The Foxearth and District Local History Society

The Hysterical Hystorian

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Monday, May 08, 2006

William BlackMore and his 'dull and heavie ministry'

In December 1645, the parish of Pentlow received a new Rector, William Blackmore. Blackmore (1616-1684) owed this appointment to the ejection of the previous minister, Edward Alston by the parliamentarian committee for plundered ministers. He was well qualified, though, being an Oxford MA. He spent less than a year in the parish but then went on to become our most famous rector.

Blackmore was already well-known for his rigid presbyterian beliefs and put into effect the regime of ruling elders at his next parish, St Peter's in Cornhill, London. He was, evidently, particularly strict in catechizing the young of the parish, but was constantly under pressure from the elders to institute reforms, and imposed what some of his congregation later described as a ‘dull and heavie ministry’.

Blackmore's progress was rapid and he became a power in the governing synod of London's ramshackle presbyterian system, serving in 1648 as its scribe and later on its ruling grand committee.

In the complex struggles between the radical church and parliament, Blackmore's name keeps appearing. Gradiually, he became a key part of the struggle of the presbyterians against parliament's tolerance of religious free-thinking, and emerged as an important influence with Sion College, the religious club of civil-war presbyterianism, being elected junior dean in 1658–9 and senior dean in 1660. He also was influential in the attempts to halt the political crisis of 1648–9, and in the attempts to put a stop to the king's trial.

After the execution of Charles I he became involved in the City presbyterian plot to restore Charles II to the throne. He was implicated with Christopher Love, who was later condemned and executed for treason, and was suspended by the Commonwealth regime from his post at St Peter's.

His years as a presbyterian fiebrand had been profitable for him and he was eventually able to reture to Hornchurch, in Essex to a comfortable estate. He died at Hare Street, Essex, in 1684 and on 18 July was buried at Romford in the same county.


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