Laurence Chaderton

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Laurence Chaderton
Laurence Chaderton
Laurence Chaderton
Bornc. 1536
Died13 November 1640
OccupationEnglish bible translator

Laurence Chaderton (c. September 1536 – 13 November 1640) was an English Puritan divine, the first Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible.


Chaderton was born in Lees,[1][2] or else Chadderton,[3] both near Oldham, Lancashire, England, probably during September 1536, a son of Thomas Chaderton, a Catholic.[4] His birth preceded the institution of parish baptism registers in England in 1538.

Under the tuition of Laurence Vaux, a Roman Catholic priest, he became an able scholar. In 1564 he entered Christ's College, Cambridge, where, after a short time, he formally adopted the Reformed doctrines and was in consequence disinherited by his father. In 1567 he was elected a fellow of his college, and subsequently was chosen lecturer of St Clement's Church, Cambridge, where he preached to admiring audiences for many years. He married Cecily Culverwell, which entailed giving up his fellowship.[5]

He was a man of moderate, puritan views, though numbering among his friends some of the greatest Puritan preachers and divines like Thomas Cartwright, Richard Greenham, Richard Rogers (theologian), and William Perkins. So great was his reputation that when Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I, founded Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1584, he chose Chaderton for the first master, and on his expressing some reluctance, declared that if he would not accept the office the foundation should not go on.

In 1604 Chaderton was appointed one of the four divines for managing the cause of the Puritans at the Hampton Court Conference. He was also among the translators of the King James Version of the Bible. In 1578 he had taken the degree of B.D., and in 1613 he was created D.D. At this period he made provision for twelve fellows and above forty scholars in Emmanuel College. Fearing that he might have a successor who held Arminian doctrines, he resigned the mastership in favour of John Preston in 1622, but survived him, and lived also to see the college presided over successively by William Sancroft and Richard Holdsworth. He died at the age of about 104, preserving his bodily and mental faculties to the end.


Chaderton published a sermon preached at St Paul's Cross about 1580, and a treatise of his On Justification was printed by Anthony Thysius, professor of divinity at Leiden. Some other works by him on theological subjects remain in manuscript (as of 1911).


  1. ^ Ffarington, William (1853). The Derby Household Books. p. 204.
  2. ^ Baynes, T.S. (1833). The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature. Vol. 5. C. Scribner's sons. p. 371. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  3. ^ Lewis 1848, pp. 538–542.
  4. ^ "Chaderton or Chatterton, Laurence (CHDN564L)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ Francis J. Bremer, Tom Webster, Puritans and Puritanism in Europe and America: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia (2006), p. 51.


  • Lewis, Samuel (1848). A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research. ISBN 978-0-8063-1508-9.
  • Beeke, Joel R (2016). Laurence Chaderton: His Life and Ecclesiology. in Puritan Reformed Journal Vol 8 No 1.
  • Shuckburgh, Evelyn (1884). Laurence Chaderton, First Master of Emmanuel. translated from the Latin of Dr William Dillingham 1700. ISBN 110413814X.
  • Chaderton, Laurence (1578). An excellent and godly sermon most needefull for this time, wherein we liue in all securitie and sinne, to the great dishonour of God, and contempt of his holy word. Preached at Paules Crosse the xxvi. daye of October, an. 1578 by Laurence Chaderton Batcheler of Diuinitie. Christopher Barker, printer to the Queenes Maiestie.

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Academic offices
Preceded by
New title
Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Succeeded by