John Worthington (1618–1671) was an English academic. He was closely associated with the Cambridge Platonists.[1][2] He did not in fact publish in the field of philosophy, and is now known mainly as a well-connected diarist.


He was born in Manchester, and educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[3] At Emmanuel he was taught by Joseph Mead; he described Mead's teaching methods, and later edited his works.[4] Another teacher was Benjamin Whichcote.[5]

He was Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, from 1650 to 1660, and Vice-Chancellor in 1657.[6] At the English Restoration he was replaced by Richard Sterne, apparently willingly.[7] Subsequently he held various church positions, being lecturer at St Benet Fink in London until burnt out in the Great Fire of London in 1666. He then was given a living at Ingoldsby. At the end of his life he was a lecturer in Hackney.[8]

He died in London.


He married Mary Whichcote, in 1657. She was niece to both Benjamin Whichcote[9][10][11] and Elizabeth Foxcroft (née Whichcote), wife of Ezechiel Foxcroft.[12]: 197 

Hartlib correspondence

Worthington was an active correspondent of Samuel Hartlib, the "intelligencer", in the period 1655 to 1662.[5] At Worthington's request, Hartlib's close collaborator John Dury searched in the Netherlands for the lost papers of Henry Ainsworth.[13] He shared with Hartlib and Dury (and both Henry More and John Covel) an interest in the Karaites.[14] He was also involved in the connections between Hartlib and Dury with Adam Boreel in Amsterdam, including the Boreel project to translate the Hebrew Mishnah into Latin and Spanish.[15]

After Hartlib's death, Worthington took on the task of organising his archive of correspondence, which had been bought by William Brereton, 2nd Baron Brereton.[16] After a period of nearly 300 years, the bundles into which he sorted it were rediscovered, and his system for the archive persists.[17]



  1. ^ Hutton, Sarah (1 August 2013). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University – via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  2. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ "Worthington, John (WRTN632J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ "The University of Cambridge: The early Stuarts and Civil War | British History Online".
  5. ^ a b Andrew Pyle (editor), Dictionary of Twentieth-Century British Philosophers (2000), pp. 914-5.
  6. ^ "Vice-Chancellor's Office: Cambridge Vice-Chancellors". Archived from the original on 21 February 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
  7. ^ "The University of Cambridge: The age of Newton and Bentley (1660-1800) | British History Online".
  8. ^ "Hackney | British History Online".
  9. ^ Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs.The Foundations of Newton's Alchemy: Or "The Hunting of the Greene Lyon" (1983), p. 112.
  10. ^ Robert Crocker, Henry More, 1614-1687: A Biography of the Cambridge Platonist (2003), note p. 260.
  11. ^ "Masters of Jesus College". Archived from the original on 5 July 2009.
  12. ^ Crocker, R. (2003). Henry More, 1614-1687: A Biography of the Cambridge Platonist. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9781402015021. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Biblical Criticism Catalogue Number 70".
  14. ^ Matt Goldish, Judaism in the Theology of Sir Isaac Newton: International Archives of the History of Ideas (1998), p. 23.
  15. ^ see Popkin, Richard H., “Hartlib, Dury and the Jews,” in M. Greengrass, M. Leslie, and T. Raylor, eds., Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation: Studies in Intellectual Communication, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994, pp. 118-136; cf. pp. 122-123.
  16. ^ Michael Hunter, Archives of the Scientific Revolution: The Formation and Exchange of Ideas in Seventeenth-century Europe (1998), p. 40.
  17. ^ Sheffield, University of (10 January 2018). "Hartlib Papers - Special Collections - The University Library - The University of Sheffield".


Documentation[create] [purge]
Academic offices Preceded byThomas Young Master of Jesus College, Cambridge 1650–1660 Succeeded byRichard Sterne