Mason, Francis

, an English divine, and able vindicator of his church, was born in 1566, in the county of Durham, and was educated in grammar learning at home. In 1583, he entered of Merton-college, Oxford, where, after taking his bachelor’s degree, he was chosen probationerfellow in 1586. He then received orders, and, besides teing presented to the rectory of Orford, in Suffolk, was made chaplain to king James I. who, in his punning humour, usually styled him a “wise builder (Mason) in God’s house.” In 1619, he was installed archdeacon of Norfolk. He died 1621, and was buried in the chancel of the church of Orford, where is a monument to his memory; and was lamented as a man of learning and piety. His writings in defence of the church of England, are, 1. “The authority of the Church in making canons and constitutions concerning things indifferent,” a Sermon, Lond. 1607, Oxon. 1634, 4to. 2. “Vindication of the Church of England concerning the consecration and ordination of Priests and Deacons, in five books,” Lond. 1613, folio. This is, among other things, a complete refutation of the falsehood propagated about that time, respecting archbishop Parker, who, it was said, had been consecrated at the Nag’s- head, a tavern in Cheapside. So successful was he in this work, that the story was no more heard of for thirty years, when it was again revived by some of the Roman Catholic writers at Doway, but with as little proof as before. 3. Two Sermons preached at court. Lond. 1621, 8vo. The rev. Henry Mason, rector of St. Andrew Undershaft, London, was, according to Walker, a brother of the preceding, and was chaplain to Dr. King bishop of London. Having been ejected from his living, or, as Wood says, vexed out of it, he retired to his native place, Wigan in Lancashire, where he became a great benefactor to the poor, and to the school of that place. He died in 1647. Wood gives a list of some pious tracts by him. 2


Ath. Ox. vol. I. and II. —Strype’s Parker, p. 59, where is a full account of the above slander.