Lawson, Thomas (1620?-1695) (DNB00)

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LAWSON, THOMAS (1620?–1695), independent divine, born about 1620, was educated at Catharine Hall, Cambridge, and graduated M.A., being afterwards elected fellow of St. John's College. In June 1646 he obtained the vicarage of Fingrinhoe, Essex, on the sequestration of Joseph Long, and on 4 May 1647 he was instituted in addition to the neighbouring rectory of East Donyland, Essex, on the presentation of Henry Tunstall, confirmed by order of the House of Commons. In 1648 he signed the 'Essex testimony.' a presbyterian manifesto. Still holding his preferments, he became on 28 Oct. 1649 a member of the independent church at Norwich. Late in 1650, or early in 1651, he was presented by Robert Wilton to the rectory of Denton, Norfolk, and apparently resigned his other preferments. On April 1655 the Norwich independent church dismissed 'brother Thomas Lawson' to join with 'the Christians at Denton;' on 8 June an independent church at Denton was received into fellowship with that of Norwich. The Denton independent church does not seem to have flourished; in July 1661 Lawson was a member of the independent church at Market Weston, Suffolk (afterwards at Wattisfield, Suffolk). He probably held his living till the Uniformity Act of 1662. At the time of the indulgence of 1672 he was living at Norton, Suffolk; he took out a license (17 April) for preaching in his own house, and another for preaching at 'Dame Cook's house, in Southgate Street, Bury St. Edmunds.' He joined the independent church at Bury St. Edmunds on 20 Oct. 1689. Calamy says he was 'a man of parts, but had no good utterance.' He died at Bury St. Edmunds in 1695, aged about 75. He had a son Jabez, and another son Deodate, who went to New England and came back under a cloud.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 483; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 629; Davids's Evang. Nonconformity in Essex, 1863, pp. 551 sq.; Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, pp. 333 sq., 404.]

A. G.