Thursday, December 01, 2022

After 1662?


           Isaac Ambrose  

Isaac Ambrose was born in 1554, the son of Richard, the Vicar of Ormskirk. This meant that the Act of Uniformity  in 1662 he must have looked to first hand  to Charles II and the conformity of Anglicanism.  His reaction is going to live in Preston, and was devoted to the written books which we must devoured many hours with the loss of  the tithes of before the Act.  and to those with Reformed kin, These three books, the first, the main one, Looking unto Jesus, seem to have the most popular of writings, a vast text dedicated to The Honourable William Earl of Bedford, Lord Russel, Baron of Thornhaugh. He had other landed individuals, Sir Richard Houghton was one who was judged’ fit to be of’  the Sixth Classis, (more of this later),  and whose funeral  of his wife, LadyMargaret. Isaac Ambrose preached  her  at her funeral, the only such printed and published of such there remains in his writings, taken in Preston in January 1657, still beyond the Ejection.

 These Are the words of his last book, War With Devils , EDINBURGH 1762. Thou hast now my last works  of practical divinity, , that ever I mean to publish to the world ; and. if last words are wont to bear  the greatest weight and to make deepest impression, much more let these last practical lines find some entertainent from thee for thy spiritual good. This (next to Gods's glory) is my chiefest end: and so I leave thee, and the book together, in God's hands:  may his Spirit inspire good motions, when thou readest my directions, and bring them to good issue, is the prayer of, Thy unworthy friend, and Servant in Christ's vineyard, ISAAC AMBROSE.'  


Think of it,  over the date of publications that were printed and published In Edinburgh, 1762,  Ambrose’s The Complete Works characterised ‘eminent Minister of God’s Word’, by the printers and publication, and booksellers   Wotherspoon and Martin, of Edinburgh, and at the rear  a List of of about 320 subscribers,  What  would England have been like without  the 1662 Ejection, given a similar arrangement to Edinburgh in all the main English cities of the country?


The Ambrose family


Two brothers (or cousins) of  Isaac Ambrose were Joshua, after 1662 who became an agent to facilitate (it seems) those attempting to go to New England and who went with Nehemiah another brother, or cousin,  who was son of Peter Ambrose,  the Curate of West Derby, Walton, who had served as curate at Kirkby by Walton and who graduated B.A. Harvard  1653, himself, and who was a Fellow 1654-7,   Both went together to Harvard and came back with these attainments. Their agency was funded by tithes which  further  legislation, to use of the tithes those were used by Nehemiah. Perhaps he was no intention to be a minister there. He had been married at Toxteth  in 1660, to Hannah J.Beadle St. Qlave’s, Old Jewry, London. This lady’s name might have been that of  a daughter of John Beadle, the Nonconformist leader , Rector of Barnston, Essex, who suffered from the days of Archbishop Laud in the 1633’s   and later who had daughters who witnessed the disruption of Presbyterians as the consequences of the Ejection. I am not aware of the relation between Peter Ambrose and Isaac, perhaps brothers..


 What follows is what we may discover in a third blog about Ambrose, who before 1660  had held  positions of the classis of Lancashire seventh  congregations,  in a form of a presbytery, presumably.  In Shaw’s meticulous of classes in A History of English Church, each classis has ministers and ‘others fit’ (Vol II, 397) lay persons,  together is consisted of nine congregations  and ministers, In the account. Another well-off member were Sir Richard Houghton, who was ‘fit to be’ , i.e. playing the role of a lay adviser,  and whose  widow’s  funeral Lady Margaret Houghton, was in January 1657, at Preston at a time prior to the Act of Uniformity five years enacted , Isaac led, the only case  printed.  The seventh Classis  which  Ambrose who was of  congregations  consisting  of Preston. Kirkham, Garstang, and Poulton, perhaps more.  was several times a moderator of the Lancashire Classis.  Isaac Ambrose at this time was vicar of Garstang(e),  having been earlier vicar of Castleton, Derbyshire, who in 1660 making the time of leaving his vicarage under force  by payment, and in 1662 the Bishop of Chester is mentioned as by made vacant  by their nonconformity. In this period he received and returned  a letter regarding angels to Richard Baxter, November 19, 1661.  London which is in printed in 586-8 under ‘Objections Answered’ of his Complete Works, …and ‘Redeeming the Time, A sermon Preached at Preston in Lancashire, By Isaac Ambrose, 4th January 1657, Preacher of the Gospel at Preston, at Garstange, in the same County.’ All this would take place Pre-1660. 


 The Vicar of Ormskirk, is another village to the south of Garstang.   After 1660, when the tithes of the parishes as deprived Ambrose moved to be vicar of the parish in Preston, Church Weind. It is this that is mentioned that,  of ‘Twas Custom once in a Year, for the space of a Month to retire into a little Hut in a Wood, and avoiding all Humane Converse to devote himself to Contemplation.’ This habit looks to be started in 166o  onwards, living in Preston, but perhaps earlier. Isaac died in 23 Jan 1664.(this paragraph is taken from Calamy Revised  ed. A.G. Matthews, OUP, 1934, p.9.) (what to do is later?)


Other dates and details are provided to the reader of The COMPLETE WORKS of that Eminent MINISTER OF `GOD’S Word, that I previously refer to, containing what now follows:






3.Certain MEDITATIONS ON Man’s Misery in this Life, Death, Judgment; and on Heaven and Hell; As also, on GOD’s Redemption and Salvation


A short  ACCOUNT of the LIFE, CHARACTER AND  PRINCIPLES of the  AUTHOR provides some further information


Life and death of Nonconformity


…...that time was not spent in inactivity by him, but employed to the in the most valuable purpose  for it was he revised and gave the  finishing stroke to the greatest part of his works, and perhaps work on  other part of them; in particular, his discourse concerning angels, which was the last of all these his performances; through which, and through which, and through which, and through all the rest of his works, a runs a constant strain of piety, holy devotion,   and meditation, and fervour of spirit; which very well agreeth with the following  fervour of spirit; which very well  agreeth with the following with character, given of him by very learned and eminent, hand;


While speaking of the REV, MR. ISAAC AMBROSE, DR CALAMY’S LIVES, VoL. 2, 409,  he says,” He lived and died a Nonconfirmest, and was of a man of that  of substantial worth, that eminent piety, and that exemplary life as a minister and a Christian, that it is to be lamented the world both  should not have benefit of some particular memoirs concerning him from some able hand.“ …As we have seen, he lived, in the latter  part of his life, at Preston;, and, when his end drew more, he came home to Preston from Bolton, and set things in order. In  a little time some came to Garstang to visit him; after discoursing freely them, and like a man sensible of his death being near, he accompanied them to their horses, and when he came back shut himself up in his parlour, the usual place of his soliloquy, meditation and prayer.  They thought he staid long, and so opened the door,,and found him just expiring. This was in the year 1664, Isaac aged 72. ‘He was holy in his life ,happy in his death, and honoured by God and all good men.’


What we see is the scattering effects of the Puritans, their families, not to mention the impoverishment after ejection from parishes while children growing and so on. In the case of the Ambroses, where there was preaching and books, the conditions of Presbyterians and Baptists and the Congregational churches were weakened, and Nonconformity , as a movement, never  recovered,  


NOTE: details of the Ambrose family, the letter by Ambrose to , etc. and of Villages can be found in Calamy Revised A.G.Matthews  (Oxford, 1934)

I will attempt a third blog on Isaac Ambrose's  activity on the political side  in these years of  upheaval.









[1] It must be understood that the place names of the villages and districts have been supplied in  Calamy Revised ed. A.G. Matthews