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William Styles

William Styles, A. jVI.—This divine was born at Doncaster in Yorkshire, and educated in Trinity college, Cambridge. On his entrance upon the work of the ministry, he was ordained both deacon and priest in the year 1620, when he was presented by Richard Harebread, esq. to the vicarage of Ledsham or Ledston, to the parsonage-house of which he was a considerable benefactor; and, March 3, 1624, he was presented by the king to the vicarage of Pontefract. He was a divine of puritan principles, was disaffected to ecclesiastical ceremonies, and was prosecuted by the high commission of York for the enormous crime of baptizing a child without the sigu of the cross; but Alexander Cooke, by his powerful mediation

» .Mather's New England, b. iii. p. 103,104.
+ Moric and Parish's Hist, of New Bug. p. 10S.

with the archbishop, got the prosecution to be withdrawn. About the year 1642 he succeeded the famous Mr. Marvel in the vicarage of Hessel cum Hull, whence he was afterwards ejected for refusing the engagement.*

Dr. Walker says Mr. Styles was turned out about the year 1647, for preaching against the intended murder of the king; and was succeeded by one Hibbert, who, it was thought, was not in orders till after the restoration. "I am further informed," says he, "that Mr. Styles was once of the parliament's party, and was in Hull when Sir John Hotham excluded the king, and was present when, upon his majesty's demand of his town and garrison of Hull, Sir John denied him admittance: at which, as I was told by a drummajor who stood by, Mr. Styles clapped Sir John upon his shoulder, and said, 'Honour should sit upon his shoulders for that day's work.' I am also informed," says he, "that he never appeared in the commission against scandalous ministers, but for the safety and deliverance of some persons that were loyal and episcopal; and this I am sure of, that he died a very great penitent, and openly declared, in his last sermon, in favour of loyalty and conformity."+ But this account, transmitted in the " Sufferings of the parochial Clergy," says Mr. Thoresby, is full of mistakes.J

Mr. Styles having refused the engagement, as intimated above, President Bradshaw wrote to Lieutenant-colonel Salmon, deputy-governor of Hull, to turn him by force out of the church and secure his person. Upon this a petition and testimonial was subscribed by the inhabitants, certifying—" That he was a very orthodox and laborious preacher, of a most blameless conversation; and, by his constant and unwearied pains in the gospel, he had won many souls to God; and consequently their loss of him would be exceeding great; that he was a very old man, unfit to travel, and had not a house in the world to put his head in, offering to be bound for his peaceable demeanour; and that if he could not in conscience comply, before the latter end of March, he should then yield to the law." The president was by this means prevailed upon to allow his continuance till the winter was over, when he was finally turned out and driven from the place. Upon his ejectment he removed to London, and preached nearly a year in Ironmonger'slane; but his health very much declining, he returned into his native county, and was preferred to the vicarage of Leeds, with the free consent ot Mr. Robinson, the legal vicar, who had been driven away during the national confusions. Here he met with kind reception, and was highly honoured by the magistrates and people, for his excellent practical preaching. Though he was a puritan, he was a person of great loyalty, and had the courage to pray publicly for the king, then in a state of exile. He died a little before the restoration, and, March 16, 1660, his remains were interred in his own church. Mr. Christopher Nesse, afterwards one of the ejected ministers, was his lecturer; and Dr. Lake, afterwards bishop of Chichester, was his successor.* Mr. Thorcsby says, he had in MS. his " Catechism preparatory to receiving the Lord's Supper," which he styles, " solid and judicious." He had also some of his sermons in MS. and had seen several volumes of them, written by the aldermen and others, his devout hearers. He had likewise in his possession his judgment concerning several matters in religion, attested by Mr. Hill of Rotherham, who, in the presence of Mr. Wales and Alderman Maxon, wrote it from his own mouth a little before his death.+

• Thoresby'* Vicaria Leodiensis, p. 95. + Walker's Attempt, part ii. p. 37S.

* TUoresby's Vicaria Uodiensis, p. 98.