Woolton, John

, bishop of Exeter in queen Elizabeth’s reign', was born at Wigan in Lancashire, in 1535; he was nephew to the celebrated dean Nowell. He entered a student of Brasen-nose college, Oxford, in 1553, whence in 1555 he fled to his uncle and the other exiles in Germany. On Iris return in the- beginning of queen Elizabeth’s reign, he was made canon residentiary of Exeter, where he read a divinity lecture twice a week, and preached twice every Lord’s day; and in the time of the great plague, he only with one more remained in the city, preaching publicly as before, and comforting privately such as were infected with the disease. Besides his residentiaryship, he had the living of Spaxton in the diocese of Wells, and in 1575 became Warden of Manchester college. In 1579 he was consecrated bishop of Exeter, and, as he had been before esteemed a pious, painful, and skilful divine, he was now a vigilant and exemplary prelate. His character in this last respect excited some animosity, and a long string of accusations was presented against him to archbishop Parker, which Strype has recorded at length in his appendix to the life of that celebrated primate, all which bishop Woolton satisfactorily answered.

Bishop Godwin, the biographer, who married one of his daughters, and seems to have been with him in his last moments, says, he dictated letters, not two hours before his death, on subjects of importance, full of the piety and prudence of a man in health and vigour; and being reminded to consult his health, he repeated and applied the saying of Vespasian, that “a bishop ought to die upon his legs;| which in him, as before in the emperor, was verified, for as he was supported across the room (his complaint being an asthma) he sunk, and expired almost before he touched the ground, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He was interred in Exeter cathedral, with a Latin inscription by his son. He composed many theological tracts, monitory and practical, which were all printed and published in the space of about twelve months, in the years 1576 and 1577. 1. “Anatornie of the whole man.” 2. “Christian manual.” 3. “Of Conscience.” 4. “Armour of proofe.” 5. < Immortalitie of the soule.“6.” Fortresse of the Faithfull,“and 7.David’s Chain," which last is not mentioned by Wood or Ames. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. —Strype’s Whitgift, p. 220. -Churton’s Life of Newell. Fuller’s Worthies.