Machin, John (1624-1664) (DNB00)

MACHIN, JOHN (1624–1664), ejected nonconformist, only son of John Machin (d. 12 March 1653), was born at Seabridge, in the parish of Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, on 2 Oct. 1624. His father held the freehold of the Seabridge estate, which had been in his family since 1531. His mother was Katherine Vernon of Audley, Staffordshire. He was educated under Orme of Newcastle-under-Lyne, and John Ball of Whitmore, Staffordshire. At first he was meant for the bar, then trained to farming as a country gentleman, and 'given to cockfights.' In December 1645 he was admitted at Jesus College, Cambridge. Shortly after this he dates his 'conversion.' In March 1648 he was ill of 'a dangerous spotted feavour,' and after his recovery 'set up a meeting of some schollars for religious purposes,' which he continued for some years after he left the university. He commenced B.A. in 1649, and in the same year received presbyterian ordination at Whitchurch, Shropshire. For about a year he preached in Staffordshire and Cheshire without fixed charge. In 1650 he settled as lecturer every other Sunday at Ashborne, Derbyshire, preaching on the alternate Sunday in the country round. In the spring of 1652 he became lecturer at Atherstone Chapel in the parish of Mancetter, Warwickshire. He was the 'one Macham, a priest in high account,' who prescribed physic and bloodletting for George Fox, the quaker founder. On 17 Nov. 1652 he was called to Astbury, Cheshire, as lecturer, and removed from Atherstone in the spring of 1653. At his own cost (8l. 12s. per annum) he set up a 'double lecture' in twelve Staffordshire towns on the last Friday in each month. He devised the plan on 31 July 1652, and began its execution on 4 Aug. 1653. The last lecture was delivered on 2 Jan. 1660. Walker says he was presented to the rectory of Astbury in 1654. This appears erroneous, for 'by the coming of another incumbent' (George Moxon [q. v.]) his preaching at Astbury was limited to alternate Sundays, giving him opportunity to pursue his ministry at large. Machin and Moxon lived together at the rectory house. On 17 May 1661 he obtained the perpetual curacy of Whitley Chapel, in the parish of Great Budworth, Cheshire. The Uniformity Act of 1662 ejected him from this cure, but he appears to have remained at Whitley, preaching there and in the neighbourhood until the first Conventicle Act came into force (1 July 1664). He was then in bad health, and removed to Seabridge, where he died of malignant fever on Tuesday, 6 Sept. 1664. He was buried on 18 Sept. at Newcastle-under-Lyne. He married at Uttoxeter, on 29 Sept. 1653, Jane, daughter of John Butler, and had four or five children, including Samuel (b. 13 Nov. 1654, d. 29 July 1722), John (d. 5 Aug. 1741, aged 82 years and 10 months), and Sarah.

He published nothing, and is known only from 'A Faithful Narration' of his life, published anonymously in 1671, 12mo, with a 'prefatory epistle ' by Sir Charles Wolseley. According to Philip Henry [q. v.] the author was Henry Newcome [q. v.] of Manchester, who had preceded Machin at Astbury. It is an excellent specimen of later puritan religious biography. It was reprinted in Clarke's 'Lives of Sundry Eminent Persons' (1683), and republished in 1799, 12mo, with notes, by George Burder [q. v.], who married a descendant of Machin.

[Newcome's Faithful Narration, 1671; George Fox's Journal, 1691, p. 4; Calamy's Account, 1713, pp. 125 sq.; Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 170; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, p. 261; Life of Philip Henry (Williams), 1826, p. 268; Baker's Memorials of a Dissenting Chapel, 1884, pp. 82, 138 i Head's Congleton, 1887, pp.186, 251.]

A. G.