Thomas Ford (1598-1674), minister at Exeter and member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, was born at Brixton, Devon.  He attended school at Plympton and matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, earning his Bachelor of Arts in 1625 and Master of Arts in 1627.  He was ordained a deacon at Salisbury in 1631 and priest at Bristol the following year.  Due to his sermonic attacks on church liturgy, Ford was censured and forced to resign from a lectureship at Oxford.  He returned to Devon, where he was well-received by the magistrates of Plymouth, who chose him as their vicar and lecturer, but the king intervened and forbad his appointment.

Ford was associated with the Fleetwood family for a time and served as chaplain to Colonel George Fleetwood.  Ford returned to England in 1637 and was offered the living at Aldwincle All Saints, Northamptonshire, by Sir Miles Fleetwood, father of his former colonel.  In 1640, Ford was one of the representatives of the diocese of Peterborough.  His first publication, “Reformation Sure and Steadfast,” was printed in 1641 by order of the House of Commons.  Throughout the following years, Ford shared different livings.  His most memorable achievement during the 1640s, aside from his published work, “The Times Anatomized,” was his continued involvement with the Westminster Assembly.


Ford returned to Exeter after the 1672 Declaration of Indulgence.  Under the terms of the indulgence, he was able to minister at his home, but only preached twice before ill-health consumed him.  He died in 1674, at 76, as was buried in St. Lawrence.

From: Meet the Puritans, with a Guide to Modern Reprints by Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), pp. 257, 258.

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