Robert Johnson (Archdeacon of Leicester)
He was a Puritan rector of North Luffenham, Rutland, for 51 years, from 1574 until his death. He was also a Canon of Windsor (1572 to 1625) and Archdeacon of Leicester (1591 to 1625), and using the income from these and other church posts he held concurrently, he founded free grammar schools in Oakham and Uppingham in 1584, as well as other charitable institutions. He enjoyed the patronage of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley.
He was born in Stamford to Maurice and Jane Johnson, one of seven children; his father was Member of Parliament for Stamford. He married three times and had a son, Abraham, by his third wife, Maria (née Hird); through his son he had thirteen grandchildren. His grandson, Isaac Johnson, married Lady Arbella Fiennes, who gave her name to Governor John Winthrop's flagship the Arbella. Three other Grandsons, John Johnson, Thomas Johnson, and Robert Johnson were among the founders of New Haven, Connecticut . Robert Johnson's Great Grandson Samuel Johnson founded King's College, now Columbia University.
Robert Johnson died on 23 July 1625 in North Luffenham and his memorial is in the chancel of the church there.
His puritan beliefs meant he placed great importance on education, and he set up the grammar schools in the two towns of Rutland so that those who were too poor to pay for schooling could be taught Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
Among other endowments and foundations, Archdeacon Johnson founded Hospitals of Christ in Oakham and Uppingham, and re-founded and endowed the old hospital of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Anne in Oakham. The schools and hospitals received their charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1587. He was also one of the eight founding fellows of Jesus College, Oxford.
A statue of Johnson can be seen on the Victoria Tower of Uppingham School.
- "Archdeacons of Leicester" (PDF). p. 35. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Johnson, Frederick C., Rev. Jacob Johnson of Wallingford, (Conn.) and Wilkes-Barre, (Pa.), Wilkes-barre, Pa., 1904, p. 3-5
- The registers of North Luffenham, in the county of Rutland. 1572-1812 (1896) p.142; he is described as a "painfull preacher"
- Knighton, C. S. (January 2008). "Johnson, Robert (1540/41–1625)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online edition, subscription access). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Jesus College, Oxford – The Founders". Jesus College, Oxford. 14 November 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-24.