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Rastrick, John (1650-1727) (DNB00)

RASTRICK, JOHN (1650–1727), nonconformist minister, son of John and Afling Raistrige, was born at Heckington, Lincolnshire, on 26 March 1650. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. 1660, M.A. 1674. Having taken orders, he became in 1674 vicar of Kirton, Lincolnshire. His parish was not populous, but wide and scattered, and he applied himself to pastoral work with great assiduity. Acting on puritan principles, he withheld baptism from illegitimate children till there was evidence of the parents' penitence, and restricted the communion to those whom he deemed duly prepared. He allowed the scrupulous to receive the communion sitting, sometimes read the burial service without surplice, and substituted ‘honour’ for worship in the marriage service. These and some other irregularities were reported by his churchwarden at a visitation, and Rastrick was summoned before the spiritual court at Lincoln. His case came on for trial on 4 April 1687, when James II's declaration for liberty of conscience reached Lincoln, and the court came to no determination. On 27 Nov. 1687 Rastrick resigned his living, intending to profit by the liberty announced in the royal declaration. The same course was taken by four other Lincolnshire incumbents.

Rastrick preached as a nonconformist, first at Spalding, Lincolnshire, then at Rotherham, Yorkshire (1694–1701). In 1701 he became colleague to Anthony Williamson as pastor of the presbyterian congregation in Spinner Lane, King's Lynn, Norfolk. In this charge he remained till his death, but his situation as a dissenting minister was not altogether happy; he felt himself ‘neither fit for church nor meeting.’ Tendencies to antinomianism distressed him; he preached on the subject to a ministers' meeting at Nottingham (26 June 1718), and had the warm approval of his brethren; but his congregation was divided on the matter. The disputes at Salters' Hall in 1719 [see Bradbury, Thomas] led him to study both sides of the current trinitarian controversy, with the result that he thought James Peirce [q. v.] was in the right. He died on 18 Aug. 1727, aged 78, and was buried in St. Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn; his gravestone bears a Latin inscription written by his son William (see below).

Rastrick published ‘An Account of the Nonconformity of John Rastrick … in a Letter to a Friend,’ 1705, 8vo (the friend was Edmund Calamy [q. v.], and the letter is given as an appendix to Calamy's Defence of Moderate Nonconformity, pt. iii. 1705, 8vo). In the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ xxiii. 1702–3, and xxxii. 1722–3, are three letters from Rastrick to Ralph Thoresby [q. v.], giving account of Roman coins and other antiquities found in Lincolnshire. Among Rastrick's unpublished manuscripts the Lynn historian Richards mentions and uses his ‘Plain and Easy Principles of Christian Obedience,’ and some poetical pieces of no merit (one of these Richards had printed in the ‘Gentleman's Magazine,’ 1789). His name is sometimes spelled Raistrick.

William Rastrick (d. 1752), the only surviving son, succeeded his father as preacher to the Spinner Lane congregation, King's Lynn. He declined the pastorate, and seems to have been never ordained, exchanging with the Wisbech minister on communion days. He lived a very retired life, with a high reputation for personal excellence. He died early in August 1752, and was buried on 9 Aug. in St. Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn. He published a plan of King's Lynn, and views of its principal buildings. In the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ (xxxv. 1727–8) is a record of his observations of the aurora borealis for four years at King's Lynn. He prepared also an ‘Index eorum Theologorum aliorumque no 2257, qui propter Legem Uniformitatis, Aug. 24 Anno 1662, ab Ecclesia Anglicana secesserunt.’ Of this an autograph copy was presented (with a Latin dedication) to Edmund Calamy, D.D., and was lent by Edmund Calamy (1743–1816) to Samuel Palmer (1741–1813) [q. v.] A transcript, in two different hands, dated 1734, was in the possession of William Richards, LL.D. (1749–1819) [q. v.], and is now in St. Margaret's Library, King's Lynn.

[Rastrick's Account of his Nonconformity, 1705; Calamy's Account, 1714, p. 461; Gent. Mag. 1789, ii. 977, 1033; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, 1802, i. xv. ii. 436 sq.; Richards's History of Lynn, 1812, ii. 1050 sq.; Monthly Repository, 1815, pp. 601 sq.; Graduati Cantabrigienses, 1823, p. 388; Miall's Congregationalism in Yorkshire, 1868, p. 341; Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, p. 345; extracts from Heckington Parish Register, per the Rev. E. G. Allison; information from the Rev. U. V. Herford, Lynn.]

A. G.