< A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z >
Hansard 
Knollys
  (Knowles/Knolles)
c. 1598 - 1691


Hansard 
Knollys
  (Knowles/Knolles), "At the end of the sixteenth century Hansard Knollys was born at Cawkwell son of a family which gave its name to the Parliamentary record. He was educated at Cambridge and became Master of Gainsborough Grammar School. He was ordained in 1629 and signed the Bishops transcripts for Goulceby in 1633/4. He developed Puritan leanings and had to flee to New England in 1636, where he was imprisoned for a time. He returned an Anabaptist in 1641, enjoying a period of favour during the Commonwealth, but after the Restoration was in trouble again. Imprisoned for a while, he fled to the Continent. In the Seventeenth Century the Wolds was an area of independent minded country folk who had no close contact with their landlords. They were greatly influenced by Knollys who had close associations with them until his death the age of 91." "clergyman, born in Chalk-well, Lincolnshire, England, about 1598; died in London, England, 19 September, 1691. He was educated at Cambridge, and afterward was master of the free schools in Gainsborough. In June, 1629, he was made deacon in the Church of England, and, after being ordained priest, received a living in Humber-stone. Three years later he began to doubt certain tenets of the church, although he continued to preach for several years longer, but without surplice or prayer book. He then resigned, and in 1636 was imprisoned in Boston, but escaped and came to this country, reaching Massachusetts early in 1638. There he was denounced as an Antinomian, and called " Mr. Absurd Knowless" by Cotton Mather. He appears to have settled in Piscataway, now Dover, New Hampshire, where he founded a church in September, 1638, which was probably the first in New Hampshire. That he was a Baptist at this time there is little reason to doubt. An unfortunate controversy between two sections of his congregation led to his removal to Long Island, and he settled finally near New Brunswick, New Jersey In 1641 he returned to England and preached in various places, getting himself into frequent trouble. He was formally ordained pastor, in 1645, of the Baptist church which he had gathered in London, and retained this charge until his death. Mr. Knollys is regarded as the first Baptist clergyman that preached in the colonies, and he possessed great influence among that denomination, both in this country and England. He published several books, among which were "Flaming Fire in Zion" (1646); " Rudiments of Hebrew Grammar" (1648); and his " Autobiography" (1672), brought down to his death by William Kiffen (1692). In 1845 the Hansard Knollys society was organized in England for the republication of early Baptist works. Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright à 2001 VirtualologyTM" "a native of Chalkwell, in Lincolnshire. While pursuing his studies at the University of Cambridge, he experienced a change of heart, having become acquainted with several gracious Christians, then called Puritans, whose conversation was blessed to him. In 1629 he was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough. At Humberstone, where he lived several years, he was accustomed to preach three and even four times on the Lord's-day, besides sermons on saints' days and at funerals. But scruples and doubts agitated his mind. At length he reached the conviction that his position in the Church of England was not in accordance with the New Testament, and he renounced his ordination, resolving not to preach any more till he had received a clear call and commission from Christ to preach the Gospel. During his silence he underwent much mental distress, which was removed by the instrumentality of Mr. Wheel­wright, one of the Puritan ministers. He then recom­menced preaching. began to preach the doctrine of free grace, according to the tenor of the new and everlasting Covenant, for three or four years together, whereby very many sinners were converted, and many believers were established in the faith. The persecution was so fierce that he joined the emigrants who were at that time flocking to New England, and arrived at Boston in the spring of 1638. He was not allowed to remain there, the ministers having unaccount­ably judged him to be an Antinomian, and desired the magistrates to send him away. But he found a home at Dover, on the Piscataqua, where he preached with much acceptance upwards of three years. Cotton Mather, having referred to “ministers from other parts of the world,” who had arrived in New England, says:—“Of these there were some godly Anabaptists, as namely, Mr. Hanserd Knollys (whom one of his adversaries called Absurd Knowless), of Dover, and Mr. Miles of Swansley. Both of these have a respectful character in the churches of this wilderness.”[99] It is observable that Mr. Knollys' arrival was in the spring of 1638. Roger Williams' baptism did not take place till the winter of that year. Mr. Knollys returned to England about the close of 1641. He settled in London, where he gained his livelihood by teaching a school. His next employment was that of chaplain in the Parliamentary army. When he left the army he established himself again in London as a schoolmaster, and preached in the churches as he found opportunity. His labours were very acceptable to the people, but were so disapproved of by the Assembly of Divines, because he preached against national churches, that he withdrew from connection with them, and opened a meeting-house in Great St. Helen-street, where he commonly had a congregation of a thousand hearers. A Baptist church was formed there, over which he was ordained pastor in 1645. He held that office till his death, in 1691, though