Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Palmer, Thomas (fl.1644-1666)

673694Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 43 — Palmer, Thomas (fl.1644-1666)1895Bertha Porter

PALMER, THOMAS (fl. 1644–1666), independent minister and agitator, born about 1620, was said to be a clergyman's son. In 1644 he became, probably after serving as a soldier, chaplain to Skippon's regiment. He was vicar, or perpetual curate, of St. Laurence Pountney from 24 Nov. 1644 to 22 April 1646. Early in the latter year he was presented by the Westminster assembly to the rectory of Aston-upon-Trent in Derbyshire. The living had been sequestered from a royalist, Richard Clark or Clerke, who in April 1646 made an effort to regain possession of the parsonage. A fifth part of the value of the rectory was allowed to Clark's wife by the committee for plundered ministers on 13 June. In March 1646–7 Palmer obtained an ordinance from the lords for settling himself in the rectory, when he disputed the right of Clark's family to the portion of the revenue allotted to them.

Palmer has been identified with the Thomas Palmer who matriculated from Magdalen College, Oxford, on 22 Jan. 1648–9, was demy from 1648 to 1655, graduated B.A. on 26 Feb. 1651–2, was chosen fellow of Magdalen in 1653, and graduated M.A. on 13 June 1654. In 1658 he communicated the articles agreed upon by the independent ministers at Oxford to the congregations of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He attended meetings of the Nottingham presbyterian classis in 1658 and 1659. In 1659 he described himself as ‘pastor of a church of Christ in Nottingham.’ He was ejected from both rectory and fellowship in 1660, after which he wandered about the country preaching and fanning ‘the flames of rebellion.’ In November 1661 he was holding meetings on the premises of a rich brewer at Limehouse, and a year later, though disguised, was taken prisoner at Egerton in Kent, and imprisoned at Canterbury. Early in 1663 he was residing in Rope Alley, Little Moorfields, London, and described as a dangerous person, holding the Fifth-monarchy opinions. About June he was imprisoned at Nottingham for preaching in conventicles. In the autumn of 1663 he distinguished himself as an agitator in the Farnley Wood plot, having undertaken to raise a troop of horse to meet at Nottingham on 12 Oct. He was specially mentioned in the king's proclamation of 10 Nov. 1663 for ‘The Discovery and Apprehension of Divers Trayterous Conspirators,’ but escaped from Nottingham to London. In the summer of 1666 Palmer is stated to have gone to Ireland ‘to do mischief.’ He is described as a tall man, with flaxen hair.

He published: 1. ‘The Saint's Support in these sad Times,’ London, 1644. 2. ‘Christian's Freedom, or God's Deed of Gift to his Saints,’ London, 1646 (Wood). 3. ‘A Sermon on 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23,’ London, 1647 (Wood). 4. ‘A Little View of this Old World, in two books. I. A Map of Monarchy … II. An Epitome of Papacy,’ London, 1659.

[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), vol. iv. col. 1194; Wilson's Hist. of St. Laurence Pountney, pp. 91n., 102; Addit. MSS. 15670 ff. 129, 209, 25463 ff. 167–8; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. p. 163; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, p. 511; Burrows's Reg. of Visitors of Univ. of Oxford, p. 518; Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, i. 392; Carpenter's Presbyterianism in Nottingham, pp. 36, 38; Cal. State Papers, 1661–2, Dom. Ser. pp. 161, 555; Lords' Journals, ix. 69, 74, 122, 128; The Intelligencer, 30 Nov. 1663, pp. 111–12; State Papers, 1662–3, lxvii. (54), 1664, xcii. (58 i), c. (24), ci. (29 i).]

B. P.