Reverand Richard Mather1,2,3

M, b. 1596, d. 22 April 1669
FatherThomas Mather
Courtesy of Eric Snow -
     Richard was born in 1596 in Lowton, Winwick Parish, Lancastershire, England. Richard went to school in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire and was appointed master there in his 15th year. He left there in 1612 and became a master at a new school at Texteth Park. He began to preach at Texteth in 1618 and was ordained there in 1619. Richard married Catherine Holt, daughter of Edmund Holt, on 29 September 1624 in Lowton, Winwick Parish, Lancastershire, England. They made their first home in Much-Woolton, about 3 miles from Texteth where Richard ministered. He continued as a minister in Texteth and gained a reputation as a great preacher in and around the Liverpool area. In the later months of 1633, Richard was suspended for nonconformity, and again in 1634. The archbishop refused to reinstate him, and he was advised and persuaded by John Cotton and Thomas Hooker to join the pilgrims and to embark from Bristol in May of 1635. On 23 May 1635, Richard & his wife, Catherine, left from Bristol, England aboard the ship, "James", mastered by Captain Taylor, bound for New England. They stoped at Milford Haven, Wales, where their departure was delayed until the 22nd of June due mainly to high winds.. Among the passangers were the family of Reverend Richard Mather & his wife Catherine along with the families of Matthew Mitchell, Reverend Richard Denton, Thomas Armitage, Jonas Wood, Humphrey Atherton, Nathaniel Wales, John Lum & others. They arrived at Boston the 17th day of August after experiencing a catastrophic hurricane off the shore of New Hampshire..4 The family resided at Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Richard was minister there from 23 August 1636 until his death. He was the co-author of The Bay Psalm Book which was the first book published in English in the American Colonies. He was a powerful leader of the Congregationalist Church and led the way to changes that were of great benefit to the church. Richard's wife, Catherine, died in March 1655 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, leaving him a widower. Richard married 2nd Sarah Hankridge Story Cotton on 26 August 1656 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Sarah was 1st married to William Story & 2nd to Reverand John Cotton. Richard made his will on 16 October 1661 at Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

