Bull, John (fl.1636) (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 07
Bull, John (fl.1636)

by Sidney Lee
Date of death 1642 in later editions.

BULL, JOHN (fl. 1636), fanatic, was a weaver in St. Botolph's parish, Aldgate, London. He and Richard Farnham, another weaver living in Whitechapel, attracted much public attention about 1636 by announcing that they were prophets having 'the very spirit of God.' Each declared that he would ' be slaine at Hierusalem, where Christ suffered, and rise againe,' and that after his resurrection ' he shall reigne there as a priest.' They affirmed that 'no man shall have the least power to insidiate their lives or bring them to any untimely and remarkable death.' Bull was lodged in Bridewell, and on 16 April 1636 he and Farnham were examined by the council. They boldly adhered to their former pretensions, and a hostile pamphleteer declared that they smelt of the sect of the Throskites and Sabbatarians. Bull appears to have been in prison as late as 19 June 1636. The council issued an order on that day directing the examination of Thomas Johnson and his wife of Colchester, with whom it was understood Bull had been in frequent correspondence (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 1635-6, p. 571).

An interesting pamphlet, 'written by T. H.,' was issued in 1636, in which the heresies of Farnham and Bull were fully described and denounced. It is entitled 'A True Discourse of the two infamous upstart Prophets, Richard Farnham, weaver, of White-chappel, and John Bull, weaver, of St. Botolph's, Algate . . .,' London, 1636. A woodcut on the title-page represents the two weavers at their looms. The pamphlet was reprinted by James Caulfield in 1790.

[Caulfield's Remarkable Characters ; the pamphlet mentioned above ; Cat. of Satirical Poets in Brit. Mus. div. i. pt. i.]

S. L. L.