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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Edmund Calamy the Elder

Known as "the elder" (1600-1666), English Presbyterian divine, was born of Huguenot descent in Walbrook, London, in February 1600, and educated at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, where his opposition to the Arminian party, then powerful in that society, excluded him from a fellowship. Nicholas Felton, bishop of Ely, however, made him his chaplain, and gave him the living of St Mary, Swaffham Prior, which he held till 1626. He then removed to Bury St Edmunds, where he acted as lecturer for ten years, retiring when his bishop (Wren) insisted on the observance of certain ceremonial articles. In 1636 he was appointed rector (or perhaps only lecturer) of Rochford in Essex, which was so unhealthy that he had soon to leave it, and in 1639 he was elected to the perpetual curacy of St Mary Aldermanbury in London, where he had a large following. Upon the opening of the Long Parliament he distinguished himself in defence of the Presbyterian cause, and had a principal share in writing the conciliatory work known as Smectymnuus, against Bishop Joseph Hall's presentation of episcopacy. The initials of the names of the several contributors formed the name under which it was published, viz., S. Marshal, E. Calamy, T. Young, M. Newcomen and W. Spurstow. Calamy was an active member in the Westminster assembly of divines, and, refusing to advance to Congregationalism, found in Presbyterianism the middle course which best suited his views of theology and church government. He opposed the execution of Charles I., lived quietly under the Commonwealth, and was assiduous in promoting the king's return; for this he was afterwards offered the bishopric of Coventry and Lichfield, but declined it, it is said, on his wife's persuasion. He was made one of Charles's chaplains, and vainly tried to secure the legal ratification of Charles's declaration of the 25th of October 1660. He was ejected for Nonconformity in 1662, and was so affected by the sight of the devastation caused by the great fire of London that he died shortly afterwards, on the 29th of October 1666. He was buried in the ruins of his church, near the place where the pulpit had stood. His publications are almost entirely sermons. His eldest son (Edmund), known as "the younger," was educated at Cambridge, and was ejected from the rectory of Moreton, Essex, in 1662. He was of a retiring disposition and moderate views, and died in 1685.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Edmund Calamy the Elder'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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