HANSERD KNOLLYS (c1598 - 1691)


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Hanserd Knollys was born at a place called Cawkwell in around 1598. At age 6 he nearly drowned, but was rescued by his father.

Knollys studied at Cambridge (Catherine Hall) and may have been taught by Richard Sibbes while studying to minister in the Church of England. He became an ordained minister of the gospel and ministered at a place called Humberston.

In 1631 Knollys married Anne Cheney.

As Hanserd Knollys became more convinced from Scripture regarding Biblical church practice, he became convinced that he needed to leave the Church of England. He resigned his position because of what he saw to be unBiblical practices in the church, including the administration of the Lord's Supper to all and sundry.

But still more challenging to Knollys was his conviction that he was yet unsaved, a fact to which he was convinced by the Puritan John Wheelwright. This conviction led to his conversion and to actual usefulness in his ministry, with many being saved.

In the persecution of non-conformists brought about by Archbishop William Laud (1636), Knollys was arrested and then freed. Following his arrest, Knollys and his family fled to Boston in America. However, his only child died on the journey to that country.

Having fled one dispute, Knollys soon found himself caught up in another, this time over Antinomianism. This dispute led to him moving to Piscattuah in New Hampshire where he founded a church.

In 1641 the Knollys' returned to England, where Hanserd Knollys served in the Parliamentary Army for a short time, before resigning, having become disillusioned with the Parliamentary cause.

In the late 1640s and into the 1650s, Knollys did the work of an evangelist, especially in Wales.

In 1660 Hanserd Knollys was arrested for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy to Charles II. He spent 18 weeks in jail at Newgate. He spent some time in Holland and Germany during the persecution of dissenters under Charles II, before returning to England.

In 1670 Knollys was again arrested and this time jailed at Bishopsgate. He was later jailed in 1684, for breaking the Conventicle Act (he was jailed for 16 months when aged 86).

In 1677, the Particular Baptists of London published a confession of faith. In 1689, following the Act of Toleration, the Confession of Faith was officially published and signed by Particular Baptist ministers (including Hanserd Knollys).\

In 1691 Hanserd Knollys died and was buried in Bunhill Fields.

Knollys was a prolific author, writing (and/or co-writing) some 25 works.







UPDATED: 18 April 2014

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