330 years ago this year, Ofspring Blackall resigned his Fellowship of St. Catharine's College. His letter of resignation can be found in the Archive.
Unfortunately the letter gives nothing away in terms of Blackall's reasons for leaving. Baptised in 1655, he was educated in Hackney before being admitted as a pensioner, that is a student paying their own fees for teaching, board and lodging, at St. Catharine's in 1671. He graduated in 1675 and was elected to a Fellowship of the College in 1679. He was ordained as a Deacon in 1677 and as a priest in 1680.
His departure from St. Catharine's marked the start of a steady rise through the ranks of the Church of England, as Rector in South Ockendon, Essex and St. Mary Aldermary before becoming Chaplain to William and Mary. In 1708, under Queen Anne's favour, he became Bishop of Exeter. During his lifetime he was well regarded as a preacher and many of her sermons were published.
Several sets are to be found in the Library here at St. Catharine's, including his discourses upon the Saviour's sermon on the mount, from which the images below are taken.
Blackall died in 1716 and in accordance with his will, no funeral sermon was preached, and his grave was not marked by any monument or inscription.
- Andrew Starkie, 'Blackall, Ofspring (bap. 1655, d. 1716)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/2507, accessed 11 Dec 2015].
- J. Venn and J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiense: a biographical list of all known students, graduates, and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900, 2 pts in 10 vols. (1922–54).