Pendarves, John (DNB00)

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PENDARVES, JOHN (1622–1656), puritan controversialist, son of John Pendarves of Crowan in Cornwall, was born at Skewes in that parish in 1622. His father, though connected with the opulent family of Pendarves, was himself poor, and the youth was admitted a servitor of Exeter College, Oxford, on 11 Dec. 1637, when 2l. was paid for his benefit as ‘pauper scholaris’ to the Rev. Robert Snow, the college chaplain. He matriculated on 9 Feb. 1637–8, on the same day as his elder brother, Ralph Pendarves, and, ‘by the benefit of a good tutor, became a tolerable disputant.’ He graduated B.A. on 3 March 1641–2, and took his name off the college books on 14 July 1642. Antony à Wood bitterly says that after this event he ‘sided with the rout, and, by a voluble tongue having obtained the way of canting, went up and down (unsent for), preaching in houses, barns, under trees, hedges, &c.’ For a time he was the parish lecturer of Wantage in Berkshire, but after several changes he became the anabaptist minister at Abingdon, where he obtained ‘a numerous multitude of disciples, made himself head of them, and defied all authority.’ His love of disputation prompted him to challenge some clergymen of the established church to a public debate, and at last Jasper Mayne [q. v.] undertook to meet him. The debate took place in the church of Watlington, Oxfordshire, when there ‘were present innumerable people on each side.’ Pendarves, says Wood, was ‘back'd with a great party of anabaptists and the scum of the people, who behaved themselves very rude and insolent,’ and the discussion ended, as is usual in such cases, without any definite result. The eighth article brought against Edward Pocock, when he was cited in 1655 to appear before the commissioners for ejecting ignorant and scandalous ministers, was that he had refused to allow Pendarves to preach in his pulpit at Childrey (Pocock, Life, 1816 edit. p. 159). He was a fifth-monarchy man, and his love of disputation was inveterate. It is not necessary to accept the opinion of Wood that Pendarves worked for ‘no other end but to gain wealth and make himself famous to posterity.’

In 1656 Pendarves issued a volume called ‘Arrowes against Babylon,’ in which he endeavoured to lay bare the mystery of iniquity by attacking the churches of Rome and England, attempted to reform the apparel of the saints, and addressed certain queries to the quakers, accusing them of concealing their beliefs, and of contemning christian pastors, yet preaching themselves. The first part of this treatise was answered by the Rev. William Ley of Wantage, the Rev. John Tickell, and the Rev. Christopher Fowler of St. Mary's, Reading. The quakers were championed by James Naylor and Denys Hollister. In the same year Pendarves joined four other dissenting ministers in preparing an address to their congregations, entitled ‘Sighs for Sion,’ and with Christopher Feake he composed prefaces for an anonymous pamphlet on ‘The Prophets Malachy and Isaiah prophecying.’

At the beginning of September 1656 Pendarves died in London, changing ‘his many quarrels here for everlasting peace.’ After some hot debate the body, ‘embowell'd and wrap'd up in sear-cloth by the care of the brethren,’ was carried by water to Abingdon in a chest like those for sugar, fil'd up with sand and lodged at a grocer's.’ It arrived there on Saturday, 27 Sept., and three days later was conveyed to a piece of ground ‘at the Townes West-end and in the Axestreet’ which had been purchased as a burial-place for his congregation. Crowds came from neighbouring villages, and spent the preceding and succeeding days in religious exercises; but on 2 Oct. Major-general Bridges sent fifty horse soldiers from Wallingford to dissolve the meetings (Munster and Abingdon, by W. Hughes of Hinton, Berkshire; State Papers, 1656–7, p. 130).

A sermon which Pendarves had preached ‘in Petty France, London, the tenth day of the sixth month anno 1656,’ was published after his death by John Cox.

[Boase's Exeter College Commoners, p. 247; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (ed. Bliss), iii. 419–21; Wood's Fasti, pt. ii. pp. 3, 109; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 444–5; Brook's Puritans, iii. 256–7.]

W. P. C.