early in 1619. Between August and November 1633 he was suspended for nonconformity in matters of ceremony; and in 1634 was again suspended by the visitors of Richard Neile, archbishop of York, who, hearing that he had never worn a surplice during the fifteen years of his ministry, refused to reinstate him and said that "it had been better for him that he had begotten seven bastards". He had a great reputation as a preacher in and about Liverpool; but, advised by letters of John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, he was persuaded to join the company of pilgrims in May 1635 and embarked at Bristol for New England. On 4 June 1635, Richard, wife Katherine, and children Samuel, Timothy, Nathaniel, and Joseph, all set sail for the New World aboard the ship James. As they approached New England, a hurricane struck and they were forced to ride it out just off the coast of modern-day Hampton, New Hampshire. According to the ship's log and the Journal of Richard Mather. 1635: His life and death. 1670 by Increase Mather, the following was recorded; At this moment,... their lives were given up for lost; but then, in an instant of time, God turned the wind about, which carried them from the rocks of death before their eyes. ...her sails rent in sunder, and split in pieces, as if they had been rotten ragges... (ibid, p.29.
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