Shaw, Samuel (DNB00)

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SHAW, SAMUEL (1635–1696), nonconformist divine, son of Thomas Shaw, blacksmith, was born at Repton, Derbyshire, in 1635. From Repton grammar school he went to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted sizar, 23 Dec. 1650, and graduated B.A. In 1656 he was appointed master of the grammar school at Tamworth, Warwickshire. His first publication was a funeral oration (1657) for Thomas Blake [q. v.], vicar of Tamworth. Before 15 Sept. 1657 he was called to be curate of the chapelry of Moseley, under John Hall, vicar of Bromsgrove, Worcestershire [see Hall, Thomas, (1610–1665)]. There being no classis in Worcestershire, he was ordained by the presbyterian classis of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, on 12 Jan. 1658. Some months later he was presented by Cromwell to the sequestered rectory of Long Whatton, Leicestershire (a crown living). His approbation and admission by the ‘Triers’ are dated 28 May 1658, and he took possession on 5 June. Walker errs in affirming that the sequestered rector, Henry Robinson (half-cousin of Archbishop Laud), regained the living at the Restoration. His death enabled Shaw to obtain a crown presentation under the great seal (1 Sept. 1660), and the act of the Convention parliament passed in the same month made good his title without institution. Next year, however, Shaw was removed (1661) from the living at the instance of Sir John Pretyman; he obtained no other, and the Uniformity Act (1662) disqualified him, as he refused to submit to reordination. He removed to Coates, in the parish of Prestwould, Leicestershire. Some relatives brought the plague thither from London in 1665, and Shaw lost two children. At the end of 1666 he removed to Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Leicestershire, and was appointed master of the grammar school there in 1668. Through Edward Conway, earl of Conway, he obtained a license (26 Dec. 1670) from Archbishop Sheldon, on a modified subscription, namely to the first, third, and first half of the second article, specified in the thirty-sixth canon. William Fuller [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, who admired Shaw's book on the plague, added his own license, on a subscription ‘dictated and inserted’ by Shaw himself. Thomas Barlow [q. v.], who succeeded Fuller as bishop of Lincoln, was his correspondent. His school was very successful, and his house was full of boarders, including several who became divines in the established church. He wrote comedies for his scholars, ‘which they acted for the entertainment of the town and neighbourhood at Christmas time.’ He rebuilt the schoolhouse, and erected a gallery in the parish church for his scholars. On the passing of the Toleration Act (1689), he licensed his schoolhouse for nonconformist worship, preaching only between church hours (at noon), and attending the parish church with his scholars.

Shaw was of medium height and poor presence, with a sparkling eye, and brilliant conversational powers. He ‘would droll innocently,’ and could pour forth extempore prayer for two or three hours together ‘without tautology.’ He died on 22 Jan. 1696. He married a daughter of Ferdinando Pool (d. 1676), ejected from Thrumpton, Nottinghamshire. His son, Ferdinando Shaw, M.A., was ordained 14 April 1698, became minister of Friar Gate chapel, Derby, on 25 March 1699, published several sermons, as well as ‘A Summary of the Bible,’ 1730, 12mo, and died in 1744.

He published, besides sermons:

  1. ‘The Voice of One crying in the Wilderness,’ 1666, 12mo; 1674, 12mo (includes ‘A Welcome to the Plague’ and two other pieces).
  2. ‘Immanuel,’ 1667, 12mo (supplementary to No. 2); 4th edit. Leeds, 1804, 12mo (with memoir from Calamy).
  3. ‘The Great Commandment … annex'd the Spiritual Man in a Carnal Fit,’ 1679, 12mo.
  4. ‘Words made Visible, or Grammar and Rhetoric,’ a comedy, 1679, 8vo.
  5. ‘The True Christian's Test,’ 1682, 8vo (consists of 149 meditations in two parts).
  6. ‘Grammatica Anglo-Romana,’ 1687, 8vo.
  7. ‘Ποικιλοφρόνησις: or, The Different Humours of Men represented at an Interlude in a Country School,’ 1692, 8vo.
  8. ‘An Epitome of the Latin Grammar,’ 1693 (Calamy).

His farewell sermon at Long Whatton is the eighth in ‘England's Remembrancer,’ 1663, 12mo.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 426 sq. 538; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, ii. 592 sq. 699; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 345; Unitarian Herald, 2 Aug. 1878, p. 281; Minutes of Wirksworth Classis, in Journal of Derbyshire Archæol. and Nat. Hist. Soc. January 1880, pp. 211 sq.; Mayor's Admissions to St. John's College, 1882, i. 28; Evans's List of Congregations (manuscript in Dr. Williams's Library).]

A. G.