Marius d'Assigny

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Headmaster, cleric and author Marius d’Assigny (1643-1717) was the son of Pierre d'Assigny, Rector of St Helier and Elizabeth Marie, daughter of Nathanael, Pastor of the French Huguenot Church in Threadneedle Street.

Born in the old St Helier Rectory and baptised in the Town Church, his Christian name was probably suggested by the maiden name of his mother.

Narrow escape

When only seven months old he had a narrow escape from death. Elizabeth Castle was bombarding the Town during the Civil War, and Chevalier says: "A cannon ball passed through the gable of the Presbytery, and fell down the chimney into the fire", at which Marius and his little brother were warming themselves. The same week a second cannon-ball burst through the wall.

When the Royalists captured the island his father fled, and in January 1644 his mother was banished as "the wife of a fugitive rebel". She took her children with her to Norwich, where her husband had become co-pastor of the Huguenot Church.

When Parliament regained the island in 1652, Pierre d'Assigny returned with his family to Jersey as Rector of St Martin, and remained until he was again deprived at the Restoration.

In 1653 Marius was voted a grant from the Don Baudains, but he does not seem to have matriculated either at Oxford or Cambridge. He apparently studied abroad, for in 1668 he obtained from Cambridge the degree of BD per literas regias "after long and painful study in foreign Universities".

He was now in Anglican Orders, and had been acting as Chaplain at Tangier to the forces. In 1667 he had been appointed Vicar of Penrith, Cumberland. In 1668 the Archbishop of Canterbury issued a licence for the marriage of the Rev Marius d'Assigny to "Elizabeth Effard of St Martin in the Fields, aged 25, daughter of Captain Effard now beyond the seas".

In 1671 Bishop Morley of Winchester appointed him Headmaster of The Holy Ghost School, Basingstoke, a post which he held for less than two years. He became Vicar of Cutcombe, Somerset, 1672,-99, Rector of Tidmarsh, Berkshire, 1702, Vicar of Aveley, Essex 1706-12, and Vicar of Blackmore 1712.

Books

But his main work was done with his pen. He was a prolific writer on very varied subjects. Among his books were:

  • The Assurance of the Faithful or the Glorious Estate of the Saints in Heaven, 1670
  • The Poetical Histories, being a compleat collection of all the stories necessary for a perfect understanding of the Greek and Latin Poets, 1671
  • The Divine Art of Prayer, 1671
  • The Curiosities of Old Rome and of the most Remarkable Hieroglyphics of Egypt, 1672.
  • The Art of Memory, a treatise useful especially to such as are to speak in public, 1697
  • Rhetorica Anglorum vel Exercitationes Oratoriae in Rhetoricam Sacram et Communem, 1699
  • A translation of Dretincourt's Christian's Defence against the Fear of Death, 1701
  • A History of the Earls and Earldom of Flanders, 1701
  • Seasonable Advice to the Protestant Nonjurors, showing the Absurdity of acknowledging the pretended Prince of Wales for King of England, 1702
  • An Antidote against the Pernicious Errors of the Anabaptists, 1706
  • The Mystery of Anabaptism Unmasked, 1709.

D'Assigny died on 14 November 1717 and was buried in Woodham Walter Church, Essex.

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