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Murcot, John (DNB00)


MURCOT, JOHN (1625–1654), puritan divine, born at Warwick in 1625, son of Job Murcot and his wife Joan Townshend, was educated at the King's school, Warwick, and in 1641 entered Merton College, Oxford, his tutor being Ralph Button [q. v.], a strict presbyterian. He temporarily quitted Oxford when it was garrisoned for the king, and went to 'table' with John Ley [q. v.], presbyterian minister of Budworth in Cheshire. On the permanent defeat of Charles, after graduating B.A. at Oxford 30 March 1647, he again retired to Cheshire; while there he received a 'call' to the church of Astbury in the hundred of Northwich, and received ordination from the Manchester classis on 9 Feb. 1647-1648. No trace of his name appears in the register at Astbury, and he appears very shortly after to have removed to Eastham, in the hundred of Wirral, Cheshire (there is a gap in the Eastham registers from 1644-54). But before 30 June 1648 he was succeeded at Eastham by Richard Banner, and was himself presented to the rectory of West Kirby by the Committee for Plundered Ministers in place of his deceased father-in-law, Ralph Marsden. From West Kirby he was 'motioned' to Chester, but without any result. He did not 'remove' thither, the cause of his refusal being doubtless his growing leaning towards independency. In 1651 he crossexl to Dublin with his family, at the invitation of Sir Robert King, whose guest he became. He was appointed one of the preachers in ordinary to Lord-deputy Fleetwood and the council of Ireland, and attached himself to the independent congregation of Dr. Samuel Winter, provost of Trinity College, Dublin, which met in the church of St. Michan's Within. At the request of the congregation he undertook the work of 'teaching' among them, the pastorate being left to Dr. Winter. Murcot subsequently became pastor. The vestry book, under date 29 Aug. 1651, mentions the engagement of Mr. Thomas Serle as preacher 'before Mr. Moorecot was settled in this parish.' But in 1653 he describes himself as 'preacher of the Gospel at St. Owen's' (St. Audoens) He died on 26 Nov. 1654, and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, where a monument, not now existing, was erected to his memory. His funeral was attended by Lord-deputy Fleetwood, the council, the lord mayor of Dublin, and others. His youth and erudition provoked extravagant eulogy from his acquaintances.

His publications comprise a sermon preached at Dublin (1656), and a volume entitled 'Several Works' all on religious topics (London, 1657, 4to), with a life attributed to various friends, among them Samuel Eaton the independent and Dr. Samuel Winter. A portrait, engraved by Faithorne, is prefixed to his collected 'works.'

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon.; Granger's Biog.Hist.; Urwiek's Nonconformity in Cheshire; Minutes of the Manchester Classis (Chetham Soc.); Dr. W. Reynell in the Irish Builder for 1 Aug. 1888; Dr. William Urwick's Independency in Dublin in the Olden Times; Colvile's Warwickshire Worthies; Hunter's Oliver Heywood, p. 81; O. Heywood's Diaries, iv. 10; Newcome's Autobiography (Chetham Soc.); Lancashire and Cheshire Record Soc. i. 255; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Plundered Ministers' MSS. in the writer's possession; manuscripts of the late J. E. Bailey (Chetham Library, Manchester); information from the rectors of Ashbury and Eastham and from the Rev. W. Reynell, B.D.]

W. A. S.