he was often prevented, by the operation of unjust laws, from fulfilling its duties. On several occasions he found it necessary to retire into the country for a while, and during the hottest period of the persecution he left England, and lived two or three years in Germany and Holland. He had his share also of “bonds and imprisonments.” But God graciously sustained him. His religious enjoyments abounded, and his labours were eminently successful. “My wilderness, sea, city, sad prison mercies,” he observes, “afforded me very many and strong consolations. The spiritual sights of the glory of God, the divine sweetness of the spiritual and providential presence of my Lord Jesus Christ, And the joys and comforts of the holy and eternal Spirit, communicated to my soul, together with suitable and seasonable Scriptures of truth, have so often and so powerfully revived, refreshed, and strengthened my heart in the days of my pilgrimage, trials, and sufferings, that the sense,—yea the life and sweetness thereof,—abides still upon my heart, and hath engaged my soul to live by faith, to walk humbly, and to desire and endeavour to excel in holiness to God's glory and the example of others. Though, I confess, many of the Lord's ministers and some of the Lord's people have excelled and outshined me, with whom God hath not been at so much cost, nor pains, as He hath been at with me. I am a very unprofitable servant, but yet by grace I am what I am.” Mr. Knollys gives the following account of his recovery from a dangerous illness. We shall copy it without comment:— “Two learned, well-practiced, and judicious doctors of physic had daily visited me, and consulted several days together, and I was fully persuaded that they did what they possibly could to effect a cure, and knew also that God did not succeed their honest and faithful endeavors with His blessing. Although God had given a signal and singular testimony of His special blessing by each of them unto other of their patients, at least sixteen, at the same time, I resolved to take no more physic, but would apply to that holy ordinance of God, appointed by Jesus Christ, the great Physician of value, in James 5:14, 15:—`Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him:'—and I sent for Mr. Kiffin and Mr. Vavasor Powell, who prayed over me, and anointed me with oil in the name of the Lord. The Lord did hear prayer, and heal me; for there were many godly ministers and gracious saints that prayed day and night for me (with submission to the will of God), that the Lord would spare my life, and make me more serviceable to His Church, and to His saints, whose prayers God heard; and as an answer to their prayers I was perfectly healed, but remained weak long after.” As the poverty of the church prevented them from pro­viding adequately for his support, Mr. Knollys continued in his employment as a schoolmaster almost to the close of life. His efforts were so successful that he realized consi­derable property. Reviewing his history some time after his wife's death (which took place in 1671), he says:—“To my eldest son I had given sixty pounds per annum during life, which he enjoyed about twenty-one years ere he died. To my next son that lived to be married I gave the full value of two hundred and fifty pounds in money, house, school, and household goods, and left him fifty scholars in the school-house. To my only daughter then living I gave upon her marriage, above three hundred pounds in money, annuity, plate, linen, and household stuffs, and left her husband fifty scholars in the said school-house, in partnership with my said son. To my youngest son that lived to be married I gave more than three hundred pounds sterling; besides, it cost me sixty pounds in his apprenticeship, and forty pounds afterwards. Thus my Heavenly Father made up my former losses with His future blessings, even in outward substance, besides a good increase of grace and experience, in the space of the forty years that I and my dear faithful wife lived together. We removed several times, with our whole family; whereof, once from Lincolnshire to London, and from London to New England; once from England into Wales, twice from London into Lincolnshire; once from London to Holland, and from thence into Germany, and thence to Rotterdam, and thence to London again. In which removings I gained great experiences of God's faithfulness, goodness and truth, in His great and precious promises; and I have gained some experience of my own heart's deceitfulness and the power of my own corruptions, and the reigning power of Christ, and His captivating and subduing my sins—making conquests of the devil, world, and sin, and then giving me the victory, and canting me to triumph, and to bless His holy name . . . I would not want those experiences and teachings that my soul hath enjoyed for all that I ever suffered.” Among the works published by Mr. Knollys was a Grammar of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages. It was written in Latin.