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Nathanael (Nathaniel) Ranew (1602–1678)

A wonderul puritan, practical and pastoral.
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“Nothing is well done that is not first well thought on.”

His Works:

The Works of Nathaniel Ranew available in old English:

1. Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation (1670) (Reprinted by The Religious Tract Society in 1839 and Soli Deo Gloria in 1995 in Old English)
2. Practical Preparations for Death
3. The Glory and Happiness of the Saints in Heaven


Biography of Nathanael (Nathaniel) Ranew (1602–1678):

Nathanael Ranew (1602?–1678) (or Nathaniel Ranew) was an ejected Calvinistic minister, and graduate of Emmannuel College. He was admitted sizar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on June 10, 1617, and graduated with a B.A. in 1621, and an M.A. in 1624. He was incorporated at Oxford on July 10, 1627. On leaving the university he became minister of St. Andrew Hubbard, Little Eastcheap, London, a rectory which had been sequestrated from Richard Chambers.

Ranew remained at St. Andrew (cf. See Edmund Calamy’s, Continuation, i. 37) until February 29, 1647, when he was instituted under a parliamentary order to the vicarage of Felsted, Essex. One of the patrons, Robert, second earl of Warwick, and his wife, who lived at Leighs Priory, within two miles of Felsted, bestowed £20l a year on Ranew during his lifetime.
Ranew soon took a prominent place among Essex nonconformists. On the division of the county into classes by the committee of the lords and commons and the standing committee of the county in 1648, he was placed in the eleventh, or East Hinckford classis. He subscribed to the “…testimony of the ministers in the province of Essex: to the truth of Jesus Christ, and to the Solemn League and Covenant; as also against the errors, heresies, and blasphemies of these times, and the toleration of them. Sent up to the ministers within the province of London, subscribers of the first testimony.,” etc., issued in the same year, and the “Essex Watchmen’s Watchword,” London, 1649, the reply of the Essex ministers to the “agreement” presented by the army to parliament. Ranew was reported to the triers or commissioners in 1650 as an able, godly minister. Newcourt (Repert. Eccles. ii. 160) says, improbably, that he was appointed by Charles, earl of Warwick, to Coggeshall, Essex, on March 1, 1660.

Ranew was ejected from Felsted upon the passing of the Act of Conformity, and settled in Billericay, where he was buried on March 17, 1678. Calamy calls him “a judicious divine, generally esteemed and valued.”

Ranew was author of this work originally titled “Solitude Improved by Divine Meditation; or, a Treatise proving the Duty, and demonstrating the Necessity, Excellency, Usefulness, Natures, Kinds, and Requisites of Divine Meditation.” It was first intended for a person of honor, and then published for general use, in London, 1670. This was written for, and dedicated to, Mary, countess of Warwick, daughter of the first Earl of Cork, who lived in pious seclusion at Leighs Priory. The book attained a high reputation, and was reprinted by the Religious Tract Society, London, in 1839. Later it was published by Soli Deo Gloria as a reprint of the Tract’s 1839 version in 1995 retaining the old English. Now it is updated and modernized for easier reading by Puritan Publications, 2012.

Nathanael Ranew, bookseller and stationer, of the King’s Arms, St. Paul’s Churchyard, who published Ranew’s book, was apparently son of the divine. Richard Ranew, who graduated with an M.A. from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1660, was possibly another son.

For Further Study see:

Foster’s Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Graduati Cantabr. p. 388; Calamy and Palmer’s Memorial, ii. 199; Calamy’s Abridgment of Baxter’s Life and Times, ii. 300; Davids’s Annals of Evangel. Nonconform. Essex, p. 389; Dale’s Annals of Coggeshall, p. 176; Essex Watchmen’s Watchword, p. 13; Kennett’s Register, pp. 789, 890; Test. of Essex Ministers, p. 5; Division of the County into Classes, p. 16; Harl. Soc. publications, xxx. 215; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. i. 311; information from the master of Emmanuel College, and the burial register of Billericay with Great Burstead, per the Rev. E. G. Darby.


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