John Rowe (minister)

John Rowe (minister)

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


He was born in Crediton, Devon. [ Walter Wilson, "The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses" (1810), p. 156.] He was educated at Cambridge and Oxford, where he attended New Inn Hall. ["University of Oxford College Histories: From Their Foundations to the Twentieth Century" (1998), pp. 144-5.]

His 1653 book "Tragi-comoedia" took an incident in his parish of Witney as a judgement on those attending dramatic productions. The floor of an upper room of The White Hart Inn collapsed during a performance by travelling players of "Mucedorus". [Alexandra Walsham, "Providence in Early Modern England" (1999), p. 7.]

In 1654 he was appointed lecturer to Westminster Abbey. [ Daniel Neal, Joshua Toulmin, "The History of the Puritans, Or Protestant Nonconformists: From the Reformation in 1517, to the Revolution in 1688" (1837), p. 209] In October 1656 he preached to Parliament, then giving thanks for a naval victory in the Caribbean. [Christopher Hill, "The English Bible and the Seventeenth-Century Revolution" (1993), p. 101.] He was displaced from his position by the Restoration of 1660, and in 1662 refused to conform, losing his status and being ejected as Anglican minister. []

After some moves, he established a church in Holborn, London, where he was assisted by Theophilus Gale. []

Thomas Rowe (1657-1705) was his son. He took over the church after Gale’s death, and moved it to Girdlers’ Hall, which opened in 1681 in Basinghall Street. [ Walter Wilson, History & Antiquities of the Dissenting Churches - Vol. 2 (reprinted 2001), p. 514.] [] It had Isaac Watts in its congregation. [] Henry Grove, friend of Watts, was Rowe’s nephew. [ Alan P. F. Sell, Testimony and Tradition: Studies in Reformed and Dissenting Thought (2005), p. 91.]


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