Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Horton, Thomas (d.1673)

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HORTON, THOMAS, D.D. (d. 1673), president of Queens' College, Cambridge, a native of London, was son of Laurence Horton, merchant, and a member of the Mercers' Company. He was admitted a pensioner of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 8 July 1623, proceeding B.A. in 1626, was elected a fellow of his college, and commenced M.A. in 1630. In 1637 he took the degree of B.D., and was appointed one of the twelve university preachers. In 1638 he was chosen president, or head, of Queens' College. From 12 July 1638 till 28 Nov. 1640 he was minister of St. Mary Colechurch, London, a donative of the Mercers' Company. He was elected professor of divinity in Gresham College, London, 26 Oct. 1641.

In 1644 Horton was one of the association of divines appointed by the parliament to ordain ministers in and near the city of London, and in the year following he subscribed the petition of the ministers of the province of London to the parliament, in which they prayed for the speedy establishment of the presbyterian government in congregational, classical, and national assemblies. He was a member of Gray's Inn, and from 18 May 1647 till 1657 was preacher there. In 1649 he was created D.D. at Cambridge. In 1649 he was chosen vice-chancellor, and with the heads of houses carried new regulations for the government of the presses and printers of the university. About 1651 he married, and although he procured from the committee of parliament for reforming the universities an order that his marriage should not disqualify him for his professorship, the Gresham committee, acting in accordance with the founder's will, declared the place vacant. The committee did not proceed to a new election till 19 May 1656, when George Gifford was chosen, but Horton obtained a new dispensation from Cromwell, and remained in possession till the Restoration. Charles II granted him a temporary respite in 1660, but in 1661 Gifford took his place. On 9 Aug. 1652 Horton was incorporated D.D. at Oxford, and in 1658 he was nominated one of the triers or commissioners for the approbation of young ministers. In 1654 he was appointed by the Protector one of the visitors of the university of Cambridge. On 5 Nov. in that year he preached at St. Paul's before the lord mayor and court of aldermen, and his sermon was printed.

On 2 Aug. 1660 he was removed from the presidency of Queens' College, Cambridge, to make room for Dr. Martin, who had been ejected in 1644. Horton withdrew with good grace. When the Savoy conference was appointed, Horton was nominated an assistant on the side of the presbyterians, though, according to Baxter, he never joined in the deliberations. He was one of the divines who were silenced by the Bartholomew Act in 1662, but he conformed soon afterwards, On 13 June 1666 he was admitted to the vicarage of Great St. Helen's in Bishopsgate Street, London, and held it till his death. He was buried in the chancel of that church on 29 March 1673 (Smyth, Obituary, p. 98), leaving a widow, but no children.

His biographer. Dr. John Wallis, who had been under his tuition at Cambridge, says he was 'a pious and learned man, an hard student, a sound divine, a good textuary, very well skilled in the oriental languages, very well accomplished for the work of the ministry, and very conscientious in the discharge of it.' He published eight single sermons and left many others prepared for the press. After his death were published:

  1. 'Forty-six Sermons upon the whole Eighth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans,' Lond. 1674, fol., edited by Dr. William Dillingham.
  2. 'A Choice and Practical Exposition upon the 4, 47, 51, and 63 Psalms,'Lond. 1675, fol.
  3. 'One Hundred Select Sermons upon Several Texts: Fifty upon the Old Testament, And Fifty on the New,' Lond. 1679, fol., with the author's life by Dr. Wallis.

He and Dillingham prepared for press a treatise written by Dr. John Arrowsmith, entitled 'Armilla Catechetica,' Cambridge, 1659, 4to.

[Memoir by Wallis; Addit. MSS. 5808 pp. 154, 156. 5672 p.202; Baxter's Life and Times, book i. pt. ii. pp. 303, 307; Kennett's Register and Chronicle, p. 42: Nea1's Puritans, iii. 15l, iv. 124; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 363, 919; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, vol.ii.lib.xiv p. 46; Thurloe State Papers, v. 322. 406; Ward's Gresham Professors, p. 65, with the author's manuscript additions; Waters's Family of Chester. pp. 640-1; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), li. 172.]

T. C.