Heywood, Oliver

, a nonconformist divine, the son of Richard Heywood, was born at Little Lever, in Bolton parish, Lancashire, in March 1629. In 1647 he was admitted pensioner in Trinity college, Cambridge, where he took the degree of A. B. but was afterwards called home, his father not being able to support him there. He lived retiredly for some time at home, but at length became a preacher, by the advice and solicitation of the neighbouring ministers, and having preached some time about the country occasionally, he was invited to Coley chapel, in the parish of Halifax, Yorkshire; soon after which, Aug. 4, 1652, he was ordained in Bury church, Lancashire, according to the forms used after the established church was overthrown. He married to his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of the rev. Mr. Angier of Denton in Lancashire, in 1655, by whom he had several children. He had occasional disputes with part of his congregation, who after abolishing what they called ecclesiastical tyranny, became themselves the most capricious tyrants. Some were displeased with him, because he would not admit all comers promiscuously to the Lord’s table without distinction; others, because he would not thank God for killing the | Scots. Once he was carried before cornet Denham, by some of colonel Lilburne’s soldiers, and the cornet told him, that he was one of the Cheshire rebels; but by the mediation of friends he was dismissed.

His annual income from Coley did not exceed 36l. per annum, but he had a lecture for which he had a consideration, and a small paternal estate in Lancashire. After the restoration he was deprived of his little preferment, but contrived occasionally to preach, and was sometimes brought into trouble, particularly a tedious imprisonment in York castle. After a long and fatiguing life, he died March 4, 1702. He appears to have been an able, laborious, and conscientious divine. Watson gives many interesting extracts from his Diary, and a more full and curious life of him was published in 1798, by the rev. Mr. Fawcett. He printed, 1. “Heart Treasure,1667. 2. “Closet Prayer,1671. 3. “Sure Mercies of David,1672. 4. “Life in God’s Favour.” 5. “Israel’s Lamentation,1681. 6. “Mr. Angier’s Life,” and some other pious treatises. He had a brother Nathaniel, also a nonconformist, who died Dec. 16, 1677. A volume of his sermons was published by Oliver in 1679, entitled “Christ Displayed.” Calamy tells us, that one of his hearers, when he was going to quit his living, expressing a desire for him still to preach in the church, Mr. Heywood said, he would as gladly preach, as they could desire it, if he could conform with a safe conscience to which the man replied, “Oh, sir, many a man, now a-days, makes a great gash in his conscience, cannot you make a little nick in yours1


Watson’s Hist, of Halifax. —Calamy. Fawcett’s Life,