Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Oldfield, John (1627?-1682)

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OLDFIELD or OTEFIELD, JOHN (1627?–1682), ejected minister, was born near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, about 1627. He was educated at the grammar school of Bromfield, Cumberland. Though of no university, he was a good scholar and mathematician. He held the rectory of Carsington, Derbyshire, having been appointed in or before 1649. His parishioners, according to Calamy, were 'very ticklish and capricious, very hard to be pleased in ministers,' but he suited them; and, though the living was worth but 70l., he refused a better offer of the perpetual curacy of Tamworth, Warwickshire. He was present, as a member, at the first known meeting (16 Dec. 1651) of the Wirksworth classis, of which he was a most regular attendant (fifteen times moderator) till its last recorded meeting (17 Nov. 1658). His sermon before the classis on 17 July 1655 was 'well approved' as 'orthodox and seasonable.' On 15 Jan. 1656, by appointment of the classis, he delivered the fifth of a series of doctrinal arguments directed against the errors of Socinians, his thesis being 'that the name Jehovah is incommunicable.' In the minutes, as in the Carsington parish register, his name is always written Otefield or Oateield (twice). By the Uniformity Act (1662) he was ejected from Carrington. After this he moved from place to place, sometimes attending the established church, and often preaching in conventicles. Latterly he settled at Alfreton, Derbyshire. Once a fortnight he preached at Road Nook, Derbyshire, in a house belonging to John Spateman, and was informed against for so doing. It was proved that he was ten miles off on the specified day; the informers were prosecuted, and one of them pilloried at Derby.

For some time before his death he was disabled. He died on 6 June 1662, 'ætat. 55,' and was buried in Alfreton Church, where there is a brass plate to his memory. He married Ann, sister of Robert Porter (d. 1690) [q. v.], vicar of Pentrich, Derbyshire. Four of his sons entered the ministry: (1) John (b. 1 Nov. 1654), who received presbyterian ordination in September 1681, and afterwards conformed; (2) Joshua (separately noticed); (3) Nathaniel, Presbyterian minister (1689-96) at Globe Alley, Maid Lane, Southwark (d. 31 Dec. 1696, aged 32); (4) Samuel, who received presbyterian ordination on 14 April 1698, and was minister at Woolwich, Kent, and from 1719 at Ramsbury, Wiltshire (living in 1729).

He published ‘The First Last and the Last First . . . substance of . . . Lecture in the Country,' &c., 1666, 12mo (addressed by ‘J. O.’ to the 'parishioners of 'C. and W. in the county of D.') Calamy mentions that he published 'a larger piece about prayer.' His last sermon at Carsington is in 'Farewell Sermons,' 1663, 8vo (country collection). His ‘soliloquy’ after the passing of the Uniformity Act is abridged in Calamy; some striking sentences from it are noted in 'North and South,' 1855, vol. i. ch. iv., by Mrs, Gaskell.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 172 sq., and Continuation, 1727. i. 283; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London. 1814, iv. 157; Cox's Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, 1875 i. 8., 1877 ii. 562; Minutes of Wirksworth Classis in Derbyshire Archæol. and Nat. Hist. Soc. 1880 pp. 150 sq.; Evans's List (manuscript) in Dr. Williams' Library; Manuscript Minutes of Nottingham Classis; extracts from Carsington Register per the Rev. F. H. Brett.]

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