More, John (d.1592) (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

MORE, JOHN (d. 1592), the ‘Apostle of Norwich,’ born in Yorkshire, was elected a scholar of Christ's College, Cambridge, graduated B.A. in 1562, and was shortly afterwards chosen fellow of his college. During his Cambridge career he appears to have been influenced by Thomas Cartwright [q. v.], in whose favour he and other divines signed a testimonial addressed to Cecil in 1570. On leaving the university he was appointed minister of St. Andrew's Church, Norwich, where he remained until his death, in spite of numerous offers of higher preferment. He preached three and sometimes four times every Sunday, and made numerous converts. In 1573 he refused to wear the surplice, on the ground that it gave offence to others, and he was convened before John Parkhurst [q. v.], bishop of Norwich, who told him that it was better to offend a few private persons than to offend God and disobey the prince. No severe measures, however, were taken against him. The bishop, indeed, appears to have regarded his ministrations with great favour. In a letter to Archbishop Parker Parkhurst says: ‘I have not known that he has at anytime spoken against her Majesty's book of Injunctions, nor can I find any manner of stubbornness in him. And surely he is a godly and learned man, and hath done much good in this city’ (Strype, Life of Parker, ii. 340). In the same year (1573) More confuted a sermon preached by Andrew Perne [q. v.] of Cambridge in Norwich Cathedral. The controversy ‘presently grew to some jars amongst the citizens, according as they stood affected’ (Strype, Annals, ii. i. 417, 418), and Dr. Gardiner, one of the prebendaries of the cathedral, asked the bishop to interpose. More accordingly was prevented from carrying out his intention of further confuting Perne.

On 25 Sept. 1576 More and other puritan clergy round Norwich presented to the council a humble supplication against the imposition of ceremonies, and he was shortly afterwards suspended by Bishop Freke. Two years afterwards (21 Aug. 1578) More and his friends signed a ‘submission’ to their diocesan, in which they ‘humbly crave favour to be restored to their preaching, upon submission to all those articles which concern the confession of the true Christian faith and doctrine of the sacraments, according to the words of the statute. And concerning ceremonies, order, and government, they acknowledge that they are so far tolerable, that for the same, no man ought to withdraw himself from hearing the word of God and receiving the sacraments; nor, on the same account, ought any minister to preach the word of God, or to administer the sacraments.’ It is not clear how long More remained under episcopal censure. In 1584, after the publication of Whitgift's three articles, More and upwards of sixty other ministers of Norfolk presented to the archbishop their reasons for refusing to subscribe.

More died at Norwich, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's on 16 Jan. 1592. He left a wife, afterwards married to Dr. Nicholas Bownde or Bound [q. v.], and two daughters. He is described as ‘incessu decorus, vestitu modestus, victu vinoque parcus, comitate severus, severitate comis.’ His wide learning included a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek (Holland, Herωologia, 1620, p. 209). So great was his reputation in Norwich that he was commonly called ‘the apostle’ of that city. Robert Greene [q. v.] is generally supposed to allude to More's preaching in his account of the manner in which he was influenced by a sermon he heard in St. Andrew's Church, Norwich (The Repentance of Robert Greene, 1592). Granger mentions three portraits of More (Biog. Hist. i. 217, 218, 228), of which that in Holland's ‘Herωologia’ is the best. He is said to have worn the longest and largest beard of his time, for which he gave as a reason ‘that no act of his life might be unworthy of the gravity of his appearance.’

More's works, all published after his death, are:

  1. ‘A Table from the beginning of the World to this day. Wherein is declared in what yeere of the World everything was done, both in the Scriptures mentioned and also in prophane matters,’ Cambridge, 8vo, 1593. Edited by Nicholas Bownd. In the dedication Bownd states that not only were More's works committed to him, but ‘the whole care and disposition of them by a certaine hereditarie right did fall unto him,’ and, after commending the table, expresses the hope that in time ‘the rest may follow, if the paucitie of Hebrue and Greeke characters in this land do not hinder some, and the great cost and charges of Printing Maps be a stay and bane to others. For in both these kinds there are certaine of his labours finished, and have bene longe since readie for the presse.’
  2. ‘John More his three Sermons … Also a Treatise of a contented Minde, by Nich. Bownde,’ Cambridge, 4to, 1594.
  3. ‘A Lively Anatomy of Death, wherein you may see from whence it came, what it is by Nature, and what by Christ,’ &c. [With a prefatory Epistle by W. Barforde], London, 1596, 8vo.
  4. ‘A Map of Palestine,’ at Christ's College, Cambridge, attributed to More by Fuller [Cambridge, ed. Prichett and Wright, 1840].
  5. ‘Catechismus Parvus.’

[Authorities quoted; Cooper's Athenæ Cant. ii. 117, 118, 546; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 193; Blomefield's History of Norfolk, iv. 301; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, i. 449-52; Neal's Hist. of the Puritans, i. 233.]

W. A. S. H.