eccentric theology; and in July 1650 John Whittell, girdler, of Milk Street, London, was brought before the council of state on the charge of having caused it to be printed. Replies were published by Eaton (1650 and 1651), and by Thomas Porter of Whitchurch, Shropshire (1651). The imprimatur of Porter's pamphlet, entitled ‘A Serious Exercitation,’ is dated 26 Dec. 1650, and by that time Knowles was ‘late preacher at Chester.’ He appears to have returned to Gloucester, for on 19 Nov. 1650 the mayor of that city was directed by the council of state to examine witnesses on oath respecting Knowles's preaching against the divinity of Christ. He removed to Pershore, Worcestershire, where he lived some fifteen years as ‘a professed minister.’
At Pershore he was apprehended on 9 April 1665 by Thomas, seventh baron Windsor, and imprisoned first at Worcester, and then in the Gatehouse, Westminster, on 23 May. Papers found in his house were made the basis of charges of heresy; he had been invited on 5 June 1662 by H. Hed of Huntingdon to meet Christopher Crell, the exiled Polish antitrinitarian, at Oxford; on 19 Nov. 1664 he had been invited to London by Thomas Firmin [q. v.] Letters from his friends were construed as implying that he was ready to countenance sedition. A collection on behalf of the Polish exiles was thought to be really for English rebels. On 23 June and again on 7 July he petitioned (writing also to Monck, duke of Albemarle) for liberty to go out on bail, as the plague was then raging in London. His petition was repeated on 2 Feb. 1666, and he gained his liberty soon afterwards. On his release he mixed in controversial talk with London clergy, who respected his learning and sincerity. With his publication in reply to ‘Justification onely upon a Satisfaction,’ &c., 1668, 12mo, by Robert Ferguson (d. 1714) [q. v.], he drops out of notice. A pamphleteer of 1698 states that he bequeathed some valuable books to a library at Gloucester.
He published: 1. ‘A Modest Plea for Private Men's Preaching,’ &c., 1648, 4to (published 30 March; in answer to ‘Private Men no Pulpit Men,’ &c., 1646, 4to, by Giles Workman). 2. ‘A Friendly Debate … by Writing betwixt Mr. Samuel Eaton and Mr. John Knowles,’ &c., 1650, 4to. 3. ‘An Answer to Mr. Ferguson's Book,’ &c. [1668?], 8vo. In this last he mentions other projected publications, but he is not known to have issued anything further.
[Grounds and Occasions of the Controversy concerning the Unity of God, 1698, p. 16; Wallace's Antitrinitarian Biog. 1850, i. 154, iii. 210 sq.; Urwick's Nonconformity in Cheshire, 1864, pp. 16 sq., 465 sq.; Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1662, 1665.]
KNOWLES, JOHN (1600?–1685), nonconformist divine, was born in Lincolnshire about 1600. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, his chamber-fellow being Richard Vines [q. v.] In 1625 he was elected fellow of Catharine Hall, and acquired great repute as a tutor. On the advice of the master, Richard Sibbes, he joined in electing to a fellowship Laud's nominee, John Ellis (1606?–1681) [q. v.], an act of compliance which he afterwards regretted. In 1635 the corporation of Colchester elected him to a lectureship in that town. Here he exercised considerable public influence. He was intimate with the noted puritan, John Rogers, vicar of Dedham, Essex; preached his funeral sermon in 1636, and obtained the appointment of Matthew Newcomen [q. v.] as his successor. A vacancy in the mastership of Colchester grammar school was filled in 1637 by the appointment of William Dugard [q. v.], on Knowles's recommendation, in opposition to a candidate favoured by Laud. ‘The getting in of a schoolmaster,’ says Calamy, ‘proved the outing of a lecturer.’ Knowles had laid himself open to interference by opposing the ceremonies. Laud reprimanded him and threatened further proceedings. Ultimately his license was revoked; Knowles resigned his lectureship before the end of 1637, and left Colchester. In 1639 he embarked for New England.
For about ten years he was ‘teacher,’ i.e. lecturer, as colleague with George Philips, at Watertown, Massachusetts, ‘in a cold wilderness.’ After this he went (7 Oct. 1642) on a mission to Virginia. The governor prohibited him from public preaching, as he would not use a surplice or the prayer-book. The governor's chaplain, Thomas Harrison, D.D. (1619–1682) [q. v.], seems to have acted a double part, openly favouring, but privately opposing, the puritan preachers. Knowles preached in private houses with much acceptance until he and others were expelled. He returned to Watertown, and was still in New England on 31 Dec. 1650, on which day he signed a letter addressed to Oliver Cromwell. Soon afterwards he returned to England, and was appointed lecturer in the cathedral at Bristol. On 18 Oct. 1653 an augmentation was ordered to be paid to ‘John Knowles of Bristol cathedral.’ He was several times interrupted by quakers. On 17 Dec. 1654 Elizabeth Marshall, a quakeress, was sent to prison for delivering ‘a message’ to Knowles at the close of the service. On 20 June 1657 his sermon in All Hallows Church was dis-