Henry Jacob

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

Henry Jacob (1563–1624) was an English clergyman of Calvinist views, who founded a separatist congregation associated with the Brownists.


He was son of John Jacob, yeoman, of Cheriton, Kent. He matriculated at St. Mary Hall, Oxford on 27 November 1581 and graduated B.A. in 1583 and M.A. in 1586. His father left him property at Godmersham, near Canterbury. For some time he was precentor of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.[1]

About 1590 he joined the Brownists, and when they went into exile in 1593 he moved to Holland. There he formed a technically non-separatist independent faction of former Church of England members. On his return to England in 1597 he heard Thomas Bilson preach at Paul's Cross on the article in the Apostles' Creed relating to Christ's descent into hell. He opposed Bilson's doctrine in a pamphlet, and again had to leave the country.[1]

Though a Brownist, Jacob allowed that the church of England was a true church in need of a thorough reformation. Hence he was commonly called a 'semiseparatist'. Contemporary scholars refer to them as Independents, Brownists, semi-Separatists, or Puritans. They were Calvinist in theological matters. Jacob's relative moderation involved him in a fierce controversy with Francis Johnson. For a time Jacob settled at Middelburg in Zeeland, where he collected a congregation of English exiles. His group of 'Jacobites' included William Ames, Paul Barnes, William Bradshaw and Robert Parker. In 1610 he went to Leyden to confer with John Robinson. Ultimately Jacob adopted Robinson's views on church government, but the influence was mutual.[1][2]

In 1616 he returned to London with the object of forming a separatist congregation similar to those which he and Robinson had organised in Holland. The religious society which he succeeded in bringing together in Southwark is generally supposed to have been the first congregational church in England He continued with this congregation about six years. He travelled to Virginia with some of his family in October 1622 and formed a settlement, which was named after him 'Jacobopolis'. He died in April or May 1624 in the parish of St. Andrew Hubbard, London. By his wife Sara, sister of John Dumaresq of Jersey, who survived him, he had several children, including Henry Jacob the younger. John Lothropp picked up the threads of Jacob's London congregation.[1]


Primary sources[edit]

Secondary sources[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d s:Jacob, Henry (DNB00)
  2. ^ Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Seventeenth Century British Philosophers (2000), article Jacob, Henry, pp. 467-469.

External links[edit]