A preaching life: the diary of Tobie Matthew

This is an eighteenth-century copy of a diary kept by Tobie Matthew [1544?-1628], bishop of Durham and archbishop of York. The original is now lost. Matthew recorded his preaching from 1583, when he became dean of Durham, to 1622: this amounts to 1,992 sermons. The diary was presumably a pragmatic tool which allowed Matthew to record and manage the texts on which he had preached, and thus gives us a rare and valuable insight into patterns and selections of sermon topics from the court to parishes. It also contains glimpses of the personal as Matthew records his movements, career and the illnesses and misfortunes which, at times, prevented him from preaching. At some points it notes significant events: pictured here is Matthew’s recording of the death of Elizabeth I on 24 March 1603 (1602 as Matthew and his contemporaries reckoned the year). The ‘Eheu!’ is a cry of despair, but Matthew soon rallied, preaching before the new king, James VI and I, as he travelled down from Scotland. CL

Copy of Tobie Matthew’s preaching diary.

YML: MS Add 18, pp. 70-1

Further reading

Ian Green, ‘Preaching in the Parishes’, in Hugh Adlington, Peter McCullough, and Emma Rhatigan, The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon (Oxford, 2011), pp. 137-54.

W. J. Sheils, ‘An Archbishop in the Pulpit: Tobie Matthew’s Preaching Diary, 1606–1622’, in D. M. Wood (ed), Life and Thought in the Northern Church, c1100 – c1700 (Studies in Church History Subsidia, 12 ,1999), pp. 381–405.

W. J. Sheils, ‘‘Matthew, Tobie (1544?–1628)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004; online edn. 2012), http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/18342.

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