Richard Brocklesby 1634/5-1714

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Richard BROCKLESBY 1634/5-1714

Biographical Note

Born at Tealby, Lincolnshire, son of George Brocklesby, yeoman. BA Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge 1657, MA 1660. Became rector of Folkingham, Lincolnshire probably in the 1660s, where he lived until his refusal to take the 1702 oath of abjuration (apparently on theological, not political grounds) led to his deprivation. He spent the rest of his life living inStamford, working on An explication of the gospel-theism and the divinity of the Christian religion (1706), a substantial work focused around Brocklesby’s particular views on the Trinity. Its direct impact was limited, but it influenced the thinking of William Whiston, whose heterodoxy was more of a public cause celebre.


Brocklesby’s will identified two collections of books, one at Stamford and one in the custody of John Heptinstall, printer, in London. As Heptinstall printed the Explication, these may have been books cited in its compilation, or copies of the Explication, or both. The London books were to be sold by Heptinstall and William Turner (the Stamford schoolmaster), and the proceeds distributed to poor families, saving £10 apiece to them for their work. The Stamford library was also to be sold, with £50 from the proceeds given to Stamford School, and any remaining money distributed amongst personal legatees. Most of his property was directed towards charitable bequests, including provision for the purchase and giving out of bibles across the East Midlands counties if an alternative plan for supporting oriental missionary work failed.

The Stamford library was sold by auction in Stamford in 1714. The catalogue contains 360 lots, subdivided between Latin theology (173), Latin history, philology and miscellaneous (168), and English books (19 “with several others”), but ends by saying “there are several other Latin books, as also a good number of English books, and some remarkable pamphlets”.

Characteristic Markings

None of Brocklesby’s books have been identified.