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Peter Smart

1569-1652. Puritan divine. Educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford, he was ordained in 1595 and became master of Durham Grammar School in 1598 and, later, prebend of Durham Cathedral. Under the rule of the High Church bishop Neile (1617-27) he absented himself from the services and in 1628 published a sermon directed against John Cosin (a fellow prebend) and the “ritualistic” services. He was suspended and fined, and his sermon was burned. Refusing to pay the fine, he was imprisoned in 1631 and remained in custody until released by the Long Parliament in 1641. His further publications—e.g., Catalogue of Superstitious Innovations (1642) and A Short Treatise of Altars (1643)-reveal that imprisonment had not changed his views, which were similar to those of the sermon, The Vanity and Downfall of Popish Ceremonies (1628). After receiving several sequestered benefices, he died at Baxter Wood, near Durham.