Burnyeat, John

Burnyeat, John an eminent English minister of the Society of Friends, was born at Crabtreebeck, in the parish of Loweswater, Cumberland, about 1630. He was brought to embrace the views of the Friends in 1655, through the labors of George Fox, and at once began to be persecuted on account of his religious opinions. For four years he lived in comparative seclusion, attending to his secular business and making himself useful in the meetings of Friends. He visited several villages, and, entering on the Sabbath, during divine service, what he calls " bell-house," "worship-house," "steeple- house," etc., he interrupted the services with his "testimony." He was finally arrested and thrown into the common jail in Carlisle, where he was a prisoner twenty-three weeks. Soon after being released, he made a religious tour through some parts of Scotland, ,and the next year, 1659, through Ireland, having for his companion Robert Lodge, an English minister. At Londonderry he was driven out of the city, by the mayor's orders. During this trip, which lasted a year, he was several times in prison. Early in 1662 he left his home to go to London, to consult George Fox and some of the elders as to whether it was his duty to go to America. On his way back from London he was arrested at Ripon for refusing to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy; as he could not conscientiously take. any oath. His imprisonment continued for fourteen weeks. After his return home, he remained there for most of the time until July, 1664, when he embarked at Galway for Barbadoes, where he remained three or four months, and then took ship for Maryland, landing there in February, 1665. He remained in America for about two years, travelling extensively, and visiting the churches of his denomination in different sections of the country. He spent the summer of that year in Barbadoes, and returned home in the fall. His ministry for the next few years was exercised in various parts of Great Britain. In 1670, in company with William Simpson, he again crossed the ocean, and, having spent six months in Barbadoes, he sailed for America, and arrived in New York Feb. 27, 1671. After spending some time in New England, he visited the middle and southern sections of the country. During a part of this tour he had for his companion 'George Fox. He returned to Ireland in 1673. From this date to the close of his life he was engaged in his ministerial work, often amid severe hardships and trials. His death took place July 11,1790. A large number of his epistles, etc., may be found in the Life of John Burnyeat, in Friends' Library, xi, 119, 188, 345-430: 875. (J. C. S.)

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