Christopher Taten

The following information has been extracted from a number of sources including Alumni Cantabrigienses, Nonconformity in Herts by William Urwick and Annals of the Reformation and Establishment of Religion and other Various Occurrences in the Church of England during Queen Elizabeth's Happy Reign by John Strype.

Christopher Taten entered St John's College, Cambridge in 1544. He was awarded the degree of B.A. in 1547 and that of M.A. in 1550, having been elected a Fellow of the College in 1549.

Christopher was instituted as Rector of Thorley on 20 April 1573. He is described in Lambeth Palace manuscripts as concionator, that is a preacher, and in sacris peritus, that is expert in religious rites, indicating that he was a man of learning.

In 1583 Christopher travelled to Rome on business, where he was imprisoned and sent to the galleys along with fellow countryman Peter Backer. An individual by the name of Tither, at the request of one Francis Touker, wrote on behalf of Christopher's wife to the Rector of the English Seminary in Rome in an endeavour to secure his release. This Tither also suggested seeking a letter from Mary Queen of Scots to the Pope, and one from John Feckenham, a Catholic Churchman who had been the last Abbot of Westminster during the reign of Mary I, but spent most of that of Elizabeth I under confinement, to one of the Cardinals. Francis Touker kept William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, the Lord High Treasurer and chief advisor to Elizabeth I, who had been responsible for the creation of an intelligence-gathering service under Sir Francis Walsingham, informed as to progress in the matter.

Christopher must eventually have been released, as he continued to serve as Rector of Thorley until he resigned from the benefice in 1594.

Philip Hargrave
December 2011


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