GAUDEN, John (c. 1605-62)

GAUDEN, John (c. 1605–62)

cons. 2 Dec. 1660 bp. of EXETER; transl. 23 May 1662 bp. of WORCESTER

First sat 20 Nov. 1661; last sat 19 May 1662

b. c.1605,1 s. of John Gauden (d. bef. 1625), vic. Mayland, Essex. educ. Bury St Edmunds sch.; St John’s, Camb. matric. 1619, BA 1623, MA 1626; Wadham, Oxf. BD 1635, DD 1641. m. abt. 1640, Elizabeth (d.1671), da. of Sir William Russell bt. of Chippenham, Cambs. and wid. of Sir Edward Lewknor of Denham, Suff., 4s. 1da. d. 20 Sept. 1662; will 10 Sept. 1662 , pr. 21 Feb. 1663.2

Chap. ord. to Charles II, 1660.

Vic. Chippenham, Cambs. 1640-2; chap. to Robert Rich, 2nd earl of Warwick; dean Bocking, Essex, 1642; preacher at the Temple, 1660.

Also associated with: Mayland, Essex; Bocking, Essex and Dorchester, Dorset.

Likenesses: relief bust on monument, Worcester Cathedral.

John Gauden was the son of an Essex clergyman and brother of the navy victualler, Sir Dennis Gauden. He forged influential connections early in his career. Gauden tutored Francis and William Russell, sons of Sir William Russell of Chippenham, and later married their sister. Although William Russell adhered to the king, the remainder of the family were parliamentarians. Gauden was closely associated with the parliamentarian commander, Robert Rich, 2nd earl of Warwick, whose chaplain he became (he would in 1658 publish his sermon at the funeral of Warwick’s son, Robert Rich).3

Uncertainty surrounds Gauden’s career in the 1640s. Nominated to the Westminster Assembly of Divines by Sir Dudley North, later 4th Baron North, and Sir Thomas Chicheley, he was apparently prepared to take up the position, but the nomination was subsequently set aside and Thomas Goodwin put in instead. He appears to have taken the Covenant, and managed to retain his livings throughout the civil wars and Interregnum.4 Most mystery attaches to his role in the production of the Eikon Basilike, the political and religious testament of Charles I, which, Gauden claimed in 1661, ‘was wholly and only my invention, making and design, in order to vindicate the kings wisdom, honour and piety’.5 The initiative to turn some of Charles I’s devotional writings into a highly successful publication more likely came from Edward Symmons, though Gauden, whose living in Essex was next door to Symmons’, may well have had a considerable role in editing, adding to, and preparing the manuscript for publication.6 A series of defences of the Church of England during the 1650s against Presbyterianism and Independency may have been the reason why by 1658-9 Gauden’s name was appearing on planning lists for the Restoration Church drawn up by Edward Hyde, future earl of Clarendon.7 There may or may not be political significance in the marriage, in or before 1659, of his stepdaughter to Horatio Townshend, later Baron, and then Viscount, Townshend, a man believed to have Presbyterian connections but also deeply involved in royalist conspiracy. Nevertheless, the high Tory partisan, Nathanael Salmon, labelled him as a time-server who took advantage ‘of the gale of oblivion’. 8

In early 1660 Gauden appears to have been intervening in politics at a high level. Cromwell’s Bloody Slaughter House, a remarkable piece of violent invective against the regicide, appeared around this time, though apparently at the initiative of the printer Dugart, and without Gauden’s own knowledge: Gauden himself republished it in a revised version in February 1661.9 But he did preach at St Paul’s before the City of London on 28 Feb. 1660, a fast day giving thanks for the restoration of the secluded members to the Rump Parliament, and (in the title of the published sermon) for the ‘door of hope thereby opened [for] the fullness and freedom of future Parliaments: the most probable means under God for healing the hurts and recovering the health of these three British Kingdoms’.10 The publication in early March of his sermon preached the previous December at the funeral of the Calvinist, Ralph Brownrigg, bishop of Exeter may have been a deliberate attempt to present an attractive model of moderate episcopacy.11 On 13 Apr. 1660 George Morley, later bishop of Worcester and Winchester, informed Hyde that the Presbyterians wished to discuss a Church settlement and had named Gauden as one of those they wished to be present. Richard Baxter recorded that such a meeting took place in or about early May, although he noted that despite Gauden’s promises, Morley ‘and others of that party’ did not attend.12 The Commons’ invitation to Gauden (along with Edmund Calamy and Richard Baxter) to preach on 30 Apr., made on the first day’s sitting of the Convention, represented a significant statement by Presbyterian leaders in the House, and was presumably intended as a tentative movement towards moderated episcopacy.13 Given a personal introduction to the king in June by James Butler, marquess of Ormond [I], Gauden reported the king’s inclination to ‘moderate counsels’.14 Over the next few months he assiduously promoted moderate episcopacy: his Analysis: The loosing of St Peter’s Bands setting forth the True Sense and Solution of the Covenant, dated 12 June, emphasized that the re-establishment of episcopacy was not incompatible with the Covenant, and attracted a number of hostile responses, in particular from Zachary Crofton. In September Gauden also republished his Civil War pamphlet on the subject, Certain scruples and doubts of conscience about taking the Solemn League and Covenant, originally published in 1643 or 1644. He responded directly to Crofton in 1661.15 He leapt in with a hostile response to the proposal – which he attributed to Cornelius Burgess, and appeared in a single leaf on 8 Sept. (according to Thomason) – that those who had purchased the lands of bishops and deans and chapters should retain them on 99 year leases, in exchange for a large sum raised for the king.16

