Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bourn, Samuel (1648-1719)

BOURN, SAMUEL, the elder (1648–1719), dissenting minister, was born in 1648 at Derby, where his father and grandfather, who were clothiers, had shown some public spirit in providing the town with a water supply. His mother's brother was Robert Seddon, who, having received presbyterian ordination on 14 June 1654, became minister at Gorton, Lancashire, and then at Langley, Derbyshire, where he was silenced in 1662. Seddon sent Bourn to Emmanuel College, which he left in 1672. His tutor was Samuel Richardson, who taught him that there is no distinction between grace and moral righteousness, and that salvation is dependent upon the moral state. It does not appear that he accepted this view; his theology was always Calvinistic, and he lamented the deflections from that system. in his time, though he was no heresy-hunter. Leaving Cambridge without a degree, being unwilling to subscribe, Bourn taught in a school at Derby. He then became chaplain to Lady Hatton. Going to live with an aunt Bourn in London, he was ordained there. In 1679 Dr. Samuel Annesley's influence gained him the pastoral charge of the presbyterian congregation at Calne, Wiltshire, which he held for sixteen years, declining overtures from Bath, Durham, and Lincoln. Seddon, who, after 1688, preached at Bolton,

Lancashire, on his death-bed in 1695 recommended Bourn as his successor there. Bourn removed thither in 1695, and though at first not well received by the whole congregation, he declined the inducement of a larger salary offered by the Calne people to tempt him back, and gradually won the love of all his Bolton flock. For him the new meeting-house (licensed 30 Sept. 1696) was built on the ground given by his uncle. He originated, and after a time entirely supported, a charity school for twenty poor children. His stipend was very meagre, though when pleading for the wants of others he was known as 'the best beggar in Bolton.' By will he left 20l. as an additional endowment to the Monday lecture. His constitution broke some time before his death, which occurred on 4 March 1719. On his deathbed, in answer to his friend Jeremiah Aldred (d. 1729), minister of Manton, he emphatically expressed his satisfaction with the non-conformist position he had adopted. His funeral sermon was preached (from 2 Kings ii. 3) by his son Samuel [see below], who had already been appointed to preach a funeral sermon for a member of his father's flock, and discharged the double duty. Brown married the daughter of George Scortwreth, ejected from St. Peter's, Lincoln, and had seven children. His eldest son Joseph died on 17 June 1701 in his twenty-first year; his youngest sons, Daniel and Abraham, had died in infancy in April 1701; his widow survived him several years. Bourn printed nothing, but his son Samuel published: 4 Several Sermons preached by the late Rev. Mr. Samuel Bourn of Bolton, Lane.,' 1722, 8vo (two sets of sermons from 1 John iii. 2, 3, on 'The transforming vision of Christ in the future state,' &c.), adding the funeral sermon, and a brief memoir by William Tong (b. 1662, d. 21 March 1727), and dedicating the volume to a relative, Madam Hacker of Duffield. He speaks of his father as a great preacher, a good pastor, a good scholar, and an honest, upright man. A portrait prefixed to the volume shows a strong countenance; Bourn wears gown and bands, and his flowing hair is confined by a skull-cap.

[Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial (1802), i. 411; Toulmin's Mem. of Rev. Samuel Bourn, 1808 (an oddly arranged storehouse of dissenting biography); March's Hist. Presbyt. and Gen. Bapt. Churches in West of Engl. (1835), pp. 56, 60; Baker's Nonconformity in Bolton, 1854.]

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