Richardson, John (d.1625) (DNB00)

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RICHARDSON, JOHN, D.D. (d. 1625), biblical scholar, born ‘of honest parentage’ at Linton, Cambridgeshire, was educated at Clare Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1581. He was afterwards elected to a fellowship at Emmanuel College. He proceeded M.A. in 1585, B.D. in 1592, and D.D. in 1597. In 1607 he was appointed regius professor of divinity in succession to Dr. John Overall [q. v.] Some notes of his ‘Lectiones de Predestinatione’ are preserved in manuscript in Cambridge University Library (Gg. i. 29, pt. ii.). He and Richard Thomson were among the first of the Cambridge divines who maintained the doctrine of Arminius in opposition to the Calvinists. Heylyn relates that ‘being a corpulent man, he was publicly reproached, in St. Marie's pulpit in his own university, by the name of a Fat-bellied Arminian’ (Cyprianus Anglicus, 1671, p. 122).

On the death of Dr. Robert Some [q. v.], he was admitted by the bishop of Ely on 30 Jan. 1608–9 to the mastership of Peterhouse (Addit. MS. 5843, f. 32b). He was an excellent hebraist, and was appointed one of the translators of the Bible, being one of the company which was responsible for the rendering into English of 1 Chronicles to Ecclesiastes, inclusive (Anderson, Annals of the English Bible, ii. 375; Maclure, Translators Revived, p. 104). On the occasion of James I's first visit to Cambridge an extraordinary act in divinity was kept on 7 March 1614–15, Dr. John Davenant being answerer, and Richardson one of the opposers. He argued for the excommunication of kings, vigorously pressing the practice of St. Ambrose in excommunicating the Emperor Theodosius; and the king, with some passion, remarked, ‘Profecto fuit hoc Ambrosio insolentissimè factum!’ Richardson rejoined, ‘Responsum verè regium, et Alexandro dignum! Hoc non est argumenta dissolvere, sed dissecare,’ and sitting down, he desisted from any further dispute (Fuller, Worthies, ed. Nichols, i. 163; Nichols, Progresses of James I, iii. 56, 57, iv. 1087). He was admitted and sworn master of Trinity College on 27 May 1615, and in 1617–18 he served the office of vice-chancellor of the university. In 1618 he wrote some Latin verses which are prefixed to the second edition of Dalton's ‘Country Justice.’ He died at Cambridge on 20 April 1625, and was buried in Trinity College chapel (Heywood and Wright, Cambr. Univ. Transactions, ii. 325).

He was a benefactor to Emmanuel College, and gave 100l. towards building the new court at Peterhouse.

[Information from J. W. Clark, esq., M.A.; Addit. MSS. 5843, pp. 62, 63, 91, 5857 p. 355, 5879 f. 10 b; Baker MS. 26, f. 153; Cat. of Cambr. Univ. MSS. iii. 35; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iii. 72 n.; Hacket's Life of Williams, pp. 24, 25, 26, 32, 33; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), iii. 606, 656, 668, 699; Nichols's Progresses of James I, iii. 229, 838; Plume's Life of Hacket, 1675, p. vi; Wells's Drainage of the Bedford Level, ii. 92; Winwood's Memorials, iii. 459; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss) i. 336.]

T. C.