Brand, Thomas (DNB00)

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BRAND, THOMAS (1635–1691), nonconformist divine, born in 1635, was the son of the rector of Leaden Roothing, Essex. He was educated at Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, and Merton College, Oxford. There he specially studied law, and afterwards entered the Temple. An acquaintance formed with Dr. Samuel Annesley [q. v.] led to a resolution to join the ministry. He entered the family of the Lady Dowager Roberts of Glassenbury, Kent, the education of whose four children he superintended. He caused the whole of his salary to be devoted to charity. He soon preached twice every Sunday, and frequently a third time in the evening, at a place two miles distant. He established weekly lectures at several places, and monthly fasts. On the death of the Rev. Mr. Poyntel of Staplehurst, he left Lady Roberts, went to Staplehurst, and was ordained. About two years after he married a widow, by whom he had several children, who all died young. He continued at Staplehurst till driven away by persecution. After many wanderings he settled near London. He built many meeting-houses, and contributed to their ministers' salaries. Catechising the young was also a favourite occupation, in which he was very successful. He gave away thousands of catechisms and other books, and even went to the expense of reprinting twenty thousand of Joseph Alleine's ‘Treatise on Conversion’ to be given away, altering the title to a ‘Guide to Heaven.’ A portion of this expense was defrayed by some of his friends. Many other small books were given away by him, and he and his friends sold bibles much under cost price to all who desired them, provided they would not sell them again. Brand maintained children of indigent parents, and put them to trades. Dr. Earle, many years a distinguished minister of the presbyterian congregation in Hanover Street, London, was one of his protégés. Brand spent little on himself. His charities were computed to amount to above 300l. a year. He said he ‘would not sell his estate because it was entailed, but he would squeeze it as long as he lived.’ Brand died 1 Dec. 1691, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. The inscription on his gravestone is recorded in ‘Bunhill Memorials,’ by J. A. Jones.

[Memoirs of the Rev. Thomas Brand (with a sermon preached on the occasion of his death), by the Rev. Samuel Annesley, LL.D. 1692 (reprinted with additions, and dedicated to Thomas Brand, Lord Dacre, by William Chaplin), Bishop's