Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Owtram, William
OWTRAM, WILLIAM, D.D. (1626–1679), divine, son of Robert Owtram, was born at Barlow, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on 17 March 1625–6 (Notes and Queries, 7th ser. xi. 205). On 13 May 1642 he was admitted a sizar of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1645. He was afterwards elected to a fellowship at Christ's College, where he graduated M.A. in 1649. In 1655 he held the university office of junior proctor, and in 1660 he was created D.D. (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, iii. 624). His first church preferment was in Lincolnshire, and he subsequently obtained the rectory of St. Mary Woolnoth, London, which he resigned in 1666. He stayed in London during the plague in 1665 (Addit. MS. 5810, p. 290). On 30 July 1669 he was installed archdeacon of Leicester. On 30 July 1670 he was installed prebendary of Westminster, and he was also for some time rector or minister of the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster. He died on 23 Aug. 1679, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a monument, with a Latin inscription, was erected to his memory (Dart, Westmonasterium, ii. 620). His will, dated 5 Nov. 1677, was proved in London 3 Sept. 1679 (P. C. C. 119, King). He bequeathed lands in Derbyshire and Lincolnshire, and left legacies to the children of his brother Francis Owtram, deceased, and of his sisters Barbara Burley and Mary Sprenthall, both deceased, and Jane Stanley, then living. An elaborate catalogue of his library was compiled by William Cooper, London, 1681, 4to. Owtram's widow lived forty-two years after him, until 4 Oct. 1721 (Chester, Westminster Abbey Registers, pp. 197, 304).
Owtram was a 'nervous and accurate writer.' and an excellent preacher, and he was reputed to have extraordinary skill in rabbinical learning. Baxter speaks of him as one of the best and ablest of the conformists. His principal work is 'DeSacrificiis libriduo; quorum altero explicantur omnia Judæorum, nonnulla Gentium Profanarum Sacrificia; altero Sacrificium Christi. Utroque Ecclesiæ Catholicæ his de rebus Sententia contra Faustum Socinum, ejusque sectatores defenditur,' London, 1677, 4to, dedicated to Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby. An English translation, entitled 'Two Dissertations on Sacrifices,' with additional notes and indexes by John Allen, was published in 1817.
After his death Joseph Hindmarsh published under his name six 'Sermons upon Faith and Providence, and other subjects,' London, 1680, 8vo. It was stated that these discourses had been taken down in shorthand, but they are not genuine. In order to do justice to his memory, his relatives caused 'Twenty Sermons preached upon several occasions' to be published from 'the author's own copies,' by James Gardiner, D.D., afterwards bishop of Lincoln (2nd ed., corrected, London, 1697, 8vo). Prefixed to the volume is a portrait of Owtram, engraved by R. White.[Biogr. Brit. v. 3289; Cooke's Preachers' Assistant, ii. 254; Life of Thomas Firmin, p. 14; Granger's Biog. Hist. of England, 5th ed. v. 41; Kennett MS. 52, f. 228; Kennett's Register and Chronicle, p. 843; Le Neve's Fasti (Hardy), ii. 93, iii. 361; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 463, 922; Nichols's Leicestershire, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 466; Autobiography of Symon Patrick, 1839, pp. 82, 245, 246; Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, vol. ii. lib. xiv. pp. 5, 37; Sharp's Life of Archbishop Sharp, i. 16; Silvester's Life of Baxter, iii. 19, 78, 131; Ward's Life of Dr. Henry More, p. 78; Hist. of Westminster, ii. 52; information kindly supplied by W. Aldis Wright, esq., LL.D.]
OXBERRY, WILLIAM (1784–1824), actor, the son of an auctioneer, was born on 18 Dec. 1784 in Moorfields, facing Bedlam. According to a memoir supplied to Oxberry's 'Dramatic Biography,' he was well educated, and placed at the age of fourteen under the care of Stubbs, declared to be 'an artist of eminence.' Showing no aptitude for design, he was transferred to a bookseller's shop kept by one Ribeau, and thence to the office in Tottenham Court Road of a printer named Seale, an amateur actor. Here his disposition for the stage was fostered, and he is depicted studying Douglas in one corner, while in another his master was rehearsing Glenalvon. At a stable near Queen Anne Street, and subsequently at the theatre in Berwick Street, he took parts such as Hassan in the 'Castle Spectre' and Rosse in 'Macbeth.' After he had made a public appearance in a malthouse in Edgware his indentures were in 1802 cancelled, and he appeared under Jerrold, at the Watford theatre, as Antonio in the 'Merchant of Venice.' A performance of Dan in 'John Bull' revealed some talent in low comedy, and, after appearing at Sheerness, and playing Richard III at Godalming, he joined, as low comedian, the company of the Worthing, Hythe, and Southend theatres, under Trotter. For some time subsequently he made an occasional appearance in Shylock, Hassan, and other characters. More frequently he was seen in parts such as Lope Tocho in the 'Mountaineers,' and Old Frost in the 'Irishman in London.' In 1806 he married, at Southend, a young actress playing subordinate parts in the company, named Catherine Elizabeth Hewitt. In the following year he attracted the attention of Henry Siddons [q. v.], by whom he was recommended to the Kemble management at Covent Garden . At a salary rising from 5l. to 8l. a week, he made his first appearance on 7 Nov. 1807 as Robin Roughhead in 'Fortune's Frolic.' His performance was 'cold, constrained, and