Jacombe, Thomas (DNB00)

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JACOMBE, THOMAS (1622–1687), nonconformist divine, son of John Jacombe of Burton Lazars, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, was born in 1622. He was educated at the free school of Melton, and for two years under Edward Gamble at the school of Newark. He matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in the Easter term, 1640, and when the civil war broke out removed to St. John's College, Cambridge (28 Oct. 1642), where he graduated B.A. in 1643; shortly after signed the covenant, and became a fellow of Trinity in the place of an ejected royalist, completing his M.A. in 1647. In the same year he took presbyterian orders, became chaplain to the Countess-dowager of Exeter, widow of David Cecil, third earl, and received the living of St. Martin's, Ludgate Hill, on the sequestration of Dr. Michael Jermyn. He was appointed by parliament an assistant to the London commissioners for ejecting insufficient ministers and schoolmasters, and in 1659 he was made one of the approvers or triers of ministers. His opinions, however, were moderate, and upon the Restoration he was created D.D. at Cambridge by royal mandate dated 19 Nov. 1660, along with two presbyterian ministers, William Bates [q. v.] and Robert Wilde. He was named on the royal commission for the review of the prayer-book (25 March 1661), and was treated respectfully at the meetings. He was on the presbyterian side, and took a leading part in drawing up the exceptions against the prayer-book. Pepys heard him preach on 14 April 1661 and 16 Feb. 1661–2. He was ejected for nonconformity in 1662. His two farewell sermons, preached on St. Bartholomew's day, 17 Aug. 1662, were published separately with a portrait (8vo, 1662), again in a collection of other sermons, entitled ‘The London Ministers' Legacy,’ 8vo, 1662, and in ‘Farewell Sermons of some of the most eminent of the Nonconformist Ministers,’ London, 1816. After his deprivation Jacombe held a conventicle from 1672 in Silver Street, and was several times prosecuted. He was protected by his old patroness, the Countess-dowager of Exeter. Luttrell says that the ‘fanatick parson’ was taken into her house (in Little Britain) in February 1684–5. He died there of a cancer, aged 66, on Easter Sunday, 27 March 1687. The countess's respect for the doctor is spoken of by W. Sherlock as ‘peculiar,’ and the favours she conferred on him as extraordinary. Jacombe was buried on 3 April at St. Anne's, Aldersgate, and a large number of conforming and nonconforming divines attended his funeral. The sermon was preached by Dr. W. Bates. Jacombe had collected a valuable library, which was sold after his death for 1,300l. (see the catalogue, Bibliotheca Jacombiana, London, 1687, 4to). Sherlock calls Jacombe ‘a nonsensical trifler’ (A Discourse of the Knowledge of Jesus Christ, 1674); but he is favourably mentioned by Baxter and Calamy. S. Rolle in his ‘Prodromus’ speaks of Jacombe as a person of ‘high repute for good life, learning, and excellent gravity,’ much beloved by the master of Trinity. Pepys was pleased by his preaching.

Jacombe's chief works are: 1. ‘Enoch's Walk and Change: Funeral Sermon and Life of Mr. Vines, sometime Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, preached at St. Laurence Jewry on 7 Feb. 1655–6,’ London, 1656, 8vo. 2. ‘A Treatise of Holy Dedication, both personal and domestic, recommended to the Citizens of London on entering into their new Habitations after the Great Fire,’ London, 1668, 8vo. 3. ‘Several Sermons, or Commentary preached on the whole 8th Chapter of Romans,’ London, 1672, 8vo. 4. ‘How Christians may learn in every way to be content,’ in the supplement to the ‘Morning Exer- cise at Cripplegate,’ London, 1674, and enlarged 1683, 8vo; republished, first by T. Case in the ‘Crown Street Chapel Tracts’ (1827), and in a collection of sermons preached by different nonconformists between 1659 and 1689, called ‘The Morning Exercises,’ by James Nicholls, London, 8vo, 1844. 5. ‘A Short Account of W. Whitaker, late Minister of St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey,’ prefixed to his ‘Eighteen Sermons,’ London, 8vo, 1674. 6. ‘The Covenant of Redemption opened, or the Morning Exercise methodized, preached at St. Giles'-in-the-Fields, May 1659,’ London, 8vo, 1676. 7. ‘The Upright Man's Peace at his end,’ preached at Matthew Martin's funeral, London, 1682. 8. ‘Abraham's Death,’ at Thomas Case's funeral, London, 1682. Wood is mistaken in assigning to him a share in Poole's ‘Annotations.’

Jacombe had subscribed his name to a letter against the quakers, which called forth a pamphlet by W. Penn, entitled ‘A Just Rebuke to one-and-twenty learned Divines (so called) …,’ London, 1674.

Samuel Jacombe (d. 1659), Thomas's younger brother, was also a puritan divine and popular preacher. He matriculated at Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1642–3 (Wood, Athenæ, Bliss, iv. 205), graduated B.D. 21 June 1644, and became a fellow of his college 1 March 1648. He won some reputation as a preacher at Cambridge, and was made one of the university preachers by the parliament. He left Cambridge for London about 1653, and received the living of St. Mary Woolnoth in 1655. He died 12 June 1659. His funeral sermon was preached by Simon Patrick, afterwards bishop of Ely; it was subsequently published under the title of ‘Divine Arithmetic, or the Right Art of Numbering our Days’ (London, 1659, 4to, 1668, 1672), and dedicated to Thomas Jacombe. He wrote some lines on the death of Vines (see funeral sermon above), 1656, and published them with other elegies and a sermon entitled ‘Moses, his Death,’ preached at Christ Church, Oxford, at the funeral of E. Bright, 23 Dec. 1656, London, 1657, 4to; republished in vol. v. of the ‘Morning Exercises.’ Another of Samuel's numerous discourses on the ‘Divine Authority of the Scriptures’ is also in the ‘Morning Exercises,’ and has been reprinted in the reissues of that work.

[Kennett's Register, pp. 308, 403, 407, 502, 505, 743, 852; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. i. 160; Nichols's Leicestershire, ii. 270; S. Baxter's Biog. Collections, 1766, vol. ii.; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 416; Neal's Puritans, ii. 776; Brook's Puritans, iii. 319; Luttrell's Relation, i. 328; Dunn's Memoirs of Seventy-five Eminent Divines, pp. 132–206.]

E. T. B.