Richard Mather

"Richard Mather (1596-1669), clergyman, was born in Lowton, Winwick Parish, Lancashire, England, in 1596; son of Thomas and Marguerite Mather, and grandson of John Mather.

He received a liberal education and taught at Toxteth Park, near Liverpool, England, 1611-15, all the while studying for the ministry, and in 1815 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford. In 1620 he returned to Toxteth and was ordained by Bishop Morton of Chester. He was twice married, first, in 1624, to Katharine, daughter of Edmund Holt of Bury, and secondly, in 1656, to Sarah Story, widow of the Reverend John Cotton.

He ministered in Toxteth until 1633, when complaints were entered against him for non-conformity, and in August, 1633, he was suspended. By the intercession of friends his suspension was removed shortly after, but in 1634 it was again inflicted, and in May, 1635, he joined the company of pilgrims and embarked at Bristol for New England. He arrived at Boston in August, 1635.

He formed a new church at Dorchester, and was chosen its pastor in 1636. Upon the downfall of the hierarchy in England, he was solicited to return to his former job, but he refused. In 1639, he was chosen to answer the thirty-two questions propounded by the general court relating to church government. He was a member of the synod of 1648 and drew up the Cambridge platform of discipline, which was adopted.

During his residence in New England he was a member of every synod convened and was moderator of a synod at the time of his death. He was one of the three ministers selected to prepare a New England version of the Psalms (1646), and he is the author of Discourse on the Church Covenant (1639) and Treatise on Justification. He died in Dorchester, April 22, 1669, and was laid to rest there.

Richard Mather is father of Reverend Increase Mather, grandfather to Reverend Cotton Mather, and great-grandfather to Mather Byles.


— Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, 1900 (edited)

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