Brinsley, John (1600-1665) (DNB00)

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BRINSLEY, JOHN (1600–1665), the younger, puritan divine, was born at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, in 1600 being son of John Brinsley the elder [q. v.], master of the public school there, and his wife, who was a sister of Dr. Joseph Hall, afterwards bishop of Norwich. Having received the rudiments of education from his father, he was admitted of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, at the age of thirteen years and a half. He attended his uncle, Dr. Hall, then dean of Worcester, to the synod of Dort (1618-19), as his amanuensis; and on his return to Cambridge he was elected to a scholarship in his college, and took his degrees (B.A. 1619, M.A. 1623). After being ordained he preached first at Preston, near Chelmsford. In 1625 he was appointed by the corporation of Great Yarmouth their minister; but the dean and chapter of Norwich, claiming the right of nomination, disputed the appointment, and he was summoned before the high court of commission at Lambeth, and was at mid-summer 1627 dismissed from his ministerial function in Yarmouth church, by a decree in chancery, given upon a certificate made by Archbishop Laud. He continued, however, to preach in the town, in what was then the Dutch church, was subsequently the theatre, and is now commonly called the town house. The corporation meanwhile persevered in their struggle with the bishop and the court in his behalf, till in 1632 the king in council forbade his officiating at Yarmouth altogether, and even committed to prison four individuals—among them the well-known regicide, Miles Corbet, then recorder of the town—for abetting him. Brinsley after this exercised his pastoral duties in the half hundred of Lothingland in 1642, and, through the interest of Sir John Wentworth of Somerleyton Hall, was appointed to the cure of the parish of Somerleyton. Two years subsequently he was again chosen one of the town preachers at Yarmouth, and it is said that he occupied the chancel of the church with the presbyterians, while Bridge with the congregationalists was in possession of the north aisle, and the south aisle, with the nave, was left to the regular minister. Service in all these was performed simultaneously, the corporation having divided the building for the purpose on the death of the king, at an expense of 900l.

At the Restoration he was ejected for refusing the terms of conformity. He was inflexible on the points which divided so many clergymen from the established church, and it is stated that he refused considerable preferment which was offered to induce him to remain in her communion. His death occurred on 22 Jan. 1664-5, and he was buried in St. Nicholas's Church, Yarmouth, with several others of the family. He had a son Robert who was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (M.A. 1660), but was ejected from the university, and studied medicine at Leyden, where he took the degree of M.D. He afterwards practised his profession at Yarmouth, where he was elected co-chamberlain with Robert Bernard in 1681, and in 1692 was appointed water bailiff.

Brinsley published many treatises and sermons, including:

  1. 'The Healing of Israels breaches,' London, 1642, 4to.
  2. 'Church Reformation tenderly handled in four sermons,' London, 1643, 4to.
  3. 'The doctrine and practice of Pædo-baptisme asserted and vindicated,' London, 1645, 4to.
  4. 'Stand Still; or, a Bridle for the Times,' London, 1647 and 1652, 4to.
  5. 'Two Treatises: the One handling the Doctrine of Christ's Mediatorship. The other of Mystical Implantation,' 2 parts, London, 1651-2, 8vo.
  6. 'The Mystical Brasen Serpent, with the Magnetical Vertue thereof; or, Christ exalted upon the Cross,’ 2 parts, London, 1653, 8vo.
  7. ‘Two Treatises: I. The Saints Communion with Jesus Christ. II. Acquaintance with God,’ London, 1654, 12mo.
  8. ‘Two Treatises: I. A Groan for Israel; or, the Churches Salvation (temporall, spirituall), the desire and joy of Saints; II. Periphereia. The Spirituall Vertigo, or Turning Sickness of Soul-Unsettlednesse in matters of Religious Concernment,’ 2 parts, London, 1655, 8vo.
  9. ‘Gospel Marrow, the great God giving himself for the sons of men; or, the Sacred Mystery of Redemption by Jesus Christ, with two of the ends thereof, justification and sanctification, doctrinally opened, and practically applied,’ 2 parts, London, 1659, 8vo.

[MS. Addit. 5863 f. 65, 19165 f. 240; Calamy's Ejected Ministers (1713), ii. 477, 478, and Continuation (1727), ii. 617; Cat. Lib. Impress. Bibl. Bodl. (1843); Brit. Mus. Cat.; Druery's Hist. Notices of Great Yarmouth, 65*; Lilly's Hist. of his Life (1774), 5–8; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual (Bohn); Nichols's Leicestershire, i. pt. ii. Append. p. 140; Notes and Queries, 2nd series, xii. 126, 180, 4th series, iv. 411; Palmer's Continuation of Manship's Hist. of Great Yarmouth, 158–161, 365; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial (1803), ii. 17; Swinden's Hist. of Great Yarmouth, 837–849; Sylvester's Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 283; Dawson Turner's Sepulchral Reminiscences of a Market Town, 11.]

T. C.