Richardson, John (1580-1654) (DNB00)


RICHARDSON, JOHN (1580–1654), bishop of Ardagh, was born near Chester in 1580. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, graduated M.A., and became a fellow in 1600. In the same year he was selected with James Ussher (afterwards primate) and another as lay preacher at Christ Church Cathedral. Richardson's part was to preach on Wednesdays, and explain the prophecies of Isaiah. He afterwards took holy orders, and was created D.D. in 1614 (Cat. of Graduates, Trinity College, Dublin).

Richardson held many preferments. He was appointed vicar of Granard, in Ardagh, in 1610; rector of Ardsrath, Derry, in 1617; archdeacon of Derry in 1622 (reappointed in the new charter of 1629); and prebendary of Mullaghtrack, Armagh. On 14 May 1633 he was elected bishop of Ardagh in succession to Bishop Bedell, who had resigned the see because he disapproved of pluralities. Richardson, however, obtained leave to hold the archdeaconry in commendam; but he was shortly afterwards deprived of his rectory and archdeaconry by Bishop Bramhall, who found his titles unsound.

On the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in 1641, Richardson fled to England, and settled in London, where he died on 11 Aug. 1654.

Richardson's chief work, published posthumously by Archbishop Ussher, was ‘Choice Observations and Explanations of the Old Testament … to which are added further and larger Observations upon the whole Book of Genesis,’ London, 1655, fol. He also contributed remarks on Ezekiel, Daniel, and the lesser prophets to the second edition of the Westminster assembly's ‘Annotations,’ published in 1657. Cotton says that his correspondence with Bishop Bedell exists in manuscript. He bequeathed money to Trinity College, Dublin. His portrait, engraved by T. Cross, is prefixed to his ‘Choice Observations,’ 1655.

[Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib. iii. 49, 52, 183, 231, 257, 337; Lloyd's Memoires, 1668, p. 607; Elrington's Life of Archbishop Ussher, i. 15, 18; Burnet's Life of Bedell, p. 5; Vesey's Life of Bramhall, 1677; Mant's Hist. of the Church of Ireland, i. 334; Ware's Hist. of Ireland, ed. Harris, i. 255, ii. 341; Orme's Biblioth. Bibl.; Rose's Biogr. Dict.; Fuller's Worthies, i. 185.]

C. F. S.