Marchamont Nedham is the serial turncoat of the Puritan Revolution. The civil wars, which shaped his life, broke out in the month, August 1642, of his twenty-second birthday. Nedham—or often Needham (his surname should be pronounced so as virtually to rhyme with ‘freedom’)—came from a family of moderate substance in Burford in Oxfordshire. After a period at All Souls College, Oxford, he was appointed usher and assistant teacher at Merchant Taylors' School, an experience that would leave him with a long-standing interest in education and a long-lasting awareness of its low levels of pay. In 1641 he found other employment, as a clerk at Gray's Inn. Then, in 1643, the growth of civil war journalism gave him his chance to expand his career. He wrote for parliament in the first civil war; for the king in the second; and for the successive Puritan regimes.
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