Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Durham, William
DURHAM, WILLIAM (1611–1684), divine, son of John Durham of Willersley, near Campden in Gloucestershire, was born there in 1611 and educated at a school kept by a Mr. Sturby at Broadway in the same county (Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 146–7). In 1626, when aged 15, he became a student of New Inn Hall, Oxford, took his degrees in arts, B.A. 3 June 1630, M.A. 14 May 1633 (Wood, Fasti, ed. Bliss, i. 453, 469), and after taking orders became, about 1634, curate of St. Mary's, Reading. In the beginning of the civil war he went to London, took the covenant, and was chosen preacher at the Rolls Chapel. On 14 March 1649 he proceeded B.D. (ib. ii. 147). He was afterwards presented to the rectory of Burfield, Berkshire, and thence was transferred to the well-endowed rectory of Tredington in Worcestershire. He here wrote ‘A Serious Exhortation to the necessary Duties of Families and personal Instruction, for the use of Tredington parish,’ 12mo, London, 1659. At the Restoration he was ejected from Tredington and again came to London, where he lived for some time without a cure. At length, upon his conforming to the established church, he was presented by Sir Nicholas Crispe to the rectory of St. Mildred, Bread Street, 23 Feb. 1663. Two years previously he had published the most valuable of his works, ‘The Life and Death of that judicious Divine and accomplished Preacher, Robert Harris, D.D., late President of Trinity Colledge in Oxon. … published … by W. D., his dear Friend and Kinsman,’ 8vo, London, 1660 (with new title-page, 16mo, London, 1662). He is also author of ‘Maran-atha, the Second Advent; or Christ's Coming to Judgment; a sermon [on James v. 9] preached before the hon. judges of assize at Warwick,’ 4to, London (2 June), 1652. Durham died on 7 July 1684, and was buried in the ministers' vault in the chancel of St. Mildred's. His will, dated 13 Aug. 1679, was proved in P. C. C. on 1 Aug. 1684 (registered 100, Hare). By his wife, daughter of Mrs. Ann Temple, who died before him, he had William; John, a clergyman, of Merton College, Oxford, B.A. 12 April 1678, M.A. 17 Feb. 1680 (Cat. of Oxford Graduates, ed. 1851, p. 201); Lætitia (Mrs. Masters); Honor; and Ann.
His eldest son, William Durham, whose writings Wood confuses with those of his father, was likewise an able preacher. Born in Gloucestershire, he was educated on the foundation of the Charterhouse, obtained a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 27 July 1653, of which house he subsequently became fellow, matriculated in 1654, took the two degrees in arts, B.A. 28 May 1657, M.A. 4 March 1660, and was elected university proctor on 1 April 1668 (Wood, Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 198, 301, 309; Reg. of Visitors, Camden Soc., pp. 376–7, 497). He proceeded B.D. 26 Oct. 1669. He was presented by his college to the rectory of Letcomb-Bassett, Berkshire, and was chaplain to James, duke of Monmouth, when chancellor of Cambridge, by whose recommendation he was created D.D. of that university in 1676. He died unmarried at his rectory 18 June 1686, and was buried in the chancel of the church. By will, dated 4 June 1685 and proved in P. C. C. 2 Nov. 1686 (registered 146, Lloyd), he left his college ten pounds' worth of his books or the equivalent in money. He published: 1. ‘A Sermon [on 1 Cor. xvi. 13] preached before the Artillery Company at St. Andrews, Undershaft … 30 Aug. 1670,’ 4to, London, 1671. 2. ‘A Sermon [on Prov. xxix. 1] preached before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen … 21 Nov. 1675,’ 4to, London, 1676. 3. ‘Encouragement to Charity; a Sermon [on Heb. xiii. 16] preached at the Charter House Chapel, 12 Dec. 1678,’ 4to, London, 1679.[Authorities as above; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. xii. 521; Brit. Mus. Cat.]