Tuesday, 20 August 2019

John Evans

This is from Welsh Biography online
JOHN EVANS 1628-1700 Born at Great Sutton, near Ludlow. His father, Matthew Evans, rector of Penegoes (near Machynlleth) and son of a former rector, was ejected from his living in 1650 by the Puritan Commissioners for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales. The son had meanwhile matriculated (6 March 1647) at Balliol College, Oxford, but was ejected by the Parliamentary visitors in May 1648 and secretly ordained the same year (28 November) by Roger Mainwaring, the deprived bishop of St Davids. Changing his views (to the chagrin of his father), he was appointed, 23 March 1653, to take charge of the school set up by the commissioners at Bala, with a salary of £35 a year and a licence to preach. He was critical of the Protectorate, signing the remonstrances of 1654 and 1655, and in consequence had some trouble over recovering arrears of pay, but in 1656 the Council of State ordered payment of two years’ arrears and in 1657 he was elected by the bailiffs and burgesses of Oswestry (on the Protector's personal direction) to the headship of the municipal school there, from which his predecessor had been ejected for delinquency. The latter was reinstated in 1660, and Evans joined Rowland Nevett, the deprived Puritan vicar, in ministering to the Dissenting congregation there, and with Vavasor Powell in sustaining similar conventicles at Llanfyllin and Llanfechain. For this he was denounced in 1669 under the Conventicle Act; Palmer (Nonconformists’ Memorial, 1775, ii, 645) makes him also pastor of the Wrexham Independents from 1668. He formed a close friendship with Powell and after the latter's death (1670) and that of his own wife he married Powell's widow.
Under the Declaration of Indulgence he was licensed (May 1672) to preach to the Independent congregation at Wrexham that had first gathered round Morgan Llwyd, now meeting in a barn rented from Edward Kenrick, while the minister lived in the house in which John Jones the regicide had formerly accommodated Llwyd, and still belonging to the regicide's son. The revocation of the Declaration reduced Evans to poverty, which he relieved by selling much of his library and by acting as tutor to the children of gentlemen of rank in the district. Their protection, and especially that of lady Eyton (widow of Sir Kenrick Eyton of Eyton Isaf), saved him from persecution. In 1681 William Lloyd (1627-1717), bishop of St Asaph, made strenuous efforts to bring him to conformity, challenging him to public disputations; on his refusal he was fined and outlawed. He continued, however, to minister to his congregation, to which from 1689-91 the Presbyterians (who had worshipped separately under the Indulgence) were joined. From 1691 (when the Presbyterians withdrew and formed the New Meeting) Evans's congregation included Independents and Baptists, he himself (according to one account) inclining towards the latter in his later years. Declining health and loss of memory made it necessary for him during these later years to devolve most of his pastoral duties on assistants.
He died 19 July 1700, and was buried in the Dissenters’ graveyard at Wrexham. He left, by his second wife, a son, John Evans (1680-1730), and, by his first, a daughter, who married Timothy Thomas (friend of Matthew Henry) and whose son Timothy became an Independent minister at Pershore.

A recent message on 1662


See here for the message delivered at the recent Steadfast Conference

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Speaking on 1662 in London

It was great to speaking at a conference on the Great Ejection recently. Sold a few books too. Thanks Tom, Adam and co.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Marmaduke Matthews

