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Stephen Marshall

Stephen Marshall (c. 1594-1655), English Nonconformist divine, was born at Godmanchester in Huntingdonshire, and was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (M.A. 1622, B.D. 1629).

After holding the living of Wethersfield in Essex he became vicar of Finchingfield in the same county, and in 1636 was reported for "want of conformity." He was a preacher of great power, and influenced the elections for the Short Parliament of 1640. Clarendon esteemed his influence on the parliamentary side greater than that of Laud on the royalist. In 1642 he was appointed lecturer at St Margaret's, Westminster, and delivered a series of addresses to the Commons in which he advocated episcopal and liturgical reform.

He had a share in writing Smectymnuus, was appointed chaplain to the earl of Essex's regiment in 1642, and a member of the Westminster Assembly in 1643. He represented the English Parliament in Scotland in 1643, and attended the parliamentary commissions at the Uxbridge Conference in 1645. He waited on Archbishop Laud before his execution, and was chaplain to Charles I at Holmby House and at Carisbrooke.

A moderate and judicious presbyterian, he prepared with others the "Shorter Catechism" in 1647, and was one of the "Triers," in 1654. He died in November 1655 and was buried in Westminster Abbey, but his body was exhumed and maltreated at the Restoration. His sermons, especially that on the death of John Pym in 1643, reveal eloquence and fervour. The only "systematic" work he published was A Defence of Infant Baptism, against John Tombes[?] (London, 1646).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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