Blomfield, Ezekiel (DNB00)

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BLOMFIELD, EZEKIEL (1778–1818), compiler, was born on 28 Oct. 1778 at North Walsham, Norfolk. His parents were very poor, and in 1783 he removed with them to Norwich. Before he was ten years of age he began making collections for a 'Table of Chronological Events' and a 'System of Natural History.' He read largely, but the book that determined his lifelong studies was Mrs. Barbauld's 'Evenings at Home,' which quickened his interest in the phenomena of nature. When about fifteen religious questions troubled him, and, becoming imbued with strong religious convictions, he was placed under the care of a nonconformist minister (the Rev. S. Newton of Norwich). Under his capable mastership he rapidly acquired Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. After combating old doubts, in 1796 he joined the church of Newton, and, resolving to be a minister of the gospel, proceeded to the non-conformist Homerton College. After a year spent at Norwich in ill-health, he accepted a call to a congregation at Wymondham. There he conciliated conflicting parties, and established Sunday schools, missionary societies, &c. On 20 Oct. 1800 he married Mary, daughter of a Mr. Fursnell of Hanworth (Norfolk). Soon after his marriage he delivered a course of lectures on history at Wymondham. As his family increased he eked out a slender income by hack-work for Brightley. the printer of Bungay, and subsequently went into partnership with him. Pecuniary difficulties followed, and led to his removal from Wymondham to Wortwell in 1809, where he remained until his death, frequently visiting the neighbouring village of Harleston. He found the Norfolk and Norwich Auxiliary British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1810 he projected an academy for education of youtiis in classics. He planned a 'History of Education,' and delivered a successful course of lectures on the philosophy of history from materials gathered in 1815 and 1816. He died 14 July 1818, leaving a widow and young family totally unprovided for. Towards assisting them his 'Philosophy of History' was published in a fine quarto in 1819, with a memoir. It is somewhat fragmentary and commonplace. In 1807 had appeared, in two huge quartos, Blomfield's 'A General View of the World, Geographical, Historical, and Philosophical; on a Plan entirely new' ( Bungay, 1807); this work shows wide but ill-digested reading.

[Memoir before Philosophy of History; local inquiries and books.]

A. B. G.