Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheffield, John (1654?-1726)

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SHEFFIELD, JOHN (1654?–1726), nonconformist divine, was born at Ibstock, Leicestershire, about 1654. His father, William Sheffield, M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge, was rector of Ibstock from 1644 to 1662, sustained a discussion with Samuel, father of Titus Oates [q. v.], and died at Kibworth, Leicestershire, in 1673. Sheffield, after passing through Kibworth grammar school, was put to trade; but his bent was to the ministry, for which he studied under John Shuttlewood [q.v.], following his tutor from one hiding-place to another. On 27 Sept. 1682 he was ordained by Shuttlewood and three other ejected ministers. He began his ministry as chaplain to Mrs. Palmer at Temple Hall, Leicestershire, where a small meeting-house was built for him, and another at Atherstone, Warwickshire (both, probably, in 1689). In 1697 he succeeded Nathaniel Vincent [q.v.] as pastor of the presbyterian congregation in St. Thomas Street, Southwark. He was a friend of Locke, who admired his exegetical powers. In the Salters' Hall debates of 1719 [see Bradbury, Thomas, and Pierce, James] he went with the non-subscribers. He died on 24 Jan. 1726, aged 72. He published a tract on salvation and a sermon (1705). His son William was dissenting minister at Buckingham, Windsor (1715–26), and Haverhill, Essex.

John Sheffield (fl. 1643–1647), M.A., of Peterhouse, Cambridge, was probably related to the above. He obtained (1643) the sequestered rectory of St. Swithin, London, to which in 1660 Richard Owen [q. v.] was restored. He retired to Enfield, and in 1665 took the oath prescribed by the Five Miles Act (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 1696, iii. 13). He published: 1. ‘A Good Conscience the Strongest Hold,’ 1650, 8vo. 2. ‘The Rising Sun of Righteousness,’ 1654, 12mo. 3. ‘The Hypocrite's Ladder,’ 1658, 8vo. 4. ‘The Sinfulness of Evil Thoughts,’ 1659, 8vo. 5. ‘A Discourse of Excuses,’ 1672 (Calamy).

[Funeral Sermon by Edmund Calamy, 1726; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 38 sq., 421 sq.; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 58; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 173; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1814, iv. 307 sq.; James's Hist. Litig. Presb. Chapels and Charities, 1867, pp. 650, 651, 660, 670.]

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