William Greenhill 1597/8-1671

From Book Owners Online

William GREENHILL 1597/8-1671

Biographical Note

Born at Harrow, Middlesex, son of John Greenhall, husbandman. BA Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge 1619, MA 1622. Ordained at Lincoln, 1628; Rector of Oakley, Suffolk 1629. He developed a puritan outlook during the 1620s and was complaining by 1629 about compliance with ecclesiastical discipline; he was deprived in 1636 for refusing to read the Book of Sports. With his friend Jeremiah Burroughs he spent time in Rotterdam before returning to England in 1637. During the 1640s and 50s he was active in London as a preacher and a leader among the independent ministers, involved in various advisory and lobbying bodies. Vicar of Stepney 1652, governor of Harrow School 1653-57, assistant to the Middlesex Commission (for identifying unfit clergy) 1657. He was ejected in 1660 but continued to work as a Congregationalist minister in Stepney, where he had a dedicated following. His various publications include sermons and An exposition upon the first five chapters of Ezekiel (1645), which was extended to cover the rest of Ezekiel, and went through several editions.


Greenhill bequeathed his library to his cousin Zachary Bourne, to encourage him in learning and the study of divinity, but Bourne sold it by auction in London on 18 February 1678. The main part of the sale catalogue contains 686 lots, divided into Latin theology (258), English theology (228), Latin miscellaneous (“Libri philologici”) (149) and English miscellaneous (51). There is a further, separately signed section of the catalogue (presumably also Greenhill’s books?) listing a further 185 lots, mostly Latin or English theology.

Characteristic Markings

None of Greenhill’s books have been identified.