Posted on 17 April 2018
In this recently issued Borthwick paper Oliver Pickering examines the life of Josiah Collier, an advocate and promoter of the Grindletonian theology which established itself in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the early seventeenth-century. Antinomian in form, the Grindletonian theology championed personal unity with Christ through an all-encompassing and direct relationship. This unity, it was believed, would bring about such moral improvement in the behaviour of mankind as to nullify the need to comply with the Old Testament laws as laid down by Moses. Popular in the early and mid-seventeenth centuries amidst the proliferation of competing dissenting sects, by the end of the century it had largely disappeared, its adherents turning to Quakerism.
Born and resident for most of his life in Yeadon, Collier was a disciple of the one-time curate of Grindleton Roger Brereley, the founder of the new theology. The two figures are likely to have met in the 1620s and it is Collier who played a pivotal role in preserving Brereley’s works and sermons. Indeed, in Pickering’s words, to Collier can be ascribed ‘the survival of virtually all of the materials relating to Grindletonianism’. Yet Pickering highlights also the fact that Collier was an active preacher himself and writer of poems which helped keep the Grindletonian flame alive following Brereley’s death in 1637.
Our new publication ‘Josiah Collier of Yeadon (1595-1677). West Riding Grindletonian and Disciple of Roger Brereley’, written by Oliver Pickering, is available to purchase for £5.00 (+ postage and package) through the University of York Online Shop.
A full list of available Borthwick Papers is available on the Borthwick Institute's website.