John Arrowsmith (1602–1659)

Arrowsmith, John, D.D. (1602–1659) was born near Newcastle-on-Tyne on 29 March 1602. In 1616 he entered St. John’s College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1619, and M.A. in 1623. In 1623 he became fellow of St. Catharine’s Hall. He married in 1631, and became incumbent in the same year of St. Nicholas Chapel, King’s Lynn. He was nominated on 25 April 1642 one of the two Norfolk divines to be consulted on church affairs. He sat as a member of the Westminster Assembly in 1643. In 1644 he was made D.D. and master of St. John’s College, in the room of Dr. Beale, removed by the Earl of Manchester. On the sequestration of the Rev. Edward Sparke, D.D. (author of ‘Scintilla Altaris’), Arrowsmith obtained the rectory of St. Martin’s, Ironmonger Lane, in 1645, and became a member of the Sixth London Classis, as soon as the presbyterian form of government was set up. In 1647 he was vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, in 1651 regius professor of divinity at Cambridge, and in 1653 became master of Trinity.


Trinity College Cambridge

His writings are sternly puritanical, but candid and clear. He must have had rich and endearing qualities and some breadth to secure for him at Cambridge the deep attachment of Whichcote, who speaks of him as ‘my friend of choice, a companion of my special delight, whom in former years I have acquainted with all my heart,’ and further bears testimony to ‘the sweetness of his spirit and the amiableness of his conversation.’ He died in February 1659.

His works included several sermons preached before Parliament including: 1. Covenant-avenging Sword brandished, 1643. 2. Englands Ebenezer  1645. 3. A great Wonder in Heaven, 1647. 4. Tactica sacra; 1657. 5. Theanthropos; or, God-man: being an exposition upon the first eighteen verses of the first chapter of the Gospel according to St John; 6. Armilla Catechetica, or a Chain of Principles, 1659.

Adapted from the Dictionary of National Biography 1885