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Stephen Marshall (c. 1594 – 1655) was an English Nonconformist churchman. 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 (1646).

Early life

He 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 1636 he was reported for "want of conformity."

Civil War years

Marshall was a powerful preacher: Robert Baillie noted that he was reckoned the best in England.[1] He also influenced the elections for the Short Parliament of 1640: Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon considered his influence on the parliamentary side to be greater than that of William Laud on the royalist. In 1642 Marshall 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 was with Archbishop Laud before the latter's execution, and was chaplain to King Charles I at Holmby House and at Carisbrooke Castle.

Later life

A moderate Presbyterian, he contributed to the Westminster 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.


He worked as a contributor on:



  1. ^ Hall, David W. "Westminster Spirituality". In Duncan, J. Ligon (ed.). The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century. p. 129.

1 Annotation

Second Reading

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MARSHALL, STEPHEN (1594?-1655), presbyterian divine; son of a poor Huntingdonshire glover; M.A. Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1622; B.D., 1629; vicar of Finchingfield, Essex; reported for 'want of conformity,' 1636; a great preacher; influenced elections for Short parliament, 1640, and delivered series of eloquent sermons before the Commons of great political influence; advocated liturgical and episcopal reform; supported ministers ‘petition' and 'remonstrance,' 1641, and wrote with other divines 'Smectymnuus,' 1641; supported bill for abolishing episcopacy, 1641; appointed preacher at St. Margaret's, Westminster, 1642; chaplain to regiment of third Earl of Essex, 1642; summoned to Westminster Assembly, 1643; sent to Scotland and took part in discussions with Scottish delegates; waited on Laud before execution, 1645; attended Uxbridge conference, 1645; parliamentary commissioner at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1647; chaplain to the king at Holmby House and in the Isle of Wight; prepared with others the 'shorter catechism,' 1647; town preacher at Ipswich, 1651 ; commissioner to draw up 'fundamentals of religion,' 1653; a 'trier,' 1654; buried in Westminster Abbey, but exhumed at Restoration. His sermons, especially the funeral sermon for Pym, 1643, helped to guide the course of events, and his influence was esteemed by Clarendon greater than that of Laud's on the other side.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.