Tillotson of Kedington

Few Archbishops of Canterbury fill me with confidence and admiration. As a protestant dissenter, I am less likely to be enamoured by them than loyal Anglicans. Recent examples have been more disappointing than most, at a time when Christian leadership and teaching have never been lacking in this land. As I toured Suffolk parishes last month, I came across the name of John Tillotson, briefly rector of Kedington, a remote and obscure little parish, with some rather macabre effigies and sculptures within. Parson Tillotson hailed from Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire and studied at Colne Grammar School, right next to the parish church, about six miles from our own chapel. In 1691, he became Archbishop of Canterbury.

Tillotson was a good man. While opposing Roman Catholicism, he unusually afforded respect to Catholics as people, which is good and proper, as well as to the nonconformists like ourselves. Whatever the merits of his archiepiscopate, it seems odd that a man hailing from so insignificant a place and who ministered at so obscure a parish, would one day be appointed primate of all England. God often uses backwaters and despised places to recruit His most useful agents. The apostles generally orginated in Gaililee, not a region known for its cosmopolitian outlook. Remember that, when next you attend so poor a place as Martin Top.