Samways, Peter (DNB00)

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SAMWAYS or SAMWAIES, PETER, D.D. (1615–1693), royalist divine, born at Eltham, Kent, in 1615, was the son of a ‘person about the court.’ He was educated at Westminster School, and was elected in 1634 to a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was admitted on 10 April 1635 (Addit. MS. 5851, f. 78 b). He graduated B.A. in 1637, was elected a fellow of his college in 1640, and commenced M.A. in 1641 (ib. 5846, f. 133 b). From the latter date till 1650 he was one of the college tutors. During his residence at Cambridge he contributed verses to the university collections of poems on the birth of the Princess Elizabeth in 1635, on the birth of Charles I's fifth child in 1637, on the birth of a prince in 1640, and on the king's return from Scotland in 1641.

In or before 1657 he became rector of Malden, Bedfordshire, and in 1659 he was chaplain to Elizabeth, countess of Peterborough. He was presented by Lord Salisbury to the vicarage of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, from which he was expelled by the parliamentary visitors because he persisted in reading the liturgy of the church of England (Clutterbuck, Hertfordshire, ii. 111). He was likewise deprived of his fellowship at Trinity.

After the Restoration he was created D.D. at Cambridge, by royal mandate, on 5 Sept. 1660 (Kennett, Register and Chronicle, pp. 207, 251), but he was not reinstated in his benefice at Cheshunt, probably because, on 31 Dec. 1660, he was presented to the rectory of Wath, near Ripon, Yorkshire, worth about 140l. per annum, by the Earl of Aylesbury, in whose family he had spent some time during the rebellion. Soon afterwards he was presented by Charles II to the neighbouring rectory of Bedale, worth nearly 600l. a year (Walker, Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 363). He was a great benefactor to the parish of Wath, where he built and endowed a school. On 27 May 1668 he was collated to the prebend of Barneby in the church of York (Willis, Survey of Cathedrals, i. 117). He was a staunch supporter of the church of England, and it is recorded of him that he boldly disputed the doctrine of transubstantiation with the Duke of York (afterwards James II). He fell under the displeasure of Bishop Cartwright, then administering the see of York, by refusing to subscribe the king's declaration for liberty of conscience in 1688, and he narrowly escaped a second ejection from his benefices. Samways further aided the cause of civil and religious liberty by publishing a letter, which had a considerable effect in persuading the clergy of his neighbourhood to take the oaths to King William and Queen Mary, and for this service he is said to have received an offer of the bishopric of Bath and Wells which he declined. Among his intimate friends were Dr. Isaac Barrow and Archbishops Ussher and Sancroft. He died at Bedale in April 1693.

His works are: 1. ‘Devotion digested: In Severall Discourses and Meditations upon the Lords most holy Prayer,’ London [28 July], 1652, 12mo. 2. ‘The wise and faithful Steward, or a Narration of the exemplary Death of Mr. Benjamin Rhodes, Steward to the … Earl of Elgin. … Together with some remarkable Passages concerning Mrs. Anne Rhodes his Wife,’ London, 1657, 8vo. 3. ‘The Church of Rome not sufficiently vindicated from her Apostasie, Heresie, and Schism,’ 1663, 12mo. 4. ‘The Penitent's Humble Address to the Throne of Grace, in his deep Reflections on the Sufferings of the Nation in general; and particularly in the Apprehension of the late dreadful Devastation made in London by the Fire there,’ 1666, 12mo.

[Addit. MS. 5880, f. 154; Le Neve's Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 171; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, ii. 161; Welch's Alumni Westmon. ed. Phillimore, p. 106; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 838.]

T. C.