[100] Mr. Knollys died September 19th, 1691. He was in the ninety-third year of his age. The “Hanserd Knollys Society,” founded in the year 1845, for the republication of the works of early Baptist authors, was named after him. Knollys, Keach, and Kiffin might be called “the first three” among the Baptist ministers of those days. Their talents and characters gave them influence, which appears to have been wisely exerted for the benefit of the denomination. They were honored while living, and their “memory is blessed. had avowed himself a Non-conformist in England, and had been made a prisoner at Boston, in Lincolnshire, but his keeper allowed him to escape, and with his wife he arrived at Boston, Mass., July, 1638. There he was looked upon with suspicion, and reported to the authorities as an Antinomian. Two men in Piscataqua (Dover, N. H.) came and invited him there to preach, and in August he went. He remained there and formed a Church, to which he preached till September, 1641, when he removed, with certain of his congregation, to Long Island, N.Y` where Forrett, agent of the Duke of York, protested against his remaining; and he arrived in London, December 24th, 1641. While in Dover he had trouble into which baptism entered as an element, although Knollys was not a Baptist at that time. Lechford, an Episcopalian, who visited Dover in 1641, speaks of him as then engaged in a controversy about baptism and Church membership. The baptismal point appears to have concerned infant baptism, and on this wise. Another Church sprang up in Dover, whether de novo or as a split from Knollys's, does not appear, but a majority of the people went to the other Church, under the lead of a Mr. Larkham, an English Puritan and a graduate of Cambridge, who could not agree with the Congregationalists here. At Dover Larkham 'received all into his Church, even immoral persons, who promised amendment, he baptized any children offered, and introduced the Episcopal service at funerals' Knollys and his Church excommunicated Larkham and his adherents, and a tumult arose in the community that brought no great honor to either side. One of the things that drove Knollys out of the English Church, says Wilson, was his scruple against 'the cross in baptism, etc., and he objected to the admission of notoriously wicked persons to the Lord's Supper.' His refusal to take immoral persons into the Church, and to baptize children, 'any offered' as Larkham did, implies that he believed in personal regeneration as a qualification for membership, but not necessarily that he rejected infant baptism entirely, as he might have thought, with John Robinson, that the children of believers only should be christened. Indeed, it is quite probable that he did not then reject infant baptism altogether, for on March 23d, 1640, we find him bearing letters from the Dover to the Boston Church, asking advice about the scruples of the former Church as to whether they should have any fellowship with excommunicated persons, 'except in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper?' In their answer the Boston Church calls them 'godly brethren, who came from the Church of Dover,' and tells them that the excommunicated might be present at preaching or prayers, and other ordinances of the Church, but not at the Supper. To this Knollys replied: 'It is desired by our Church that the elders of this Church would certify their judgments by letter.' All of which is inconsistent with the idea that either he or his Church were Baptists at that time, while seeking the advice of a Congregational Church. Nor, had they been Baptists, should we have found Knollys first writing from Dover to friends in London, complaining that the government of the Bay was 'worse than a high commission,' and then sending, July, 1639, a retraction to Winthrop, and afterward, February 20th, 1640, making a public confession, in a lecture delivered before the elders and magistrates of New Hampshire, that he had slandered the Bay government. In fact, this body would not have heard a lecture from a Baptist. [Felt, ii, pp. 449,399,448] All the power of England could not have compelled him to humble himself thus ten years later. Baptist principles had clearly begun to work their way into his mind in Dover, and on his return to London the work was completed. For a time he kept school in his own house on Great Tower Hill; then he was chosen master of a free school in St. Mary Axe, where in one year he had one hundred and fifty-six scholars; after which lie went into the Parliament army to preach to the soldiers. When Episcopacy was laid aside he preached again in the parish churches, till the Presbyterians began to persecute him. This brought out his Baptist sentiments, which he avowed with great boldness when preaching one day in Bow Church, Cheapside. There his attack on infant baptism was so strong that, on a warrant, he was thrown into prison. As in the case of Clarke and Holmes. we have no account of his baptism, but we find him immersing Henry Jesse in June, 1645, and in the same year he formed a Baptist Church at Great St. Helenas, London, where he preached to a thousand people, and became one of the noblest heroes that ever proclaimed the Baptist faith; probably New England having more to do in making him what he was as a Baptist than Old England. [Wilson, Hist. Dissenting Chs; Evans's Eng. Baptists, ii, 131] This agrees with Evans, who, speaking of Knollys becoming a Baptist, says of him: 'Knollys, some years before, had fled from the fierce anger of the hierarchy to the wilds of the New World, but had now returned.' By some means a little Baptist leaven had found its way to Weymouth, Mass., in 1639. Robert Lenthal was to be settled there as pastor, when it was discovered that he held that 'all the requisite for Church membership should be baptism,' whatever this might mean. He, therefore, with several others, attempted to collect a Church, and got many subscribers to a paper with this in view. They were summoned before the Court in Boston, March 13th, 1639, when John Smith was fined twenty pounds, and committed during the pleasure of the Court; Richard Sylvester was disfranchised, and fined forty shillings; Ambrose Morion was fined ten pounds; John Spur, twenty pounds; James Brittane was sentenced to be whipped eleven stripes, because he could not pay his fine; and Lenthal was required to appear at the next Court. He went to Rhode Island, and we find him there with Clarke. It is hard to understand exactly what his views were, but the 