Teate, Faithful (d. 1660) puritan minister and vice-provost of TCD, was born around the start of the seventeenth century. Little is known of his background but he was probably born in England, possibly in Kent, before coming to Ireland during his childhood, when his parents moved there as part of one of the official plantation schemes. Certainly his education at TCD suggests that he was of planter stock. That his first patron was Thomas Ram (qv), Church of Ireland bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, suggests that his family had settled in Co. Wexford. Ram bestowed on him the prebend of Crosspatrick on 24 March 1619 to support him in his studies and ordained him deacon on 5 February 1619 and priest on 10 May 1621. At Trinity, Teate studied under James Ussher (qv), future archbishop of Armagh, graduating BA (1621), MA (1624), and subsequently DD.
On 3 July 1623, he became chaplain to Edward Blayney, 1st Baron Blayney, a powerful landowner in Co. Monaghan. Thereafter he acquired a number of clerical benefices, becoming rector of Donmaghmoyne from 1624, vicar of Maghernakille from 1624, rector of Drumgoon (1625–7), rector and vicar of Castleterragh in Kilmore from 1625, and vicar of Dring in Kilmore from 1636. He put his income from these church offices to profitable use by acquiring property worth £1,500 by purchase and by mortgage, most of which was concentrated around the town of Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan, where he resided and worked on his land. His prosperity can be gauged by the fact that he held about £2,800 worth of corn and cattle in 1641. By 1626 he had married a woman named Mary.
As a catholic uprising broke out across Ulster on the morning of 23 October 1641, according to the account that he gave to the commissioners of despoiled protestants in March 1642, Teate put £300 in gold and some silver in his pockets and took horse for Dublin in company with a small group of similarly frightened protestants. Near Virginia, they were waylaid by about 300 rebels and Teate was robbed, assaulted, stripped of his outer garments and boots ‘and dismissed to travel 7 miles that night in his stockings’. After he had reached safety in Dublin, his wife and their five children and servants followed, suffering stripping and privations: during a night spent ‘under a snowie rock’ the discovery of a bottle of buttermilk saved her ‘sucking babe’ from death, but two of the children did not survive the journey (TCD Library, MS 833, fols 61r–61v). This narrative quickly became confused in the re-telling, as some of his family's hardships were transferred to Teate who was said to have been accompanied in his flight by his eldest son, with whom he spent what became the celebrated night under the rock. An anonymous pamphlet published in London early in 1642 thus elaborated the nature of his plight and hailed his survival and that of his infant son as providential interventions. Later still, Isaac Ambrose published an account in London in 1662 where he claimed that Teate, who was dead by then, had told him that he believed his infant son had been saved by angels; in a 1697 publication, William Turner used this incident to support his arguments for the existence of angels who intervened in human affairs. More immediately, Teate's status as a 1641 victim invested him with a moral authority that made him a figurehead for protestant puritans throughout Britain and Ireland.
Although his first name and educational background suggest he was a puritan by upbringing, his ordeal and the traumatic loss of two young children may well have radicalised him further. He called for vengeance against the catholics of Ireland, appears to have been hostile to the Church of Ireland in its episcopalian form and aligned himself with the more reliably anti-catholic parliamentarians in England. His outlook accorded with the views of one of the lords justices of Ireland, Sir William Parsons (qv), which may explain his appointment as vice-provost of TCD, along with Dr Dudley Loftus (qv), on 29 October 1641; he was authorised to live in the provost's lodgings and to oversee the remaining scholars. With the provost absent and Loftus distracted by other matters, he effectively ran the college. During this period, he was also minister to one of the Dublin churches and was supported by voluntary contributions from his congregation.
In May 1642 he preached an anti-catholic sermon in Christ Church cathedral at the funeral of Sir Charles Coote (qv), who had been killed fighting the rebels, in which he described the rebels as bloody cannibals and as devils incarnate. Its content was so inflammatory that the government prevented its intended publication. This sermon was part of a wider campaign conducted by a group of hard-line protestant clergy in Dublin against temporising with the catholics. Meanwhile, his stewardship of TCD proved something of a trial, as the success of the 1641 uprising had deprived the college of the bulk of its rental income and its buildings were being used to house both refugees and soldiers. Moreover, some scholars and fellows, disliking his political and theological views, blamed him for the resulting chaos into which the college's affairs had fallen and demanded his removal. As a result, Teate was brought before the Irish privy council in June 1642, but nothing came of these politically motivated attacks. However, in April 1643 the royalist commander James Butler (qv), marquess of Ormond, took power in Dublin from Parsons and opened negotiations for a truce with the catholic rebels. On the king's orders, Teate was dismissed as vice-provost on 25 April.
On his dismissal, the king also ordered his prosecution for sedition, so it is likely that he was detained in Dublin for a time before making his way to England, probably by 1646, when his eldest son entered Cambridge. He may have resided at Colchester during this period of obscurity. In 1648 he reappears as the state-appointed minister at Salisbury cathedral. That summer, he was one of 900 protestant ministers across England who signed a document demanding the establishment of a presbyterian national church and condemning alternate proposals (which were later implemented) for allowing a system of independent congregations with a voluntary membership. Despite his disappointment in this regard, he remained on good terms with the republican authorities in England, continuing to minister at Salisbury till 1652, when he was transferred to East Greenwich in Kent. In 1657 he published Nathaniel, a book of sermons, in which he called for greater unity among godly protestants, urged loyalty to the quasi-monarchical Cromwellian regime, and recommended the reestablishment of a state church. These views commended him to the lord deputy, Henry Cromwell (qv), who invited him to Ireland in May 1658. He arrived in Dublin soon after and assumed a ministry at Drogheda on 25 March 1659, for which he received a yearly state salary of £200.