I Richard Mather, considering the certainty of death, and the uncertainty of the time thereof; and withall knowing it to be the will of God that a man should set his House in order before he depart this life. Do make this my last Will and Testament in manner following. First of all, I acknowledge the rich and wonderful Grace and Mercy of Almighty God, whose hands have made me and fashioned me, and who took me out of my Mothers Womb, that having made me a Man, who might have made me a Beast or other Creature; He hath also by his good Providence preserved the beeing and comfort ofmy life all the dayes of my Pilgrimage untill now, even for the space ot these Sixty five years: During all which time, he hath not suffered me to want either food or raiment,
or the service of any creature, which hath been requisite for my comfortable subsisting in this World; which I acknowledge to be the bounteous gift of Him who is Lord of all Creatures, and the High Possessor__ oref Heaven and Earth. Next of "all, and more especially I am bound to give Thanks and Praise to Him whil'st I have any beeing, that I being a Childe of Wrath-by Nature as well as others, and being born in a place of much Profaneness and Popery, he hath of his abundant grace vouchsafed to draw me out of that woful estate of Sin and Ignorance wherein I lay, and to make himself and his Christ known unto me by the Gospel, of which grace I was most unworthy; and in"" his great patience and mercy to bear with my manifold and great offences, both before and since the time of his gracious Calling of me, though for my unworthy walking in many particulars, I might justly have been for ever rejected of him. Yea and such hath been his rich grace, that he hath vouchsafed to put me an unworthy creature into the Ministry of the Gospel of his Son, that I should not onely know and profess the same (which is unspeakable .mercy) but be also a Preacher of it unto others. In which Imployment if any thing hath been done which hath been pleasing unto him, or any way beneficiall to any Childe of his, it hath not been I that have done the same, but the grace of God which was with me. For I must needs acknowledge to the praise of his Patience and Grace, That in my poor Ministration for the space of these Forty two years and upwards, I have been much defective in Wisdome and Watchfulness over the peoples souls, in Purity, in Faithfulness, in Uprightness, Meekness, Humility and Zeal: And because of these, and many other my defects and offences against the Lord, I stand in much need this day of mercy and forgiveness through his Christ, and hare no cause to look for any acceptance either in this or in another World, for any Eighteousness of my own, either as touching my Ministry or otherwise, but disclaiming all thought, of that kinde, my onely trust and hope is to be accepted of him, and (when this life shall end) to be saved in his Heavenly Kingdome meerly by his Free-grace, and the Obedience and precious Passion and Intercession of his dear Son. And concerning Death, as I do believe it is appointed for all men once to die; so, because I see a great deal of unprofitableness in my own life, and because God hath also let me see such vanity and emptiness even in the best of those Comforts which this life can afford, that I think I may truely say, That I have seen an end of all perfection: Therefore if it were the will of God, I should be glad to be removed hence, where the best that is to be had doth yield so little satisfaction to my Soul, and to be brought into his presence in glory, that there I might finde (for there I know it is to be had) that satisfying and All-sufficient contentment in him, which under the Sun is not to be enjoyed. In the mean time I desire to stay the Lords leisure. But thou, O Lord, how long! Now concerning my Outward Estate, sith the Earth is the Lords and the fulness thereof, the habitable World, and all that is therein; to him therefore belongs the praise of all that I possess in this kinde: And for the portion thereof which he hath given unto me, it is my minde and will, if so it please his Highness, that after my decease the same may be disposed of as followeth,
Having thus graciously expressed himself, he proceeds to the disposal of his Temporal Estate; which being of private Concernment, we shall not here trouble the World therewith. But after the disposal of that, he concludeth with a most Solemn Charge to his Children; with the rehearsall whereof we shall finish. It is in words following.
Concerning my Son Timothy, with all the rest of my Beloved Sons, as I hope God hath already made them partakers, at least sundry of them, of his saving grace in Christ, for which I and they have cause to be endlessly thankful: so I think it not amiss, for the furtherance of their Spiritual good, to lay upon them this, serious and solemn Charge of a Dying Father, That none of them presume after my decease to walk in any way of sin and wickedness in one kinde or another, or in a careless neglect of God, and the things of God, and of their own salvation by Christ: for if they shall so do (which God forbid) Then and in such case I hereby testifie unto them, That their Father which begat them, and their Mother which bore them, with all the Prayers which they have made, and Tears which they have shed for them, their Example, their Admonitions and Exhortations which they have administred to them, together with this my last Will and Solemn Charge; All these will rise up against them as so many Testimonies for their Condemnation at the last day. But I have better hopes of them; And do hereby declare unto them, That if they shall seriously repent of their sins, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and by his grace walk in all the wayes of God, and as becometh the Gospel of Christ; as this will be to the Honour and glory of Him that made them, so it will redound to their own unspeakable comfort and benefit in this and in another World; and their Father that now speaketh unto them, with their dear
Mother Mother now with God, shall exceedingly rejoyce in the day of Christ, when we shall receive our Children unto those everlasting Habitations; and shall see not our selves alone, hut those also that have proceeded and come forth out of our own bowels, to have their part and portion in that Eternall v Glory. In desire and hope that it may be so, I commend them all to the Lord of Heaven's Blessing: And let the Blessing of God in Jesus Christ, be poured out and remain upon them all for ever-more. Amen.5

Richard died on Monday, 22 April 1669 in Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, after an illness of the urinary tract which he had suffered for at least two years. His hearing had detiorated and he had lost his sight in one eye. He was buried at Dorchester, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in the Dorchester North Burying Ground.6

