Stephen Egerton (clergyman)
He was born in London about 1555, and was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he took the M.A. degree in 1579. He had then already taken orders. He was one of the leaders in the formation of the presbytery at Wandsworth, Surrey, which has been described as the first presbyterian church in England. In 1584 he was suspended for refusing to subscribe to John Whitgift's articles, but shortly afterwards he was active in promoting the Book of Discipline. During the imprisonment of the separatists Henry Barrow and John Greenwood in 1590 Egerton was sent by the Bishop of London to confer with them, and several letters passed between him and them; but later in the same year he himself was summoned, together with several other ministers, before the Court of High Commission, and was committed to the Fleet prison, where he remained about three years.
In 1598 he became minister of St. Anne's, Blackfriars, London. He was one of those chosen to present the millenary petition for the further reform of the church in 1603, and in May of the following year he introduced a petition to the lower house of Convocation for the reformation of the prayer-book. He remained in his cure at Blackfriars till his death, which took place about 1621, being assisted in his latter years by William Googe, who succeeded him. He was described by Alexander Nowell, in a letter, as a "man of great learning and godliness."
Egerton published sermons, but few of them remain. Among those of his works still extant are A Brief Method of Catechising, first issued in 1594, which in 1644 reached a forty-fourth edition; and a translation from the French of Matthew Virel entitled A Learned and Excellent Treatise containing all principal Grounds of the Christian Religion, the earliest edition of which now remaining is the fourth, published in 1597, and the latest the fourteenth in 1635. In addition to his own books he wrote introductions for several publications by his fellow-puritans, including Richard Rogers, Robert Pricke, Baine, and Nicholas Byfield.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Egerton, Stephen". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.