- Edgar J. McManus
Morton, Charles (1627–11 April 1698), Puritan clergyman and educator, was born at Pendavy in Cornwall, England, the son of the Reverend Nicholas Morton, the rector of St. Ive, and Frances Kestell. His early years were spent in Southwark, London, where Nicholas Morton had been appointed to the rectory of St. Saviour’s shortly before Charles’s birth. His mother died when he was quite young, and after the death of his father in 1640, Charles and two younger brothers returned to Cornwall to live with their mother’s family. In 1646 he entered Cambridge, his father’s alma mater, and joined the Puritan party, which controlled the university throughout the Great Rebellion. When Oxford, which had been a Royalist bastion, surrendered to the Parliamentary forces in 1646, hundreds of scholars and lecturers were ejected to make room for men loyal to the new regime. In 1648 Morton joined the Cambridge Puritans who flocked to Oxford to take advantage of the opportunities at the older institution. He was admitted to Wadham College in 1649, and he took his B.A. the same year. Wadham was then a major center for the study of the “new philosophy,” as emerging experimental science was known in the seventeenth century. By the time he took his M.A. in 1652, Morton had acquired a first-rate scientific education....