English Puritan divine
Born 1588? Died 1662?
Noted as this worthy was in his own time, and representative in various ways, he has often since been confounded with others, e.g. Robert Abbot, bishop of Salisbury. He is also wrongly described as a relative of Archbishop Abbot, from whom he acknowledges very gratefully, in the first of his epistles dedicatory of A Hand of Fellowship to Helpe Keepe out Sinne and Antichrist (1623, 4to), that he had "received all" his "worldly maintenance", as well as "best earthly countenance" and "fatherly incouragements". The worldly maintenance was the presentation in 1616 to the vicarage of Cranbrook in Kent.
He had received his education at Cambridge, where he proceeded M.A., and was afterwards incorporated at Oxford. In 1639, in the epistle to the reader of his most noticeable book historically, his Triall of our Church-Forsakers, he tells us, "I have lived now, by God's gratious dispensation, above fifty years, and in the place of my allotment two and twenty full." The former date carries us back to 1588-1589, or perhaps 1587-1588 the 'Armada' year as his birth-time; the latter to 1616-1617 (ut supra). In his Bee Thankfull London and her Sisters (1626), he describes himself as formerly "assistant to a reverend divine ... now with God", and the name on the margin is 'Master Haiward of Wool Church (Dorset)'. This was doubtless previous to his going to Cranbrook.
Very remarkable and effective was Abbot's ministry at Cranbrook, where his parishioners were as his own "sons and daughters" to him. Yet, Puritan though he was, he was extremely and often unfairly antagonistic to Nonconformists. He remained at Cranbrook until 1643, when, Parliament deciding against pluralities of ecclesiastical offices, he chose the very inferior living of Southwick, Hants, as between the one and the other. He afterwards succeeded the 'extruded' Udall of St Austin's, London, where according to the Warning-piece he was still pastor in 1657. He disappears silently between 1657-1658 and 1662.
Robert Abbot's books are conspicuous amongst the productions of his time by their terseness and variety. In addition to those mentioned above he wrote Milk for Babes, or a Mother's Catechism for her Children (1646), and A Christian Family builded by God, or Directions for Governors of Families (1653).
Authorities. Brook's Puritans, iii. 182,3; Walker's Sufferings, ii. 183; Wood's Athenae (Bliss), i. 323; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem. ii. 218, which confuses him most oddly of all with one of the ejected ministers of 1662.
Being the entry for ABBOT, ROBERT in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.