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Samuel Shaw

Samuel Shaw (1635–1696) was born in Repton, Derbyshire, England. He was educated at the free school and then St. John’s College, Cambridge. In 1656 he was master at the free school in Tamworth, Warwickshire. He became curate at Moseley in 1657. He was ordained in 1658 and went to Long-Whatton, Leicestershire until 1660. As an English nonconformist minister he was removed in 1661, a year before the Uniformity Act. Afterwards he became schoolmaster of the free school in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire. He did much to rehabilitate the town.

Curiosmith features:

Communion with the Deity.

Samuel Shaw book list:

  • Adam, Abel, or Vain Man; Sermons on Psalm 39:6
  • Angelical Life (The); on Mat. 22:30
  • Different Humours of Men The); a Comedy. 
  • Divine Art of Memory (The)
  • Epitome of the Latin Grammar (An); by Questions and Answers
  • Farewell Sermon in 1663 (A), on Phil. 1:12, which is the 8th in the Country Collection
  • Farewell to Life (A), on 2 Cor. 5:6.
  • Funeral Oration for Mr. Blake (A)
  • Great Commandment (The); a Discourse on Psalm 73:25 To which is annexed, The Spiritual Man in a Carnal Fit; on Psalm 60:6
  • Immanuel; or, A Continuation of the Angelical Life; on John 4:14 - includes "Communion with the Deity."
  • Latin Grammar (A)
  • Receipt for the State Palsy (A); or a Direction of the Government of the Nation; a Sermon on Prov. 25:5
  • Samuel in Sackcloth; a Sermon on 1 Sam. 15:45
  • Sermon on the Death of Mr. Richard Chantry (A)
  • True Christian's Test (The); or a Discovery of the Love and Lovers of the World, in one hundred and forty-nine Meditations
  • Welcome to the Plague (The)
  • Words made visible, or Grammar and Rhetoric; a Comedy


Extended Biography of Samuel Shaw

SHAW, SAMUEL, M.A. was born at Repton, Derbyshire, in 1635, and educated at the free-school there, then the best in that part of England. He went to St. John's College, Cambridge, at fourteen years of age, where he was chamber-fellow with Dr. Morton. When he completed his studies, he went to Tamworth in Warwickshire, and was usher in the free school in 1656. When the rev. Mr. Blake died, in 1657, Mr. Shaw spoke an eloquent oration at his funeral, after Mr. Anthony Burgess had preached a sermon. They were both printed, and such as have perused them must think a conjunction of three such men, as the deceased and the two speakers, a singular happiness to that neighborhood. From Tamworth Mr. Shaw removed to Mosely, a small place in the border of Worcestershire, being invited by Col. Greavis, who showed him much kindness. On his coming hither, he was ordained by the classical presbytery at Wirksworth; and by the assistance of Mr. Gervas Pigot of Thrumpton, he obtained a presentation from the protector to the rectory of Long Whatton, in Leicestershire, which was in the gift of the crown. He had full possession of this place in June 1658, and continued in the peaceable enjoyment of it till 1660. Fearing some disturbance, in the month of September that year, he got a fresh presentation[i] under the great seal of England, without much difficulty, as the former incumbent Mr. Henry Robinson was dead, and two more who enjoyed it after him. But though his title was thus corroborated, Sir John Prettyman, by making interest with the lord chancellor, found means to remove Mr. Shaw, about a year before the Act of Uniformity passed; and introduced a Mr. Butler. He was a man of such mean qualifications, and so little respected in the parish, that some of them told Sir John, that they heard Mr. Butler had given him a pair of coachmares to get him the living, but they would give him two pair to get him out, and put Mr. Shaw in again. But he now quitted the church, as he could not satisfy himself to the new terms. He was afterwards offered this living without any other condition than re-ordination. But he used to say, he would not lie to God and man, in declaring his Presbyterian ordination invalid. When he left Whatton he removed to Cotes, a small village near Loughborough. Here his family caught the plague of some relations, who came from London to avoid it, about harvest time in 1665. He then preached in his own house, and afterwards published that excellent book, called “The Welcome to the Plague,” grounded on Amos 4:12. “Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” He buried two children, two friends, and one servant of that distemper; but he and his wife survived it; and not being ill both at once, they looked after one another and the rest of the family: which was a great mercy, for none durst come to his assistance. He was in a manner shut up for three months, and was forced not only to attend his sick, but to bury his dead himself in his own garden."[ii]

