Mather, Richard

, the first of a family of nonconformist divines, of considerable reputation both in the new and old world, was born at Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, in Lancashire, in 1596. After some education at Winwick-school, he was, in 1611, at the early age of fifteen, appointed master of a public school at Toxteth-park, near Liverpool, where, as Wood says, “he was converted to godliness.” In 1618, however, he was admitted a student of Brazenose college Oxford, where his stay must have been short, as the same year we are told he preached his first sermon at Toxteth, having been ordained by Dr. Morton, bishop of Chester, and chosen minister of that place. Here he officiated until 1633, when he was suspended for nonconformity; and although this suspension was soon taken off, his prejudices against the church establishment became so strong, that he was again suspended, and then determined to seek the kind of church-government which he fancied the most pure, in New England. The year after his arrival there, in 1635, he was chosen minister of a congregation newly formed at Dorchester, where he remained until his death April 22, 1669, in the seventy-third year of his age. He was the author of one or two pious treatises, but of more respecting church government. He had four sons, Samuel, Nathanael, | Eleazer, and Increase, who all imbibed their father’s principles, and became sufferers for nonconformity. Of these, the eldest and youngest seem entitled to some notice. 1


Mather’s Hist, of New England. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Neal’s Hist, of New England. Life and Death of Richard Mather, by Increase Mather, Cambridge, (in N.w England), 1670, 4to.