Browne, Robert (1550-1633)

Browne, Robert (c. 1550-1633), founder of the Brownists, was born at Tolethorpe, Rutland, and after graduating at Cambridge in 1572, was a schoolmaster in London, and an open-air preacher. In 1580 he began to attack the Established Church, and soon after formed a distinct church on congregational principles at Norwich. Committed to the custody of the sheriff, he was released through the influence of his kinsman, Lord Burghley; but in 1581, with his followers, was obliged to take refuge at Middleburg, in Holland. In 1584 he returned, vid Scotland, to England, and reconciling himself to the Church, in 1586 became master of Stamford grammar-school, in 1591 rector of Achurch, Northamptonshire. Of a very violent temper, he was, when eighty years old, sent to Northampton jail for an assault on a constable, and in jail he died. The Brownists may be said to have given birth to the Independents or Congregationalists.
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 140.

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