Blackbourne, John (DNB00)

BLACKBOURNE, JOHN (1683–1741), nonjuror, was born in 1683, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became B.A. in 1700, and M.A. in 1705. His refusal to recognise the revolutionary settlement excluded him from clerical preferment. According to Dr. Bowes, who 'waited on him often in Little Britain, where he lived almost lost to the world and hid amongst old books,' Blackbourne 'lived a very exemplary, good life, and studied hard, endeavouring to be useful to mankind, both as a scholar and divine. To keep himself independent, he became corrector of the press to Mr. Bowyer, printer, and was, indeed, one of the most accurate of any that ever took upon him that laborious employ' (Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, i. 262). He was powerfully recommended to 'King James III' by Lord Winchelsea and other nobles of his faction, and was consecrated bishop of the nonjurors 11 June 1726 (Blunt, Theological Dictionary, 1872) by the nonjuring prelates, Spinckes, Gandy, and Doughty, with the last two of whom he took part in the consecration of Richard Rawlinson, 25 March 1728, and subsequently with Gandy and Rawlinson in the consecration of George Smith. Blackbourne belonged to that section of the nonjurors which, in respect to the 'usages,' adhered to the practice of the English church as it stood at the time of the separation, and who were known as 'nonusagers,' in contra-distinction to the 'usagers,' who wished to introduce chiefly into their eucharistic liturgy certain catholic practices. The two parties remained separate, each consecrating several bishops, from the year 1718 to 1733, when a reconciliation took place on the basis of a general adoption of the catholic 'usages;' but Blackbourne still refused, though 'almost alone, to relinquish the use of the communion office of the Anglican church. Blackbourne published an edition of Johan Bale's 'Brefe Chronycle concernyne the Examinacyon and Death of the Blessed Martyr of Christ, Syr Johan Oldecastell the Lorde Cobham. To which is added an Appendix of original Instruments,' 8vo, London, 1729; and an edition of 'The Works of the Lord Bacon. Francisci Baconi, Baronis de A'erulamio, Vicecomitis Sancti Albani, Magni Angliæ Cancellarii, Opera omnia, quatuor Voluminibus comprehensa; hactenus edita, ad autographorum maxime fidem, emendantur; nonnulla etiam ex MSS. Codicibus deprompta, nunc primum prodeunt,' fol. London, 1730. He is also credited with editing the 'Castrations to Holinshed's Chronicle,' 1728, fol. Blackbourne died 17 Nov. 1741, and his library was sold by auction in February 1742. He was buried in Islington churchyard. His widow, Philadelphia, after having contracted a second marriage with Richard Heybourne, a citizen of London, died 10 Jan. 1750, at the age of 70, and was buried by the side of her first husband.

[Graduati Cantab. 1787; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes; Lathbury's History of the Nonjurors, London, 1840; Blunt's Dictionary of Theology, London, 2nd ed. 1872; Lee's Glossary of Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Terms, London, 1877.]

A. H. G.