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Snape, Edmund (DNB00)

SNAPE, EDMUND (fl. 1576–1608), puritan, took deacon's orders in 1575, but inclining to the presbyterian views on ordination, he declared that he did not consider himself a full minister until he should be chosen by some particular congregation. Upon hearing this the parishioners of St. Peter's, Northampton, according to Bancroft, immediately summoned Snape to be their minister. In 1576 Snape and Thomas Cartwright (1535–1603) [q. v.] were invited to the Channel Islands to assist the Huguenot ministers there in framing the necessary discipline for their churches. They were received with much kindness in Jersey, and Snape was appointed to the chaplaincy of Mont Orgueil. After settling matters in Jersey he passed over to the diocese of Exeter, where he continued some time, and then probably proceeded to Oxford, where in 1581 he graduated B.A. from St. Edmund Hall, and proceeded M.A. from Merton College on 10 July 1584. He was also incorporated M.A. at Cambridge in 1586. Then, returning to St. Peter's, Northampton, he in the same year joined his brethren in the county in their acceptance of the Book of Discipline, although he did not actually subscribe it himself. He also took part in organising presbyteries to carry out its regulations. In 1588 he persuaded Sir Richard Knightley [q. v.] of Fawsley to give shelter to Robert Waldegrave, a printer, and to the printing press, from which John Penry [q. v.] and others issued the pamphlets of Martin Mar-Prelate (Bridges, Northamptonshire, i. 66). In 1590 the attention of government was called to the assemblies and practices of the puritans, who, in fact, were attempting to introduce the discipline and usages of the Scottish and continental presbyterian churches. Snape was summoned, together with Cartwright and other ministers, before the high commissioners. Among the articles against him was one accusing him of refusing baptism to a child because its parents had not given it a scriptural name. Other articles charged him with being a constant attendant on puritan synods, with omitting in his public ministry to read the confession, absolution, psalms, lessons, litany, and some other parts of the Book of Common Prayer, and with renouncing his calling to the ministry by bishops' ordination (Strype, Whitgift, iii. 242). When requested to take an oath ex officio to answer all interrogatories that might be put to him, he and his fellow prisoners refused on the ground that they must first see the questions. After seeing them, they still declined the oath, and were sent back to prison. Certain letters which he wrote to warn his friends were intercepted, and he appears finally to have admitted the substance of the accusations against him. After being eleven months in prison he and his fellow prisoners petitioned to be admitted to bail, but on their refusing a form of submission offered them they were refused their liberty. He appears, however, to have been liberated on bail in December 1591.

In 1595 he was again in the Channel Islands, and in 1597 he attended a synod in Guernsey. In 1603 he had left Jersey, and had taken legal proceedings against the States, who had chosen him to teach theological students in their projected college. The differences were settled by an arbitration of four persons, with the governor as umpire. The date of Snape's death is unknown.

[Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 285, 551; Baker MSS. xv. 72–6; Bancroft's Dangerous Positions, pp. 77, 79–83, 85, 89, 91, 92, 101, 113–15, 120, 139, 152; Brook's Cartwright, pp. 218, 337–85; Lansdowne MSS. vol. lxviii. art. 62; Brook's Puritans, i. 409–14; Heylyn's Ærius Redivivus, 2nd edit. pp. 236, 240, 251, 284, 304, 305, 311; Mather's Magnalia, bk. iii. p. 10; Strype's Annals, ed. 1824, iv. 101–3; Strype's Aylmer, ed. 1821, pp. 204–14; Sutcliffe's Answer to Throckmorton, ff. 45b–46b, 49 a; Waddington's Penry, pp. 241–247; Hackman's Cat. of Tanner MSS. p. 1150; Le Quesne's Const. Hist. of Jersey, pp. 157, 158; Falle's Account of Jersey, pp. 197, 476; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; see art. Cartwright, Thomas, the elder.]

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