Mr. Midgley was many years vicar of Rochdale in Lancashire, and a man of high reputation in his time. He is denominated a grave and godly minister, whose praise was great in the gospel.+ In the year 1585, he was appointed by the Bishop of Chester, to be one of the moderators of the religious exercises in that diocese.f He was greatly admired and beloved by the puritans. Dr. Chadderton made mention of him, at the Hampton-court conference, in 1603. He requested on that occasion, that the wearing of the surplice, and the use of the cross in baptism, might not be urged upon certain ministers in Lancashire, and particularly upon the vicar of Rochdale. The request was no sooner presented, than Archbishop Whitgift replied, saying, " You could not have light upon a worse. For not many years ago it was proved before me, that by his irreverent usage of the eucharist, in dealing the bread out of a basket, every one putting in his hand and taking out a piece, he made many loathe the communion, and refuse to come to church."^ His grace in this statement was certainly mistaken. It could not be Mr. Midgley's " irreverent usage of the eucharist," in the way described, but their own ignorance, bigotry, and superstition, which produced those evils.
Mr. Midgley was the pious and laborious minister of Rochdale nearly fifty years, and is said to have been instru
• Wood's Athens Oxon. Vo1, i. p. 8I7.
+ Clark's Lives annexed to Martyrologie, p. 68.
t Strype's Annals, vol. ii. Appen. p. 75.
S Fuller's Church Hist. b. x. p. 20.
mental in the conversion of thousands of souls; yet he was silenced and deprived by the Bishop of Chester for nonconformity.* He was the happy means in the conversion of Mr. Richard Rothwcll, another worthy puritan divine. Mr. Midglcy's son wus also vicar of Rochdale, and a man of distinguished eminence. He presented " The Abridgment of the Lincolnshire Ministers' Reasons" to Bishop Morton, who afterwards published an answer to it. Both father and son were deprived for nonconformity. The latter, after his deprivation, turned physician, and was afterwards prosecuted for refusing to kneel at the sacrament. +