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Northbrooke, John


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


John Northbrooke ( fl . 1567–89), Protestant clergyman and controversialist, is one of several clerics who generated anti-theatrical polemic following the establishment of London's professional theatres in 1576. A native of Devonshire, Northbrooke received ordination within the diocese of Bath and Wells under Elizabeth and was appointed curate of the parish church of St Mary Redcliffe, the largest in Bristol, before 1567. There he sided with other Puritan clergy and townspeople against Richard Cheyney, bishop of Gloucester, who had embraced the doctrine of free will. Northbrooke's evangelicalism did not lead him into nonconformity, however. He controversially denied that Christ literally descended into hell after the Crucifixion in A breefe and pithie summe of the Christian faith (1571). Yet he continued to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles, the principal doctrinal statement of the Elizabethan church, even though A breefe and pithie summe asserts that these articles ought not to have prescribed this doctrine. The poore mans garden , Northbrooke's second epitome of doctrine, also appeared in 1571. He received the vicarage of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, in 1575 and that of Henbury, near Bristol, in 1576. The date of his death remains unknown. Northbrooke's three surviving treatises employ a degree of scripturalism which is broadly characteristic of Puritan religiosity during ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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