Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hughes, George

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HUGHES, GEORGE (1603–1667), puritan divine, born of humble parentage in Southwark in 1603, was sent to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in the beginning of 1619. He was admitted B.A. on 19 Feb. 1622–3, and proceeded M.A. on 23 June 1625 as a fellow of Pembroke College (Oxf. Univ. Reg., Oxf. Hist. Soc., vol. ii. pt. iii. p. 417). About 1628 he was ordained, and, after serving curacies in and near Oxford, he was chosen in 1631 lecturer at All Hallows, Bread Street, London, where he soon obtained popularity as a preacher. He commenced B.D. on 10 July 1633. For his refusal to comply with the rubrics he was suspended by Laud, and would have emigrated to America had he not been dissuaded by John Dod [q.v.], on whose recommendation he was appointed chaplain to Lord Brooke at Warwick Castle. During his residence there he married a Coventry lady. Ultimately the mother of Serjeant Maynard prevailed on the Earl of Bedford to obtain for him the rectory of Tavistock in Devonshire, and the earl also made him his chaplain. The outbreak of the civil war obliged him to remove to Exeter, where his wife died. Here he won the esteem of Prince Rupert and his staff, who frequently heard him preach. On his deciding to leave the city the prince provided him with safe-conducts, which enabled him to travel in peace to Coventry. On 21 Oct. 1643 the corporation of Plymouth elected him vicar of St. Andrew's Church. He dedicated to the corporation his 'Dry Rod blooming and fruit-bearing; or a treatise of the pain, gain, and use of chastenings; preached partly in severall sermons [on Hebr. xii. 11-13], but now compiled more orderly and fully,' 4to, London, 1644. Baxter considered it the best work of its kind. In 1647 he was appointed to preach before the House of Commons, and received a vote of thanks. His sermon was printed with the title 'Væ-euge-tuba; or the Wo-Joy-Trumpet, Sounding the third and greatest woe to the Anti-christian World, but the first and last Joy to the Church of the Saints,' 4to, London 1647. The following year he subscribed with seventy-two other ministers 'The joint testimonie of the Ministers of Devon … with … the Ministers of the province of London unto the truth of Jesus … in pursuance of the solemn League and Covenant of the three nations,' 4to, London, 1648. In 1654 he was made one of the assistants to the commissioners of Devonshire. Though expelled from his living in August 1662, he continued to reside at Plymouth. For holding services in secret he was arrested in 1665 and, with his brother-in-law and assistant Thomas Martyn, confined at St. Nicholas Island, near the town, where he remained about nine months. He found occupation in writing a reply to John Sergeant's 'Sure-footing in Christianity,' 1665, which appeared after his death under the title of 'Sure-footing in Christianity examined,' 8vo, London 1668. Meanwhile his health was fast failing. His friends managed to procure his release by giving heavy security; but he was forbidden to live within twenty miles of Plymouth. He accordingly took up his abode at Kingsbridge, Devonshire, where he died on 4 July 1667, and was buried in the church. A memorial tablet was erected to him about 1670 by Thomas Crispin, for which Hughes's son-in-law, the well-known nonconformist divine, John Howe [q.v.], wrote a Latin inscription. There is a portrait of him in Palmer's 'Nonconformist's Memorial.' His son Obadiah (1640-1704) was grandfather of Obadiah Hughes (1695-1751) [q. v.]

His other writings are, besides sermons preached at the funerals 'of … Captaine Henry Waller,' 4to, London, 1632, and 'of Master William Crompton … pastor of Lanceston, Cornwall,' 4to, London, 1642: 1. 'Aphorisms, or Select Propositions of the Scripture, shortly determining the Doctrine of the Sabbath' (edited by 0. Hughes), 8vo, London, 1670. 2. 'An Analytical Exposition of … Genesis and of xxiii. chap. of Exodus,' fol., Amsterdam, 1672. He also edited R. Head's 'Threefold Cord to unite Soules for ever unto God,' 4to, 1647.

[Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. ii. 56-62; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 777-80; Rowe's Eccl. Hist. of Old Plymouth, ii. 37-9.]

G. G.