Richard Mather (1596 – 1669), American Congregational clergyman, was born in Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, near Liverpool, England, of a family which was in reduced circumstances but entitled to bear a coat-of-arms.
He studied at Winwick grammar school, of which he was appointed a master in his fifteenth year, and left it in 1612 to become master of a newly established school at Toxteth Park, Liverpool. After a few months at Brasenose College, Oxford, he began in November 1618 to preach at Toxteth, and was ordained there, possibly only as deacon, early in 1619.
In August-November 1633 he was suspended for nonconformity in matters of ceremony; and in 1634 was again suspended by the visitors of Richard Neile, archbishop of York, who, hearing that he had never worn a surplice during the fifteen years of his ministry, refused to reinstate him and said that “it had been better for him that he had gotten Seven Bastards.”
He had a great reputation as a preacher in and about Liverpool; but, advised by letters of John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, he was persuaded to join the company of pilgrims in May 1635 and embarked at Bristol for New England. He arrived at Boston in August, 1635. Pastor of Dorchester until his death in 1669. He was the father of Increase Mather, Samuel Mather, Timothy Mather, Nathaniel Mather, and grandfather of Cotton Mather.