Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Blackerby, Richard

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1311834Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 05 — Blackerby, Richard1886Alexander Balloch Grosart

BLACKERBY, RICHARD (1574–1618), puritan, was born in 1574 at Worlington, Suffolk. He was the second son of Thomas Blackerby, a man of ‘good estate and quality.' Of their nine sons Richard was by his parents designed from his birth for the ministry. After attending school at St. Edmundsbury, in his fifteenth year he was entered of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he continue nine years, and was renowned for his Latin, Greek, and Hebrew scholarship. Perkins was the great preacher of Cambridge at the time, and Blackerby came under his spell. From the university—where he proceeded B.A. and M.A.—he went as chaplain to Sir Thomas Jerrain of Rushbrook in Suffolk, father of the Earl of St. Albans. Leaving Rushbrook he ‘removed to the house of the renowned and pious knight Sir Edward Lewknor, of Denham in Suffolk.' Here he married Sarah, eldest daughter of the Rev. Timothy Prick, alias Oldman, ‘which alias Oldman was assumed by the family in the days of Queen Mary, the father of the said Timothy being forced then to abscond and to change his name, being prescribed for the protestant religion.' He resided with his father-in-law at Denham for two years. Thence he was called to Feltwell in Norfolk, ‘where he continued without institution or induction for some time; hut then, by reason of his nonconformity, he was force to remove and hired a house at Ashen (Ashdon) in Essex.' He here received as boarders for their classical and theological education a select number of young men, many of whom became subsequently eminent clergy of the church of England. Dr. Bernard, the biographer of Ussher, was one, and Samuel Fairclough another. Blackerby never saw his way to take orders in the established church. But he was constantly preaching wherever opportunity was afforded, although, being unable to subscribe conscientiously he could take no benefice. There are many extant testimonies to his power as a preacher. Daniel Rogers of Wethersfield ‘told another divine that he could never come into the presence of Mr. Blackerby without some kind of trembling upon him, because of the divine majesty and holiness which seemed to shine in him.' It is much to be lamented that three diaries which he kept—in Latin, Greek, and English respectively—were lost in a fire.

In his fifty-fifth year his son-in-law, Christopher Burrell, having been presented to the rectory of Great Wrating (Suffolk), Blackerby went with him. Afterwards he was called to a congregation at Great Thurlow, where he died in 1648, in his seventy-fourth year. Another of his daughters was married to Rev. Samuel Fairclough. Blackerby printed nothing.

[Clark's Lives; Brook's Puritans, iii. 96–100; local researches.]

A. B. G.