Rowe, John (1626-1677) (DNB00)

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ROWE, JOHN (1626–1677), nonconformist divine, son of John Rowe (1588–1660), and grandson of Lawrence Rowe, was born at Crediton, Devonshire, in 1626. His religious biography of his father, published in 1673, is included in Clarke's ‘Lives,’ 1683. On 1 April 1642 he entered as a batler at New Inn Hall, Oxford. Next year, Oxford being garrisoned for the king and New Inn Hall used as a mint, he removed to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1646. On 8 Dec. 1648 he was incorporated B.A. at Oxford; on 12 Dec. he was admitted M.A., and on 11 Oct. 1649 was made fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, by the parliamentary visitors. He was a good patristic scholar, well read in philosophy and jurisprudence, and versed in the schoolmen. From his youth to the last he made a practice of keeping a diary in Greek. His first preferment was a lectureship at Witney, Oxfordshire; this had once been a puritan place, but Rowe's congregation was thin. On 3 Feb. 1653 the ‘most pleasant comedy of Mucedorus’ was acted in a room of the inn at Witney, before three hundred or four hundred spectators, by a company of amateurs from Stanton-Harcourt. After the second act the floor broke down, and five persons were killed. Rowe made this catastrophe the topic of a series of sermons. He soon became lecturer at Tiverton, Devonshire, vacating his fellowship, and was made assistant-commissioner to the ‘expurgators’ (August 1654) for Devonshire, but can hardly have acted as such, for in the same year he succeeded William Strong (d. June 1654) as preacher at Westminster Abbey and pastor of an independent church which met in the abbey. Among its members was John Bradshaw (1602–1659) [q. v.], the regicide, whose funeral sermon was preached by Rowe. On 14 March 1660 he was appointed one of the approvers of ministers.

The Restoration deprived him of his offices. He migrated with his church to Bartholomew Close, and afterwards to Holborn (probably Baker's Court), where Theophilus Gale [q. v.] was his assistant. He died on 12 Oct. 1677, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. In person he was tall and dignified, with a pleasing manner. He left two sons—Thomas [q. v.] and Benoni [see under Rowe, Thomas]. His sister became the mother of Henry Grove [q. v.]

He published, besides a sermon before parliament (1656) and his father's life above noted:

  1. ‘Tragi-Comœdia … a Brief Relation of the … Hand of God … at Witney … with … three Sermons,’ &c., Oxford, 1653, 4to.
  2. ‘Heavenly-mindedness and Earthly-mindedness,’ &c., 1672, 16mo, 2 parts.
  3. ‘The Saints' Temptation … also the Saints' Great Fence,’ &c., 1675, 8vo.

Posthumous was

  1. ‘Emmanuel, or the Love of Christ,’ &c., 1680, 8vo, thirty sermons, edited by Samuel Lee [q. v.]

He edited works by William Strong (1656 and 1657, 12mo) and by E. Pearse (1674 and 1683, 8vo). Calamy gives a list of his unpublished manuscripts.

[Lee's preface to Emmanuel, 1680; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. (Bliss), iii. 1128 sq.; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), ii. 108 sq.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1891, iii. 1284; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 39 sq.; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 59; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1810, iii. 156 sq.; Jones's Bunhill Memorials, 1849, p. 245.]

A. G.