Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Porter, Robert (d.1690)

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PORTER, ROBERT (d. 1690), ejected divine, was born in Nottinghamshire, and educated at Cambridge, but the college is not specified. He became vicar of Pentrich, Derbyshire, in 1650, succeeding John Chapman (d. 1 Nov. 1652), who had been sequestered by the parliamentary commissioners. The living yielded an income of but 15l., which was brought up to ‘near fifty’ by the parishioners. Porter refused other preferment, and devoted himself to parish work. In his principles he was a very moderate nonconformist of the school of John Ball (1585–1640) [q. v.] He became a member of the Wirksworth presbyterian classis, and was moderator at its first recorded meeting on 16 Dec. 1651. Great deference was paid to his judgment, especially in cases of conscience. He was ejected from Pentrich by the Uniformity Act of 1662; his farewell sermon is in ‘England's Remembrancer,’ 1663. He remained in the parish, preaching privately in his own house. On the coming into force (25 March 1666) of the Five Mile Act, he retired to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, but still ministered occasionally to his old flock preaching by night at ‘an obscure house’ in Longcroft Fields. After the indulgence of 1672 he established a congregation at Mansfield, but he always attended the services of the parish church, and held his own meetings out of church hours. Hence he was never molested. He died at Mansfield on 22 Jan. 1690. His sister Ann married John Oldfield or Otefield [q. v.]

Posthumous was his ‘Life of Mr. John Hieron, with … Memorials of ten other worthy Ministers,’ &c. 1691, 4to, a valuable collection of Derbyshire nonconformist biographies used by Calamy (four copies in Brit. Mus.)

[Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 180 sq.; Cox's Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, 1879, iv. 357 sq.; Minutes of Wirksworth Classis in Derbyshire Archæol. and Nat. Hist. Soc. 1880, pp. 150 sq.]

A. G.