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Tillesley, Richard (DNB00)

TILLESLEY, RICHARD (1582–1621), archdeacon of Rochester, born at Coventry in 1582, was the son of Thomas Tillesley of Eccleshall in Staffordshire, by his wife, the daughter of Richard Barker of Shropshire. Matriculating from Balliol College, Oxford, on 20 Jan. 1597-8, Richard was elected a scholar of St. John's College on 5 July 1603. He graduated M.A. on 26 June 1607, B.D. on 22 Nov. 1613, and D.D. on 7 July 1617. On 25 Nov. 1613 he was licensed to preach, and in that and the following year he received the Kentish rectories of Stone and Cuxton from John Buckeridge [q. v.], bishop of Rochester, and late president of St. John's College. On 9 April 1614 he was installed archdeacon of Rochester, and on 13 June 1615 he was admitted a prebendary of the see.

In 1619 Tillesley published 'Animadversions upon Mr. Selden's "History of Tithes,"' London, 4to. It is stated by Wood that he was one of three who undertook to answer Selden's book: he and Richard Montagu or Mountague [q. v.] dealing with the legal part, and Stephen Nettles [q. v.] with the rabbinical or Judaical. Like Montagu in his 'Diatribe upon the first part of the late "History of Tithes,"' Tillesley discussed the historical aspect of the controversy with great minuteness. Passing over the question of Jewish tithes, which had already been dealt with by Sir James Sempill [q. v.], he traced their history from the apostolic period, and endeavoured to show that they had been continuously and universally enjoined by divine law. He also attempted to confute Selden's distinction between 'divine natural law' and 'ecclesiastical or positive law,' but showed little appreciation of his adversary's position. A second edition of the work was published in 16:21, and contained an additional essay on some philological passages in Selden's book. A reply to Tillesley by Selden is to be found in David Wilkins's edition of Selden's works, 1726.

Tillesley died shortly before 20 April 1621, and was buried in the choir of Rochester Cathedral, leaving a son John. White Kennett, however, asserts that his name appears in the printed list of the convocation which met at St. Paul's in 1623.

[Wood's Athenae Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 303; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1-500-1714; Le Neve's Fasti Eccl. Angl. ii. 581, 584; Hasted's History of Kent, i. 257, 488; Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire, 1869, p. 754; Thorpe's Registrum Roffense, 1769, p. 225.]

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