Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tillinghast, John

TILLINGHAST, JOHN (1604–1655), Fifth-monarchy man, son of John Tillinghast, rector of Streat, Sussex, was born there in 1604 (baptised 25 Sept.) Robert Tichborne [q. v.], the regicide, was his uncle. From the grammar school of Newport, Essex, he went to Cambridge, and on 24 March 1620-1, his age being sixteen, was admitted pensioner of Gonville and Caius College; he graduated B.A. 1624-5. His first known preferment was the rectory of Tarring Neville, Sussex, to which he was inducted on 30 July 1636. On 29 Sept. 1637 he was inducted, in succession to his father, as rector of Streat; he held the living till 1643, when he was known as a preacher in London. He became an independent before the end of 1650, and was admitted member of the newly formed church at Syleham, Suffolk. On 22 Jan. 1651 the independents of Great Yarmouth called him thither as assistant to William Bridge [q. v.] He accepted on 4 Feb., and on 15 April he and his wife Mary were transferred from the Syleham fellowship to that of Yarmouth. On 24 June 1651 he was re-baptised. On 13 Jan. 1652 the independent churches of Cookley, Suffolk, Fressingfield, Suffolk, and Trunch, Norfolk, presented simultaneous calls to Tillinghast. The Yarmouth flock released him on 27 Jan., and he elected to go to Trunch, where he held the rectory. His millenarian opinions, which he shared with (perhaps adopted from) Richard Breviter, or Brabiter, of North Walsham, were of a purely spiritual type, and his general theology was in strict accordance with the Thirty-nine Articles. In the spring of 1655 he came up to London to remonstrate with Cromwell and console the imprisoned 'saints' of his party. He visited Christopher Feake [q. v.] in Windsor Castle. Nathaniel Brewster, rector of Alby, Norfolk, introduced him to Cromwell, whom he addressed 'in such a way of plainness and pity' (Feake) that Brewster himself, though his 'bosom-friend,' according to Cromwell's own account, 'cried shame' (Cromwell's Letter to Fleetwood, 22 June 1655). Shortly after this he died in London, probably of over-excitement, early in June 1655. To Feake, who seems to have known little of him, he appeared 'like another young Apollos,' though he had completed his fiftieth year. His son John was baptised at Yarmouth on 24 June 1651.

He published: 1. 'Demetrivs his Opposition I to Reformation,' 1642, 4to (dedicated to Isabel, wife of Henry Rich, earl of Holland [q. v.], and others). 2. 'Generation Work,' 1653, 8vo; part ii. 1654, 8vo; part iii. 1654, 8vo (title is explained, 'work for the present generation'). 3. 'Knovvledge of the Times,'1654, 8vo. 4. 'A Motive to Generation Work,' 1655, 8vo (with reprint of No. 2). Posthumous were : 5. 'Mr. Tillinghast's Eight Last Sermons,' 1656, 8vo (edited, with preface, by Feake). 6. 'Six Several Treatises,' 1656, 8vo; edited, from Tillinghast's notes, by Samuel Petto [q. v.] and John Manning [see under Manning, William]; reprinted 1663, 8vo. 7. 'Elijah's Mantle: or the Remains of ... Tillinghast,' 1658, 8vo (nine sermons, edited by Petto, Manning, and Samuel Habergham).

Another John Tillinghast, son of Pardon Tillinghast of Alfriston, Sussex, matriculated from Magdalen Hall.Oxford, on 14 July 1642, aged 17. Another Pardon Tillinghast, born at Sevencliffe, near Beachey Head, about 1622, became baptist minister at Providence, Rhode Island.

[Tillinghast's Works; Carlyle's Cromwell, 1871, iv. -124 sq. (needs correction); Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, pp. 221 sq., 294 sq.; Venn's Admissions to Gonville and Caius, 1887, and Biographical History of Gonville and Caius, 1897, p. 253; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1892, iv. 1467; information from the Rev. H. S. Anson, rector of Streat, and from the Rev. R. J. Burbidge, Seaford.]

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