John Handson was curate of St. James's church, Bury £>t. Edmunds, in Suffolk, and brought into trouble for nonconformity. He refused to wear the surplice, not only in time of divine service, but even in the administration of the sacrament; saying, that by law he thought himself not bound to wear it. He was examined by the chancellor to the Bishop ot Norwich; but it does not appear what penalties were then inflicted upon him. This was in the year 1573-t In 1581, he was again brought into trouble by his diocesan, Dr. Freke, who suspended him for nonconformity. The bishop gave an account of this affair, in a letter to the treasurer, dated April 19th, this year.
• Strype's Annals, Toi. ii. p. 585, 586. t Ibid. p. 060.
t Strype's Parker, p. 462.
Mr. Handson having continued for some time under the episcopal censure, the treasurer, after due examination of the case, wrote to the bishop in reply to his letter, desiring that the good man might be restored to his ministry. At the same time, Sir Robert Jermin,jLord North, and some others, wrote to his grace, requesting the same favour. Sir Robert, in his letter, said, " That his lordship had examined Mr. Handson's case at length, but, in his opinion, very indiscreetly, in many of the principal points; that they knew his ministry to have been very profitable to great numbers; that they who sought to remove him, were adversaries, rather than friends to the truth ; that, as to faith and manners, he was ever held a sound teacher; that in these indifferent things (meaning the matters of conformity) he had never laboured much; and that, from these considerations, he requested the bishop would allow him the free exer» cise of his ministry." But the angry prelate stood resolute, and declared peremptorily, that he never would, unless Mr. Handson would publicly acknowledge his fault, and enter into bonds for his good behaviour in future. , Other applications were made to the bishop, to take off his suspension ; but whether he ever became so favourably disposed, we have not been able to learn.*