This is from the online Dictionary of Welsh Biography
Born at Swansea, 1606, the son of Matthew Johnes of Nydfywch, Llangyfelach, and Mary his wife. He matriculated from All Souls College, Oxford, 20 February 1623/4 and graduated BA 25 February 1624/5 and MA 5 July 1627. (Foster, Alumni Oxon.). In 1636 he was vicar of Penmain, Gower, and showed Puritan tendencies displeasing to the bishop of St Davids. Proceedings were begun against him in the Court of High Commission, but he emigrated to America [in 1638; he was pastor at Yarmouth, 1640, and at various other places in New England.]
In [1654] he returned at the request of colonel Philip Jones, and became minister of St John's, Swansea. He was ejected from the living in 1662. He took out a licence to preach under the Act of Indulgence, describing himself as an Independent. He died about 1683.
He was the author of The Messiah Magnified (London, 1659), The Reconciling Remonstrance (London, c. 1670), and other works.
His son, Lemuel Matthews (1644-1705), archdeacon of Down, matriculated from Lincoln College, Oxford, 25 May 1661, and became chaplain to Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Down. He obtained the archdeaconry of Down on 2 November 1674, and was appointed chancellor of Down and Connor in 1690. He was suspected of ecclesiastical misdemeanours and suspended from his offices by a royal commission. He died before his protracted appeals for redress brought any result.
Two other sons of his are known. Manasseh, born at Yarmouth, New England, left America with or soon after his father, and entered Jesus College, Oxford, in 1658, but did not graduate. He conformed, and became rector of Porteynon and afterwards (1670) vicar of Swansea. Mordecai, also born (c. 1640) at Yarmouth, went in 1655 to Harvard, and graduated there. He, too, left America, and was placed by the ‘Triers’ in the vicarage of Llancarfan. Ejected in 1660, he afterwards conformed, and in 1661 was given the living of Renaldston.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Matthew Ellistone

Dale again
Matthew Ellistone was probably a native of this town, where the family had long resided. He lived here in 1646, and on the 3rd of September in that year was appointed by an ordinance of the Lords to Stamford Rivers, in the stead of Dr John Meredith, who had been deprived the 6th of May, 1643. On his ejection, he returned to Coggeshall and lived at the Grange, where he had licence to hold a meeting for worship in 1672. He was a Presbyterian.
"The notes of the sermon which was intended to have been preached by Mr. Elliston, at the Burial of old John Picknet at Kelvedon, Sept. 6, 1675. But he being then hindered, he preached it the Sunday after, being the 12th September, 1675.
"Text—Phil. i. 15. You find the Apostle in a straite at the penning of this text; and I was in a straite; straites of time as to my sermon and meditations: and some of you know I was in a straite when it was intended to be delivered, by reason of an unkind and unchristian opposition. That which was then hindered is by relations desired to be the discourse of the day. — Bufton's MSS.
In 1677 he is mentioned as Matthew Ellistone of Little Coggeshall, clerk, in connection with Isaac Ellistone of the same place, probably his brother, and lived there until his death.

"The notes of the sermon preached at the funeral of my cousin, Isaac Ellistone's wife, by Mr. Burwell, Nov. 13, 1674."
"The notes, etc. of my cousin, Mr. Isaac Elliston, hy Mr. Burwell, April 3, 1678."
"1678, 5th Oct. — My cousin Sam.Sparhawke's wife was buried. She was old Mr. Burwell's daughter, Minister."— [Probably Mr. Jeremy Bubwell, ejected at Hertford.] — Bufton's MSS.
"1693, May 3.— Buried Matthew Ellistone." — Markshall Reg

Thomas Lowrey, Coggeshall

The Woolpack Inn, Coggeshall



Dale also writes about Thomas Lowrey

Thomas Lowry was a Scotchman. He succeeded Mr. Meighen, who was sequestered at Great Braxted, and afterwards went to Harborough in Leicestershire, (inducted Feb. 24, 1649,) and received a moiety of Whitworth rectory to supplement his salary, which was very small. He declined to be lecturer at Maldon, to which he had been appointed June 12, 1649. On his ejection, he came to reside at Coggeshall.* He preached in his own house.
An extract has been given from his funeral sermon for Mr Sames. He preached another at the funeral of Mrs Brockwell, at the close of which he said:—
"Now this woman whose funeral we solemnize was in my apprehension a pious, prudent, profitable, sober and peaceable woman. If she was not so good, and so pious and prudent as she did show for, you that are without a fault throw the first stone at her. Though her life might be somewhat obscure and reserved, yet I cannot but think 'the root of the matter' was in her. Then whatsoever things are honest, and lovely, and of good report, that were in her, let us do, and the God of peace shall be with us."
His own funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Gouge, April 2, 1681 :—

