John Greenwood (divine)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from John Greenwood (Puritan))
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Barrow (left) and John Greenwood, stained glass windows at Emmanuel United Reformed Church, Cambridge

John Greenwood (1556 – 6 April 1593) was an English Puritan divine and separatist.


John Greenwood was born in 1556 in Heptonstall, West Riding, Yorkshire, England.

He entered as a sizar at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, on 18 March 1577 – 1578, and commenced B.A. 1581.[1]

Whether he was directly influenced by the teaching of Robert Browne, a graduate of the same college, is uncertain; in any case he held strong Puritan opinions, which ultimately led him to Separatism of the most rigid type. In 1581 he was chaplain to Lord Rich, at Rochford, Essex. At some unspecified time he had been made deacon by John Aylmer, Bishop of London, and priest by Thomas Cooper, Bishop of Lincoln; but before long he renounced this ordination as "wholly unlawful."

Details of the next few years are lacking; but by 1586 he was the recognized leader of the London Separatists, of whom a considerable number had been imprisoned at various times since 1567. Greenwood was arrested early in October 1586, and the following May was committed to the Fleet prison for an indefinite time, in default of bar for conformity. During his imprisonment he wrote some controversial tracts in conjunction with his fellow-prisoner Henry Barrowe. He is understood to have been at liberty in the autumn of 1588; but this may have been merely "the liberty of the prison." However, he was certainly at large in September 1592, when he was elected "teacher" of the Separatist church.

Meanwhile, in 1590, he wrote "An Answer to George Gifford's pretended Defence of Read Prayers". On 5 December 1592 he was again arrested; and in March 1593 he was tried, together with Barrowe, and condemned to death on a charge of "devising and circulating seditious books." After two respites, one at the foot of the gallows, he was hanged on 6 April 1593 in Tyburn, Blatherwycke, Northampton, England.


  • H. M. Dexter, Congregationalism during the last three hundred years; The England and Holland of the Pilgrims;
  • F. J. Powicke, Henry Barrowe and the Exiled Church of Amsterdam;
  • Benjamin Brook, Lives of the Puritans;
  • C. H. Cooper, Athenae Cantabrigienses, vol. ii.


  1. ^ "Greenwood, John (GRNT577J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Greenwood, John". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links

Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "John Greenwood (divine)"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA