John Rudd

John Rudd, A. M.—This divine was born in the year 1568, and educated most probably in Christ's college, Cambridge, where he became a zealous and popular preacher. He was one of the preachers to the uersity; and for a sermon which he delivered in St. Mary's church, January 30, 1596, he was convened before the vice-chnncellor and the heads of houses, and examined upon the contents of his sermon, drawn into certain interrogatories. He was required to give his answer to each of thrse interrogatories, which he nad no sooner done than he was suspended from all his preferment, and commanded to deliver up his license for preaching, until he should give satisfaction to the congregation, and revoke his dangerous errors. It is observed, that he at first consented to retract his opinions, but after the revocation was drawn up, he refused to do it in the manner prescribed; yet he openly promised, and by the subscription of his hand to the said revocation, undertook to deliver publicly in St. Mary's pulpit, on the 6th of March following, the substance of the said revocation, lively, truly, and bona Jide, so near as he should be able. This, it is said, he was permitted to do, in consequence of his earnest petition, out of a tender regard for his ministry, and in full persuasion of his performance; but, contrary to all expectation, in his sermon on the above day, he confirmed his former points of doctrine, instead of giving satisfaction, or revoking his former offences. For this contempt he continued under suspension, with his license called in, and was obliged to enter into a bond of forty pounds, for his appearance before his spiritual judges, on the 28th day of April.

Alter these proceedings, Dr. Jcgon the vice-chancellor, sent information to Archbishop Whitgift, concerning Mr. Rudd's offence, and communicated to him an account of the above proceedings, with a copy of the above recantation.* This was going the sure way to work. The stern archbishop immediately addressed letters missive to the vice-chancellor, commanding, that if Mr. Rudd still

* Dr. John Jegon was afterwards bishop of Norwich, when he distinguished himself by his zeal for conformity, and the exact management of his revenues, by which he was enabled to purchase a very considerable estate, and to enrich his family. This, in the latter part of his life, seems to have been the principal object of his attention. His death happened March 13, 1617; but Be was thought to have died too rich for a bishop, and to have expended too little of his ample fortune in acts of charity.— Urangtr't Biog. Hist. vol. 1. p. 349.

refused to observe such order as was already taken, or should be hereafter taken, he should be bound, with one suretj in a bond of forty pounds, to appear before her majesty's high commissioners, April 3Oth. He was, therefore, obliged to enter into bonds, and was sent to the high commission, when he made his submission, and confessed his oversight. He was then dismissed, sent back to Cambridge, and referred to the vice-chancellor's wisdom, to take such further order with him as he should think proper. But the vicechancellor and heads would not release him without a formal recantation, after which he was absolved, and restored in all respects to his former situation. His recantation wns as follows:

" Whereas, in a sermon made by me in this place, the " 3Oth day of January last past, I was understood and " taken to have published and maintained certain points of " doctrine very erroneous, and other speeches of reproof (' very scandalous to the church of England, and greatly . " offensive to the congregation then assembled, namely: " « 1. That the use of humanity, human arts, aud profane " authors, in sermons, was and is altogether unprofitable " and unlawful.—2. That not the tenth part of the ministers " of this our church of England are able ministers or " preachers, but dumb dogs.—3. That a curate, being no " preacher, is no minister, nor doth he edify, any more " than a boy of eight years old may do.—4. That Papists " and Lutherans in Cambridge are lately reconciled and dis" missed; for which the uersity doth hear ill abroad.' " In all which particulars, my mind and meaning was and " is so far different from the sense implied in these words, u that I had no suspicion of any offence thereby given or " taken."*

It does not appear whether Mr. Rudd made the above revocation publicly in the pulpit, or only subscribed it with his band. Upon his release from these troubles, it appears that he left the uersity; and about the same time he became minister of Sheephall in Hertfordshire, where he continued a faithful and useful preacher to the end of his days. At his death his remains were interred in the chancel of his own church, and over his grave the following plain monumental inscription was erected to his memory:

Here lies the body

of John Rudd,
tho faithful pastor of this church
forty-fire jears,
who died a bachelor in 1640,
aged 72.

In his last will and testament he bequeathed Jbsoo for the purchase of lands, the profits of which were to be annually distributed among the poor of Durham; also Jb200 for two scholarships in Christ's college, Cambridge, one for the north and the other for the south. His own kindred in the sout h, if any, were first to be chosen; next the vicar's son of Shcephall, if capable; next, such scholars as were educated at Stevenage school; if none there, then at St. Alban's or Hertford school. He also gave j£200 for the purchase of lands, the profits of which were to be annually devoted to other charitable purposes.*