Text — Psalm xci. 16. I have read concerning a king that in the bequeathments of his will he made a deed of gift of all from the heavens to the centre of the earth. Such is the riches of God and the infiniteness of his love, that unto his servants he gives all from the centre of the earth to the centre of the heavens; he gives them what is sufficient upon earth, and what is saving in heaven, he gives them throne blessings and foot-stool blessings; and so you find the largeness of God's heart to his people, both, in upper and nether springs, in eternal and temporal distributions of love, an assurance of which we have in these words, 'With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.' Observe, First, Life is one of the primest flowers that grows in nature's garden. Secondly, It is God that is the fountain and spring of life. Thirdly, Length of life, and satisfaction with it, is a further blessing which God bestows upon his godly people ....
Although the departure of our reverend friend and brother ought to be matter of greater sorrow than I see among you; yet God honoured him with a double crown, a crown of long life on earth, and I question not but with a crown of salvation in heaven .... 
God did satisfy him with life, by the life of grace and taking him up into his love; and God did afford him a competency of outward things to the last. This is life, when a man has his name written among the living in Jerusalem. Let churches be reviled and contemned, yet they are the Jerusalem of God; and to be enrolled a true member in a true church is a glory next to the glory of heaven. Thus our friend in his last sickness, upon some discourse of his hopes, gave that for one ground among many others, 'Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house and the place where thine honour dwelleth.' This servant of God was one that laboured much among you; but what is there of his labours to be seen? You have had able ministers among you; there has been much seed sown among you; but whore is the harvest? If ever you would honour any minister, honour him by receiving his labours into your hearts and lives. God hath ' watered' you with wine, yea, with the blood of many of his servants; but if this blood be found amongst an unprofitable people, it will be dreadful for you at last. "Ye that remain, children of the deceased servant of God, remember his counsels and example, and do not wound him now he is dead. Let it not be his reproach afterwards, that any of you should prove a wicked son or an ungodly daughter ..... So let us live, that God may satisfy us with long life for evermore." — Bufton's MSS.

* "1661, May 28.— Obadiah, Sonne of Tho. and Bridgett Lowrye, vicarii. 
"1662, Sep. 28.— Robert, Sonne of Thos. Lowrye, vicarii."— Reg. Bap.

John Sames, Coggeshall


Dale continues his annals by talking about John Sames one of the ejected ministers, already mentioned by Dale earlier on. He quotes Palmer in a footnote saying of Sames
After the loss of his living he and some of his people went to Church, but others of them not being satisfied to do so, and the minister at the same time reproaching them in public for not being present in time of divine service, he desisted and set up a separate meeting, and died pastor of a gathered church there. He was a man of good learning and valuable ministerial abilities, but melancholy to an excess.
With that footnote he adds
1656, July 2.— (Born) Deborah, daughter of John and Anne Sames, vicar. "
1672, Dec. 16.— (Buried) Mr. John Sames."—Par. Reg.
1689, Nov. 29.— I first heard old Mrs. Sames was lately dead."— Bufton's Diary.

