Mr. Lawrance was a man of great piety, an admired preacher, and incumbent in the county of Suffolk. He discovered great modesty, was unblameable in his life, sound in doctrine, and a laborious and constant preacher. He was first employed in the ministry in the above county, about the year 1561, where he continued to labour about six years with great acceptance and usefulness. But in the year 1567, he was silenced by Archbishop Parker's visitors for nonconformity. The good man having received the ecclesiastical censure, several persons of quality in that county, who knew his excellent character and great worth, wrote a letter to the archbishop, earnestly soliciting his restoration. This letter, dated October 27, 1567, was as follows:
" Our humble commendations and duties remembered to your grace. Great necessity doth occasion us to write to you for one Mr. Lawrance, lately a preacher; of whose great modesty, unblameable life, and sound doctrine, we have good experience, having with great diligence been well exercised among us these five or six years. He commonly preached twice every Lord's day, and many times on the working days, without ever receiving any thing. His enemies cannot accuse him of any thing worthy of reproach, as we testified to your grace's visitors, and desired them that he might still continue his preaching; for we knew very well that we should have great need of him. Now we see it more evident. For there is not one preacher within a circuit of twenty miles, in which circuit he was wont to preach.
" Thus we have thought good to certify your grace of the necessity of our country, and diligence and good behaviour of the man; trusting that your grace will either restore him again, or send us some other in his room; which we most earnestly desire. Commending the same to Almighty God, and praying that he may preserve your grace. Your grace's to command,
" Robert Wingfield, Thomas Peiton,
William Hopton, Thomas Colbv,
Robert Hopton, Thomas Playless."*
Though it does not appear what success attended their application, nor yet how long Mr. Lawrance remained
• MS. Register, p. 889,890.
under the ecclesiastical censure, he was afterwards restored to his beloved ministry.
This, however, was not the end of his troubles: for in the year 1579, he was again suspended by the Bishop of Norwich, for not observing all the ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies. Upon his suspension, his people soon experienced the loss of his excellent labours. Mr. Calthrop, a gentleman of distinguished eminence in the county, and the lord treasurer Burleigh, therefore, applied to the bishop for his restoration. But his grace observed, that what he had done in suspending him, was by virtue of the queen's orders, requiring him to allow no ministers to preach w ho were not in all things perfectly conformable to the rites and ceremonies ol the church. Mr. Callhrop urged the great want there was of such excellent preachers as Mr. Lawrance, for whose fitness for the. work of the ministry he would undertake to obtain the testimonial of the chief gentlemen in the county. But all was unavailable: the good man still remained under the episcopal censure.*
Mr. Lawrance was greatly beloved by persons of a reli
fious character throughout the county where he lived, and is suspension was the cause of much sorrow and grief to all who knew him. Therefore, in the month of April, 1580, the above worthy persons made a second application to the bishop, but with no better success. The bishop remained inflexible, and declared that unless the treasurer commanded him, he would not restore Mr. Lawrance without perfect conformity. So he still continued under suspensions