Abraham Colfe 1580-1657

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Abraham COLFE 1580-1657

Biographical Note

Born at Canterbury, son of Richard Colfe, clergyman. BA Christ Church, Oxford 1599, MA Trinity College, Cambridge 1603. Curate of Lewisham 1604, vicar from 1610; he also became rector of St Leonard Eastcheap, London. He began to establish charitable endowments, in association with the Leathersellers Company, around 1630 (his wife Margaret had been the widow of a tanner), and in 1652 he founded a grammar school for Lewisham, intended for local children and expressly not for the sons of the wealthy.


Colfe bequeathed his library to the grammar school (the surviving books are now housed in Leathersellers’ Hall). He also left money to buy Bibles for town use. He was an early member of Sion College, and bequeathed to the College a pound to be paid annually for the purchase of divinity books.