Monday, 1 October 2007

Edmund Calamy the Elder

The historian Edmund Calamy's second entry is his own grandfather Edmund Calamy (1600-1666) known as "the elder". An English Presbyterian church leader, he was of Huguenot descent and was born in Walbrook, London and educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where his opposition to Arminianism excluded him from a fellowship. Nicholas Felton, Bishop of Ely, nevertheless made him his chaplain and gave him the living of St Mary, Swaffham Prior, which he held till 1626. He then removed to Bury St Edmunds, where he lectured for 10 years, retiring when his bishop (Wren) insisted on the observance of certain ceremonial articles. In 1636 he was appointed rector (or perhaps only lecturer) of Rochford, Essex, but had to leave for the sake of his health. In 1639 he was elected to the perpetual curacy of St Mary Aldermanbury, London, where he had a large following.
At the opening of the Long Parliament he distinguished himself in defence of the Presbyterian cause and contributed to the conciliatory work known as Smectymnuus, against Bishop Joseph Hall's presentation of episcopacy. The initials of the names of the several contributors formed the name under which it was published, viz., Stephen Marshall, E Calamy, T Young, Matthew Newcomen and W Spurstow. Calamy was an active member in the Westminster Assembly of divines, and, refusing to advance to Congregationalism found in Presbyterianism the middle course which best suited his views of theology and church government. He opposed the execution of King Charles, lived quietly under the Commonwealth, and was assiduous in promoting the king's return; for this he was afterwards offered the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield, but declined, perhaps for his wife's sake.
He was made one of Charles's chaplains, and vainly tried to secure the legal ratification of Charles's declaration of 1660. He was so affected by the sight of the devastation caused by the Great Fire of 1666 that he died shortly afterwards. He was buried in the ruins of his church, near the place where the pulpit had stood. His publications are almost entirely sermons.
His eldest son Edmund Calamy "the younger", followed a similar religious path, and was also ejected (from the rectory of Moreton, Essex). He was of a retiring disposition and moderate views. He died 1685.
[A Mr Lee the LEcturer here was also ejected]

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