John Pearson

1613-1686. Bishop of Chester. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he was ordained in 1639 and became a prebendary of Salisbury in 1640. He served as chaplain to the Royalist forces in 1645, devoting himself later to theological study until the Restoration. With Peter Gunning in 1658 he debated with two Roman Catholics whether England or Rome was schismatic at the Reformation. He promoted the Polyglot Bible, and his weighty learning was demonstrated in the publication of his Exposition of the Creed (1659), a closely reasoned statement of the faith, with copious notes and references to early Christian Fathers. This classic work went through numerous editions, abridgments, and translations. Pearson became archdeacon of Surrey and master of Jesus College, Cambridge (1660), and held other academic posts till his appointment to Chester in 1673. He strongly supported the Restoration settlement at the Savoy Conference* of 1661, rejecting comprehensiveness in favour of uniformity. Convocation appointed him to superintend the translation of the Prayer Book into Latin. In 1672 he wrote Vindiciae Epistolarum Sancti Ignatii, an elaborate defense of the authenticity of letters ascribed to Ignatius of Antioch. Other works defended the Church of England against Roman Catholics and Nonconformists.