Shower, John (DNB00)

SHOWER, JOHN (1657–1715), nonconformist divine, elder brother of Sir Bartholomew Shower [q. v.], was born at Exeter, and baptised on 18 May 1657. His father, William, a wealthy merchant, died about 1661, leaving a widow (Dorcas, daughter of John Anthony) and four sons. Shower was educated in turn at Exeter, at Taunton, and at the Newington Green academy, his mother removing with him to London. In 1677, before he was twenty, he began to preach, on the advice of Morton and Thomas Manton [q. v.] Next year, in consequence of the alleged ‘popish plot,’ a merchant's lecture was begun in the large room of a coffee-house in Exchange Alley. Four young preachers were chosen as evening lecturers, among them being Shower and Theophilus Dorrington [q. v.] Shower was ordained on 24 Dec. 1679 by five ejected ministers, headed by Richard Adams (1626?–1698) [q. v.] He at once became (still retaining his lectureship) assistant to Vincent Alsop [q. v.] in Tothill Street, Westminster, and held this post till 1683, when Sir Samuel Barnardiston [q. v.] sent him abroad with two other young ministers as companions of his nephew, Samuel Barnardiston. They made the grand tour, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, and the Rhine. At Amsterdam, in July 1684, they parted, Shower remaining in Holland till 1686. Returning to London, he resumed his lecture at Exchange Alley, but the extreme pressure to which nonconformists were then subjected led him to return to Holland in the same year. He joined John Howe (1630–1705) [q. v.] at Utrecht. At the end of 1687 he became evening lecturer in the English presbyterian church at Rotterdam, of which Joseph Hill (1625–1707) [q. v.] was one of the pastors. He returned to London on receiving a call (19 Jan. 1690–1691) to succeed Daniel Williams [q. v.] as assistant to Howe at Silver Street. Here he was very popular, and soon received a call to the pastorate of the presbyterian congregation at Curriers' Hall, London Wall, which he accepted on 8 May 1691. In this charge he remained till death, having been ‘married’ to his flock by Matthew Mead [q. v.], as Calamy puts it. Twice he removed the congregation to larger meeting-houses, viz. at Jewin Street (1692) and Old Jewry (1701), having successively as assistants Timothy Rogers (1658–1728) [q. v.] and Joseph Bennet.

Shower was a member of a club of ministers which, for some years from 1692, held weekly meetings at the house of Dr. Upton in Warwick Lane, Calamy being the leading spirit. He succeeded (1697) Samuel Annesley [q. v.] as one of the Tuesday lecturers at Salters' Hall. He was an emotional preacher, and very apt on special occasions. A fever, in May 1706, left his health permanently impaired. John Fox (1693–1763) [q. v.], who visited him in 1712, was impressed by his ‘state and pride.’ On 14 Sept. 1713 he had a paralytic stroke at Epping. He was able to preach again, but retired from active duty on 27 March 1715. He died at Stoke Newington on 28 June 1715, and was buried at Highgate. His funeral sermon was preached on 10 July by William Tong [q. v.] His portrait is in Dr. Williams's library, and has been six times engraved. He married, first, on 24 Sept. 1687, at Utrecht, Elizabeth Falkener (d. 1691), niece of Thomas Papillon [q. v.] ; secondly, on 29 Dec. 1692, Constance White (d. 18 July 1701), by whom three children survived him.

He published twenty-one single sermons, including funeral sermons for Anne Barnardiston (1682), Richard Walter (1692), Queen Mary (1695), Nathaniel Oldfield (1696), Jane Papillon (1698), Nathaniel Taylor (1702), Nehemiah Grew [q. v.], and an ‘exhortation’ at the ordination of Thomas Bradbury [q. v.]; also 1. ‘Practical Reflections on the late Earthquakes in Jamaica,’ 1693, 12mo. 2. ‘The Day of Grace … Four Sermons,’ 1694, 12mo. 3. ‘Family Religion, in Three Letters,’ 1694, 12mo. 4. ‘Some Account of the … Life … of Mr. Henry Gearing,’ 1694, 12mo. 5. ‘The Mourner's Companion,’ 1699, 12mo (2 parts). 6. ‘God's Thoughts and Ways,’ 1699, 8vo. 7. ‘Heaven and Hell,’ 1700, 8vo. 8. ‘Sacramental Discourses,’ 1702, 8vo (2 parts). 9. ‘Serious Reflections on Time and Eternity,’ 5th ed. 1707, 12mo.

{Life and Funeral Sermon by Tong, 1716; Middleton's Biographia Evangelica, 1786, iv. 214 sq.; Protestant Dissenter's Magazine, 1797 pp. 41 sq., 1799 pp. 212 sq., 254 sq., 429 sq.; Noble's Continuation of Granger, 1806, i. 129; Wilson's Dissenting Churches of London, 1808 ii. 308 sq., 1810 iii. 39 sq., 1814 iv. 66; Monthly Repository, 1821, pp. 133, 222; Calamy's Own Life, 1830, i. 139, 324, ii. 37, 340; Pike's Ancient Meeting Houses, 1870, pp. 102 sq.; Collection of Several Pieces of Mr. John Toland, 1726, ii. 356; Swift's Works (Scott), xi. 201 sq.; Notes and Queries, 9th ser. i. 163.]

A. G.