'Massachusetts Records' say he held 'that only baptism was the door of entrance into the visible Church,' such a Church 'as all baptized ones might communicate in,' which looks like adult baptism. "one of the most godly, learned, and laborious among the English Baptists of this time, was born at Chalkwell, Lincolnshire. His parents were religious people, as well as possessed of some wealth. He was prepared by a private tutor and then sent to the University of Cambridge, where he took his degree in due course. Having had a religious training from boyhood, he was in a condition of mind and heart to be impressed by sermons that he heard while a student, and he was converted. his piety while at the university was marked, and in his after years this early promise was quite fulfilled. After graduation, he was master of a school at Gainsborough for a while; but in June, 1629, he was ordained by the bishop of Peterborough, first deacon, then presbyter, of the Church of England. Not long after, the bishop of Lincoln presented him to the living of Humberstone, where he engaged most zealously in the work of a parish minister. He ordinarily preached four times on Sunday, and besides preached on every holiday. Both his training and natural inclinations inclined him toward the Puritan party in the church, and after some three years of service, his conscientious scruples regarding the wearing of the surplice, the sign of the cross in baptism, admitting to the Lord's Supper persons of notoriously wicked lives, and the like, made his position untenable. He had only to stifle his convictions, to compound with his conscience, to retain his place of honor and comfort in the church, with fair prospects of promotion. But he could not do this, and he manfully resigned his living to his bishop, frankly stating his reasons; and so much was he respected for his honesty, that the bishop connived at his continuing to preach in the diocese, without wearing the surplice or reading the service, though such procedure was strictly forbidden by law. This was a position impossible to maintain long; a man who did this was neither one thing nor another. Accordingly, about 1636, Knollys joined himself to the Separatists, as those Puritans were called who had been compelled by conscience to come out of the Church of England. This exposed him to active persecution, and he determined to emigrate to New England, where he understood that the Separatists had liberty. He landed in Boston, in 1638, after a voyage of much hardship. It is related of him, as showing how low his fortunes had ebbed, that by the time he had embarked on shipboard he had but six brass farthings left; but his wife produced five pounds that she had saved in happier days, and they were enabled to reach the new land. Soon after his arrival he had an opportunity to go to the new settlement of Piscataway (afterward called Dover), in New Hampshire, which needed a pastor. We have testimony to show that while here he opposed the baptism of infants, and probably for this reason Cotton Mather classes him among the Anabaptists. Mather, however, bears testimony to the excellent character of Knollys. In 1641, Knollys was summoned home to England by his aged father, and he was so little of a Baptist as yet that he became a member of the Separatist congregation, of which at that time Henry Jessey was pastor. The records of that church inform us that in 1643 Knollys was unwilling to have his infant child baptized, which led to conferences on the subject and finally to a division, sixteen members withdrawing and forming a Baptist church. Whether it was this church or another that he gathered is uncertain, but in 1645 he was formally ordained pastor of a Baptist church in London. and from that time was known as one of the efficient leaders of this people. The Episcopal hierarchy had been abolished, and "liberty of prophesying” was now supposed to be enjoyed by all godly ministers. But the Presbyterians were determined on the ruins of the Church of England to erect an establishment of their own, and to silence all who did not agree with them. For a time Knollys preached in the parish churches, but was summoned to give account of himself before a committee of divines at Westminster. They forbade him to preach, but he only ceased to preach in the parish churches, gathering a congregation in a house of his own at Great St. Helen's, London. This was a sample of the “liberty” experienced by our Baptist forefathers under the dominion of the Presbyterians and the Long Parliament. After the Restoration, Knollys suffered long-continued hardships for the sake of the gospel. His popularity as a preacher was so great, and his influence so generally acknowledged by Nonconformists, that to silence him was a special object of the upholders of the Church of England and the Act of Uniformity. He was imprisoned many times; even in his eighty-fourth year he was in jail for six months, an act of revenge on the part of James II. because Knollys refused to use his influence with Baptists and other Dissenters to gain their approval for the illegal dispensations issued by that monarch. To escape these persecutions, Knollys and his family were obliged to change their residence often, and once he left England and spent some time in Holland and Germany. After a short illness, Knollys died in his ninety-third year, having given an example of constancy to his convictions that is worthy of all admiration. A Puritan to the core, somewhat narrow and stern according to our notions to-day, he was yet a very lovable man, and compelled the respect of even those who most widely differed from him in matters of faith and practice. Both William Kiffen and Hanserd Knollys are known to have been buried in Bunhill Fields, London, "