Gauden, who had spoken in February of ‘owning’ ‘Primitive episcopacy with presbytery’, had been involved since June in the discussions between episcopal and Presbyterian divines, and he was present at the meeting at Worcester House on 22 Oct. which resulted in the Declaration a few days later.17 The role probably ensured his appointment as a bishop, particularly with the refusal of Calamy and Baxter to accept elevation. It was certainly nothing to do with Gilbert Sheldon, bishop of London, who, according to Gilbert Burnet, the future bishop of Salisbury had vigorously disowned responsibility: the king, he had told James Stuart, duke of York, ‘had ordered his promotion for the service he had done’, though it is unknown whether this was a reference to his role in 1660, or in the preparation of Eikon Basilike.18 By Christmas 1660 Gauden had been consecrated bishop of Exeter in Westminster Abbey. In mid-January 1661 Gauden was at Exeter conducting an ordination service: the pamphlet containing his address on the occasion said that the ordination had been conducted ‘per ipsum episcopum & primores presbyteros’, an indication of commitment to moderate episcopacy, though the translation merely said ‘ordained by him (with the assistance of other grave Ministers)’.19 To some extent, the Worcester House Declaration programme of moderate episcopacy was indeed being implemented in his diocese.20

Within three weeks of his consecration, Gauden sent the first of a stream of letters complaining about his situation. Appointment to a see worth only £500 a year, when at least £1,000 was required to permit him to live ‘in becoming style’ and where the bishop’s palace was in a state of ruin, was, he complained, insufficient reward for his services.21 There is no evidence that he played any part in the general election campaign of 1661, although as lord of the manor of Penryn, he could have had some influence in the selection of John Birch.22 Gauden was appointed to the Savoy Conference in March 1661, returning to London and the fashionable house in Clapham that Dennis Gauden had built in anticipation that his brother would be translated to Winchester. He spent the summer in the negotiations over the liturgy, gaining the respect of Richard Baxter: ‘how bitter soever his pen be, he was the only moderator of all the bishops (except our Edward Reynolds, bishop of Norwich): he showed no logic, nor meddled in any dispute, or point of learning, but a calm, fluent, rhetorical tongue, and if all had been of his mind, we had been reconciled’. 23 He returned to Exeter briefly in September, before taking his seat in the Lords at the readmission of the bishops on 20 Nov.24 Gauden published a pamphlet to celebrate, arguing that ‘the bringing in of bishops again into your House of Parliament is, as it were, a new consecrating of it, after it had been so lewdly polluted, and horridly profaned, by those Abaddons and Apollyons’, and emphazising that ‘bishops in England have ever been contemporary with Parliaments time out of mind, as they have been in all Christian empires and kingdoms… present and assistant in all their diets and national conventions’.25 He would early in the next year express his respect for the Lords and his nervousness about speaking in the House: ‘I never found myself (who am thought neither a barren nor a diffident speaker) more surprised with an ingenuous horror in any Audience, then when I adventured to speak in that most august and honourable Assembly of the Lords in Parliament, where there are so many excellent Orators, and accurate Censors; among whom it is safer to hear then to speak, and easier to admire then imitate their judicious eloquence’.26

He attended the House for 51 per cent of sittings and was named to numerous committees on a range of political, religious and commercial issues. When Clarendon informed the Lords on 19 Dec. 1661 of a republican conspiracy against the crown, Gauden and Sheldon represented the episcopate on a special committee created to discuss security issues with the Commons over the Christmas recess. Nine days later Gauden wrote to Clarendon about the ‘decay’ of Brian Duppa, bishop of Winchester. He put himself forward as Duppa’s successor but also suggested that when Duppa died, there should be some redistribution of episcopal wealth since it was inequitable ‘to see so vast a disproportion in … estate among persons of equal age … and honour’.27 Duppa, though, survived the new year, leaving Gauden’s career hopes temporarily frustrated.

