Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Abbot, George (1603-1648)

ABBOT, GEORGE (1603–1648), religious writer, has been persistently mistaken for other George Abbots. He is invariably described as a clergyman, which he never was, and as son of Sir Maurice (or Morris) Abbot, who had indeed a son George, but not this George. Similarly, in the bibliographical authorities, he is erroneously designated nephew of George (Abbot), archbishop of Canterbury. He was of a different family from both Sir Maurice Abbot and the archbishop. This George Abbot was son or grandson—it is not clear which—of Sir Thomas Abbot, knight, of Easington, East Yorkshire, and was born there in 1603–4, his mother (or grandmother) being of the ancient house of Pickering.

Of his early, as of his later education, nothing has been transmitted. Whilst his writings evidence ripe and varied scholarship and culture on somewhat out-of-the-way lines, e.g. Hebrew and patristic—there is no record of academic training.

He married a daughter of the once famous Colonel Purefoy of Caldecote, Warwickshire: and as the inscription on his tomb—still extant there—tells us, he bravely held the manorhouse against the Princes Rupert and Maurice during the great civil war.

As a layman and nevertheless a theologian and scholar of original capacity and remarkable attainments, he holds a unique place in the literature of the period. His ‘Whole Book of Job Paraphrased, or made easy for any to understand’ (1640, 4to), is in striking contrast with the prolixity of contemporary commentators and expositors. His ‘Vindiciæ Sabbathi’ (1641) had a deep and permanent influence in the long Sabbatarian controversy. His ‘Brief Notes upon the whole Book of Psalms’ (1651, 4to), as its date shows, was posthumous. He died 2 Feb. 1648.

[MS. collections for History of the Abbots, by J. T. Abbot, Esq., F.S.A., of Darlington; Dugdale’s Antiquities of Warwickshire, 1730, p. 1099; Wood’s Athenæ, ed. Bliss, ii, 141, 594; Cox’s Literature of the Sabbath, i. 193, 441, 476, ii. 29; Catalogues of Bodleian and Brit. Museum; article in Encyc. Brit. (9th ed.) by present author, partly reproduced by permission of Messrs. A. & C. Black.]

A. B. G.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.1
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
20 ii 17 Abbot, George (1603-1648): for 1648 read 1649
39 after training insert He was M.P. for Tamworth from 1645 till his death
3f.e. for 2 Feb. 1648 read 2 Feb. 1648–9