Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Manning, William (1630?-1711)

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MANNING, WILLIAM (1633?–1711), ejected minister, may be identical with William Manning (son of William Manning) who, born at Cockfield, Suffolk, was educated at Stowmarket and admitted a sizar of Christ's College, Cambridge, on 25 Oct. 1649, aged 16 (Henry More being his tutor). He was one of three brothers, all holding benefices till the Uniformity Act of 1662, and members, while beneficed, of congregational churches; John (d 1694), who entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1633, and graduated M.A. in 1641, was perpetual curate of Peasenhall, Suffolk; Samuel was perpetual curate of Walpole, Suffolk. William was perpetual curate of Middleton, Suffolk, and ejected for nonconformity by the Act of 1662.

William Manning at that date settled at Peasenhall, and took out a license under the indulgence of 1672 as a ‘congregational teacher in his own house’ there; his brother John, who remained at Peasenhall after his ejection, took out a similar license. Calamy describes William Manning as ‘a man of great abilities and learning.’ In 1686 he published a small volume of sermons, broad in spirit, but evangelical in doctrine. He was in the habit of preaching occasionally at Lowestoft, Suffolk, and this brought him into acquaintance with Thomas Emlyn [q. v.], who in 1689 was chaplain at Rose Hall to Sir Robert Rich, a member of the presbyterian congregation at Lowestoft. Manning and Emlyn read Sherlock's ‘Vindication’ of the Trinity (1690), and were both led in consequence to doubt that doctrine. Manning soon made up his mind in favour of Socinianism, and argued strongly for it in his correspondence with Emlyn, which began on Emlyn's removal to Dublin (1691), and lasted till Manning's death. Several of the letters are printed in the ‘Monthly Repository.’ He seems to have lost no opportunity of making converts to his new views; he succeeded in bringing over some of his hearers, and endeavoured without effect to gain an adherent in John Hurrion [q. v.], a student for the ministry (1698) at Heveningham, near Walpole, afterwards congregational minister at Denton, Norfolk (from 29 July 1701). His chief local opponent was Nathaniel Parkhurst, vicar of Yoxford, Suffolk. He became very deaf, and this led him to give up preaching (before 1704), but he retained an active mind, and took great interest in the current developments of theological opinion. He died on 13 Feb. 1711, aged (as was said) 81, and was buried at Peasenhall on 15 Feb. He was married in 1652; his wife Priscilla died on 14 June 1710, aged 80. His great-grandson, William Manning of Ormesby, Norfolk, died on 30 June 1825, aged 93.

He published: ‘Catholick Religion … discovered in … some Discourses upon Acts x. 35, 36,’ &c., 1686, 12mo.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 659; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 806; Emlyn's Memoirs, 1746, pp. xiii, xix sq.; Monthly Repository, 1817 pp. 377 sq., 387 sq., 478, 1825 pp. 497, 705 sq., 1826 pp. 33 sq. (at p. 336 ‘Mr. N.’ is Stephen Nye, ‘Mr.——’ is Nathaniel Parkhurst, ‘Mr. J.’ is G. Jones); Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff., 1877, pp. 336 sq., 438, 528 sq.; information from the Master of Emmanuel.]

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