Grayle, John (DNB00)

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GRAYLE or GRAILE, JOHN (1614–1654), puritan minister, was the son of John Grayle, priest, of Stone, Gloucestershire, where he was born in 1614. At the age of eighteen he entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, as a batler, and proceeded B.A. in 1634 and M.A. on 15 June 1637. Wood states that in 1645 he succeeded George Holmes as master of the free school, Guildford, but this is erroneous. The John Grayle who then became master held the post until his death, at the age of eighty-eight, in January 1697-8, and was buried in Guildford Church (Aubrey, Hist. of Surrey, iii. 302). Brook (Lives of the Puritans, iii. 229) states that Grayle, having married, in the end of 1645, a daughter of one Mr. Henry Scudder, went in the next year, probably as minister, to live at Colling-bourne-Ducis, Wiltshire. He subsequently became rector of Tidworth in the same county, 'where,' says Wood, 'he was much followed by the precise and godly party.' He was a man of much erudition, and a 'pious, faithful, and laborious minister,' much beloved by his parishioners. While a strict presbyterian Grayle was apparently charged with Arminianism, and defended his principles in a work, which was published after his death with a preface by Constantine Jessop, minister at Wimborne, Dorsetshire, entitled ‘A Modest Vindication of the Doctrine of Conditions in the Covenant of Grace and the Defenders thereof from the Aspersions of Arminianism and Popery which Mr. W. Eyre cast on them,’ London, 1655. The preface (dated 15 Sept, 1654) says that the book had been delivered to Eyre in the author's lifetime. Grayle died, aged 40, early in 1654, after a lingering illness. He was buried in Tidworth Church, and a neighbouring minister, Dr. Humphry Chambers, preached his funeral sermon ‘before the brethren, who were present in great numbers.’ It is published with the ‘Modest Vindication.’

A son of the same names, educated at Exeter College, Oxford, was rector of Blickling, Norfolk, and published many sermons.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 362, iv. 501.]

E. T. B.