Towards the latter end of 1666, he removed to Ashby de la Zouch in the same county; and was chosen to be sole master of the free school in 1668. The revenue was then but small, the school building quite out of repair, and the number of scholars few. But by his diligence he soon got the salary augmented, not only for himself, but his successors; and by his interest with several gentlemen, he procured money for the building of a good school house, and a gallery for the scholars in the church. But then he had another difficulty; which was, how to get a license without subscription to such things as his conscience did not allow of. However, he got over it; for by means of Lord Conway, he obtained from Archbishop Sheldon a license (which Calamy gives at length) to teach school anywhere in his whole province; and that without once waiting upon the archbishop. As he needed a license also from the bishop of the diocese, he got a friend to make his application, to Dr. Fuller, then Bishop of Lincoln, who put into his lordship's hands Mr. Shaw's late book, occasioned by the plague. The bishop was so much pleased with the piety, peaceableness, humility, and learning there discovered, that he gave him a license upon such a subscription as his own good sense dictated, and said, that he was glad to have so worthy a man in his diocese upon any terms. He added, that he understood there was another book of his in print, called “Immanuel,” which he desired to see.

Mr. Shaw's piety, learning, and good temper soon raised the reputation of his school, and the number of his scholars, above any in those parts; having often one hundred boys or more under his care. His own house and others in the town, were continually full of boarders from London, and other distant parts of the kingdom. Several divines of the church of England, (v. g. Mr. Sturgess of All Saints in Derby, Mr. Walter Horton afterwards one of the canons of Litchfield, etc.) and many gentlemen, physicians, lawyers, and others, owed their school learning to his good instructions. He endeavored to make the youth under his care, in love with piety; to principle them in religion by his advice, and allure them to it by his good example. His temper was affable, his conversation pleasant and facetious, his method of teaching winning and easy. He had great skill in finding out, and suiting himself to, the tempers of boys. He freely taught poor children, where he saw in them a disposition for earning, and afterwards procured them assistance to perfect their studies at the university. He did indeed excellent service in the work of education; and his school was a great advantage to the trading part of the town.

When the liberty of the Dissenters was settled by act of parliament, he licensed his school room for a place of worship. The first time he used it, he preached from Acts 19: 9. “Disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” He so contrived his meetings, as not to interfere with the establishment, preaching at noon between the services at church, and constantly attending there both parts of the day, with all his scholars, his family, and all his hearers; so that the public assembly was hereby considerably augmented; and the weekly lecture was chiefly attended by him and his scholars. He was upon the most friendly terms with the vicar of the place, and corresponded with Dr. Barlow the Bishop of Lincoln, to whom he presented his book of Meditations, which has been generally esteemed, and read with great profit. He died Jan. 22, 1696, in the fifty-ninth year of his age. His funeral sermon was preached by Mr. William Crosse, his brother-in-law, from Luke 23:28.

His works were, 1. “A Funeral Oration for Mr. Blake."—2. “The Welcome to the Plague.”—3. “A Farewell Sermon in 1663, on Phil. 1:12, which is the 8th in the Country Collection.”—4. “A Farewell to Life, on 2 Cor. 5:6."—5. “The Angelical Life; on Mat. 22:30.”—(These two are annexed to the “Welcome to the Plague,” and were all printed together in 1666, entitled, “The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness.”—6. “Immanuel; or, A Continuation of the Angelical Life; on John 4:14.”—7. “The Great Commandment; a Discourse on Psalm 73:25. To which is annexed, The Spiritual Man in a Carnal Fit; on Psalm 60:6.”—8. “A Latin Grammar"—9. “A Receipt for the State Palsy; or a Direction of the Government of the Nation; a Sermon on Prov. 25:5.”—10. “Samuel in Sackcloth; a Sermon on 1 Sam. 15:45 essaying to restrain our bitter Animosities, and commending a Spirit of Moderation towards our Brethren, 1660.”—11. “The true Christian's Test; or a Discovery of the Love and Lovers of the World, in one hundred and forty-nine Meditations."—2. “An Epitome of the Latin Grammar; by Questions and Answers.”—13. “Adam, Abel, or Vain Man; Sermons on Psalm 39:6.”—14. “A Sermon on the Death of Mr. Richard Chantry.”—15. “Words made visible, or Grammar and Rhetoric; a Comedy.”—16. “The different Humours of Men; a Comedy.[iii] He had in the press, A Description of the Heavenly Inheritance; on 1 Pet. 1:3–6, but the bookseller failing, it was never perfected.

[i] Copies of both these presentations may be seen in Calamy.

[ii] The excellent temper of mind which he expressed under this severe dispensation, is discovered in the work above mentioned, which was reprinted in 1767. An extract from it may be seen in his Memoirs, prefixed to a new edition of his “Immannel,” 1763. The memoirs are taken from Calamy.

[iii] f These two were acted by his own scholars for their diversion, and for the entertainment of the town and neighborhood at Christmas time.

 Source: Evangelical Biography Being a Complete and Faithful Account of the Lives, Sufferings and Happy Deaths of Eminent Christians. Vol 4, London: I. Stratford, 1807.