Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Whitaker, Jeremiah

WHITAKER, JEREMIAH (1599–1654), puritan divine, was born at Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1599. After being educated at the grammar school there under the Rev. Philip Jack, he entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, as a sizar in 1615, two years before Oliver Cromwell. In 1619 he graduated in arts, and for a time was a schoolmaster at Oakham, Rutland. In 1630 he was made rector of Stretton, Rutland; and on the ejection of Thomas Paske from the rectory of St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey, in 1644, Whitaker was chosen in his stead. When the Westminster assembly of divines was convened in June 1643, he was one of the first members elected, and in 1647 was appointed moderator. In the same year he was chosen by the House of Lords, along with Dr. Thomas Goodwin, to examine and superintend the assembly's publications. Whitaker died on 1 June 1654, and was buried in the chancel of St. Mary Magdalen's Church, Bermondsey. His epitaph is printed in 'A New View of London,' 1708 (p. 389). While at Oakham he married Chephtzibah, daughter of William Peachey, a puritan minister of Oakham. William Whitaker (1629-1672) [q. v.] was his son.

Whitaker was a good oriental scholar, and unremitting in his labours, preaching, when in London, four times a week. A letter from him to Cromwell is preserved among the Sloane manuscripts in the British Museum (No. 4159, art. 380); he writes to excuse himself from attending in person to present a book to the Protector, 'being confined to my chamber under extreme tormenting paines of the stone, which forceth me to cry and moane night and day.'

[Living Loves between Christ and dying Christians, a funeral sermon by Simeon Ashe, 1654: Brook's Lives of the Puritans, 1813, iii. 190: Bailey's Life of Thomas Fuller, 1874. p. 111; Peacock's History of Wakefield Grammar School, 1892, p. 122; Manning and Bray's Survey, i. 209, 214.]

J. H. L.