Thomas Wadsworth

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Thomas Wadsworth

Thomas Wadsworth (1630–1676) was an English presbyterian minister, an ejected nonconformist after 1662.



The son of Thomas Wadsworth, he was born in the parish of St. Saviour's, Southwark, on 15 December 1630. His father was close to Samuel Bolton, who held a lectureship at St Saviour's as well as being Master of Christ's College, Cambridge; and in 1647 Thomas entered Christ's College. There his tutors were Peter Harrison and William Owtram. He was scholarly, religiously inclined, and joined an academic club for philosophical study and devotional exercises. [1] [2] [3]

Samuel Bolton English clergyman and scholar

Samuel Bolton was an English clergyman and scholar, a member of the Westminster Assembly and Master of Christ's College, Cambridge.

Christs College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter, was given a substantial endowment by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.

William Owtram British priest

William Owtram D.D. was a clergyman who published notable theological works. After leading the church of the House of Commons, St. Margaret's, Westminster, he gained preferment as Archdeacon of Leicester.

Having graduated B.A. in 1650–1, Wadsworth was called home by his father's last illness. Elected Fellow in 1652 of Christ's, he graduated M.A. in 1654, and then resigned his fellowship on Bolton's advice, accepting a call to minister at St. Mary's, Newington Butts, Surrey. The rectory had been filled by Henry Langley on the sequestration of James Meggs; Langley was followed by John Morton, on whose death the parish was divided on the question of his successor; each section independently petitioned parliament in favour of Wadsworth, who was appointed on 16 February 1653. He was ordained by the eighth London classis in the church of St Mary Axe. He gained a reputation preacher and catechist. [1]

Newington Butts Area of the London Borough of Southwark

Newington Butts is a former hamlet, now an area of the London Borough of Southwark, that gives its name to a segment of the A3 road running south-west from the Elephant and Castle junction. The road continues as Kennington Park Road leading to Kennington; a fork right is Kennington Lane, leading to Vauxhall Bridge. Michael Faraday was born in Newington Butts.

Henry Langley (Master of Pembroke) English clergyman and academic, intruded Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, and later an ejected minister

Henry Langley (1611–1679) was an English clergyman and academic, intruded Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, and later an ejected minister and nonconformist tutor.

St Mary Axe medieval parish in the City of London

St Mary Axe was a medieval parish in the City of London whose name survives as that of the street which formerly occupied it. The Church of St Mary Axe was demolished in 1561 and its parish united with that of St Andrew Undershaft, which is situated on the corner of St Mary Axe and Leadenhall Street. The site of the former church is now occupied by Fitzwilliam House, a fact acknowledged by a blue plaque on the building's façade. Nearby parishes include the medieval Great St Helen's (1210) and St Ethelburga.

In August 1660, after the English Restoration, Meggs claimed the living; Wadsworth resigned on 29 September. He retained a Saturday morning lectureship at St Antholin's, and a Monday evening lectureship at St Margaret, Fish Street Hill. The parishioners, who were the patrons of the perpetual curacy of St Laurence Pountney, presented him to that living, with a lectureship at St John the Baptist's. He held it till the Uniformity Act of 1662, preaching his farewell sermon on 23 August, the day before the act came into force. [1]

St Laurence Pountney Church in Laurence Pountney Hill London

St Laurence Pountney was a parish church in the Candlewick Ward of the City of London. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, and not rebuilt.

Moving to Theobalds in the parish of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, he preached privately there, and, also privately to a section of his old flock at Newington Butts, taking no salary. He continued his works during the plague of 1665. After the Great Fire of 1666 he preached in a timber building erected in Deadman's Place, Southwark, where he was assisted by Andrew Parsons (1616–1684). He still continued to reside and preach at Theobalds, where in 1669 he was returned as keeping a conventicle along with Robert Bragge (1627–1704), and where he took out a license (1 May 1672) under the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, as a presbyterian teacher in the house of Jonathan Pritman. [1]

Cheshunt town in Hertfordshire, England

Cheshunt is a town in the Borough of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, lying entirely within the London Metropolitan Area and Greater London Urban Area. It is 12 miles (19 km) north of central London and has a population of around 52,000 according to the United Kingdom's 2001 Census.

Hertfordshire County of England

Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.

Conventicle small, unofficial and unofficiated religious meeting of laypeople

A conventicle originally signified no more than an assembly, and was frequently used by ancient writers for a church. At a semantic level conventicle is only a good Latinized synonym of the Greek word church, and points to Jesus' promise in Matthew 18:20, "Where two or three are met together in my name." It came to be applied specifically to meetings of religious associations, particularly private and secret gatherings for worship. Later it became a term of depreciation or reproach, implying that those of whom it was used were in opposition to the ruling ecclesiastical authorities; for example, it was applied to a cabal of mutinous monks in a convent or monastery. Ultimately it came to mean religious meetings of dissenters from an Established Church, held in places that were not recognized as specially intended for public worship or for the exercise of religious functions. It implied that a condition of affairs obtained in which the State made a distinction between a form or forms of religion whose practice and propagation were authorized by statute, and such as were expressly prohibited by enactment. This usage has received legal sanction in Britain.

A few weeks before his death Wadsworth left Theobalds for a residence in Pickle Herring Stairs, Southwark. He died on Sunday, 29 October 1676. His funeral sermon was preached (12 November) by Robert Bragge; Richard Baxter took charge for some months of the Deadman's Place congregation. [1]

Richard Baxter English Puritan church leader, poet, and hymn-writer

Richard Baxter was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymnodist, theologian, and controversialist. Dean Stanley called him "the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen". After some false starts, he made his reputation by his ministry at Kidderminster, and at around the same time began a long and prolific career as theological writer. After the Restoration he refused preferment, while retaining a non-separatist Presbyterian approach, and became one of the most influential leaders of the Nonconformists, spending time in prison. His views on justification and sanctification are somewhat controversial and unconventional within the Calvinist tradition because his teachings seem, to some, to undermine salvation by faith, in that he emphasizes the necessity of repentance and faithfulness.


Wadsworth's writings included: [1]

Henry Layton (1622–1705) was a minor British philosopher, theological writer, and contemporary of John Locke.


Wadsworth married, first, a younger daughter of Henry Hasting of Newington Butts; she died in childbed on 13 October 1661. He married, secondly (November 1663), Margaret (died 3 January 1668), daughter of Henry Gibs of Bristol, and widow of Thomas Sharp, merchant. He married, thirdly (1671), Anna, only daughter of Colonel Markham, by whom he had issue two sons (one of whom died in infancy), and two daughters. By his earlier marriages he had no surviving issue. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Wadsworth, Thomas"  . Dictionary of National Biography . 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. Black, William. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/28391.Missing or empty |title= (help)(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. "Wadsworth, Thomas (WDST647T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Andrew Pyle (editor), The Dictionary of Seventeenth Century British Philosophers (2000), Thoemmes Press (two volumes), article Wadsworth, Thomas, p. 845.

Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1899). "Wadsworth, Thomas". Dictionary of National Biography . 58. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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