Henry Coppinger

Lavenham parish church is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful Anglican church buildings in the entire county of Suffolk, something that I can attest from personal experience, having visited the church last September. For a hundred years, from 1578 to 1679, the church was served by a succession of Puritan pastors, the last of whom was the famous William Gurnall, the author of The Christian in Complete Armour (1661). Now, the first Puritan leader in the Suffolk town was Henry Coppinger, Lavenham church's longest-serving pastor, who was there from 1578 to 1622. When his father, also Henry Coppinger, was dying, he asked the younger Coppinger, one of eleven sons, what course of life he would follow. When the latter told him he intended to be a minister of gospel, the elder Coppinger was immensely pleased, for he said, "what shall I say to Martin Luther when I shall see him in heaven, and he knows that God gave me eleven sons, and I made not one of them a minister?"

PS One of the great joys at Southern, where I teach, is serving with Dr Mark Coppenger. Drafting this mini-post I was obviously struck by the similarity of his name with that of Henry Coppinger (a difference of an i/e, easily accounted for). Maybe I am serving with a descendant of this Puritan leader who helped prepare the way for the great Gurnall!