Thomas Gataker, A. B.—He was descended from a very ancient and respectable family at Gatacre-hall, in Shropshire. His parents, who were zealous papists, designed him for the law; for which purpose, he was entered a student at the Temple. While in this situation,
• Strype's Whitgift, p. S46—350.—Annals, vol. iii. p. 611—816. t Foulis's Hist, of Plots, p. 61.
he occasionally visited his friends and relations at court, and was often present at the examinations of die pious confessors of truth, under the barbarous severities of popery. The shocking spectacle had the happiest effect on his mind. For, while he beheld the constancy of the sufferers, who, with invincible patience, and for the testimony of a good conscience, endured the most relentless and cruel usage; the tragic scene proved the happy means of awakening his mind, and of leading him to reject popery and embrace the protestant religion. His parents, apprehensive of the change in his opinions, sent him to Louvain, in Flanders;' and, to wean him effectually from his new thoughts about religion, settled upon him a considerable estate: but he counted all worldly allurements and advantages as nothing in comparison of Christ. His father at length perceiving him to be immoveable, called him home, and revoked his grant; which, however, could not take effect without his son's consent. Young Gataker counted,the cost. He had already learned the hard lesson of self-denial, and of forsaking all for Christ and a good conscience; therefore, he voluntarily gave up that which had been the bait of his apostacy. This was in the beginning of the reign of Queen Mary.*
Mr. Gataker being cast off by his unnatural parents, was enabled to put his trust in the Lord, who, in a very remarkable manner, raised up friends, by whom he was sent to the university of Oxford, and supported by their great generosity. After having spent eleven years in that seat of learning, he entered at Magdalen college, Cambridge, where he continued about four years. In the year 1568, he entered upon the ministerial function, and was ordained both deacon and priest by the Bishop of London; and, in 1576, was admitted vicar of Christ's church, London, which he resigned in 1578, probably on account of his puritanical principles. He became rector of St. Edmunds in Lombard-street, June 21,1572, but resigned it by death, previous to June 2,1593, when the next incumbent entered upon the benefice.t He was a minister of puritanical principles, furnished with excellent parts, a zealous preacher, a most conscientious divine, firm in his attachment to the protestant religion, and some time domestic chaplain to the Karl of Leicester. Though he left behind him only a small fortune, he left many friends, particularly among the great men of
• Clark's Lira annexed to Martyrologie, p. 848, 849. + Neircoart'a Eccl. Repert. vol. i. p. 344.
the law, with whom he had been, in the earlier part of his life, a fellow-student; and who, on that account, were afterwards ready to testify their respect to his memory, by affording their countenance and expressing their kindness to his son.* His son was the celebrated Mr. Thomas Gataker, another puritan divine, who was first chosen lecturer at the Temple, then minister at Rotherhithe, near London.