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Robert Govett

1813-1901. Theological writer (pseudonym “Mathetees”). Reared in Staines, Middlesex, he entered Worcester College, Oxford, in 1830, and after graduation was awarded a life fellowship in 1835. Ordained (1836-37), he became curate at St. Stephen's Church, Norwich, where his preaching attracted great crowds until in 1844 he confessed that he had forced his conscience on the matter of infant baptism and forthwith resigned his curacy and his fellowship. Most of the congregation left the Church of England and made Govett their pastor; services were held in Victoria Hall, Norwich, and by 1848 he had baptized 300-400 former Anglicans. Surrey Chapel, Norwich, was opened in 1854, and Govett ministered there to the end of the century. This nondenominational church still flourishes.

Govett's writings are extensive, of varying quality, and often marked by a high level of scholarship, a superbly logical approach, extraordinary originality, and complete faithfulness to biblical revelation. Much concerned with eschatology (Apocalypse, 1864, and other works), he held that much of the Book of Revelation is to be understood literally.