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Samuel Clarke (1626 - 1701), nonconformist minister and biblical scholar

Samuel was born at Shotwick, Cheshire on the 12th November 1626. He was the eldest son of Samuel Clarke (1599 - 1682) and his wife Katherine Overton (1602 - 1675). After attending the Merchant Taylors' School he went to New Inn Hall, Oxford. In 1641, at the age of 14 he matriculated and in May 1644 he was admitted to Peterhouse, Cambridge. Later that year he received his BA and was appointed a fellowship of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

He was ordained on the 29th November 1649 at St Leonard, Eastcheap, London. During the Commonwealth, Samuel refused to take the engagement of loyalty and as a result, in 1651, he lost his fellowship of Pembroke. By March 1653 he had moved to Leighton Buzzard where he had become the vicar.

On the 3rd April 1655, Samuel married Sarah Lancaster (1628 - 1694). Sarah was the daughter of Nathaniel Lancaster, rector of Tarporley, Cheshire. Samuel and Sarah had one son and five daughters.

In 1657, Samuel became rector of Grendon Underwood, Buckinghamshire, but was ejected from this position in 1662 when the Act of Uniformity was passed. By 1665 he moved to Upper Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, where he established a congregation at his house. In 1690 he reportedly preaching to a regular congregation of 200, at the nearby town of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Clarke's written work started back in 1661 with the printing of a sermon, but his reputation was made in the 1680s and 90s when he published works of scriptural exegesis and criticism. He published an annotated New Testament in 1683, and an annotated Bible in 1690. Further publications followed in 1696 and 1699.

In the 1690s Samuel had moved to High Wycombe, due to his wife's failing health. Sarah died on 5th November 1694 and on the 24th February 1701 Samuel died and was buried at High Wycombe church.

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