Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Hooker Richard

Hooker, Richard (1554-1600), author of the Ecclesiastical Polity ("the judicious Hooker"), was born in 1554. Bishop Jewel furnished him with the means of proceeding from Exeter grammar school to Oxford, where he entered Corpus Christi College in 1568. After Jewel's death in 1571 Hooker found a new' patron in Edwin Sandys, Bishop of London, afterwards Archbishop of York, who placed his son under his charge. This youth and another pupil, George Cranmer, great-nephew of Archbishop Cranmer, always remained Hooker's chief friends. In 1581, soon after taking orders, he was appointed to preach the sermon at St. Paul's Cross. Whilst in London he lodged with a Mrs. Churchman, wife of a linendraper, who seems to have inveigled him into a marriage with her unprepossessing daughter. After holding for a short time the living of Drayton-Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire, Hooker was, through Whitgift's influence, appointed Master of the Temple in 1585 in preference to the underreader Walter Travel's. Travers, who was an extreme Calvinist, thought it incumbent on him to impugn the new Master's views in his own discourses, and a keen controversy ensued between them. This dispute led Hooker to inquire more carefully into the principles of Church government and the result was his famous work, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. In order to afford him more leisure for pursuing' his studies he was, in 1591, appointed to the living of Boscombe in Wiltshire, whence he removed to Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, in 1595. Here he died, and his body rests in the" parish church. The general aim of the Ecclesiastical Polity is to furnish a philosophical basis for the Elizabethan system of Church government. Hence the author is led to inquire into the nature of law in general, and to examine the sources from which it derives its binding force. This he does in a manner which is alike remarkable for the dignity and eloquence of the language, the severe precision of the argument, and the profound knowledge and philosophical insight which the writer displays. The best edition of the work is that of Kebie (revised edition, 1888). Hooker's simple life and modest character are charmingly described in the biography of Izaak Walton, first published in 1665.