Archbishop John Tillotson

John Robert Tillotson was a Puritan and became Archbishop of Canterbury.

The son of Robert Tillotson, a Calvinist cloth-maker, he was born at Old Haugh End, Sowerby.

He was educated at Colne and Heath Grammar School. He gained a BA at Cambridge in 1650, Fellow in 1651, MA in 1654.

In 1664, he married Elizabeth French.

In 1664, he preached on The Wisdom of being Religious. In 1666, he published his Rule of Faith which attacked Roman Catholics and dismissed the attempts of James II to re-establish Roman Catholic right to the English throne.

The Jacobites denounced Tillotson as an atheist, saying that he had never been christened. He was lampooned as undipped John.

In 1670, he was chaplain to Charles II, Dean of Canterbury, and became Canon of St Paul's, London in 1675.

He spoke in favour of understanding the Nonconformists, and in 1680, he created controversy with a sermon at Whitehall denying the right to make proselytes from the establish'd religion.

He was a favourite of William of Orange who was attracted by his strong, but tolerant qualities.

In 1689, he became Dean of St Paul's, and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1691, a post he held until his death in 1694.

He was buried in St Lawrence Jewry, London.

There are memorials to him in Sowerby Parish Church and Halifax Parish Church.

He is mentioned in Graptolite's Historical Notes on the Church at Sowerby

See Tillotson portrait and Tillotson statue

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 12:32 / 17th May 2021 / 3701

Page Ref: X358

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