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© copyright Kevin Quick

Francis Augustus Cox (1783 - 1853), Baptist minister

Cox was born in Leighton Buzzard on the 7th March 1783. His grandfather was a well respected, wealthy, local baptist. Francis was an only son and inherited a sizeable estate from his grandfather.

He was baptised in Leighton Buzzard just before his thirteenth birthday and was preaching by his mid-teens. In 1798 he entered the Bristol Baptist Academy and in 1800 he entered Edinburgh University. In 1802 he took an M.A.

Afterwards he assisted Isiah Birt at the Baptist church in Devonport before becoming the pastor at Clipston, Northamptonshire. On the 4th April 1804 was ordained.

In 1806 he moved to Cambridge, becoming pastor of St Andrew's Street Church, but in April 1808 he resigned and returned to Clipston. In February 1811 he moved to take the post of pastor at the church at Shore Place, Hackney. He remained here for over forty two years. During his time in Hackney the church moved to Mare Street and was enlarged several times, with the congregation increasing 6 fold over the period.

During his life Cox was

- Baptist Union president 1834, 1835 and 1852
- Baptist Home Missionary Society joint secretary from 1824
- Promoter of the Baptist Irish Society
- Promoter of the Bible Translation Society
- Secretary of the Baptist Continental Society from 1831 for five years
- Chairman of the Baptist board on colonial apprenticeships in 1838
- One of the founders of the Baptist Magazine in 1809
- Examiner and mathematics tutor at Stepney College 1813 - 1822
- Committee member of the Baptist Missionary Society for forty years and wrote their jubilee history
- Secretary of the General Board of Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations for those residing in or near London and Westminster 1838 - 1841
- Instrumental in the campaign for the repeal of the Test and Corporation Act 1827-8
- Founder of The Patriot newspaper, 1832
- Associated with the Society for Promoting Ecclesiastical Knowledge
- Associated with the Protestant Society for the Protection of Religious Liberty
- Associated with the Religious Freedom Society
- Associated with the Evangelical Voluntary Association
- Helped found the Anti-State Church Association in 1844
- Led the opposition to the state support for the Catholic Maynooth College in 1845
- Instrumental in the founding of University College, London in the 1820s and was librarian there for a time

Francis published a number of religious works as well as publishing numerous articles in journals.

Cox married in 1809 to Elizabeth King of Watford, and after her death he married Sarah Savery in 1821. His third and final wife was the widow Hephzibah Hannah Finch Jones who he married in 1847.

Francis had a total of seven children by his marriages. Of these, four died before Francis, and the three remaining emigrated to Australia for health resaons. Francis died the 5th September 1853 at his home in King Edward's Road, South Hackney and was buried in Mare Street Chapel graveyard.

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