Rowland, John (DNB00)

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ROWLAND, JOHN (1606–1660), writer against Milton, born in Bedfordshire in 1606, was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, matriculating in November 1621 and graduating B.A. on 28 Nov. 1622, M.A. on 28 March 1626 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) He claims to have been a friend of Sir Robert Cotton, and to have been with him at his death in 1631 (cf. Narrative of Gondomar, 1659, dedicatory epistle). On 8 June 1634 he became rector of Foot's Cray in Kent (Rymer, Fœdera, xix. 615). But on the outbreak of the civil war he joined the royalist army as chaplain to Sir Jacob Astley's regiment (State Papers, Dom. Car. I, cccclxxvii. No. 59, 28 Feb. 1640–1). His living was accordingly sequestered to one Alexander Hames, who in May 1646 was called before the committee for plundered ministers for failing to pay ‘fifths’ to Rowland's wife and children (Addit. MS. 15670, ff. 267, 423). It is possible that Rowland subsequently took refuge in the Netherlands. At Antwerp in 1651 there was issued his ‘Pro Rege et Populo Anglicano Apologia contra Johannis Polypragmatici (alias Miltoni Angli) Defensionem destructivam Regis et Populi Anglicani,’ Antwerp, 1652, 12mo. The work was wrongly assigned to Bishop Bramhall (cf. Todd, Life of Milton, iii. 133–5; Masson, Life of Milton, iv. 349, 536; Bramhall, Works, vol. i. p. xciv, in Anglo-Catholic Library); and John Phillips (1631–1706) [q. v.], Milton's nephew, in replying to it in 1652, went on that mistaken assumption. Rowland pursued the attack in ‘Polemica sive Supplementum ad Apologiam anonymam pro Rege etc. Per Jo. Rolandum pastorem Anglicum,’ Antwerp, 1653. In this Rowland directly acknowledged his authorship of the ‘Apologia.’ The ‘particular’ church, apparently in Antwerp, of which, according to his ‘Polemica’ (1653), he was pastor, does not mean a congregational church. He doubtless returned to England before the Restoration. He died in 1660 (Hasted, Kent, i. 150). Rowland married, on 8 Aug. 1634, a second wife, Mary Ann, daughter of George Holt of Foot's Cray (Foster, London Marriage Licences).

Rowland wrote, besides the attacks on Milton: ‘Upon the much-lamented departure of … Oliver, Lord Protector … a Funeral Elegie;’ and a poem ‘In Honour of the Lord General Monck and T. Allen, Lord Mayor of London, Epinicia,’ 1660. He edited in 1659 ‘A Choice Narrative of Count Gondomar,’ which he disingenuously assigned to Sir Robert Bruce Cotton [q. v.]; it is a reprint of the ‘Vox Populi’ by Thomas Scott, and is reprinted in Smeeton's ‘Historical Tracts,’ vol. i.

[Authorities as in text; Addit. MSS. 15670–1; Rawlinson MS. iii. 439.]

W. A. S.