Theological Treatises by Arthur Hildersham

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The manuscript contains various theological treatises as follows:

Folios 1-72 comprise sayings by the clergyman Richard Greenham (d 1594). The remainder comprises works attributed to Greenham's student Arthur Hildersham and the theologian Thomas Cartwright. This manuscript has been identified with Arthur Hildersham, but this identification has recently been cast into doubt. According to the scholarly edition published in 1998 (see below), the close correlation between this manuscript and published sayings suggests that the Rylands sayings represent an early, well-established and widely circulated collection of sayings.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Hildersham (Hildersam), Church of England clergyman, was born on 6 October 1563 at Stetchworth near Newmarket, Cambridgeshire. He was educated at the grammar school at Saffron Walden, Essex. In 1576 he entered Christ's College from where he graduated BA in 1581 and proceeded to MA in 1584. He apparently preached in the college chapel as part of the college exercise in divinity. In 1583 he was appointed divinity reader at Trinity Hall. On 5 January 1590 he married Anne Barfoot of Lamborn Hall, Essex.

Hildersham was instituted vicar of St Helen's, Ashby, on 4 October 1593. He was one of a number of high-profile godly ministers whose nonconformity was tolerated for periods of time and then suddenly punished. In 1619 he published A Briefe Forme of Examination and The Doctine of Communicating Worthily in the Lord's Supper. Much of his homiletic material was concerned with worthy preparation and instruction, which included knowledge of the law, the gospel, and the sacrament. Hildersham died at Ashby on 4 March 1632.

Source: Bryan D. Spinks, 'Hildersham , Arthur (1563-1632)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. By permission of Oxford University Press -

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from Mrs P. Hardisty in July 1930.


Description compiled by Jo Humpleby, project archivist, with reference to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Arthur Hildersham.

Custodial History

Former owner: Mrs P. Hardisty.


Folios 1-72 have been published in K.L. Parker and E.J. Carlson (ed.), Practical Divinity The Works and Life of Reverend Richard Greenham, (Aldershot: Ashgate 1998).