Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bingham, John

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BINGHAM, JOHN (1607–1689), divine, was born at Derby, and as he was in his eighty-second year when he died in 1689, his birth date must have been in 1606-7. He was educated at Repton school. Later he proceeded to Cambridge, and was entered of St. John's College. He ran the usual academical course, and left in his twenty-fourth year (1631–2) for London, 'for the cure of a foot which was hurt when he was a child.' After two years under the surgeons he was compelled to have his leg amputated. The pain caused by his injured foot had turned his hair white at twenty-six. He acted as domestic chaplain in one of the county families. About 1640 he was chosen as what was called middle-master of the free school at Derby, and afterwards head-master. The school soon won under him more than a provincial fame. He had some scruples as to subscription, but the Earl of Devonshire having presented him to the vicarage of Marston-upon-Dove (Derbyshire), he was prevailed upon to accept it. He continued in his cure until his ejection in 1662. Having an intimacy of long standing with Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, that prelate condescended to write to him with his own hand to persuade him to conform, telling him that he lay so near his heart that he would help him to any preferment he desired.' The vicar acknowledged the personal kindness shown, but reminded the archbishop 'that they two had not been such strangers but that his grace might very well know his sentiments on the subject, and added 'that he would not offer violence to his conscience for the best preferment in the world.'

Upon the passing of the Five Mile Act (1665) Bingham retired to Bradley Hall. For three years he was occupied in teaching sons of the gentry who boarded with him. Afterwards he lived for seven years at Brailsford. Here he met with much trouble. He was excommunicated by the church incumbent, though every one knew that the ejected vicar was a man of great moderation. He and his family used to attend their parish church every Lord's-day morning, but he was wont of an afternoon to preach at his own house, but only to the number allowed by the act. Upon the Indulgence he preached at Hollington, in rotation with other ejected ministers. The excommunication of Bingham made a great sensation in Brailsford parish, and therefore to avoid further uproar lie removed, with all his household, to Upper Thurneston in the parish of Sutton.

Bingham was well acquainted not only with Latin and Greek, but with Hebrew, Syriac, and Arabic. He helped Walton with his great polyglot Bible. He was himself a subscriber to it, and by a wide correspondence; rallied others around the illustrious scholar. When he was about seventy he broke an arm by a fall from his horse. The next year he was taken with a quartan ague, which afflicted him seven years. He had an impression 'borne in upon him that, old and frail as he was, he should live to see a very great change.' He lived to welcome William and Mary, whose coming to the throne he regarded as the fulfilment of his impression. He died 3 Feb. 1689. His funeral sermon was preached by Crompton from Psalm xii. 1. He was interred at Upper Thurneston. He appears to have published nothing.

[Calamy's Account; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. i. 415-17; Simpson's Hist. of Derby and Derbyshire; local researches show that so late as 1768 descendants occupied influential positions in Derby.]

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