Thomas Manton 1620-1677

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Thomas MANTON 1620-1677

Biographical Note

Born at Lydeard St Lawrence, Somerset, son of Thomas Manton, probably curate there. BA Hart Hall, Oxford 1639, BD Wadham 1654, DD 1660. Ordained as a deacon in 1640, he probably did not proceed further with ecclesiastical orders, on the grounds of his Presbyterian views. Lecturer to the parish of Sowton, Devon until 1643, when the war prompted him to move; he migrated to London in 1645 and was appointed rector of St Mary’s, Stoke Newington. He became a strong campaigner for the establishment of a Presbyterian English church and preached before Parliament several times. He opposed the trial and execution of Charles I. He was nevertheless favoured by the Interregnum establishment, and increasingly involved in committees and negotiating work around ecclesiastical affairs. He was lecturer at Westminster Abbey in January 1656, and appointed rector of St Paul’s, Covent Garden later that year.

He was involved in the negotiations to restore Charles II (which he supported), and was confirmed as rector of St Paul’s in 1661, but he could not accept the new Book of Common Prayer and was ejected in 1662. He continued to be regarded as an important and influential senior representative of the nonconformist clergy, and was involved in various negotiations with the King and his officers during the 1660s and 70s, while ministering to independent congregations in London. He published numerous sermons, commentaries and other theological works.


Manton’s library was sold by auction in London by William Cooper on 25 March 1678, for the benefit of his family. The sale catalogue lists 2043 lots, plus significant collections of pamphlets (70 volumes of bound ones, 37 bundles unbound). The contents were largely theological, being classified as Greek and Latin patristics (34), Latin scriptural commentaries (127), Rabbinical books (33), Latin theology (476), English expositors (99), English theology (831), Miscellaneous Greek and Latin (“libri philologici”) (196), English history (77), English philology (150), and English miscellanies (20).

Characteristic Markings

None of Manton’s books have been identified.