Borthwick Institute HC AB 16 fol. 158 retro suggests that the following ministers were called to give evidence: Jobson, Shute, Brooke, R. Gibson, E. Watkin, J. Foote, Wm. Harrison, G. Wiber, J. Eastwood, A. Emott, F. Peele, J. Harrison and Thos. Drake – see Marchant I, Church Courts.
Brierley’s most immediate neighbour was Thomas Jobson (Waddington), for whom he was supposed to be an assistant. He is a particularly difficult character to indentify with different sources suggesting two completely different individuals.
Christopher Shute (Giggleswick) was the leader of established Puritanism in Craven. From 1594 Shute seems to have sat as a member of the York High Commission. According to Marchant, he was almost certainly the son of Christopher Shute of Oakington, Cambridgeshire. That would put his father immediately adjacent to the Pietist heart of England: the parish of Dry Drayton. The link to Oakington seems sensible as well as there was a well-established Shute family there, all descendants of Christopher Shute who died in 1552 and many of whom had scholarly interests. Shute himself had been ordained deacon at Bishopthorpe on 10th August 1572 and priest there 31 July 1575, holding an M.A. (Borthwick Institute, Abp. Reg. 30, ff. 159r., 161v.). His son, Henry, was ordained deacon in September 1591 and priest in 1599 (Borthwick Institute, Act Book III ff. 238r., 318v.).
Shute was Giggleswick School’s Head Master between 1615 and 1619 – i.e. the years in which Brierley was most active and most controversial at Grindleton. He was to resign in 1619 in favour of Dockwray. In 1594 Shute had been in problems himself with the High Commission over both the issue of the Cross and that of perambulations. However, the more positive aspects of Shute’s reputation also went before him. He was a reasonably well-known writer on theological matters, having had specific sermons published, most notably, ‘A very Godlie and necessary Sermon preached before the young Countess of Cumberland, the 24th of November, 1577’ as well as, ‘A Compendious Forme and Summe of Christian Doctrine’ (corrected and newly augmented edition, London, 1581). It would seem that a substantial number of his parishioners were amongst those who journeyed to hear Brierley, including William Windsor, Henry Becroft and the future Antinomian minister, William Aiglin.
John Brooke (Gargrave at the time of Brierley’s hearing). It would seem that Brooke had a very close relationship with Shute, taking over from him at Giggleswick upon his death in 1626. Very probably, he shared a similar theological perspective to Shute. Furthermore, there are a number of transactions suggesting that Shute and the Brookes were somehow interlinked. Shute sold the advowson of Giggleswick to William Brook of Drighlington and the fact that John Brooke (or sometimes Brookes) was vicar between 1626 and his death in 1630 must have some bearing upon this. Tracing Brooke’s past is difficult as there is more than one possibility. However, the Venn database makes an attempt to equate him with the one who matriculated from Peterhouse, Cambridge at Easter 1618. Brooke and Shute were amongst the Grindleton congregation’s main targets:
Charge 43: That Mr Shute vickar of Gigleswick and mr Brooke minister of Gargo [Gargrave] are both either ignorant or malicious persecutors of sincerity.
Richard Gibson (Marton-in-Craven). Gibson was also a well-established local minister, having been rector of Marton since 1591 and previously the Vicar of Skipton. He had been ordained under William Chaderton in Chester in 1582. Borthwick Institute AB.2 from 1591 shows him to have had an M.A. at the time of taking on Marton, which he had not had at the time of his original ordination. At Marton he had the advowson of Christopher Marton, armiger and his son and heir, Lancelot. Alice Proctor of Cleatop in Settle’s will of 1611 – Borthwick Institute v 32a fol. 292 v/r – indicates that Gibson’s wife was a certain ‘Tomasine’. Although Alice made Gibson joint executor, it was Shute she asked to preach at the place of her burial.
Alexander Emmott (Bolton -by-Bowland). Emmott – or numerous variations on the spelling – was the minister of Bolton-by-Bowland from 1598 right through to 1624, when he was replaced by Henry Hoyle. He seems to have been ordained at Lincoln – see LA Episcopal Registers XXVIIA – in May 1569 and appointed to the Bishop’s Chapel at Nettleham, just to the northeast of Lincoln itself. Emmot’s ordination records him as having been resident in the Diocese of Chester.
John Foote (Kildwick). Born in Middlesex in 1565 and educated at Christ Church, Oxford, Foote was vicar of Kildwick-in-Craven from 1603 until his death in 1622 although he may well have only been resident there over the period 1605-1621. Until 1605/06 the parish registers continued to be signed by the curate, William Harrison. In October 1622, after seventeen years of Foote keeping the parish registers himself, a new hand took over: that of Peter Barrett. Indeed, the 1623 epitaph to Foote is in Barrett’s hand. Over the period circa 1623 – 1631 Brierley would be curate at Kildwick.
Geoffrey Wyber (Long Preston). Although seemingly researched by nobody, Wyber (sometimes Wiber or Weybar) was the minister of (Long) Preston parish, immediately to the southeast of Giggleswick, the church now being located a short distance from the A65. Wyber had been ordained during John Piers’ brief jurisdiction at York in 1592 – see LPL, CM X11/9 Clerical Survey. He died in the spring of 1619 – but not before he had been called to give evidence at Brierley’s High Commission case. Marchant I identifies him as a non-graduate.
William Harrison (Otley). Harrison was possibly, previously, curate of Kildwick. William and Brierley would certainly meet again in 1626. He was ordained at Durham in 1593 and was the vicar at Otley from July 1606 probably right through to his death in 1648. He was said to hold a B.A. by Borthwick Institute AB.3 but this has difficult to evidence further on account of the frequency of the name. However by 1642, the outbreak of the Civil Wars, he seems to have been allowing others to preach on his behalf at Otley and it is not clear whether, technically, he resigned his post or not. When he died six years later he was buried there in Otley.
Henry Hoyle was one minister who seems to have supported Brierley and allowed both he and Richard Tennant to preach from Gisburn. Hoyle (1576/77 – c.1636) was probably the second son of William Hoyle, gentleman of Stead Hall in Halifax although an alternative genealogy seems to have him being born at Hoile Hall. His social status would have been similar under either scenario. He attended Peterhouse in the mid-1590s and was presented as rector of Gisburn in 1602, a title which he would hold until his death in 1636. Hoyle was known for his pluralist opinions and had been ordained deacon at York on 19 May 1599 – see the Act Books, Volume III at the Borthwick Institute, folio 310 retro. He also held the moiety of Linton (a mere two miles northwest of Burnsall and now a settlement dwarfed by neighbouring Grassington) from 1615 to 1621 and was rector of Bolton-by-Bowland between 1624 and 1626. He would be sponsored by John Emmott at Bolton.
Tennant married Mary, Hoyle’s daughter, at Gisburn church in May 1619 and Hoyle continued to be a supporter of Tennant right up until his death, having been responsible for presenting him to Kettlewell in 1632 and making him and a relative from Scarborough a substantial loan in the last year of his life.
A few of the above ministers have remained under-researched.
For example, Edward Watkin was the vicar of Carleton-in-Craven from 1612. He held an M.A. from Oxford and had been ordained in 1606 in Gloucester. He died in April 1638.
Thomas Drake was rector at Thornton-in-Craven later (probably from either 1621 or 1623) where he replaced Hugh Watmough whose ministry there and in Bury overlapped. He too held an M.A. and had been ordained priest by Tobias Matthews in June 1609.
Rather less is known about characters such as Francis Peele, a B.A. who was ordained deacon at Bishopthorpe Manor in 1614 and priest in 1616.