Newton, Benjamin (DNB00)

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NEWTON, BENJAMIN (1677–1735), divine, was born at Leicester 8 Dec. 1677. His father, John Newton, fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, was vicar of St. Martin's, Leicester, and master of Sir William Wigston's Hospital there. He was afterwards rector of Taynton, and prebendary of Gloucester (installed 24 Sept. 1690). He died 20 Sept. 1711, aged 73. Benjamin was educated at the grammar school in Leicester. His memory was remarkably retentive, and he was a promising pupil. On 29 Jan. 1694 he was admitted sub-sizar at Clare Hall, Cambridge. He proceeded B.A. in 1698, and M.A. on 7 July 1702. In 1704 he was presented by Sir Nathan Wright, lord keeper of the great seal, to the small crown living of Allington, Lincolnshire. He married in 1707, and the following year settled in Gloucester, being elected by the corporation to the large parish of St. Nicholas, and being installed a minor canon of the cathedral.

In December 1709 Newton succeeded to the living of Taynton, Gloucestershire, by the gift of the dean and chapter. On 3 Aug. 1712 he was appointed head-master of the King's School at Gloucester, and resigned his stall. But teaching soon grew irksome to him, and voluntarily retiring from the headmastership in September 1718, he devoted himself to study. He was reinstalled minor canon on 30 Nov. 1723. On 29 Sept. 1731 he became librarian of the cathedral library, and on 29 Jan. 1732–3 was presented to the vicarage of Lantwit Major, Glamorganshire. He thereupon resigned the living of Taynton, but still chiefly resided in Gloucester, where he retained the rectory of St. Nicholas. At the end of March 1735 he was seized with pleurisy, and died on Good Fri- day, 4 April 1735. He was buried on Easter Sunday in St. Nicholas Church, Gloucester.

Despite his numerous preferments, Newton's family were left dependent upon his friends, who published thirty-one of his sermons for their benefit, with a memoir by his eldest son John. The volume was entitled ‘Sermons preached on Several Occasions,’ 2 vols. London, 1736. A portrait, engraved by Vandergucht after Robbins, was prefixed.

Newton married first, in 1707, Jane, daughter of John Foxcroft, vicar of Nuneaton, by whom he had a son, John; secondly, 12 Jan. 1718–19, Mary, daughter of Benjamin King, D.D., prebendary of Gloucester, who died about 1725. By her he had three children.

Benjamin Newton (d. 1787), divine, son of the above by his second wife, was elected a fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, on 10 Jan. 1745 (B.A. 1743, M.A. 1747), and was subsequently precentor, bursar, tutor, and dean of his college. In 1763 he became vicar of Sandhurst, Gloucestershire, and chiefly resided there until November 1784; but he was also rector of St. John Baptist, Gloucester, and vicar of St. Aldate's (probably from 1768). He died 29 June 1787. He published, besides a sermon (Gloucester, 1760): 1. ‘Another Dissertation on the Mutual Support of Trade and Civil Liberty, addressed to the Author of the former’ [W. Weston, fellow of St. John's, Cambridge], London, 1756. 2. ‘The Influence of the Improvement of Life on the Moral Principles,’ Cambridge, 1758.

[For the father, see Sermons, with Life, London, 1736; Le Neve's Fasti, i. 450; Gent. Mag. April 1735; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, Noble's Continuation, iii. 132; Fosbrooke's Hist. of Gloucester, p. 183. For the son, see Gent. Mag. July 1787, p. 640; Fosbrooke's Hist. of Gloucester, p. 155; Fétis's Biog. Univ.; Lysons's Hist. of the … Meeting of the Three Choirs, London, 1865, App.; information from the Sandhurst registers, kindly supplied by the Rev. T. Holbrow, and from the books of Jesus College, Cambridge, per the master.]

C. F. S.