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RICHARDSON, CHRISTOPHER (1618–1698), nonconformist divine, appears to have been born at Sheriff Hutton, Yorkshire, in 1618 (not at York, as often stated). Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he graduated M.A. In 1646 he obtained the sequestered rectory of Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield, Yorkshire, which he held till the Restoration, when, being a man of property, he purchased Lassell Hall in Kirkheaton parish, and made it his residence. Though disabled by the uniformity act of 1662, he continued to preach in his house, using the staircase as a pulpit. He was an intimate associate of Oliver Heywood [q. v.], in whose diaries is frequent mention of visits to Lassell Hall for religious exercises. Under the indulgence of 1672 he was licensed as chaplain to William Cotton of Denby Grange, Penistone, Yorkshire, and retained this connection till 1687, preaching also at Sheffield and at Norton, Derbyshire.

In 1687 he removed from Lassell Hall, and in his seventieth year became the founder of nonconformity in Liverpool. Availing himself of James II's declaration for liberty of conscience, he conducted worship in a building in Castle Hey (now Harrington Street). His services were fortnightly, and alternately he preached at Toxteth Park chapel, founded (1618) by Richard Mather [q. v.] This arrangement was maintained till his death in November or December 1698; he was buried on 5 Dec. in the graveyard of St. Nicholas's Church, Liverpool. In 1884 a tablet to his memory was erected in Kirkheaton church by his descendants. He married, first, Elizabeth (d. 1668), by whom he had a son Christopher; secondly, on 23 Jan. 1683, Hephzibah (b. 3 Jan. 1655, d. 1735), daughter of Edward Prime, ejected from a curacy at Sheffield; she survived Richardson, and married (25 July 1722) Robert Ferne (d. 1727), nonconformist minister of Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Portraits of Richardson and of his second wife are given in Nightingale.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 795 (derived from Oliver Heywood, who began a life of Richardson on 2 Oct. 1699); Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 374; Wright's Funeral Sermon for Thomas Cotton, 1730, pp. 28 sq.; Hunter's Oliver Heywood, 1842, p. 253; Thom's Liverpool Churches and Chapels, 1854, pp. 66 sq.; Nonconformist Register (Turner), 1881, pp. 45, 114, 217, 297; Heywood's Diaries (Turner); Evans's Hist. of Renshaw Street Chapel, Liverpool, 1887, pp. 2, 174; Nightingale's Lancashire Nonconformity (1893), iii. 83 sq. 110 sq.; Extract from burial register of St. Nicholas, Liverpool.]

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