Tuckney, Anthony (DNB00)
|←Tuckey, James Kingston||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 57
TUCKNEY, ANTHONY, D.D. (1599–1670), puritan divine, son of William Tuckney, vicar of Kirton, near Boston, Lincolnshire, was born there, and baptised on 22 Sept. 1599. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, being admitted pensioner 4 June 1613, and graduating B.A. 1616-17, M.A. 1620. Being elected fellow (1619), he did not at once reside, but became household chaplain to Theophilus Clinton, fourth earl of Lincoln. Returning to the university, he pursued for ten years a distinguished career as tutor, among his pupils being Benjamin Whichcote [q. v.], Henry Pierrepont, first marquis of Dorchester [q. v.], and his brother William Pierrepont [q. v.] He commenced B.D. in 1627. On 2 Oct. 1629 he was elected to succeed Edward Wright, deceased, as ' mayor's chaplain ' or ' town preacher ' at Boston, where his cousin, John Cotton (1585-1652), was vicar. When Cotton resigned (7 May 1633) with a view to migration to New England, Tuckney was chosen (22 July) by the corporation to succeed him. His puritanism, though not so pronounced as Cotton's, brought him into some trouble with the spiritual courts, but he was beloved by his parishioners. He founded (1635) a library, still existing, in a room over the church porch, giving many books to it. During the plague of 1637 he fearlessly ministered to his flock. He was chosen with Herbert Palmer [q. v.] as clerk for Lincoln diocese in the second convocation of 1640.
Tuckney was nominated in the ordinance of 12 June 1643 to be a member of the Westminster assembly of divines, he and Thomas Coleman ('rabbi Coleman') [q. v.] representing the county of Lincoln. He removed with his family to London, retaining the Boston vicarage at the desire of his parishioners, but transferring the salary (100l.) to his curate in charge. He was provided for in London by receiving the sequestered rectory of St. Michael-le-Querne, Cheapside. In the Westminster assembly Tuckney took a very important part, as chairman of committee, in the preparation of the doctrinal formularies; his wording was often adopted; in the larger catechism the exposition of the decalogue is almost entirely his. But, as he explained (1651) to Whichcote, 'in the assemblie, I gave my vote with others that the Confession of Faith, puttout by Authoritie, shoulde not bee required to bee eyther sworne or subscribed-too; we having bin burnt in the hand in that kind before; but so as not to be publickly preached or written against.'
On 11 April 1645 the assembly approved of his appointment as master of Emmanuel. He spent part of each year at Cambridge. On 30 March 1648 an ordinance was passed for making him Margaret professor of divinity; it does not seem to have taken effect, but in that year, the dogmatic work of the assembly being completed, he resigned his London rectory and removed his family to Cambridge. He was vice-chancellor that year, and on Good Friday, 15 March 1648-9, he waited on Edward Montagu, second earl of Manchester [q. v.], to congratulate him on his appointment as chancellor. In 1649 he commenced D.D. He tried to save William Sancroft [q. v.] from ejection (May 1651) from his fellowship at Emmanuel. Later in the same year (September-November 1651) occurred his memorable correspondence with Whichcote, in whose preaching he noted ‘a vein of doctrine’ which made him uneasy, as tending to rationalism. Yet his letters are not wholly unsympathetic; and to Tuckney in 1652 was dedicated ‘The Light of Nature,’ by Nathanael Culverwel [q. v.] On 3 June 1653 he was admitted master of St. John's College, in the room of John Arrowsmith, D.D. [q. v.] In the same year he again acted as vice-chancellor. By the ordinance of 20 March 1653–4 he was appointed one of Cromwell's ‘triers.’ In 1655 he acted for Arrowsmith as regius professor of divinity, and on 1 Feb. 1655–6 succeeded him in the chair, to which should have been annexed the rectory of Somersham, Huntingdonshire. He was never a self-assertive man (Baxter thought him ‘over humble’), but as master of St. John's he maintained his independence, showing ‘more courage in opposing orders sent by the higher powers in those times than any of the heads of the university, nay, more than all of them’ (Calamy). Salter relates, as a college tradition, that in elections to fellowships at St. John's, ‘he was determined to choose none but scholars, adding very wisely, they may deceive me in their godliness, they cannot in their scholarship.’ He took great interest in the propagation of the gospel in America and the conversion of the Indians, corresponding with Cotton and raising contributions in the university. On 8 April 1659 the Boston corporation asked him to resign the vicarage; he did not actually do so till August 1660, when the corporation nominated Obadiah Howe [q. v.] ‘if approved of’ by Tuckney; if not, ‘then he was requested to provide a most fit man.’ He resigned in Howe's favour.
