Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wilkinson, Henry (1616-1690)

WILKINSON, HENRY (1616–1690), principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, son of William Wilkinson, curate or chaplain of Adwick-le-Street, Yorkshire, was born there in 1616. John Wilkinson (d. 1650), principal of Magdalen Hall and president of Magdalen College, Oxford, is stated by Wood to have been his uncle.

After some time spent at Edward Sylvester's school, Oxford, Henry matriculated from Magdalen Hall on 10 Oct. 1634, aged 17. He graduated B.A. on 28 Nov. 1635, M.A. on 26 May 1638, and became a noted tutor and dean of his house. When the civil war broke out, Wilkinson left Oxford and joined the parliament, took the covenant, and became a preacher in much request. He was appointed lecturer or minister of Buckminster, Leicestershire, in 1642, and was instituted vicar of Epping, Essex, on 30 Oct. 1643. He was appointed one of the parliamentary visitors of Oxford University on 1 May 1647. He was created B.D. on 14 April 1648, fellow and vice-president of Magdalen College on 25 May, principal of Magdalen Hall on 12 Aug. 1648, and Whyte's professor of moral philosophy on 24 March 1649. A strong parliamentarian, Wilkinson entertained Cromwell, Fairfax, and the other commanders at Magdalen Hall on 19 May 1649, and, preaching before them next day, ‘prayed hard for the army’ (Bloxam, Reg. of Magdalen College, vol. ii. p. cviii). He seems to have been elected a prebendary of Worcester in July 1652, but was never installed (Le Neve, Fasti Eccles. Angl. iii. 85). A salary of 60l. for preaching regularly at Carfax was voted him by the council of state on 27 May 1658 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1657–80, p. 375, and Addit. MS. 5755, fol. 122).

At Oxford Wilkinson was known as ‘Dean Harry’ to distinguish him from his two contemporaries, Henry Wilkinson (1566–1647), and the latter's son Henry (1610–1675) [q. v.] Chancellor Hyde, on his visitation in September 1661, addressing him as ‘Mr. Dean,’ chided Wilkinson for the nonconformity of his house, and complained that it contained only ‘factious and debauched persons’ (Wood, Life and Times, ed. Clark, i. 4, 14, 415). Wood adds that the chancellor declared he was afraid to come to his hall.

The principal was ejected from Magdalen Hall by the Act of Uniformity, although some of the heads of the university desired to keep him there, as he was a good disciplinarian (Athenæ Oxon. iv. 285). After again preaching for a short time at Buckminster he returned to Essex and settled at Gosfield. There, during an interim in the vicars (1669–72), he seems to have officiated at the parish church. The visitation book of the archdeaconry contains under date of 9 June 1671 an entry of his citation for not reading divine service according to the rubric. On 19 July he was pronounced contumacious and excommunicated. After the second indulgence he took out on 16 May 1672 a license to be a presbyterian teacher at Gosfield, as well as one for his house to be a presbyterian meeting-house. In 1673 he removed to the neighbouring parish of Sible Hedingham, where his library was distrained on his refusing to pay the fine for unlawful preaching. In November 1680 he was living at Great Cornard in Suffolk, where he remained until his death on 13 May 1690. He was buried at Milding, near Lavenham, in the same county.

Wilkinson married, first, Elizabeth, daughter of Anthony Giffard of Devonshire, who died on 8 Dec. 1654, aged 41; and, secondly, Anne. He had issue by both wives.

Besides sermons, Wilkinson published several works in Latin. The chief are: 1. ‘Conciones tres apud Academicos,’ Oxford, 1654, 16mo. 2. ‘Brevis Tractatus de Jure Diei Dominicæ,’ Oxford, 1654, 8vo. 3. ‘The Hope of Glory,’ Oxford, 1657, 8vo. 4. ‘Conciones sex ad Academicos,’ Oxford, 1658, 8vo. 5. ‘The Gospel Embassy,’ Oxford, 1658, 4to. 6. ‘De Impotentia Liberi Arbitrii ad bonum spirituale,’ Oxford, 1658, 8vo. 7. ‘Three Decads of Sermons,’ Oxford, 1660, 4to. 8. ‘The Doctrine of Contentment briefly explained and practically applied,’ London, 1671, 8vo. 9. ‘Two Treatises,’ London, 1681, 8vo. He also had a hand in compiling the ‘Catalogus Librorum in Biblioth. Aulæ Magdalenæ,’ Oxford, 1661, 16mo, and wrote prefaces to Henry Hurst's ‘Inability of the Highest,’ &c., Oxford, 1659, 8vo, and Nicholas Clagett's ‘Abuse of God's Grace,’ Oxford, 1659, 4to; as well as an elegy in verse appended to his funeral sermon (Oxford, 1657, 8vo) on Mrs. Margaret Corbet, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Brent [q. v.]

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iii. 932, iv. 274, 284; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, i. 241, iii. 130; David's Evangelical Nonconformists in Essex, p. 578; Kennett's Register, pp. 72, 127, 213, 246, 487, 737; Wood's Life and Times, ed. Clark, i. 147, 407, 413, 440, 453, ii. p. viii; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1 p. 2 1671–2 pp. 568, 587, 589; Nalson's Collections, i. 700, 765; Wood's Hist. and Antiq. ed. Gutch, p. 687; Burrows's Visitation of Oxford, pp. 110 n., 519, 567; Le Neve's Fasti Eccles. Angl. iii. 523, 587; Calamy's Continuation, iii. 62; Staunton's Sermon preached at the funeral of his wife, Elizabeth Wilkinson, Oxford, 1659, 4to, with elegiac verses by several hands, including her husband's; Ellis's Account of Great Milton, privately printed, Oxford, 1819, where Henry and John, D.D., are called brothers.]

C. F. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.280
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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271 i 25 Wilkinson, Henry: for Kennet's read Kennett's