Philips, Peregrine (DNB00)

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PHILIPS, PEREGRINE (1623–1691), nonconformist preacher, was born at Amroth, Pembrokeshire, of which parish his father was vicar, in 1623. He was educated first at the grammar school, Haverfordwest, afterwards by Sir Edward Harley's private chaplain at Brampton-Bryan, Herefordshire, and then by Dr. William Thomas (afterwards bishop of St. David's). He proceeded to Oxford, but the outbreak of the civil war soon put an end to his studies. He now took orders, acted for some time as curate to his uncle, Dr. Collins, at Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, and then received the rectory of Llangwm and Freystrop in his native county. His talents as a preacher in Welsh and English soon attracted the notice of the puritan gentlemen of the district, who procured for him the livings of Monkton, St. Mary's, Pembroke, and Cosheston. He preached regularly every Sunday in his churches, and in 1648, at Cromwell's request, discoursed to the officers engaged in the siege of Pembroke. Throughout the Commonwealth period he held an influential position, being a member of the county committee which dealt with ‘scandalous’ ministers. He refused to conform in 1662, accordingly lost his livings, and settled at Dredgman Hill, a farm near Haverfordwest, let to him by his friend Sir Herbert Perrot of Harroldston, where he spent the rest of his life as a nonconformist preacher. During the reign of Charles II he was subject to much persecution, suffering imprisonment twice; nevertheless he continued to preach at every opportunity, and his house was recorded as a congregationalist preaching station under the first Declaration of Indulgence (1672). The church he had formed in 1668 is mentioned in the list drawn up by Henry Maurice of Abergavenny in 1675. On the issue of the second Declaration of Indulgence (1687) Philips again took out a license for his own house and another in Haverfordwest, and preached in these until his death on 17 Sept. 1691. Though fearless and indefatigable in his work, he was reckoned a moderate man, and ‘took no small pleasure,’ says Calamy, ‘in reconciling differences.’

[Calamy's Nonconformists' Memorial, ed. Palmer, 1775, ii. 629–32; Rees's Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, edit. 1883, pp. 178, 192, 225–8.]

J. E. L.