Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Newte, John
NEWTE, JOHN (1655?–1716), divine, son of Richard Newte [q. v.], was born about 1655, and was educated at Blundell's school, Tiverton, Devonshire. He was elected thence to Balliol College, Oxford, and although he matriculated from Exeter College on 12 July 1672, he graduated B.A. of Balliol College in 1676 and M.A. 1679. On the foundation at that college of a second establishment of fellows from Blundell's school, he was the first to be elected (1676), and he is said to have been incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1681. He was appointed to the rectory of Tidcombe Portion, Tiverton, in February 1678–9, and in 1680 was made rector of Pitt's Portion in the same town, holding both livings until his death. For six years, 1680–3, and 1710–13, Newte was a member of convocation, and as a high tory in church and state he inculcated under the Stuarts the doctrine of passive obedience, a circumstance of which he was reminded after the Revolution. He died on 7 March 1715–16, and his wife, Editha, daughter of William Bone of Faringdon, Devonshire, predeceased him on 13 Feb. 1704–5. Their daughter Mary married the Rev. John Pitman, whose son and grandson were also beneficed in Devonshire.
Newte's charitable gifts to the town of Tiverton were very numerous. In 1710 he expended over 80l. in setting up battlements round the church wall of St. Peter, Tiverton; on 1 Dec. 1714 he laid the foundation-stone of the chapel of St. George, Tiverton, and he gave a large sum towards the cost of its erection. By his will he left the annual income of certain lands, called Lobb Philip, in Braunton, Devonshire, to some relatives in succession for their lives, and afterwards to Balliol College, to found an exhibition at the university for seven years, for a scholar who should be chosen by the three rectors of Tiverton. He also gave 250 volumes of books and certain pictures of Charles I, Archbishop Laud, and other dignitaries, to be preserved in the chamber over the vestry at Tiverton for the use of the parishioners. Among the books was a very valuable illuminated missal.
Newte published ‘The Lawfulness and Use of Organs in the Christian Church. Asserted in a sermon preached at Tiverton 13 Sept. 1696 on occasion of an organ being erected in the Parish Church,’ 1696; 2nd edit. 1701. It was the first organ that had been erected in the west of England, outside the city of Exeter, since the rebellion, and he was occupied for ten years in collecting funds for its purchase. The sermon was attacked in ‘A Letter to a Friend in the Country concerning the Use of Instrumental Musick in the Worship of God, in Answer to Mr. Newte's Sermon, 1698,’ and defended in ‘A Treatise concerning the Lawfulness of Instrumental Musick in Holy Offices. By Henry Dodwell, 1700,’ to which Newte added a long preface in vindication of his opinions. He also wrote ‘A Discourse shewing the Duty of Honouring the Lord with our Substance. Together with the Impiety of Tithe-stealing,’ 1711, which contained a long preface against ‘Deists, Quakers, Tithe-stealers.’ To it was prefixed his portrait, painted by Thomas Foster and engraved by Vandergucht. Newte supplied Prince for the ‘Worthies of Devon,’ and Walker for his ‘Sufferings of the Clergy,’ with the materials for his father's life and for his troubles during the civil war and Commonwealth.[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Harding's Tiverton, passim; Dunsford's Tiverton, pp. 151–2, 308, 331–2; Snell's Tiverton, pp. 142–4, 158–61, 183; Incledon's Blundell Donations, pp. 62–4, xlii–xliii, lix.]