Contemporaries 5

Most of the following information is derived from Stephen Wright in the ONDB
Richard Alleine (1611–1681)

Alleine was Richard Bernard's successor at Batcombe. He was one of over 2000 ejected from his living in 1662. Named after his father, Richard Alleine (d c 1655), rector of Ditcheat, Somerset, for over 50 years, he was Oxford educated. He matriculated when 19 at St Alban Hall in 1630 and graduated BA in 1631. He gained an MA at New Inn Hall in 1634. That same year he was ordained in the diocese of Salisbury and licensed to preach the year after that. In 1635 he was appointed chaplain to Sir Ralph Hopton, ironically a chief architect of the royalist supremacy in Somerset, which the Alleine family was united in opposing.
Already, before the civil war, Alleine had assisted his aged father in pastoral duties. One writer speaks of him stirring 'the entire county by his burning eloquence'. In 1642 Alleine senior presented his son to the rectory of Batcombe, not far from Ditcheat. Alleine junior was reported to have been ‘a zealous person for the blessed cause then driving on’. According to Calamy, at his induction service a friend from London took offence at ‘a very fair crucifix’ in the church and ‘most maliciously threw a stone at it and broke it’ as Richard, ‘a great precisian’ and younger brother William Alleine (1614-1677), saintly vicar of Blandford in Dorset from 1653, looked on with approval.
During the civil wars, according to Anthony Wood, Alleine was ‘a preacher up of sedition, a zealous covenanter’. He certainly supported the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 and in 1648 signed the presbyterian-inspired Attestation of the Ministers of Somerset. In 1654 he was an assistant to the commission for the approval of parish ministers in Somerset. He is reported to have had great difficulties extracting tithes from many at Batcombe in the early 1650s.
He was twice married, but little is known of his wives other than the fact that Frances, the second, and five children survived him. A daughter, Theodosia Alleine (fl 1654-1677) was married to Richard's short-lived nephew Joseph Alleine (1634-1668) author of the posthumous evangelical classic An Alarm to Unconverted Sinners (later published as A Sure Guide to Heaven).
After his ejection he lived in Batcombe, issuing a defence of presbyterian ordination in 1661. The Five Mile Act forced him to move to Frome Selwood but he seems not to have been otherwise much constrained by the Clarendon code. In 1669 he was reported to be preaching in his house at Frome and at Batcombe, Beckington and elsewhere in Somerset and into neighbouring Wiltshire and Dorset. He received several fines but they were paid by Thomas Moore, MP for Heytesbury, Wilts. Such was Alleine's grave and pious reputation that magistrates hesitated to put him in prison for fear of the outcry that might result.
His Vindiciae pietatis, or A Vindication of Godliness, first published 1663, went through several editions despite not being licensed. According to Calamy copies were ‘greedily bought up and read by sober people’, proving so saleable that king's bookseller Roger Norton had a large number seized and instead of having them destroyed bought them up 'for an old song' and had them bound and on sale in his shop. Complaints were made and he was forced 'to beg pardon upon his knees at the council table, and send them back to the King's kitchen to be' rubbed over with an inky brush (or 'bisked') then used in the Royal kitchen for lighting fires. Such 'bisked' editions occasionally turn up today.
The book was not killed. It was often reissued with additions, as in The Godly Man's Portion (1663) Heaven Opened (1666), The World Conquered (1668). The latter two titles are currently in print as is Instructions about heartwork. There was also a book of sermons. Part of his 1662 farewell sermon can be found here.
Alleine corresponded with Richard Baxter in 1671 and in April, 1672, was licensed to preach as a Presbyterian at Beckington. He is said to have continued to preach at the house of Robert Smith in Frome until his death in December, 1681. He was buried at the Frome church, where Anglican vicar, Richard Jenkins, delivered a respectful sermon in his memory.


Mark said...

In case you are interested, I've been working on recording an mp3 audio book of Intructions about Heart Work by Alleine.

I'm not done, but have recorded 5 parts so far.

http://www.allthingsexpounded.com/audio-book-recordings/ (it's toward the bottom of that page)

Gary Brady said...

Thanks for this!