Stratford, Nicholas

, a pious and learned bishop of Chester, was born at Hemel-Hempstead in Hertfordshire, in 1633, and admitted scholar of Trinity college, Oxford, in June 1652, where in 1656 he became fellow and master of arts. After taking orders, he married a relation of Dr. Dolben, bishop of Rochester, and by his interest was made warden of Manchester college in Lancashire. He was aiso in 1670 made prebendary of Leicester St. Margaret in the church of Lincoln; in 1673, dean of St. Asaph, at which time he took his degree of D. D. and was | appointed chaplain in ordinary to his majesty. In 1683 y ­he was presented to the rectory of St. Mary Aldermanbury, London, and the following year resigned the wardenship of Manchester college. In 1689, he was consecrated bishop of Chester, over which he presided, in constant residence, and with the most anxious cave for its interests, both spiritual and temporal, for eighteen years. He died Feb. 12, 1707, and was interred in his cathedral, where a long Latin inscription records his character, without exaggeration. Besides some occasional sermons, and a charge to his clergy, his works were chiefly levelled at the doctrines of popery, in which controversy, he published, 1. “Discourse concerning the necessity of Reformation, \ respect to the errors and corruptions of the church of Rome,” Lond. 1685, parti. 4to; a second part followed. 2. “Discourse on the Pope’s Supremacy,” in answer to Dr. Godden, ibid. 1.688, 4to. 3. “The people’s right to read the Holy Scriptures asserted,” ibid. 1688, 4to. 4. “The lay-Christian’s obligation to read the Holy Scriptures,” ibid. 1688, 1689, 4to. 5. “Examination” of Bellarmin’s fourteenth note concerning the unhappy end of the church’s enemies," &c. &c.

Bishop Stratford was one of the first and most zealous promoters of the Societies, established in the beginning of the last century for the “Reformation of manners.” In the “Memoirs of Matthew Henry,” we read that “this good work was first set on foot in that city by those of the established church: they were happy in a bishop and dean, that had the interests of practical religion very much at heart, Dr. Stratford and Dr. Fog, men of great learning and true piety, both excellent preachers, and greatly grieved at the open and scandalous wickedness that abounded in that city, and every where throughout the nation.” It appears that a monthly lecture was established at the cathedral for this purpose, and the bishop preached the first sermon.1


Ath. Ox. vol. II.—Tong’s Life of Matthew Henry, p. 243, 246-7.—Nicolson’s Letters, vol. 1. p. 170.