Hulse, John (DNB00)

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HULSE, JOHN (1708–1790), founder of the Hulsean lectures, born at Middlewich, Cheshire, on 15 March 1708, was eldest of the nineteen children of Thomas Hulse of Elworth Hall, Sandbach, in the same county, by Anne Webb of Middlewich. After attending Congleton grammar school he was admitted of St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1724. Soon afterwards his grandfather, to whom he owed his education, died, and his refusal to comply with his father's wish to sell a part of the entailed estates led to a lifelong alienation. College exhibitions enabled him to continue at Cambridge, and he graduated B.A. in 1728. In 1732 he was ordained and served small cures, first at Yoxall, Staffordshire, and afterwards at Goostry, a chapel under Sandbach. On the death of his father in 1753 he inherited Elworth, and lived there in seclusion on account of delicate health until his death on 14 Dec. 1790. He was buried in the parish church of Middlewich. Hulse was of diminutive stature and an irritable temperament. He was well versed in medicine, and played on the violin, flute, and organ. These accomplishments, coupled with his retired habits, caused him to be regarded by the peasantry as a magician. Though he ceased to communicate with his brothers and sisters, they benefited under his will. To the university of Cambridge he bequeathed estates in Cheshire for the advancement and reward of religious learning, to be applied, first, to maintain two divinity scholars at St. John's College; secondly, to found a prize for a dissertation; thirdly, to found and support the office of Christian advocate; and fourthly, that of the Hulsean lecturer or Christian preacher. By a statute confirmed by the queen in council, 1 Aug. 1860, the office of Hulsean professor of divinity was substituted for that of Christian advocate, and the office of Hulsean lecturer was considerably modified. He married in 1733 Mary Hall of Hermitage, near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. Their only son, Edward, died at the age of twenty-two.

[Memoir prefixed to Richard Parkinson's Hulsean Lectures ('Rationalism and Revelation'),1838; Cambr. Univ. Cal. 1871, p. 219.]

G. G.