Robert Abbot (theologian)

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Robert Abbot (1588? - 1662?) was an English theologian who promoted puritan doctrines. He is sometimes mistakenly described as the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, but this is generally considered to be incorrect. The misunderstanding probably stems from a passage in Robert Abbot's work A Hand of Fellowship to Helpe Keepe out Sinne and Antichrist, in which he thanks the Archbishop for "worldly maintenance," "best earthly countenance", and "fatherly incouragements."


Robert Abbot received his education at Cambridge University, and later at Oxford University. The details of Abbot's ecclesiastical career are somewhat unclear, and can only be pieced together from fragmentary evidence, but based on something he wrote in his work Bee Thankfull London and her Sisters, it is probable that he began his church service with a posting as "assistant to a reverend divine". A note in the margin indicates that the reverend in question was "Master Haiward of Wool Church", in Dorset. In 1616, it is known that he was appointed by George Abbot to the vicarage of Cranbrook in Kent. His ministry at Cranbrook was regarded as successful, but he was noted for his lack of tolerance towards nonconformists. In 1643, Abbot left Cranbrook, becoming vicar of Southwick, Hampshire. Later, he became pastor at the "extruded" Udall of St Austin's, in London, where he apparently still served in 1657. Between 1657 and 1658, and in 1662, Abbot appears to vanish from record, and his activities are unknown.

Written works

Robert Abbot's books are conspicuous amongst the works of his time by their terseness and variety. In addition to those mentioned above he wrote Triall of our Church-Forsakers (1639), 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.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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