Thomas Rowe (tutor)

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Thomas Rowe (1657–1705) was an English nonconformist minister, significant as the teacher of the next generation of Dissenters, particularly in philosophy, in one of the first of the dissenting academies.

Nonconformist Protestant Christians in Wales and England who did not follow the Church of England

In English church history, a Nonconformist was a Protestant who did not "conform" to the governance and usages of the established Church of England. Broad use of the term was precipitated after the Restoration of the British monarchy in 1660, when the Act of Uniformity 1662 re-established the opponents of reform within the Church of England. By the late 19th century the term specifically included the Reformed Christians, plus the Baptists and Methodists. The English Dissenters such as the Puritans who violated the Act of Uniformity 1559—typically by practising radical, sometimes separatist, dissent—were retrospectively labelled as Nonconformists.

The dissenting academies were schools, colleges and seminaries run by English Dissenters, that is, those who did not conform to the Church of England. They formed a significant part of England’s educational systems from the mid-seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.



The elder son of John Rowe, he was born in London in 1657. He was probably educated by Theophilus Gale. In 1678 he succeeded Gale, both as pastor of the independent church in Holborn and as tutor in the academy at Newington Green. He moved his congregation to a meeting-house at Girdlers' Hall, Basinghall Street, and took his academy successively to Clapham and, about 1687, to Little Britain.

John Rowe (1626–1677) was an English clergyman, minister to an important Congregationalist church in London.

Theophilus Gale (1628–1678) was an English educationalist, nonconformist and theologian of dissent.

Holborn area of central London, England

Holborn is a district in the London boroughs of Camden and City of Westminster and a locality in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London. The area is sometimes described as part of the West End of London.

His ministry was successful; but it was as a tutor, especially in philosophy, that he made his mark as an early adopter of new ideas. He was the first to desert the traditional textbooks, introducing his pupils, about 1680, to what was known as ‘free philosophy.’ Rowe was a Cartesian at a time when the Aristotelian philosophy was still dominant in the older schools of learning; but while in physics he adhered to Descartes against the rising influence of Isaac Newton, he also became one of the earliest exponents of John Locke. His students included John Evans, D.D., Henry Grove, Josiah Hort, John Hughes the poet, Jeremiah Hunt, D.D., Daniel Neal, and Isaac Watts.

Cartesianism philosophical and scientific system of René Descartes

The Cartesian Method is the philosophical and scientific system of René Descartes and its subsequent development by other seventeenth century thinkers, most notably François Poullain de la Barre, Nicolas Malebranche and Baruch Spinoza. Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to emphasize the use of reason to develop the natural sciences. For him, the philosophy was a thinking system that embodied all knowledge, and expressed it in this way:

Isaac Newton Influential British physicist and mathematician

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.

John Locke English philosopher and physician

John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the "Father of Liberalism". Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Sir Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social contract theory. His work greatly affected the development of epistemology and political philosophy. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Rowe was a Calvinist in theology, but few of his pupils adhered to the same system without some modification. In 1699 he became one of the Tuesday lecturers at Pinners' Hall. He died suddenly on 18 August 1705, and was buried with his father in Bunhill Fields.

Bunhill Fields cemetery

Bunhill Fields is a former burial ground in central London, in the London Borough of Islington, just north of the City of London boundary. The site is managed as a public garden by the City of London Corporation. It is about 1.6 hectares in extent, although historically it was much larger.


Benoni Rowe (1658–1706) was his brother-in-law, husband to his sister Sarah. [1] He was born in London, and educated for the ministry. His first known settlement was at Epsom, Surrey, about 1689. He succeeded Stephen Lobb in 1699 as pastor of the independent church in Fetter Lane. He died on 30 March 1706, and was burie in Bunhill Fields. He left two sons: Thomas (1687–1715), husband of Elizabeth Rowe; and Theophilus.

Epsom Town in Surrey, England

Epsom is a market town in Surrey, England, 13.7 miles (22.0 km) south-west of London, between Ashtead and Ewell. The town straddles chalk downland and the upper Thanet Formation. Epsom Downs Racecourse holds The Derby, now a generic name for sports competitions in English-speaking countries. The town also gives its name to Epsom salts, originally extracted from mineral waters there.

Surrey County of England

Surrey is a county in South East England which borders Kent to the east, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the north-west, and Greater London to the north-east.

Stephen Lobb was an English nonconformist minister and controversialist. He was prominent in the 1680s as a court representative of the Independents to James II, and in the 1690s in polemics between the Presbyterian and Independent groups of nonconformists. His church in Fetter Lane is supposed to be the successor to the congregation of Thomas Goodwin; he was the successor to Thankful Owen as pastor, and preached in tandem with Thomas Goodwin the younger.


  1. Dewey D. Wallace, jun. in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ; older works say a younger brother.

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<i>Dictionary of National Biography</i> Multi-volume reference work

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.