Born: Cawkwell, Lincs., , England c. 1598 Baptised: Cawkwell, Lincs., , England 13th Nov 1609
Died: London, , , England 19th Sep 1691 Buried: London, , , England 1691
Family:
Knollys

Ancestors
[ Patrilineage | Matrilineage | Earliest Ancestors | Force | Force2 | Set Relationship | Relationship | Options ]

1.
Hansard 
Knollys
  (Knowles/Knolles)
(
Cheany
) c. 1598 - 1691
2.
Richard 
Knollys
(
Hansard
) + post 1638
3.
F/? 
Hansard
(
Knollys
) + post 1598

Siblings



Spouses



1. Wyberton, Lincs., , England 22nd May 1632

Descendants
[ Options ]

a.
1.
U/? 
Knollys
+ c. 1643
Sources

Timeline


c. 1598Born Cawkwell, Lincs., England
13th Nov 1609Baptised Cawkwell, Lincs., England
22nd May 1632Married Wyberton, Lincs., England
1691Buried London, England
19th Sep 1691Died London, England
| Top |

Copyright © 1996 - 2021 Camilla von Massenbach
Hosted by
HTML generated by
SoftLinks
, copyright © 1996 - 2021 Ben Laurie
Last updated: Sun Sep 5 19:00:13 BST 2021