Dale continues
Most of those who formed the congregational church of which he was previously pastor left the Parish Church, and met together elsewhere, as circumstances permitted, and were ministered to by Mr Sames, Mr Lowry, [more on him later] and others. He died soon after the Indulgence was granted, and his funeral sermon was preached by Mr Lowry.
"The notes of ye sermon preached at ye funerall of Mr John Sames, by Mr. Lourey, Dec. 16,1672. "Text — Isaiah lvii. 1-2. We have been burying the greatest riches of the town, the jewel of the town; but we do not know whether ever we shall outlive the following storm of judgments, to regain such a pearl again. It is the great sin of a people, that when the righteous are removed by death they think they have done their last duty; but their last duty is to sit down and consider their loss, and what will be the sad consequences of such a dispensation We must not be troubled upon the personal account of this man, for he is gone to rest and peace, from all the troubles of this world. Death to him is gain. . . So that we are not to lay to heart his loss, but our own loss. Such as sat under his ministry and were refreshed by his doctrine, should mourn and lay it to heart; and the town should lay it to heart; for he was the salt as it were of the town, and the light of the town. He shined among you in his doctrine and conversation. Some men's death is but a cipher, and a hundred ciphers signify nothing; but the death of some is as a figure, and a figure of 1 and three ciphers stand for a thousand. He was a messenger of a thousand, and ought to be laid to heart more than the death of a hundred or thousand wicked persons. . . . . . Some men are not at all affected with such a dispensation as this. They may persecute the righteous when they are alive; but when they die, they lay them in their graves, and hide them in the dust, and forget them, and their hearts are hardened it may be against their widows or children. A righteous man is excellent; but they are willing to have him buried out of sight. They do not see that a righteous minister in a place is the greatest advantage: nor foresee that such a hedge or fence is taken away that the judgment of God may take hold of them.
"But yet there are gracious souls that do see the feet of the righteous servants of God to be beautiful: they open their hearts and their doors to them: they see God in such messengers, and when they are removed they see that it is an irreparable loss, except God make it up. God will take care of such a poor flock, though they be a flock of slaughter. And though their shepherd is gone, yet God will provide them another. Is there no more in the world? Yes: but you must go to God for one by prayer. Those that are sorrowful to see so many congregations without a soul-saving ministry, the Lord has made a promise to comfort them; as in the third of Zephany, 12-17 Now doubtless this friend which we have been burying was a righteous man. I could not only judge him to be righteous, but eminently righteous. He had a rich propriety in God and Christ, and he had a gospel spirit in his prayers and preaching. He was spiritual in his worship and spiritual in his conversation, and he had that wisdom from above that made him pure and peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated: his wisdom did not carry him forth to strife, envy or contention. Again, he was of a plain spirit; he had a plain honest heart. And verily he was profitable to old, to young, to this company and that company, and he was communicative of any good he had. He did not handle the word of God in craftiness. He was patient: and of a free and public spirit. He was tender-hearted to his people, and to all; and he had a spirit of government in his family, and walked conscientiously. How careful was he! He ordered his family, and therefore was the more fit to order the church.
"Therefore our loss is great, now such a righteous man is taken away. You that are sinners have a great loss. He warned you of Hell, and of being drowned in the world. You that were his church have a great loss. He carried you in his warm bosom. Christ make it up to you. You young mm have had a great loss. He was kind to young men, and tender of their souls. The Lord make up our loss. And let us all endeavour to be righteous men and women; and then God will either take us from a day of trouble, or hide us in a day of trouble. And the Lord grant that we may be truly affected and humbled under this dispensation." — Bufton's MSS.

Coggeshall, Essex

St Peter ad vincula, Coggeshall, Essex
In his 19th century  Annals of Coggeshall the Congregationalist minister Bryan Dale has a chapter on Nonconformity which begins with a section on Ejected Ministers. He introduces it saying

