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John Worthington (academic)


John Worthington (academic)

John Worthington (1618–1671) was an English academic. He was closely associated with the Cambridge Platonists.[1][2][3] He did not in fact publish in the field of philosophy, and is now known mainly as a well-connected diarist.


He was born in Manchester, and educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[4] At Emmanuel he was taught by Joseph Mead; he described Mead's teaching methods, and later edited his works.[5] Another teacher was Benjamin Whichcote.[6]

He was Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, from 1650 to 1660, and Vice-Chancellor in 1657.[7] At the English Restoration he was replaced by Richard Sterne, apparently willingly.[8] Subsequently he held various church positions, being lecturer at St Benet Fink in London until burnt out in the Great Fire of London in 1666. He then was given a living at Ingoldsby. At the end of his life he was a lecturer in Hackney.[9]


He married Mary Whichcote, in 1657. She was niece to Benjamin Whichcote.[10][11][12]

Hartlib correspondence

Worthington was an active correspondent of Samuel Hartlib, the "intelligencer", in the period 1655 to 1662.[6] At Worthington's request, Hartlib's close collaborator John Dury searched in the Netherlands for the lost papers of Henry Ainsworth.[13] He shared with Hartlib and Dury (and both Henry More and John Covel) an interest in the Karaites.[14]

After Hartlib's death, Worthington took on the task of organising his archive of correspondence, which had been bought by William Brereton, 2nd Baron Brereton.[15] After a period of nearly 300 years, the bundles into which he sorted it were rediscovered, and his system for the archive persists.[16]


  • The Christian's Pattern: a translation of the De Imitatione of Thomas à Kempis (1654)
  • John Smith, Selected Discourses (London, 1660) editor
  • Life of Joseph Mede with third edition of Mede's Works (1672)
  • The Great Duty of Self-Resignation to the Divine Will (1675)
  • Diary and Correspondence of Dr. John Worthington 2 vols. (1847–86, Chetham Society) editor James Crossley



  • public domain: 

External links

  • CCED page
Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Young
Master of Jesus College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Richard Sterne
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