Gauden was particularly active in the House in early 1662 during the passage of legislation at the heart of the Restoration religious settlement. He backed Clarendon’s efforts to ‘oblige’ the Presbyterians and oppose the Commons’ amendments to the Ministers’ Act.28 He was also involved in the revision to the Book of Common Prayer, was named on 17 Jan. 1662 to the committee which drafted the amendments to the Uniformity bill, and pressed for the restoration of the ‘black rubric’ relating to kneeling at communion to head off Presbyterian objections to the liturgy (and which was said to have angered Catholics, being an express declaration against the real presence).29 His pamphlet, A Discourse concerning Public Oaths, dated 20 March 1662 and dedicated to the philosopher Robert Boyle, professes to be an expansion of an intervention he made in the debates on the Quaker bill, perhaps in December 1661 or January 1662. Gauden expressed some distaste for rigorous persecution in religious matters, and argued for the virtues of persuasion into conformity; he proposed a delay to the entrance into effect of the bill to give time for education and argument to convert them to more orthodox religion. Supporting some moderation in the Uniformity bill too, Gauden supported the chancellor when in March 1662 George Digby, 2nd earl of Bristol, attacked Clarendon in the House over the proviso to the bill that had been recommended by the king.30

Bristol, however, had identified Gauden as a likely ally, both potentially sympathetic to a more liberal approach to religious policy and willing to shift patrons. On 19 Mar. Bristol approached Gauden, referring to Gauden’s role in Eikon Basilike, and taking pains to flatter the bishop ‘with the most generous expressions of … esteem and favour’. On 20 Mar. Gauden responded in sycophantic style, clearly perceiving that his career could be advanced through Bristol’s interest. When Duppa died six days later, a hopeful Gauden told Bristol that it was a ‘good omen of Providence’ that his concerns ‘should be credited to so generous a breast’. In a further letter he rehearsed his secret ‘signal service’ to the late king and bold ‘public service’ during the Interregnum, claiming that the king, the duke of York, Clarendon and Sheldon had each assured him of ‘remove to a more easy station upon the first opportunity, such as this of Winchester’. In yet another letter sent on 30 Mar. he angled instead for Worcester or the place of lord almoner.31

On 10 Apr. 1662 he joined Clarendon, Edward Montagu, 2nd earl of Manchester, and John Egerton, 2nd earl of Bridgwater, in managing the conference on the bill to repair the streets in Westminster – the issue in dispute being a matter of privilege as the Commons claimed the bill to be a money one. His epistolary conversation with Bristol continued. At the beginning of May (just as Bristol was promoting his own toleration proposals) Gauden wrote again, perhaps with a copy of his pamphlet concerning the Quakers, emphasizing his own recent actions in support of moderation towards Dissenters and his attempts to secure a delay in the implementation of the Quaker Act. ‘This petty piece of charity to Quakers’ demonstrated his ‘latitude and indulgence to all sober Dissenters’ which foreshadowed ‘a scheme rough drawn as yet’.32 Whilst it is unlikely that Bristol’s own toleration proposals of May 1662 were influenced by Gauden, the bishop clearly approved the initiative.

