Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Winter, Samuel
WINTER, SAMUEL, D.D. (1603–1666), provost of Trinity College, Dublin, son of Christopher Winter, a yeoman from Oxfordshire, was born at Temple Balsall, a chapelry in the parish of Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire, in 1603. He early received religious impressions from the preaching of Slader, a puritan divine for whom his father had obtained the neighbouring chapel of Knowle. His mind being bent on the ministry, his father sent him in 1617 to King Henry VIII's school, Coventry, where Dugdale was his contemporary under James Cranford [see under Cranford, James]. He proceeded to Queens' College, Cambridge, his tutor being John Preston, D.D. [q. v.] After graduating M.A., he placed himself under John Cotton (1585–1652), vicar of Boston, Lincolnshire, with a view to preparation for the ministry. Cotton found him a rich wife, and made him, in ecclesiastical theory, an independent. Recovering from a dangerous fever, he became perpetual curate of Woodborough, Nottinghamshire, developing there a considerable gift of preaching. He obtained a lectureship at York, but, owing to the civil war, left it in 1642 for the vicarage of Cottingham, East Riding, worth 400l. a year. Here he organised a church on the congregational model. With the leave of his church (Urwick, p. 57; the Life, 1671, erroneously says that he resigned his living), he went to Ireland as chaplain to the four parliamentary commissioners. They paid him 100l. a year, afterwards increased to 200l. He went about the country with them, preaching when in Dublin at Christ Church Cathedral, and adding a morning lecture at St. Nicholas's, to which he attracted the poor by a distribution of ‘white loaves’ after sermon.
On or before 3 Sept. 1651 the commissioners appointed him provost of Trinity College, in succession to Anthony Martin, bishop of Meath, who died of the plague in 1650. On 18 Nov. 1651 he performed the acts for B.D. On 3 June 1652 his appointment as provost was confirmed by Oliver Cromwell. The degree of D.D. was conferred upon him by special grace on 17 Aug. 1654, Henry Jones (1605–1682) [q. v.], bishop of Clogher, being vice-chancellor. Winter looked carefully after the college estates, making distant journeys for the purpose; he secured the appointment (24 Nov. 1656) of a lecturer in Hebrew, John Sterne or Stearne (1624–1669) [q. v.]; he made Greek and Hebrew imperative subjects (14 June 1659) for the B.A. degree, and he imported men of learning from England as fellows. He remitted none of his preaching engagements, adding a voluntary lecture every three weeks at Maynooth. Baxter's friend, John Bridges, induced him in 1655 to take the lead in forming a clerical association in which independents, presbyterians, and episcopalians could meet in amity (Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 1696, ii. 169).
Richard Cromwell's parliament summoned Winter to London (13 Aug. 1659). He was retained as provost, and elected (28 Nov.) divinity lecturer. But on 29 March 1660 he was called upon by the ‘general convention of Ireland,’ on the petition of ‘several of the scholars,’ to produce the charter of the college, and a copy of the statutory oath to be taken by provosts. This oath Winter had not taken, and this circumstance seems to have been used by the ‘general convention’ as a means of setting him aside, the real ground being his politics as an independent (Carte, Ormonde, 1736, ii. 200). The date at which Winter left Ireland is not certain. The college was in his debt, and the money he had advanced was never fully repaid. The government of the college was entrusted (6 Nov.) to Thomas Seele, a senior fellow, who was admitted provost on 19 Jan. 1661. The independent church which he had formed at St. Nicholas's was ministered to by Samuel Mather [q. v.], and is the church to the ministry of which James Martineau was ordained in 1828.
Henceforth Winter had no fixed abode, spending his time with friends at Chester and Coventry, and with his wife's relatives in Hertfordshire and Rutland. He fell ill on a fast day (13 Oct. 1666) in Rutland, preached privately the next Sunday, and then took to his bed, dying on 24 Dec. 1666. He was buried at South Luffenham, Rutland. He left ‘a plentiful estate,’ due to the good management of his second wife. His first wife was Anne Beeston (or Bestoe), by whom he had five sons. Three years after her death at Cottingham he married (before 1650) Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Weaver, a woman of some property, and with strong anabaptist leanings. He published ‘The Summe of Diverse Sermons preached in Dublin,’ Dublin, 1656, 8vo (in favour of infant baptism). He was one of several joint authors of the life (1657) of John Murcot [q. v.][Life, 1671, by J. W. (probably his brother-in-law, Weaver); reproduced in great part in Clarke's Lives of Eminent Persons, 1683, i. 95; much abridged in Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 544; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 721; also abridged in Middleton's Biographia Evangelica, 1784, iii. 387 (with additions), and in Colvile's Worthies of Warwickshire, 1870, p. 831; Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, 1696; Armstrong's App. to Martineau's Ordination Service, 1829, p. 78; Pishey Thompson's Hist. of Boston, 1856, p. 784; Reid's Hist. of Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Killen), 1871, p. 556; Stubbs's Hist. of Univ. of Dublin, 1889, pp. 89 sq.; Urwick's Early Hist. of Trin. Coll. Dublin, 1892, pp. 57 sq.]