Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Denison, John (d.1629)

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DENISON, JOHN, D.D. (d. 1629), divine, became a student in Balliol College, Oxford, in 1590, and graduated in arts and subsequently in divinity. He was highly esteemed as a preacher and was appointed chaplain to George, duke of Buckingham, and to James I. After holding the headmastership of the free school of Reading, Berkshire, he was successively vicar of the three churches in that town, being instituted to St. Laurence's 7 Jan. 1603–4, to St. Giles's 9 July 1612, and to St. Mary's 31 March 1614. On 29 Nov. 1610 he was instituted, on the presentation of the lord chancellor, to the rectory of Woodmansterne, Surrey (Manning and Bray, Surrey, ii. 466). He died in January 1628–9, and was buried on 1 Feb. in the church of St. Mary at Reading.

In addition to several detached sermons he published:

  1. ‘A Three-fold Resolvtion, verie necessarie to Saluation. Describing Earths Vanitie. Hels Horror. Heavens Felicitie,’ London, 1608, 12mo, pp. 580; 4th edit. London, 1616, 8vo; 5th edit. London, 1630, 8vo. Dedicated to Sir William Willoughby.
  2. ‘The Heauenly Banquet. Or the Doctrine of the Lords Supper, set forth in seuen Sermons. With two Prayers before and after the receiuing. And a Iustification of Kneeling in the act of Receiuing,’ London, 1619 and 1631, 8vo.
  3. ‘On the two Sacraments, Baptism and the Lords Supper,’ London, 1621, 4to.
  4. ‘De Confessionis Auricularis Vanitate adversus Cardinalis Bellarmini Sophismata, et de Sigilli Confessionis Impietate, contra Scholasticorum et Neoticorum quorundam dogmata Disputatio,’ Oxford, 1621, 4to. Dedicated to James I.

There is an engraving which purports to be a portrait of him, but it has been said that it is in reality a print of Martin Luther altered (Bromley, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, p. 86).

In a letter from Sir Thomas Bodley to Dr. King, vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford, read in convocation on 8 July 1629, Denison is stated to have presented some ‘very special good bookes’ to the public library.

He was the brother or near kinsman of Stephen Denison, D.D., minister of St. Katharine Cree, London, who died in 1649, and who published several sermons.

[Coates's Reading, p. 336; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 439; Hearne's Johan. Glastoniensis, p. 632; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. vii. 162; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England (1824), ii. 65; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.]

T. C.