Richard Hooker Biography

Richard Hooker (March 1554 – 3 November 1600) was an Anglican priest and an influential theologian. Hooker's emphases on reason, tolerance and the value of tradition came to exert a lasting influence on the development of the Church of England. In retrospect he has been taken (with Thomas Cranmer and Matthew Parker) as a founder of Anglican theological thought.

Details of Hooker's life come chiefly from Izaak Walton’s biography of him. Hooker was born in the village of Heavitree in Exeter, Devon sometime around Easter Sunday. He attended Exeter Grammar School until 1569. Richard came from a good family, but one that was neither noble nor wealthy. His uncle John Hooker was a success and served as the chamberlain of Exeter.

Hooker's uncle was able to obtain for Richard the help of another Devon native, John Jewel, bishop of Salisbury. The bishop saw to it that Richard was accepted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he became a fellow of the society in 1577.[2] On 14 August 1579 Hooker was ordained a priest by Edwin Sandys, then bishop of London. Sandys made Hooker tutor his son Edwin, and Richard also taught George Cranmer, the great nephew of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. In 1580 he was deprived of his fellowship for "contentiousness" having campaigned for the losing candidate (Rainoldes, a lifelong friend who would become a leader of puritan party and participate in the Hampton Court Conference of 1604) in a contested election to the presidency of the college. However, he recovered it when Rainoldes finally assumed the post".