GEMMS: Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons
NamePeter Birch
Livedb. ca. 1652-01-01 - d. 1710-07-02 (new)
Linked SermonsSermon 1 on Ecclesiastes 7:14 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon 2 on Ecclesiastes 7:14 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:16 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on 1 John 3:21-2 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on 1 Peter 5:7 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Ecclesiastes 7:14 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Ephesians 1:7 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Galatians 5:6 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on James 2:8 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Matthew 6:25 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Proverbs 10:2 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Proverbs 10:2 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Proverbs 29:25 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Psalms 111:4 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Psalms 111:4 -- preacher (autograph: yes)Sermon on Romans 8:14 -- preacher (autograph: yes)
Linked Reports
Associated PlacesChrist Church -- Place of StudyEmmanuel College -- Place of StudyCarfax -- PostHouse of Commons -- PostSt Ebbe -- PostWestminster Abbey -- Post
Source of DataCatherine Evans
Biographical Sources ConsultedODNB (2432)
Other NotePeter Birch was the eight child of Thomas Birch (1608-1678) a parliamentarian colonel and Liverpool MP and Alice (d. 1697). Thomas was a committed puritan who kept the Birch Hall chapel as a space for nonconformist ministers. Peter Birch was raised as a presbyterian, and still of this faith when he matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1667. He and his twin Andrew left Cambridge and moved to Oxford in 1670, where they began studying with a private tutor, William Assheton of Brasenose. He took the sacrament of holy communion and conformed to the Anglican Church. He then entered Christ Church, Oxford, under the auspices of the dean Dr John Fell and matriculated in 1673, graduating in 1674 and gaining his MA in June that year. He proceeded BD (Feb 1684) and DD (July 1688). He remained in Oxford following his studies, as chaplain of Christ Church and curate of St Thomas’s before his appointment as rector of St Ebbe (1685-16) and lecturer at Carfax. He married his first wife on 19 November 1686, Mary (d. 1688) whose father was the poet Edmund Waller. He was made chaplain to James, duke of Ormond shortly after his marriage. He was appointed as chaplain to the house of Commons and prebendary of Westminster Abbey in 1689, later appearing to have served as subdeacon and archdeacon there. In 1692 Bishop Compton tried to appoint Birch to the rectory of St James’s, Westminster, but Queen Mary blocked the appointment to chose William Wake instead. Birch challenged this in the House of Lords but lost a decisive vote in January 1695. He would be appointed to the living of St Bride’s, a post he would hold until his death. He married two more times, on 24 November 1697 to Martha Millington (née Vyner) (c. 1653-1703), the widow of a successful London Merchant. Following her death, he married Sybil Wyrley (d. 1708) daughter and coheir of Hmphrey Wyrley. They had two sons before her death: Humphrey Wyrley Birch (1706-1747) and John Wyrley Birch (1707-17775). At Birch’s death on 2 July 1710 his sons were left in the guardianship of his sister Deborah. Birch published several sermons, many of which preached before the Commons. Most well known is one preached on the fast day for Charles I execution, 30 January 1694. This sermon was seen by some to question William III and Mary II’s legitimacy. Controversy ensued and a response entitled “A Birchen Rod for Dr Birch” was published, accusing him of attacking the monarchs’ honour.
GEMMS record createdJune 09, 2021
GEMMS record last editedJune 11, 2021