Family 1

Catherine Holt b. 18 Jan 1596, d. Mar 1655

Family 2

Sarah Hankridge Story Cotton d. 27 May 1676


  1. [S949] Richard Mather, Mather was born in Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire, England, of a family which was in reduced circumstances but entitled to bear a coat-of-arms.
    He studied at Winwick grammar school, of which he was appointed a master in his fifteenth year, and left it in 1612 to become master of a newly established school at Toxteth Park, Liverpool. After a few months at Brasenose College, Oxford, he began in November 1618 to preach at Toxteth, and was ordained there, possibly only as deacon, early in 1619.
    In August-November 1633 he was suspended for nonconformity in matters of ceremony; and in 1634 was again suspended by the visitors of Richard Neile, archbishop of York, who, hearing that he had never worn a surplice during the fifteen years of his ministry, refused to reinstate him and said that "it had been better for him that he had gotten seven bastards."
    He had a great reputation as a preacher in and about Liverpool; but, advised by letters of John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, he was persuaded to join the company of pilgrims in May 1635 and embarked at Bristol for New England. He arrived at Boston on August 15, 1635, in the midst of one of the most catastrophic hurricanes of the colonial era. He was the pastor of Dorchester until his death in 1669.
  2. [S948] Richard Mather, Journal of Richard Mather. 1635. His Life and Death. 1670.
  3. [S958] Horace E. Mather, Lineage of Reveran Richard Mather

