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 Issues | Church History | Richard Hooker

 

Great Churchmen (No 3)

Richard Hooker

by C Sydney Carter

Published by Church Book Room Press

Introduction

The name of the "judicious" Hooker has always been held in reverent esteem by English Churchmen. For many generations he was regarded as practically the official exponent of correct Anglican teaching, and even to-day some sections of his celebrated writings are set as subjects for Ordination candidates.

Born at Heavitree near Exeter in 1553, Hooker was enabled by reason of his tender years to escape the daggers of the Marian persecutions, and although Elizabeth's long reign was a specially critical, colourful, and controversial period, in the main he passed his forty-seven years peacefully and quietly as a scholar, a saint, and a very diligent student. As his father, Sir Peter Carew's steward, lived much in Ireland, young Richard was largely under the care of his uncle, the Chamberlain of Exeter, who possessed only very moderate means.

Richard was educated at Exeter Grammar School and soon gave evidence of his future brilliant ability. With a serious and very inquiring mind his progress was so remarkable that his master called him " a little wonder," although he was of a modest and retiring disposition. He was so obviously the student that to prevent him being apprenticed to a trade his uncle bestirred himself to obtain some financial help so that he could get a University education. He was successful in securing the practical sympathy of his old friend Bishop Jewell, who gave Richard an annual grant. Hence the lad was able at the age of fifteen to start his studies at Oxford, and he went to Corpus Christi College in 1568, first as a chorister and then as a clerk. His tutor here was the learned Dr. John Reynolds, the future President of the College and the foremost champion of the Puritans at the
Hampton Court Conference in 1604. Reynolds remained Hooker's life-long friend,

A very pleasing incident is related of Hooker's association with Bishop Jewell. On his way home from Oxford Hooker visited the bishop, who entertained him to dinner and then dismissed him with his blessing and much good counsel, but forgot to give him any money. Jewel immediately had Hooker recalled in order, as he said, " to lend him a horse," which, he told him, " had carried him many a mile." He then handed the young student his walking staff with ten groats, promising him a further ten when he returned the walking stick ! Shortly after, however, the good bishop passed to his eternal rest and Richard was bereft of this influential patron. Dr. Cole, the President of the College, at once most sympathetically took up Jewel's mantle and also secured Archbishop Sandys’ interest, so that Sandys sent his own son to Corpus to be under Hooker as tutor. A very close life-long friendship was formed between them, and also with another pupil, George Cranmer, a greatnephew of the martyred Archbishop. Hooker took his M.A. in 1573, and at the age of twenty-four was elected Fellow of his College.

His reputation for learning and scholarship was already so high that even before his ordination, which took place in 1580, he was made Hebrew lecturer in the University. One of his duties as a Fellow of Corpus was to take a turn as preacher at St. Paul's Cross. This he carried out in 1581, an engagement which permanently affected his future career.

 

>>Hooker's Marriage

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Related Links
Richard Hooker
BulletIntroduction

BulletRichard Hooker by Sydney Carter
BulletHooker's Marriage (Carter)
BulletThe Ecclesiastical Polity (Carter)
BulletEcclesiastical position (Carter)
BulletClosing Years (Carter)
BulletHooker's character (Carter)


Segments

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BulletIntroduction
BulletJerome
BulletTheodore of Tarsus
BulletSynod of Hertford
BulletArchbishop Thomas Cranmer
BulletJohn Calvin
BulletEdmund Grindal
BulletWilliam Whitaker
BulletRyle: Reformers
BulletJohn Davenant
BulletJohn Pearson
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BulletGeorge Whitefield
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BulletJames Hannington
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