Holdsworth, Richard

, sometimes written Oldsworth, and Oldisworth, a learned and loyal English divine, the youngest son of Richard Holdsworth, a celebrated preacher at Newcastlerupon-Tyne, was born in 1590, and after the death of his father was committed to the care of the rev. William Pearson, a clergyman of the same place, who had married his sister. He was first educated at Newcastle, and in July 1607 admitted of St. John’s college, Cambridge. Jn 1610 he took his bachelor’s degree, in 1613 was chosen fellow of his college, in 1614 was made master of arts, and incorporated at Oxford in the same degree in 1617, and in. 1620 was chosen one of the twelve | university preachers at Cambridge. While at college he was tutor, among others, to the famous sir Symond D’Ewes. After this he was for some time chaplain to sir Henry Hobart, lord chief justice of the common pleas, and then, had a living given him in the West Riding of Yorkshire, which he exchanged for the rectory of St. Peter the Poor, Broad-street, London. He settled there a little before the great sickness in 1625, during which he continued to do the duties of his office, became a very popular preacher, and was much followed by the puritans. In 1629 he was chosen professor of divinity at Gresham college, and in his lectures, afterwards published, he discovered an unusual extent and variety of learning. They were frequented by a great concourse of divines and young scholars. About 1631 he was made a prebendary of Lincoln, and in 1633 archdeacon of Huntingdon. In the same year he stood candidate for the mastership of St. John’s college, but neither he nor his competitor, Dr. Lane, being acceptable at court, the king, by mandate, ordered Dr. Beale to be chosen. In 1637, however, Mr. Holdsworth was elected master of Emanuel college, and created doctor of divinity. In the same year he kept the act at Cambridge, and in 1639 was elected president of Sion college by the London clergy. In 1641 he resigned his professorship at Gresham college, and the rebellion having now begun, he was marked out as one of the sacrifices to popular prejudice, although he had before suffered somewhat from the court. While vice-chancellor Dr. Holdsworth had supplied the king with money contributed by the university, a crime not easily to be forgiven. When, however, the assembly of divines was called, Dr. Holdsworth was nominated one of the number, but never sat among them. Soon after in obedience to the king’s mandate, he caused such of his majesty’s declarations to be printed at Cambridge as were formerly published at York, for which, and, as Dr. Fuller says, a sermon preached then by him, he was forced to leave the university before the expiration of his office as vice-chancellor. After some concealment he was apprehended near London, and imprisoned, first in Ely house, and then in the Tower. Such was the regard, however, in which he was held at Cambridge, that while under confinement he was elected Margaret professor of divinity, which he held until his death, although he could Meither attend the duties of it nor receive the profits; but | his rectory of St. Peter the Poor, and the mastership of Emanuel, were both taken from him. It seems uncertain when he was released. We find him attending the king at Hampton Court in 1647; and in January following, when the parliament voted that no more addresses should be made to the king, he preached a bold sermon against that resolution, for which he was again imprisoned, but being released, assisted, on the king’s part, at the treaty in the Isle of Wight. The catastrophe that soon after befell his royal master is thought to have shortened his life, which terminated Aug. 29, 1649. He lived unmarried, and left his property to charitable uses, except his books, part of, which went to Emanuel college, and part to the public library at Cambridge. He was buried in the chnrch of St. Peter the Poor, where is a monument to his memory. He was of a comely appearance and venerable aspect; warm in his temper, but soon pacified; a great advocate for the king, and zealous in the cause of episcopacy. He was devout, charitable, and an excellent scholar. In his “Preelectiones” he shows not only an intimate acquaintance with the fathers and schoolmen, but likewise most of the eminent divines of later ages, popish as well as protestant, and his style is good. His works are, 1. “A Sermon preached in St. Mary’s, Cambridge, on his majesty’s inauguration,1642, 4to, the only thing he ever published. 2. “The Valley of Vision; or a clear sight of sundry sacred truths; delivered in twenty-one sermons,” Lond. 1651, 4to. These were taken in short hand, and Dr. Pearson says they are very defective. 3. “Praelectiones theologicae,” Lond. 1661, fol. published by his nephew, Dr. William Pearson, with a life of the author. 1


Life as above. Ward’s Gresham Professors. —Ath. Ox. vol. I.-Barwick’s Life. Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol. Peck’s Dc siderata, vol. II.