Lawrence came to Newcastle from Newcastle! He was born in 1693 in Nantwich. His father, also Samuel Lawrence, was a Dissenting Minister, and his great uncle Edward Lawrence was one of those ejected in 1662. Lawrence was ordained at the age of 21 and began his ministry in Newcastle under Lyme, moving to its big brother in 1727. He was with us for only six years until ill health forced him to resign in 1733, whereupon he went to London and died there in 1760. Our records show him as M.D., which is probably an error, as both Newcastle under Lyme and the Surman Index* show him as a Doctor of Divinity, not medicine.
The curious feature of Lawrence is that our records sometimes show him as being called Ebenezer Lawrence. In 1862 the church decided to celebrate the 200th anniversary of 1662 by installing in New Bridge Street church a stained glass window containing the names of all our ministers, and in that window he is named as Ebenezer. On the boards in the vestibule recording our past ministers he is named Ebenezer. Yet in his history, published in 1904, Richard Welford refers to him as Samuel Lawrence (and as having
the same name as his father). Enquiries at Newcastle under Lyme Meeting House confirm he is named in their records as Samuel Lawrence (see above), as does the authoritative Surman Index.*
*The Surman Index Online, Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, http://surman.english.qmul.ac.uk