Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 40.djvu/331

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

‘Ultimum Vale, or the Last Farewell of a Minister of the Gospel to a beloved People,’ London, 1663.

On 30 July 1662 the English community at Leyden was authorised by the magistrate to call Newcomen from Dedham. In December following he accepted the call, and became pastor of the English church there. Professor Hornbeck, and many others of the university, appreciated his abilities. In 1668 his congregation voted him a yearly salary of one thousand florins, with an additional five hundred on 1 Feb. 1669 (Leyden Stadtarchiv).

The name of ‘Newcomen, minister,’ was included among fourteen persons warned home by a royal proclamation issued 26 March 1666, signed by Charles II on 9 April (State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, pp. 318, 342), but it was struck out owing to personal influence. Sir John Webster, under date 5 March 1667, wrote to the king from abroad, begging license to remain for himself, and also for ‘Mr. Nathaniel [an obvious error for Matthew] Newcomen, a poore preacher at Leyden, that hath a sicke wife and five poore and sicklye children. He came out of England with license, and liveth peaceably, not meddling with anie affaires in England, hath done nothing towards printing or dispersing bookes, and has constantly prayed for the King and Council. He humbly craveth to be exempt from the summons, and is readye to purge himself by word or oath before any Comissary yr. Majie. may appoint.’ Webster says he writes at ‘the entreaty of several persons of respect, and by Mr. Richard Maden, preacher at Amsterdam’ (ib. 1666–7, p. 549).

Newcomen died at Leyden about 1 Sept. 1669 of the plague. On 16 Sept. his funeral sermon was preached at Dedham by John Fairfax (1623–1700) [q. v.], ejected minister of Barking, Suffolk. Great numbers were present, and in the returns made to Sheldon that year the service is spoken of as ‘an outrageous conventicle.’ The sermon was published under the title of ‘The Dead Saint yet speaking,’ London, 1679. Newcomen's widow was granted on 13 March 1670 permission to sell his books, and on 8 April she, meaning to return to England, was voted five hundred florins ‘in consideration of the good services of her deceased husband, and of her receiving as guests the preachers who came to Leyden since his death about seven months ago’ (Leyden Stadtarchiv). Newcomen's house at Dedham, ‘which cost him 600l.,’ was purchased from his representatives in 1703 by a successor in the lectureship, William Burkitt [q. v.] the commentator, and, together with a sum collected by him, settled upon the lecturers (Letter from Burkitt, quoted in The Church in Dedham in the Seventeenth Century by the Rev. G. Taylor, D.C.L., lecturer, 1868).

Newcomen married in 1640 Hannah, daughter of Robert Snelling, M.P. for Ipswich 1614–25, sister of Edmund Calamy's first wife, and widow of Gilbert Reyney or Rany, rector of St. Mary's Stoke, Ipswich. Newcomen was her third husband, the first being one Prettiman (Hunter MSS.) Four sons and seven daughters were born to Newcomen at Dedham, but six died in early childhood, and were buried there. There were living in 1667 Stephen, baptised on 17 Sept. 1645; Hannah, baptised on 9 March 1647; Martha, 30 March 1651; Alice, 25 July 1652; and Sarah, 26 Aug. 1655. Stephen was inscribed a member of Leyden University on 28 May 1663, æt. 17, ‘student in philosophy.’ It is probable that he was the father of Stephen Newcomen, vicar of Braintree 1709–38, donor to that living of a considerable sum of money as well as curious communion plate, and vicar of Boreham, Essex, from 1738 until his death, 15 July 1750, aged 72.

Matthew Newcomen is said to have written a work called ‘Irenicum,’ which must not be confounded with Stillingfleet's ‘Irenicum, a Weapon Salve for the Church's Wounds,’ 1662. He also published seven sermons separately, and is stated by Hunter (Chorus Vatum) to have written verses on the death of Richard Vines [q. v.]

Matthew's elder brother, Thomas Newcomen (1603?–1665), born at Colchester about 1603, was educated at the Royal Grammar School there, and on 6 Nov. 1622 elected the first Lewis scholar at St. John's College, Cambridge (‘Admissions,’ in Essex Arch. Trans. vol. iv. pt. ii. p. 7, New Ser.) He graduated B.A. in 1624, and M.A. 1628–9. After holding the living of St. Runwald's, Colchester, for a short time, he was presented on 10 Nov. 1628 to Holy Trinity. Unlike his puritan brother Matthew, he became a strong royalist, and in the parliamentarian town of Colchester was an object of marked hate. He was arrested at one o'clock on the morning of 22 Aug. 1642, as he was starting to join the royal army at Nottingham in the company of Sir John Lucas. An infuriated mob tore the clothes off his back, beat him with cudgels and halberds, and carried him to the Moot Hall. On the Friday following he was committed to the Fleet, where he remained until 24 Sept. Complaints of Newcomen were laid before the committee for scandalous ministers in Essex on 2 April 1644, on the ground that he left his cure unprovided for, ‘when in town preached but seldom,’ and refused to administer the sacrament except at