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Angier, John (DNB00) - Wikisource, the free online library

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Angier, John (DNB00)

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ANGIER, JOHN (16051677), nonconformist divine, was a native of Dedham, in Essex, where
he was baptised 8 Oct. 1605. His father settled his and his three brothers' callings according to
their boyish ambitions, and John at his own desire was brought up to be a preacher. Even at the age
of twelve he was a grave child; but during his stay at Cambridge as an undergraduate of Emanuel
College 'he fell off to vain company and loose practices.' After he had taken his B.A. degree his
father died while he was from home, and whilst staying subsequently at his mother's house he
came under the influence of John Rogers, of Dedham, one of the most forcible of the puritan
preachers, who used to take hold of the supporters of the pulpit canopy and roar hideously to
represent the torments of the damned. Angier resided for some time with Rogers, and afterwards
with a Mr. Witham, who was a better scholar than preacher. Next we find him boarding, studying,
and sometimes preaching, at the house of John Cotton, of Boston, which was a place of great
resort for puritan divines. Here he met Ellen Winstanley, a native of Wigan, the niece of Mrs.
Cotton, and married her at Boston church 16 April 1628. After the birth of his first son he had
almost decided upon going with other ministers to New England; but before this intended
departure he made a journey into Lancashire to his wife's relations. He preached a sermon at
Bolton, and one of the hearers got from him a promise to preach at Ringley chapel, which he did.
In spite of his swooning in the pulpit on this occasion, the Ringley people were determined to have
Angier as their pastor, and in September 1630 he accepted their call, and settled with them.
Ecclesiastically his case was a peculiar one. By the interest of Cotton he was ordained by Lewis
Bayley, bishop of Bangor, but without subscription; and he remained a nonconformist to the
Anglican ceremonies to the end of his days. His diocesan was Bridgman, bishop of Chester, who
dealt with him in a spirit so mild as to provoke the rebuke of Laud. Angier was, however,
suspended from Ringley after about eighteen months' service. Denton chapelry was at this time
vacant by the suspension of its puritan minister, and the choice of the people was directed towards
'the little man' at Ringley, who settled with them in 1632, and remained their pastor, with some
interruptions, caused by the troubles of the time, for more than forty-five years. He was twice
excommunicated, and his congregation often were disturbed by the ruling powers. It was thought
that he had some hand in a book reflecting on Laud, which was discovered at Stockport; but in his
diary he professed his innocence of it. However, although subject to frequent annoyance, Angier
escaped any greater persecution. His first wife, a pious and sickly woman, died in December 1642,
leaving him a son and two daughters. By her deathbed suggestion Angier, a year later, married
Margaret Mosley, of Ancoats, whose family were of great local consideration, and held the
lordship of the manor of Manchester. They were married in 1643 'very publicly in Manchester
church, in the heat of the wars, which was noticed as an act of faith in them both.' She died in
1675. Angier's own daughter, by his desire, was betrothed to Oliver Heywood, a month before
their marriage in Denton chapel in 1655, and after the final ceremony he entertained about a
hundred guests at his table, for he said he loved to have a marriage like a marriage. When the
episcopal constitution of the church was abolished, he had many calls to places of greater moment
than Denton, and his former congregation at Ringley endeavoured to recover him. The friendly
contest between the two congregations was referred to the judgment of ministers, who decided that
Angier should stay in his latest settlement. When the presbyterian form of church government was

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