    , page 33 - Reverand Richard Mather of Lowton, Winwick Parish, Lancashire, England, of Txteth Part, also of Dorchester, Massachusetts; born: Lowton 1596; died: 22 April 1669 Dorchester; m. 1st September 29, 1624 Catherine, d/o Edmund Holt of Bury; Catherine died: 1655; m. 2nd August 26, 1656 Sarah Story, widow of Reverand John Cotton; & daughter of Richard Hankridge of Boston, England; Sarah m. 1st William Story; she died: May 27, 1676;
    children by Catherine: Reverand Samuel May 13, 1626; Timothy 1628; Reverand Nathaniel March 20, 1630; Joseph 1634 d.y.; Reverand Eleazar May 13, 1637; Reverand Dr. Increase June 21, 1639;.
  4. [S948] Richard Mather, Journal of Richard Mather. 1635. His Life and Death. 1670., pages 6-10 - We came from Warrington on Thursday April 16, April and came to Bristoll on the Thursday following, viz. April 23, and had a very healthful!, safe and prosperous journey all ye way, blessed bee the name of or God for the same, taking but easy journeyes because of the children and footemen, dispaching 119 or 120 miles in seven dayes.
    Comming to Bristoll wee found divers of the company come before us : but some came not till after us: howbeit the last was come by the first of May. Neverthelesse we went not aboard ye ship untill Saturday the 23d of May : so that the time of or staying in Bristoll was a month and two dayes, during all wch time wee found friendship and curtesy at the hands of divers godly Christians in Bristoll. Yet our stay was grievous unto us, when wee considered how most of this time the windes were easterly and served directly for us; But our ship was not ready: so ill did or owners deale with us. ' Going.aboard ye ship in King roade the 23d of May, wee found.things very unready, and all on heapes, many goods seeing not stowed, but lying on disordered heapes, here and there in the ship. This day there came aboard the ship 2 of the searchers, and viewed a list of all or names, ministered the oath of allegiance to all at full age, viewed or certificates from the ministers in the parishes from whence we came, approved well thereof, and gave us tickets, that is, Licenses under their handes and seales, to passe the seas, and cleared the ship, and so departed. When we came to King roade (which is a spacious harbor of 5 or 6 miles broad, and 4 or 5 miles distant from Bristoll) wee found neere or ship another • ,ship of Bristoll, called the Diligence, bound for Newfound-land, riding at ancre.
    The 24th beeing the Lorde's day, the wind was strong in the morning, and ye ship daunced, and many of o1 women and some children were not well; but sea-sicke, and mazy or light in their heades, and could scarce stand or go without falling, unless they tooke hold of something to uphold them. This day Mr. Maud was excercised in the forenoone, and I in the afternoone. The wind still easterly.
    The 25th, wee that were passengers would faine have had ancre weighed, and sayle set, y' wee might have beene gone. But ye mariners would insiste that they could not stirre till ye goodes were stowed and the hatches or deck above cleared, &c. So wee were forced ££ to sit still, and fall ia hand with the goodes ; wch stay was a greater griefe unto us, because the Diligence, y' lay within 2 or 3 stones cast of us did this morning go out in or sight.
    The Tuesday morning the wind beeing easterly and the decke somewhat cleared, the mariners began to addresse themselves for going. But about nine of the clocke, when they had taken up one of their ancres, and were in a manner ready to set forward, the wind turned directly agt us, unto the west, so y' wee were forced to cast ancre againe, and sit still. This evening the Diligence, y' went out ye day before, came in againe, and cast ancre about the place where shee lay before ; and found us riding at ancre where shee left us; and another ship also bound for New England came unto us, which other ship was called the Angel Gabriel.
    On Wednesday the wind continuing still at ye west, wee having sent some of or men a shoar to fetch more bread and victuals and more water for the cattell; our Master Captayne Taylor went aboard the Angel Gabriel; Mr. Maud, Nathaniel Wales, Barnabas Fower, Thomas Armitage and my selfe accompanying him. When wee came there wee found divers passengers, and among them spme loving and godly Christians that were glad to see us there. And soone after wee were come aboard there, there came three or four more boates with more passengers, and one wherein came Sir Ferdinando Gorge, who came to see the ship and the people. When hee was come hee enquired whether there were any people there y' went to Massachusetts Bay, whereupon Mr. Maud and Barnabas Fower were sent for to come before him ; who being come he asked Mr. Maud of his country, occupation or calling of life, &c, and professed his good will to the people there in ye bay, and promised that if hee ever came there hee would be a true friend unto them.
    28. On Thursday, the wind being still at west, the Mr of the Angel Gabriel, and some of their passengers, came aboard or ship, and desired to have or company &c. This day there cattel came aboard, and or Mr and some of the saylors and passengers went a shoare.
    29. Friday morning, the wind was south-east, but or Master and some of the mariners being away, we could not set sayle ; so being constrayned to ride at ancre still, and fearing a want if or journey should proove long, some of or company were sent by boat to Bristoll, to provide some more oates for the cattel, and bread, and other provisions for or selves, wch they performed, and so came aboard again at evening. • '
    30- Saturday at morning the wind was strong at northwest ; and against or going out, and besides or Master and some of the saylors were gone ashore and not come aboard againe ; so that this day also wee were constrayned to sit still. In the afternoone ye wind waxed louder, and or ship daunced with wind and waves; and many passengers, especially women and some children, were sea-sicke.
    31. The 2d Sabbath on ship-board. The wind easterly, and directly for us; but or Master and many of the saylors beeing away, and it being also the Lords day, there could bee no going out y' day. I was excercised in the forenoone, and Mr. Maud in ye afternoone.
    June 1Munday the wind was westerly, and agt us. This day we sent some of or company ashoare to wash linnens, and some to buy more hay and provisions. Towardes night ye wind grew stronger and or ship daunced and many of ye passengers were ill through casting and sea-sicknesse.
    Tuesday, the wind still westerly. This day wee sent some of or people ashoare to provide more water, and hay for the cattel.
    Wednesday morning, the wind was easterly and good for our purpose ; but or Master and many of ye saylors went away, and those y' were aboard with us told us it was no going out till the wind was settled, lest we should be forced to come in again upon change of wind, as the Diligence was. This evening there came to ancre in King-roade another ship of Bristoll of 240 tunne, called ye Bess, or Elizabeth, bound for New-fond-land, as there had done another two or three dayes before, called the Mary, which was also bound for New-»fond-land.
    Thursday morning, the wind serving for us, and or Master and all the saylors being come aboard, wee set sayle and began or sea-voyage with glad hearts yl God had loosed us from or long stay wherein we had been holden, and with hope and trust that hee would graciously guide us to the end of or journey. We were y' set sayle together yl morning five shippes ; three bound for New-fond-land, viz. the Diligence,- a ship of 150 tunne-; the Mary, a small ship of 80 tunne, and the Bess : and two bound for New England, viz. the Angel Gabriel of 240 tunne, the James of 220 tunne. And even at or setting out, we y' were in the James had experience of God's gracious providence over us, in y the Angel Gabriel haling home one of her ancres, had like, being carried by the force of the tide, to have fallen foule upon….
  5. [S948] Richard Mather, Journal of Richard Mather. 1635. His Life and Death. 1670., pagew 88-89 - The middle of the will where Richard leaves inheirtances to his children is left out here as it was of no interest.
  6. [S951] Find a grave: