Bridge, William

, one of the most eminent nonconformists of the seventeenth century, was born in 1600, and educated at Emmanuel college, Cambridge, where he took his master’s degree, in 1626, and was several years a fellow. After preaching in Essex for five years, he was called to Norwich, where he preached in the parish of St. George’s Tombland, until 1636, when he was silenced by bishop Wren for nonconformity in some points, and remaining obstinate, he was excommunicated, and the writ de ca> pitndo issued against him. On this he quitted Norwich, where he had a lecture and two cures*, and went into Holland. At Rotterdam he was chosen pastor to a congregational church, but returned to England in 1642, frequently preached before the long parliament, and was chosen one of the assembly of divines, although he agreed with them only in doctrinal matters. At length he fixed at Yarmouth, where he preached until the Bartholomew


This is not mentioned by —Calamy, but may be inferred from the notice of him in archbishop Laud’s accounts of his province to the king, for 1636: “In Norwich, one Mr. Bridge, rather than he would conform, hath left his lecture and two cures, and is gone into Holland.” On the margin of this passage Charles I. wrote: “Let him go; we are well rid of him.” Laud’s Troubles aad Trial, p. 541.

| act took place, when he was ejected. He died March 12, 1670. He was a man of considerable learning, and possessing a library well furnished with the fathers, schoolmen, and critics, was a very close student, rising every morning, both in winter and summer, at four o’clock, and continuing in his library until eleven. He was inflexibly attached to the independent party, but too charitable towards men of opposite sentiments to follow their example in all respects. His principal works are collected in 2 vols. 4to, 1657, besides which he published many single sermons before the parliament, and some tracts enumerated by Calamy. In Peck’s Desiderata are two letters from him to Scobell, the clerk of the council, by which we learn that he was a leading man among the independents. 1
1 Calamy. Peck’s Desiderata, Sylvester’s Life of Baxter, p. 73, 103.-­ole’s ms Atbenaein Brit. Mus.