Thomas Westfield

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Thomas Westfield (1573 – 25 June 1644) was an English churchman, Bishop of Bristol and member of the Westminster Assembly.

The Bishop of Bristol heads the Church of England Diocese of Bristol in the Province of Canterbury, in England.

Westminster Assembly seventeenth-century council for English church reform

The Westminster Assembly of Divines was a council of divines (theologians) and members of the English Parliament appointed from 1643 to 1653 to restructure the Church of England. Several Scots also attended, and the Assembly's work was adopted by the Church of Scotland. As many as 121 ministers were called to the Assembly, with nineteen others added later to replace those who did not attend or could no longer attend. It produced a new Form of Church Government, a Confession of Faith or statement of belief, two catechisms or manuals for religious instruction, and a liturgical manual, the Directory for Public Worship, for the Churches of England and Scotland. The Confession and catechisms were adopted as doctrinal standards in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches, where they remain normative. Amended versions of the Confession were also adopted in Congregational and Baptist churches in England and New England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Confession became influential throughout the English-speaking world, but especially in American Protestant theology.



He was born in the parish of St. Mary's, Ely, in 1573, and went the free school there. under Master Spight.' He proceeded to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was elected a scholar, and afterwards held a fellowship from 1599 to 1603. He graduated B.A. in 1593, M.A. in 1596, and B.D. in 1604. [1] He was incorporated B.D. at Oxford on 9 July 1611, proceeded D.D. at Cambridge in 1615, and was reincorporated D.D. at Oxford on 26 March 1644. On 5 August 1619 he was admitted a student at Gray's Inn.

Jesus College, Cambridge constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England

Jesus College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is The College of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John the Evangelist and the glorious Virgin Saint Radegund, near Cambridge. Its common name comes from the name of its chapel, Jesus Chapel.

Grays Inn one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of Gray's Inn, commonly known as Gray's Inn, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, a person must belong to one of these Inns. Located at the intersection of High Holborn and Gray's Inn Road in Central London, the Inn is both a professional body and a provider of office accommodation (chambers) for many barristers. It is ruled by a governing council called "Pension", made up of the Masters of the Bench, and led by the Treasurer, who is elected to serve a one-year term. The Inn is known for its gardens, or Walks, which have existed since at least 1597.

After serving as curate at St. Mary-le-Bow under Nicholas Felton, he was presented to the rectory of South Somercotes in Lincolnshire in 1600, which he exchanged on 18 December 1605 for the London living of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield, where David Dee had been deprived; [2] Westfield was chaplain to Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, the patron, and his son Henry. [3] On 28 April 1615 he was appointed to the rectory of Hornsey, which he retained until 1637. On 14 November 1631 he was collated archdeacon of St. Albans, and on 17 December 1633 was included in a royal commission to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in England and Wales. In 1631 he became president of Sion College. [3]

Nicholas Felton (bishop) British bishop

Nicholas Felton (1556–1626) was an English academic, Bishop of Bristol from 1617 to 1619, and then Bishop of Ely.

South Somercotes human settlement in United Kingdom

South Somercotes is a village and civil parish 8 miles (13 km) north-east from Louth and approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) south from North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, England. The civil parish includes the hamlet of Scupholme.

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (19 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.

On the outbreak of the First English Civil War he continued to reside in London, but, falling under suspicion of royalist sympathies, he was abused in the streets and sequestered from St. Bartholomew. He left for the king's forces, and on 26 April 1642 was consecrated bishop of Bristol, in succession to Robert Skinner. Westfield held his other offices in commendam with his bishopric, probably without deriving any revenue from them. The emoluments of his bishopric also were at first retained from him by the parliament, but on 13 May 1643 they were restored to him by order of the parliamentary committee of sequestrations out of respect for his character, and he was given a pass to Bristol. This good treatment may have been due to his consent to attend the Westminster Assembly, which met on 1 July. Although his share in the proceedings was small, he was present at least at the first meeting. He died on 25 June 1644, and was buried in the choir in Bristol Cathedral, where a monument was erected to him by his wife Elizabeth (d. 1653), daughter of Adolphus van Meetkerke the president of Flanders, and sister of Edward Meetkerke. By her he had a daughter Elizabeth.

First English Civil War Civil war in England 1642–1646

The First English Civil War (1642–1646) began the series of three wars known as the English Civil War. "The English Civil War" was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations that took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, and includes the Second English Civil War (1648–1649) and the Third English Civil War (1649–1651). The wars in England were part of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being fought contemporaneously with equivalents in Scotland and Ireland.

Robert Skinner was an English bishop successively of Bristol, Oxford, and Worcester.

In canon law, commendam was a form of transferring an ecclesiastical benefice in trust to the custody of a patron. The phrase in commendam was originally applied to the provisional occupation of an ecclesiastical benefice, which was temporarily without an actual occupant, in contrast to the conferral of a title, in titulum, which was applied to the regular and unconditional occupation of a benefice.

An emotive preacher, he was known as "Mournful Jeremy" [3] and the "weeping prophet".


He was the author of two collections of sermons:


  1. "Westfield, Thomas (WSTT589T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. "Rectors and their times: Sixteenth century (1544 onwards) - British History Online". Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 "Rectors and their times: Seventeenth century - British History Online". Retrieved 30 December 2018.

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<i>Dictionary of National Biography</i> Multi-volume reference work

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Robert Skinner
Bishop of Bristol
1642 to 1644
Succeeded by
Thomas Howell