How Many were Ejected in 1662?
One of the things that arose in Lee Gatiss’s paper at the Westminster Conference this year1 on the Great Ejection of 1662 was the question of the number of those ejected.2 In Gary Brady’s book The Great Ejection 1662 (E.P.)
he says the following:
Estimates vary but it seems that, including those ejected before 1662 and some who jumped rather than waiting to be pushed, nearly two thousand ministers and others were silenced or ejected. There will always be some vagueness about the figure as some changed their minds. A. G. Matthews says that some 210 later conformed. A contemporary writer, John Walker, says of an Evan Griffiths of Oxwich in South Wales, who was ejected but then conformed, that he became as violent against dissenters as he had once been against royalists. Also, the ejection included not only ministers but also lecturers and even private tutors. Further, some such as Cornishman Francis Howell (1625-1679) present anomalies. Howell, ‘a man mighty in the scriptures’ according to Calamy, was expelled both as Principal of Jesus College, Oxford in 1660 and as incumbent of Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in North Wales in 1662.
In his Nonconformist Memorial Calamy deals with some 2,465 people altogether. Matthews and Watts say that the number unwilling to conform in 1662 was 2029, around 936 in England and 120 in Wales. Some 200 of these were university lecturers. Matthews points out that a further 129 were deprived at an uncertain date between 1660 and 1663 and with the ejections of 1660 as well, he gives a total of 1760 ministers (which is about 20% of the clergy) thrust out of the Church of England, silenced from preaching or teaching because they could no longer conform by law and so deprived of a livelihood.
Gerald Bray comments that ‘almost all of these were Puritans, and so the Act may be said to represent the expulsion of Puritanism from the national Church.’ On the other hand, John Spurr points out that Puritans remained within the state church, and others, like Quakers and General Baptists, were ejected. He quotes John Corbet (1620-1680), saying, ‘it is a palpable injury to burden us with the various parties with whom we are now herded by our ejection in the general state of dissenters.’
- Lee Gatiss presented the first paper of the 2012 Westminster Conference – ‘1662 and all that’.
- The number of those ejected was also discussed by Iain Murray in a special ter-centenary commemoration edition of The Banner of Truth magazine (Issue 26, June 1962).
Gary Brady is Pastor of Childs Hill Baptist Church in London. The substance of this article first appeared on his Heavenly Worldliness blog, 7 December 2012. Notes added.
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