Coningham, James (DNB00)

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CONINGHAM, JAMES (1670–1716), presbyterian divine, was born in 1670 in England and educated at Edinburgh, where he graduated M.A. on 27 Feb. 1694. The same year he became minister of the presbyterian congregation at Penrith. Here he employed himself in educating students for the ministry, probably with the concurrence of the ‘provincial meeting’ of Cumberland and Westmoreland. In 1700 he was chosen as colleague to John Chorlton [q. v.] at Cross Street Chapel, Manchester. He shared with Chorlton the tutorial work of the Manchester academy, and on Chorlton's death (1705) carried it on for seven years without assistance. His most distinguished pupils were Samuel Bourn the younger [q. v.] and John Turner of Preston, famous for his warlike exertions against the rebel army in 1715. During the reign of Anne, Coningham was several times prosecuted for keeping an academy; and though a man who combined strict orthodoxy with a catholic spirit, he was not strong enough to cope with the divergences of theological opinion in his flock. He left Manchester for London in 1712, being called to succeed Richard Stretton, M.A. (d. 3 July 1712, aged 80), at Haberdashers' Hall. His health was broken, and he died on 1 Sept. 1716, leaving the remembrance of a graceful person and an amiable character.

Coningham published three sermons, 1705, 1714, and 1715, and wrote a preface to the second edition of Henry Pendlebury's ‘Invisible Realities,’ originally published 1696, 12mo.

[Wright's Funeral Sermon, 1716; Toulmin's Hist. View, 1814, p. 246; Calamy's Hist. Acc. of my own Life, 2nd ed. 1830, ii. 31 sq. 257, 523; Cat. of Edinburgh Graduates (Bannatyne Club), 1858; Baker's Mem. of a Diss. Chapel, 1884, pp. 19, 61, 140; Extracts from records of the Presbyterian Fund, per W. D. Jeremy.]

A. G.