At the Restoration Tuckney's claim to Somersham rectory was admitted, but he did not long hold it; nor was he allowed to retain his mastership. Baker, no friend to puritans, writes indignantly of the motives which led the ‘young men’ of the college to ‘turn upon their benefactor.’ On 14 Feb. 1661 Nicholas Bullingham, the new dean, and twenty-three fellows, petitioned the king against Tuckney, their main complaint being that he did not come to common prayer in the chapel. On 25 March he was appointed a commissioner for the Savoy conference on the revision of the prayer-book; he never attended, ‘alledging his backwardness to speak’ (Baxter). While the conference was still sitting he was superseded in his mastership and his chair by royal mandate of 1 June. The sole disqualification specified was his age (sixty-two). A life pension of 100l. was duly paid him from the profits of Somersham. He was succeeded in his preferments by Peter Gunning [q. v.]
Removing to London in September 1661, Tuckney settled in the parish of St. Mary Axe, occasionally preaching in private. In the plague year (1665) he was the guest of Robert Pierrepont at Colwick Hall, near Nottingham, where for some months he was placed under arrest for nonconformist preaching. He moved about in 1666, sojourning at Oundle and Warrington, Northamptonshire. His library, deposited at Scriveners' Hall, was burned in the great fire. After short residences at Stockerston, Leicestershire, and Tottenham, Middlesex, he returned to London (1669) in bad health. He died in Spital Yard of jaundice and scurvy in February 1670, and was buried on 1 March in the church of St. Andrew Undershaft. His portrait was engraved by R. White. He was thrice married; his second wife was Mary (Willford), widow of Thomas Hill (d. 1653) [q. v.] whom he had succeeded as master of Emmanuel, and whose funeral sermon he preached; his third wife (whom he married on 30 Sept. 1668) was Sarah, widow of William Spurstowe, D.D. [q. v.] By his first wife he had a son, Jonathan Tuckney (1639?–1693), educated at St. Paul's School, London, and Emmanuel College (M.A. 1659) and ejected from a fellowship at St. John's College in 1662; a man of good learning ‘render'd useless by melancholy’ (Calamy); he died at Hackney in 1693, and left a son John, who was admitted to St. John's College on 7 May 1698, aged 18.
Tuckney published nothing but a catechism (1628) for use at Emmanuel, five single sermons (1643–56), and some verses in university collections (including an elegy on Cromwell); he edited ‘John Cotton on Ecclesiastes,’ 1654, 8vo, and on ‘Canticles,’ 1655, 8vo. Posthumous were: 1. ‘Forty Sermons,’ 1676, 4to. 2. ‘Prælectiones Theologicæ,’ Amsterdam, 1679, 4to; edited, like the preceding, by his son Jonathan; it has a brief account of Tuckney by W. D., i.e. William Dillingham [q. v.] 3. ‘Eight Letters’ (four by Tuckney) appended to Whichcote's ‘Moral and Religious Aphorisms,’ 1753, 8vo, edited by Samuel Salter [q. v.] with biographical preface.[Account by W. D., 1679; Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 1696, ii. 307, iii. 97; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 77 sq., 90; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 114, 127 sq.; Preface by Salter, 1753; Granger's Biographical Hist. of England, 1779, iii. 305; Pishey Thompson's Hist. of Boston, 1856, pp. 80, 171, 187, 418; Baker's Hist. of St. John's College (Mayor), 1869, i. 229 sq.; Tulloch's Rational Theology, 1872, ii. 47 sq.; Mitchell and Struthers's Minutes of the Westminster Assembly, 1874; Mayor's Admissions to St. John's College, 1882 i. 113, 1893 ii. 147; Harleian Society (1886), xxiii. 148; extract from baptismal register of Kirton, per the Rev. Meyrick J. Sutton.]