Whenever laws were ordained contrary to conscience and the word of God, Nonconformity became a necessity for those who would obey God rather than man. It existed accordingly where the least scope was allowed for freedom of thought; and every attempt to bring the laws of the state into harmony with the individual conscience, and to silence its voice, alike failed.
During the twenty years which preceded 1662 there were placed in the parish churches men, of whom the least that can be said is that they were faithful pastors and able preachers. All of them were ultra-protestant in doctrine; many were in favor of Presbyterianism or a modified Episcopacy; and many were Independents. Charles II. was restored under most solemn engagements "that no man should be molested for his religion;" but as soon as the Restoration was effected all these were put aside.
First of all (1660) three hundred ministers were ejected from their livings to make room for the restoration of such as had been sequestered, and without regard to the character or competency of the latter. Then all the objections urged against the re-establishment of unmodified Episcopal authority and the Book of Common Prayer, were overruled, and an Act was passed, which required each minister who had not been ordained by Episcopal hands to be re-ordained, and to declare publicly his unfeigned assent and consent to all and everything contained in the Book of Common Prayer, as now set forth,* etc.; and on neglect or refusal pronouncing him ipso facto deprived of all his spiritual promotions. Unable, without disregarding the supreme claims of conscience, to comply with such requirements, above two thousand ministers** ceased to minister in the Established Church, from Bartholomew Day, 24th August, 1662. Another shade was thus added to the previous darkness of this day,*** by the privation and suffering into which these men were driven. The Conventicle Act was afterwards passed, forbidding more than five persons besides the family to meet for religious worship, under severest penalties. About this time the plague visited this country, and carried off great numbers of people in this neighbourhood. It does not appear to have been severe in this town, if it prevailed at all. At Braintree, on the contrary, 600 persons died within a short period; and in the vestry of that parish a memorial on parchment, containing the names of charitable contributors towards the distress, mentions
"The Inhabitants of Coggeshall — £35."
Several of the ejected ministers ventured into vacated pulpits, to preach to the excited people. The Five-Mile Act, however, forbade them to come within five miles of any place where they had previously ministered, or of any borough or corporate town. Great numbers of Nonconformists were fined and imprisoned; but meetings were secretly held. When the Conventicle Act was revived in 1669, enquiries were sent to every parish concerning such meetings; and the returns, partial and imperfect, are preserved at Lambeth.
"Coggeshall. Hard to be suppressed. (Ministers) Mr. Sammes. Mr. Lowry."
The next entry is:—
"Wethersfield. Mr. Cole, now in Chelmsford Goal."
In 1672 Charles II issued his Declaration of Indulgence, and above 3,000 licences for religious worship were taken out.
"License to John Sammes, to be a congregational teacher in the house of John Croe at Coggeshall.—1st May 1672."
"License to Thomas Lowry, to be a congregational teacher in his house at Coggeshall, in Essex."
"The house of Thomas Lowry in Coggeshall to be a Meeting House."
"The house of Matthew Ellistone at the Grange in Little Coggeshall to Matthew Ellistone.—13th May."
"William Grove, in his house at Coggeshall, licensed to he a congregational teacher.—May, 1672."
"Thomas Millaway, of Coggeshall, Essex, licensed to be a general congregational teacher.—22nd July, 1672."
The Nonconformists in this place were too numerous to meet in one spot. The Test and Corporation Acts immediately followed the Indulgence; afterwards came other persecutions. It does not appear, however, that in this town, beyond having their assemblies broken up, the Nonconformists suffered greatly; for the magistrates, and others upon whom the execution of the laws devolved, were themselves of the same mind as the offenders. The attempt of James II to bring back the country to Roman Catholicism, led to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and the Act of Toleration: but the Act of Uniformity and other laws against Nonconformists were still continued.

* The alterations made were of the following nature:— The Book of Bell and the Dragon inserted in the Calendar — the words "rebellion and schism" in the Litany —" Priest" and "Deacon" substituted for "Minister" — Absolution ordered to be pronounced by the priest alone — kneeling at the Lord's supper — Charles styled "our most religious King." The Nonconformists, many of whom were in favor of a Liturgy, had many objections to the prescribed forms. Among other things they said, "We cannot in faith say that every child that is baptized is regenerated by God's holy spirit." "The words of the burial service cannot in truth be said of persons living and dying in open and notorious sins. These words may harden the wicked and are inconsistent with the largest rational charity."
** William Rastrick, in a MS. Index, (date 1734) in a library at Lynn, gives 2257 names.
*** The massacre of 10,000 French Protestants in 1572.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Richard Flavel


Richard Flavel was the father of the famous John Flavel and his brother Phineas, also a Gospel Minister. Described as "a painful and eminent minister" he first ministered at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, then at Hasler in Gloucesterhsire before moving to Willersey, Gloucestershire, in the same county, where he continued until 1660. At the Restoration he was put out of the church because it was a sequestered living, and the previous incumbent was still alive:
His main concern was to find a pace of ministry. He is described as "a person of such extraordinary piety" that those who knew him said "they never heard one vain word drop from his mouth."
A little before 1662 and being near Totness, Devon, he preached from Hosea 7:9 The Days of Visitation arc come, the Days of Recompence are come, Israel shall know it. His application was so close that it offended some and occasioned his .being carried before some JPs but they could not reach him and so he was discharged.
He afterwards left the county and his son's house, where he had retired and went to London, where he continued in a faithful and acceptable discharge of his ministerial duties until the time of the plague in 1665 when he was arrested and imprisoned.
He was at the house of a Mr Blake in Covent Garden, where some were gathered for worship. While he was in prayer, a party of soldiers broke in on them with swords drawn, and demanded the arrest of the preacher, threatening some and flattering others in order to discover him, but in vain.
Some of them threw a coloured cloak over him, and in this disguise he was, together with his hearers, carried to Whitehall. They were all sent to Newgate prison, which was so disease ridden that Flavel and his wife became seriously ill.
Although they were bailed shortly after they subsequently died. It is said that their son John was given an intimation of their death in a dream.