A Shropshire Connection …
Richard Baxter was, for a time, a chaplain to Cromwell’s army. Baxter is usually associated with Kidderminster where his statue stands, but in fact he was born in Shropshire at Eaton Constantine.
His parents were married at High Ercall and Richard Baxter married Margaret Charlton of Apley Castle near Wellington. He began his ministry at Bridgnorth and taught for a time in the English Free School at Newport before becoming chaplain to Colonel Whalley’s regiment.
Baxter soon had to resign because of ill health and wrote ‘Saints Everlasting Rest‘. Later he became a prominent politician and played a part in the restoration of Charles II. He refused a Bishopric and wrote a paraphrase of the New Testament. For this he was imprisoned under James II in 1685 on a charge of libelling the church. Judge Jefferies sentenced him to a public whipping, but the sentence was later reduced to a fine of 500 marks.
His finest hymn is by general consent ‘Ye Holy Angels Bright’ and it was inspired by the psalm verse (Psalm 148) “Praise the Lord from the Heavens. Praise the Lord from the earth.”
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Feature Image is ‘Triumph of Christ with Angels and Cherubs’, Bernardino Lanino, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
Image: Portrait of Richard Baxter by Robert White, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons