Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ryther, John

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RYTHER, JOHN (1634?–1681), nonconformist divine, son of John Rither (d. 1673), a tanner, was born in Yorkshire about 1634, and educated at Leeds grammar school. On 25 March 1650, being then under sixteen years of age, he was admitted as a sizar at Sidney-Sussex College, Cambridge. His father became a leader among the quakers at York. Ryther held the vicarage of Frodingham (including Bromby), Lincolnshire, from which he was ejected, the presumption being that it was a sequestered living, which he lost at the Restoration. He retired to York, but soon obtained the vicarage of North Ferriby, Yorkshire; he resided, however, at Brough in the neighbouring parish of Elloughton. Ejected from Ferriby by the Uniformity Act of 1662, he preached in his house at Brough till the operation of the Five Miles Act (which came into force 25 March 1666) compelled him to remove. He preached at Allerton, near Bradford, and aided in founding in 1668 the congregational church at Bradford-dale. For illegal preaching he was imprisoned for six months, and again for fifteen months, in York Castle. About 1669 he removed to London, a meeting-house was built for him at Wapping, and here he became exceedingly popular with sailors, who shielded him from arrest. He was known as the ‘seaman's preacher.’ He died in June 1681. The mother of Andrew Kippis [q. v.] was his descendant. He published, besides single sermons (1672–80), including a funeral sermon for James Janeway [q. v.]:

  1. ‘The Morning Seeker,’ 1673, 8vo.
  2. ‘A Plat for Mariners; or the Seaman's Preacher,’ 1675, 8vo; reprinted [1780], 8vo, with preface by John Newton (1725–1807) [q. v.]
  3. ‘The Best Friend … or Christ's Awakening Call,’ 1678, 8vo.

John Ryther (d. 1704), son of the above, acted as chaplain on merchant ships trading to both the Indies, and early in 1689 became minister at Nottingham of the congregational church in Bridlesmith Gate, and (from 3 Oct. 1689) in Castle Gate. He published: ‘A Defence of the Glorious Gospel,’ 1703, 8vo, against John Barret (1631–1713) [q. v.] Among the manuscripts in the museum of Ralph Thoresby [q. v.] were ‘A Journal kept by the Rev. Mr. John Ryther of his Voyage from Venice to Zant, 1676 … from Zant … to London. … Another from Sardinia to England. From London, 1680, to the coast of Cormandell, and Bay of Bengale. From Fort St. George, 1681, to Cape Bona Esperance, from St. Helena to England.’

[Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 448, 833; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 601 sq. 953 sq.; Musæum Thoresbyanum, 1816, p. 81 (89); Carpenter's Presbyterianism in Nottingham [1862], pp. 106, 109; Miall's Congregationalism in Yorkshire, 1868, p. 240; Heywood's Diaries, ed. Turner, ii. 289; Nottingham Daily Press, 30 May 1889; information from the master of Sidney-Sussex College, and from J. S. Rowntree, esq., York.]

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