Jessop, Constantine (DNB00)

JESSOP, CONSTANTINE (1602?–1658), presbyterian minister, son of John Jessop, minister at Pembroke, was born about 1602. In 1624, at the age of twenty-two, he was entered as a student at Jesus College, Oxford. Thence he went to Trinity College, Dublin, and there graduated B.A. He was incorporated B.A. at Oxford on 30 June 1631, and graduated M.A. on 8 May 1632. On 11 May 1643 he was appointed to officiate for six months at Fyfield, Essex, with half the profits of the rectory, which was sequestered from Alexander Reade, D.D. Later in the year he took the covenant, and received the rectory of Fyfield by order of the House of Commons, 3 Nov. 1643. His name appears in the sixth or Ongar classis of the presbyterial arrangements for Essex, sanctioned by ordinance of 31 Jan. 1648. But he left Fyfield for the sequestered vicarage of St. Nicholas, Bristol, in August 1647. Like other presbyterians, he seems to have been a royalist. On 23 Nov. 1650 complaints that he had preached against the government on the occasion of the election of a mayor at Bristol were laid before the council of state. He was allowed on 14 Dec. to remain in the ministry on condition of taking the ‘engagement’ of fidelity to the existing government, but was interdicted from going to Bristol, or within three miles of it. According to Wood he ministered at Coggeshall, Essex, after John Owen, D.D., left it for Oxford in 1651; but he did not obtain the vicarage. On 19 Feb. 1652 he was allowed to visit Bristol for two months, ‘but not to increase former factions.’ He was again allowed on 7 Sept. to go to Bristol and remove his goods within fourteen days. On 23 March 1654 he had the rectory of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, and in April the interdict respecting Bristol seems to have been removed. He was an assistant commissioner for Dorset to the ‘expurgators’ for removing scandalous and inefficient ministers. He died at Wimborne on 16 April 1658. An inscription on a mural tablet of black marble at Wimborne says ‘he had lived fifty-three years,’ apparently a mistake for fifty-five. His baptismal name is often erroneously given; it appears as Constant, Constantius, Constance, and Count. His son, Constantine, was D.D. of Oxford (4 July 1685); was rector of Brington, Northamptonshire, and prebendary of Durham; and died on 11 March 1695, aged 55.

The elder Jessop published: 1. ‘The Angel of the Church of Ephesus no Bishop,’ &c., 1644, 4to; reprinted, 1660, 4to. 2. ‘Concerning the Nature of the Covenant of Grace,’ &c., a defence of William Twisse, D.D., published as a preface to ‘A Modest Vindication,’ &c., 1655, 4to, by John Grayle or Graile [q. v.]

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 540 sq. (needs much correction); Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 461, 465; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 4, 342; Hutchins's Dorsetshire, 1803, ii. 546; Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 375 sq.; Davids's Evang. Nonconf. in Essex, 1863, pp. 276, 467 sq.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650–4.]

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