Although Gauden felt entitled to Winchester, that see went instead to Morley at Duppa’s death, and on 23 May 1662, just a few days after the prorogation, Gauden accepted the consequent translation to Worcester, abandoning the repairs he had begun to the bishop’s palace.33 He continued to correspond with Bristol in July, referring to a conversation they had had about Bristol’s conversion to Catholicism, and also writing to recommend the impoverished Lionel Gatford.34 Though he managed to publish a set of visitation articles, Gauden had little opportunity to enjoy his new diocese, for he died of the ‘strangury’ on 20 Sept. 1662 and was buried in Worcester Cathedral.35 His will directed that his estate be distributed amongst his family. Gauden’s immediate successor at Worcester, John Earle, was generous in his assessment of the bishop: ‘a man of excellent parts and though there was something to be desired in him, yet take him altogether, he was both able and likely to do good service in that place’.36 Others were less kind: Anthony Wood ascribed Gauden’s premature death to providence, arguing that the ‘reverend gaudy prelate’ was punished with a fatal illness after turning on his ‘quondam fellow-covenanters’ in a show of blatant hypocrisy.37 Peter Barwick was moved by the claim that Gauden had written Eikon Basilike to include a splenetic attack on Gauden – ‘always most addicted to himself before all others’ – and his protégé and defender, Anthony Walker, which referred to a claim that Gauden had written in 1651 to Charles II to urge him to renounce episcopacy, and reported that the king, informed of the bishop’s death, responded that ‘it would be easy to find a more worthy person to fill his place’.38 Throughout his episcopate Gauden had claimed that he made little profit from his elevation and soon after his death his widow approached Bristol for financial assistance. Anthony Sparrow, who succeeded at Exeter in 1667, complained that Gauden had ‘let the leases and received the most considerable fines, [and] for ought I can learn carried his money away with him, and left his successor to repair the palace’. A probate inventory valued Gauden’s property at more than £5,000.39


  • 1 MI, Worcester Cathedral.
  • 2 TNA, PROB 11/310.
  • 3 Gauden, Funerals made Cordials (1658).
  • 4 Midland Hist. xxix. 69-70; Ath. Ox. iii. 612.
  • 5 Bodl. Clarendon 74, ff. 73-74.
  • 6 F. Madan, A New Bibliography of the Eikon Basilike; Yearbook of English Studies xxi. 218-28.
  • 7 Bodl. Tanner 52, f. 193; Thurloe State Pprs. v. 598; Eg. 2542, f. 267; Lansd. 986, f. 19.
  • 8 Salmon, Lives, 353.
  • 9 [J. Gauden], Cromwell’s Bloody Slaughter House; idem, Stratoste Aiteutikon, a just Invective (1661).
  • 10 J. Gauden, Kakourgoi, sive Medicastri: Slight Healings of Publique Hurts (1660).
  • 11 J. Gauden, A Sermon Preached in the Temple-Chapel (1660).
  • 12 CCSP, iv. 654; Reliquiae Baxterianae, 218.
  • 13 CJ viii. 1; J. Gauden, Megaleia Theou: Gods great Demonstrations and Demands (1660).
  • 14 Bodl. Carte 30, f. 705.
  • 15 J. Gauden, Anti-Baal Berith (1661).
  • 16 It is humbly proposed on behalf of the purchasers of Bishops, and Deans and Chapters Lands (1660); J. Gauden, Antisacrilegius (1660).
  • 17 HR, lxx. 209; J. Gauden, Kakourgoi, sive Medicastri: Slight Healings of Publique Hurts, 78-79.
  • 18 Burnet, i. 315.
  • 19 J. Gauden, Consilia et voce & scripto tradita (1661).
  • 20 HR, lxx. 224.
  • 21 Clarendon 74, ff. 8, 71-4, 103, 203-4, 224; Clarendon 73, ff. 318-19.
  • 22 HP Commons, 1660-1690, i. 653.
  • 23 Reliquiae Baxterianae, 363-4; Pepys Diary, iv. 244.
  • 24 G. Oliver, Lives of the Bishops of Exeter, 151.
  • 25 J. Gauden, A Pillar of Gratitude (1661), 11, 15.
  • 26 J. Gauden, A Discourse concerning Oaths (1662), 3.
  • 27 Clarendon SP, iii. app. xcv.
  • 28 Rawdon Pprs. 136-8.
  • 29 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/2, pp. 117, 119, 133, 152-3, 157-8, 163-5, 169-70, 176, 203, 207-8, 216; Burnet, i. 315; Cardwell, 372.
  • 30 HMC Hastings, iv. 129-30.
  • 31 LPL, ms 930/166-71, 177.
  • 32 J. Gauden, Discourse concerning Publick Oaths (1662), epistle dedicatory; LPL, ms 930/177; Clarendon 77, ff. 50-51; Clarendon SP, iii. app. xcix.
  • 33 Midland Hist. xxix. 72.
  • 34 Clarendon SP, iii. app. xcix-c.
  • 35 Articles of Visitation and Enquiry… by the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Worcester (1662); Oliver, 1.
  • 36 Tanner 48, f. 46.
  • 37 Ath. Ox. iii. 616-17.
  • 38 P. Barwick, Life of Barwick (1724), 364, 365, 368.
  • 39 LPL, ms 930/173; Tanner 141, f. 132; TNA, PROB 4/2290.