He died between 14 April and 12 May 1660 and was survived by his wife, Mary, three sons, and two daughters. One of his younger sons, Joseph, served as a commonwealth minister in Kilkenny from 1655 before becoming Church of Ireland dean of Kilkenny after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Thereafter, and in a marked break with the views of his father and older brother, Joseph Teate advocated the persecution of protestant nonconformists. He was expected to succeed to the bishopric of Ossory, but drowned in late 1670 when the boat in which he was traveling sank in the Irish Sea.
His eldest son, Faithful Teate (c.1626/7–1666), puritan minister and poet, was born at Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. He entered TCD in November 1641, aged 14, after many harrowing experiences as a refugee on the road from Cavan. His father's dismissal as vice-provost in spring 1643 probably cut short his education in TCD; and, possibly after living in Colchester for a time with his family, he matriculated from Pembroke College, Cambridge, in early 1646 before proceeding BA (1647) and MA (1650). He was minister firstly of Castle Camps (1650–56), where he had married the rector's daughter, and where he resided till his resignation as minister, and then of Sudbury (1651–8). In 1655 he was commended for his diligence as a minister and preacher.
That year he published sixty-four sermons he had preached on the Book of Solomon as A Scripture map of the wilderness of sin; attached to it was his first published poem, ‘Epithalamium’, which dealt with overcoming temptation and was designed to complement his commentary on the Book of Solomon. Indeed, he declared that the verse form was the appropriate means of elucidating the most poetic of the biblical texts. In 1656 he published, in one volume, two of his sermons: The character of cruelty in the workers of iniquity, a condemnation of the massacres of protestants in Piedmont by French catholics, and The cure of contention among the people of the Lord, where he urged godly protestants to cease their infighting and to unite around the leadership of Oliver Cromwell (qv). The messages of these sermons reinforce each other, as he argued that protestants must hold fast if they are to withstand the ever-present catholic threat, a commonplace among Irish protestants scarred by memories of 1641.
His most ambitious and best-remembered work, Ter Tria (1658), was a long poem divided into nine parts. Although primarily a meditation on the nature of the Trinity, it contains many allusions to contemporary and near-contemporary political developments within England and Ireland. Its subject matter reflects his desire to refute arguments by the quakers against the traditional doctrine of the Trinity and, more generally, his belief in the need to consolidate the puritan revolution before it undermined the basic tenets of Christianity. The poem's depiction of a decidedly martial Jesus is designed to laud Cromwell's military dictatorship for overthrowing the decadent Stuart monarchy and to uphold it as an ongoing guarantor of order. A description of the infant Jesus's flight to Egypt was clearly influenced by his own flight from Ballyhaise in 1641, while the ferocious manner in which his Jesus berates Judas Iscariot in the garden of Gethsemane for his treachery was reminiscent of his father's controversial 1642 sermon against the catholic rebels in Ireland. His verse, much like his prose, is characterised by an idiomatic writing style rarely found in religious poetry, and by brief but intense flights of ecstatic religiosity. Ter Tria is littered with colloquialisms and proverbs while Jesus, nearly always blandly portrayed in Christian literature, speaks in the earthy fashion of yeoman farmers. It can be contrasted with Milton's Paradise Lost, which laments the subsequent fall of the republican regime and in which the Devil gets the most memorable lines.
Faithful jr followed his father back to Ireland in 1658–9, being appointed to preach at Limerick in March 1659. In late 1659, after radical republicans had toppled the Cromwell dynasty, he wrote The uncharitable informer, where he railed against certain allegations made against him, presumably by these radicals. Alarmed by these developments, he addressed this work to the officers in the English army in England, Scotland, and Ireland, whom he continued to see as the cornerstone of the republic. However, by the time this work was published in early 1660, it had been overtaken by events which culminated in the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in May. Initially, it was hoped by some members of the Dublin convention that the restored monarchy would tolerate puritan forms of worship and church government. As a result, the Dublin convention appointed Teate to preach at St Werburgh's church, Dublin, in May 1660, the very month that it proclaimed Charles II as king of Ireland. However, in May 1661 the Irish parliament ordered all ministers to conform to the episcopalian Church of Ireland. Teate refused and was removed from his post at St Werburgh's in July. It is also said he was ejected from a clerical living at Winchester in 1662, but this may be a mistake as he appears to have remained in Ireland.
He stayed in Dublin, where he appears to have continued to minister, albeit covertly, to protestant nonconformists. Shortly after July 1664 he moved to Holyhead, Wales, but returned to Dublin in autumn 1665. In 1666 he published The thoughts of the righteous, in which he advised fellow puritans on how they could accommodate themselves to the state church while remaining true to their religious principles, and stressed the importance of being righteous at heart even if it is not always possible to be so in word and deed. He died at Dublin in September or October 1666. His funeral there attracted a crowd of 3,000 people, including the mayor and many aldermen of Dublin, testifying to his popularity as a pastor and preacher. After his death The thoughts of the righteous was reprinted in London, as was Ter Tria (1669). Thereafter, Ter Tria was published in German (Leipzig, 1699) and in the original English (London, 1858; Dublin, 2007). A work of his called Meditations was printed in Dublin (1672), but has not survived.
Faithful jr married (1649) at Castle Camps, Cambridge, Katherine, daughter of Nahum Kenetie, rector of Castle Camps; they had four sons and three daughters. His eldest son, another Faithful, followed him into the clergy, while his second son, Nahum Tate (qv), became poet laureate of England. The latter's use of a variant of the family surname appears to have been quite deliberate: Nahum's courtly and refined paeans in praise of Charles II stand in stark political and poetical contrast to the unadorned verse employed by his father to justify the great usurper.