Grascome, Samuel (DNB00)

GRASCOME, SAMUEL (1641–1708?), nonjuror, son of John Grascome of Coventry, was educated at Coventry school, and was admitted a sizar at Magdalene College, Cambridge, on 1 June 1661, when he is described as in his twentieth year (Admission Book, Magdalene College; his name is here spelt Grawcome). He graduated B.A. in 1664, and M.A. in 1674 (Cat. Grad. Cant.) Perhaps he is the S. Grascomes who was curate to Bishop John Dolben [q. v.] at Bromley, Kent, 1681–2 (Hasted, Hist. of Kent, i. 96), and who was married privately at Westminster Abbey on 19 Jan. 1681–2 to Elizabeth Watkins (Chester, Reg. Westminster Abbey, p. 21, where the name is spelt Samuell Grascomb). On 10 Dec. 1680 he was appointed rector of Stourmouth, Kent. He remained there till his deprivation in 1690 (Hasted, Hist. of Kent, iii. 643), when he settled in London, and gathered a congregation at a house in Scroop's Court, in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn (Ralph, Hist. ii. 525). Grascome wrote an account of the trial of William Anderton, a Jacobite, condemned to death in June 1693 (cf. his An Appeal of Murther, summarised in Howell's State Trials, xii. 1250–68), and is said to have attended Anderton on the scaffold. During the debates on the Recoinage Act, in 1695–6, Grascome published ‘An Account of the Proceedings in the House of Commons in relation to the Recoining the Clipt Money and Falling the Price of Guineas,’ which Macaulay describes as the most remarkable tract of the time. In November 1696 the house voted that this pamphlet was ‘false, scandalous, and seditious, and destructive of the freedom and liberties of parliament,’ ordered it to be burned by the common hangman, and petitioned the king to offer a reward for the discovery of the author (Kennett, Complete Hist. of England, iii. 724). On 14 Dec. a proclamation appeared for the apprehension of Grascome, but he seems to have evaded arrest. In February 1699 the attorney-general was ordered to prosecute him. The trial was postponed from time to time, and on 3 July it was dropped altogether, the printer, who was the only witness against him, having fled the country (Luttrell, Relation, iv. 155, 483, 534). Grascome spent the last twenty years of his life in theological controversy, defending the nonjurors, and denouncing dissent, occasional conformity, and the church of Rome. He was a strong partisan, but Macaulay is somewhat too harsh in charging him with scurrility and ferocity (Hist. of England, ch. xxiii.) Lee speaks of the ill odour into which his bitter reflections on the government brought his party (Memoirs of Kettlewell, § 55). His writings show much learning. He died before 1710, but the exact date is uncertain (see Hickes, preface to his Second Collection of Controversial Tracts, pp. xii, xiii); in the appendix to the ‘Memoirs of Kettlewell’ he is said to have died in 1718, perhaps a misprint for 1708.

Grascome wrote:

  1. ‘A Letter to a Friend in answer to a Letter by [Dr Grove] against Mr. Louth in Defence of Dr. Stillingfleet,’ London, 1688. Stillingfleet wrote the tract referred to in 1684.
  2. ‘A Further Account of the Baroccian Manuscript,’ 1691 [see Hody, Humphrey].
  3. ‘Epistola ad Humfridum Hody;’ perhaps the letter appended to No. 2, which is dated 1 Jan. 1691.
  4. ‘A Brief Answer to a late Discourse [by E. Stillingfleet, bishop of Worcester] concerning the Unreasonableness of a new Separation,’ 1691.

Bishop Williams of Chichester issued a defence of Stillingfleet, to which Grascome responded in

  1. ‘A Reply to a Vindication of a Discourse,’ &c., 1691.
  2. ‘The Separation of the Church of Rome from the Church of England, founded upon a selfish interest,’ 1691.
  3. ‘An Answer to “God's Ways of disposing of Kingdoms”’ [a pamphlet by Bishop Lloyd of St. Asaph, 1691].
  4. ‘Two Letters written to the Author of a Pamphlet entituled Solomon and Abiathar, or the Case of the Deprived Clergy discussed,’ 1692.
  5. ‘An Historical Account of the Antiquity and Unity of the Britanick Churches. … By a Presbyter of the Church of England’ [signed S. G.], 1692.
  6. ‘An Appeal of Murther,’ 1693.
  7. ‘Considerations upon the Second Canon in the Book entituled Constitutions,’ &c., 1693.
  8. ‘An Account of the Proceedings in the House of Commons in relation to the Recoining the Clipt Money and Falling the Price of Guineas,’ 1696.
  9. ‘A Brief Examination of some Passages in the Chronological Part of a Letter written to Dr. Sherlock. In a Letter to a Friend,’ 1700? The ascription of this pamphlet and of No. 11 to Grascome seems doubtful.
  10. ‘The Scripture History of the Sabbath,’ London, 1700.
  11. ‘An Answer to a Book [by Father Richard Huddleston, q. v.] entituled “A Short and Plain Way to the Faith and Church,”’ London, 1702; second edition, 1715.
  12. ‘England's Black Tribunal’ (fourth edition), to which is added ‘An Historical Preface by a True Churchman’ (i.e. Grascome), 1703.
  13. ‘Occasional Conformity a most unjustifiable practice,’ London, 1704; also ascribed to William Higden [q. v.].
  14. ‘Some Remarks … upon “A Compassionate Enquiry into the Causes of the Civil War,”’ a sermon of White Kennett [q. v.], London, 1704.
  15. ‘Certamen Religiosum, or a Dispute manag'd by writing between a Papist and a Protestant …; with a Preface concerning the Occasion of the Dispute, and a Letter of Mr. Chillingworth … shewing his Reasons why he deserted the Church of Rome. By S. G.,’ 1704.
  16. ‘Concordia Discors, or some Animadversions upon a late Treatise entituled “An Essay for a Catholick Communion” [by T. Dean?] … by a Presbyter of the Church of England,’ 1705.
  17. ‘Moderation in Fashion, or an Answer to a Treatise written by Mr. F. Tallent, entituled “Short History of Schism,” &c. … By S. G., a Presbyter of the Church of England,’ 1705.

Tallent replied, and Grascome answered him again in

  1. ‘Schism Triumphant, or a Rejoinder to a Reply of Mr. Tallent's, entituled “Some Considerations,”’ &c., 1707. Lee ascribes most of these treatises to Grascome (Memoirs of Kettlewell, § 55), and adds
  2. ‘The History of Schism.’
  3. ‘The Mask of Moderation pulled off,’ 1704.
  4. ‘The True Character of a Church of England Man,’ 1702.
  5. ‘A Resolution of a Case of Conscience concerning going to Church,’ 1719.
  6. ‘A Letter to Dr. William Payne.’
  7. ‘The Present State of England.’
  8. ‘An Appeal to True Englishmen,’ 1699.
  9. ‘New Court Contrivances,’ 1693; with some other flying papers and pamphlets by way either of dialogue or letter.

Posthumous was

  1. ‘An Answer to some Queries sent by a Roman Catholic to a Divine of the Church of England;’ printed by George Hickes [q. v.] in his ‘Second Collection of Controversial Tracts,’ 1710.

Hickes says he found it in Grascome's own handwriting among his other papers after his death.

[Authorities quoted; information from Latimer Neville, sixth baron Braybrooke, formerly Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge; Lathbury's Nonjurors; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. L. K.