Hollinworth, Richard (DNB00)

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HOLLINWORTH or HOLLINGWORTH, RICHARD (1607–1656), divine, son of Francis Hollinworth and Margaret Wharmby his wife, born at Manchester in 1607, was baptised on 15 Nov. that year. He was educated at the Manchester grammar school and Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. in 1626–7, and M.A. in 1630. On his ordination about the latter date he became curate of Middleton, near Manchester, under the learned Abdias Assheton, and while there, in 1631, wrote on original sin, in answer to a catholic priest who had interfered in a dispute between two of the fellows of the collegiate church at Manchester (Hollinworth, Mancuniensis, p. 114). At the consecration of Sacred Trinity Chapel in Salford, on 20 May 1635, he preached the sermon, and after the resignation of Thomas Case [q. v.], who held the living for a short time, he was appointed minister of the chapel. He was in that position in 1636, and until a short time before 1649, holding the preferment along with offices at the Manchester Collegiate Church. In 1643 he is styled chaplain of the collegiate church, and in the same year succeeded Mr. Bourn in the fellowship of the same establishment. During the suspension of the corporate body by the parliament he officiated, along with Richard Heyrick, the warden [q. v.], as a ‘minister,’ and dropped his title of ‘fellow,’ although the college was not actually dissolved until 1650. The ‘protestation’ of the people of Salford in 1642 was taken before him as minister of the town. In 1644 he is named in an ordinance of parliament for ordaining ministers in Lancashire. During the pestilence which visited Manchester in 1645 he laboured most assiduously among the people, his duties being increased through Heyrick's absence in London at the assembly of divines.

He was at this time an unbending presbyterian, strongly opposed to the congregational system, which had some able advocates in and about Manchester. He instituted a weekly lecture against the congregationalists, and became involved in a severe literary controversy with them. In 1645 he published ‘An Examination of Sundry Scriptures alleadged by our Brethren in defence of some particulars of their Church-way.’ To this S. Eaton [q. v.] and T. Taylor replied, and Hollinworth answered them in ‘Certain Queres modestly though plainly propounded to such as affect the Congregational-way, and specially to Master Samuel Eaton and Master Timothy Taylor,’ 1646. The two latter replied again, and Hollinworth put forth a ‘Rejoynder,’ 1647. Some interesting particulars of this controversy are contained in Edwards's ‘Gangræna,’ 1646, pt. iii. 67, 166. By the exertions of Heyrick and Hollinworth and their friends the presbyterian discipline was established in Lancashire by an ordinance of parliament dated 2 Oct. 1646, and the first meeting was held in the following month at Preston. The party had to stand on their defence against continued attacks, and Hollinworth readily took up his position as a leader, ever ‘acute and prudent,’ as Newcome called him. His name is the second of those appended to the ‘Harmonious Consent’ of the Lancashire ministers with the ministers of London, in 1648, in which toleration is strongly condemned. He evidently assisted in preparing the Lancashire answer to the ‘Agreement of the People,’ 1649. In 1649, also, he wrote a popular work in favour of the presbyterian system, entitled ‘The Main Points of Church Government and Discipline plainly and modestly handled by way of question and answer,’ 12mo, pp. 58. The short introductory epistle was signed by Christopher Love [q. v.] After the battle of Worcester (September 1651) Hollinworth was one of the Lancashire ministers who were arrested on a charge of being engaged in Love's plot against the government. He was released after a short imprisonment and returned to Manchester, where he resumed his labours, still denouncing all opponents of presbyterian rule. Martindale credits him with writing ‘An Exercitation concerning Usurped Powers,’ 1650, which has also been assigned to Charles Herle [q. v.], but there can be little doubt that Edward Gee (1613–1660) [q. v.] was the author. Hollinworth was a prominent figure at a meeting held at Warrington to consider the question of taking the oath called the Engagement, requiring the people to be faithful to the Commonwealth (Martindale, Diary, p. 93). In the Manchester classis he generally acted as moderator during Heyrick's absence. He was named in the parliamentary ordinance of 29 Aug. 1654 as a commissioner for ejecting scandalous and ignorant ministers and schoolmasters in Lancashire. When Humphrey Chetham drew up his will for the foundation of the public library known by his name, he nominated Hollinworth one of his feoffees. In 1653 Hollinworth published ‘The Catechist Catechised, or an Examination of an Anabaptisticall Catechism. … Also some observations … concerning the … present Roman Church and Religion.’ In 1656 appeared another little book from his pen, ‘The Holy Ghost on the Bench, other Spirits at the Barre; or the Judgement of the Holy Spirit of God upon the Spirit of the Times,’ 12mo. A second edition is dated 1657.

He was interested in the history of his native parish, and left in manuscript a volume of historical notes entitled ‘Mancuniensis,’ which still exists in the Chetham Library. It was printed in 1839 by W. Willis. The Chetham Society have long had in contemplation the preparation of a more correct edition.

He died suddenly on 3 Nov. 1656, aged 49, and was buried in Manchester Collegiate Church, where his wife, Margaret, had been interred two years before. At a meeting of the Manchester classis held on the same day it was agreed that a fast should be observed at Manchester ‘upon the occasion,’ and Edward Gee and John Tilsley were asked to preach.

[Hibbert Ware's Manchester Foundations; Raines's Manuscripts in Chetham Library; Newcome's Autobiography (Chetham Soc.); Earwaker's Manchester Court Leet Records, iii. 189; Earwaker's East Cheshire, ii. 29; Palatine Notebook, i. 83, 105, iv. 107; Local Gleanings; Christie's Old Lancashire Libraries (Cheth. Soc.), p. 71; Lancashire Church Surveys, 1650 (Record Soc.), p. 5; extract from Magd. Coll. Reg. kindly sent by Professor J. E. B. Mayor; Bibliography in Trans. Lanc. and Chesh. Antiq. Soc. vii. 138.]

C. W. S.