Purchas, John

Purchas, John an Anglican divine, noted especially in the department of belles-lettres, was born at Cambridge in 1823, received his preparatory training at Rugby, and then studied at Christ's College. Cambridge, in 1840, graduating in 1844. Entering the Church of England, Mr. Purchas became curate of Ellsworth, Cambridge, in 1851, remaining there two years. In 1856 he was appointed curate of Orwell, in the same county, and remained until 1859. In 1861 he went to St. Paul's, in West Street, Brighton, and soon became notorious for his ritualistic proclivities. He was appointed perpetual curate in St. James's Chapel, Brighton, becoming incumbent in 1866. His mode of conducting public worship culminated in his trial in the Court of Arches, the case being subsequently carried by appeal before the judicial committee of the Privy Council. The final result of these trials was that Mr. Purchas was admonished to discontinue the use of certain vestments, lighted candles, incense, wafer bread, and the ceremonies he had practiced in the regular services. He failed to obey, however, and was in consequence suspended ab officio on Feb. 7, 1872, a sequestration being levied upon his lay property to defray the costs of the proceedings. He contemplated thereafter entering the Roman Catholic Church, but was probably prevented by his sudden illness and decease in October. 1872. Among the works published by him were the Directorium Anglicanum, which forms the text-book of Anglican ritualism. His other works are: The Miser's Daughter, a comedy and poems (1839): — Poems and Ballads (1846): — Book of Feasts, a series of sermons (1853): — The Death of Ezekiel's Wife: — and Three Sermons, preached at St. Paul's, West Street, Brighton (1866).

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