A biography of Samuel Rogers will, necessarily, be somewhat cursory and stretch the definition of the genre. This is partly because he was not a minister of any importance in the sense of making any impact on the pages of traditional history, since he was of no contemporary renown as a player in religious politics, his active preaching ministry was short and he had too little time to make a reputation as a considerable minister. The main primary source for Samuel Rogers is the text that follows, as his career and its timing left little, if anything, in parochial or ecclesiastical court sources. Regarding the genre of biography, most of what follows is a contextualization as his family and his employers are more accessible to historians, were better known to contemporaries and made a greater impact on surviving traces. The ‘problem’ can, however, be seen as advantageous, as his diary allows us access to other figures and, more importantly, gives us access to the experience, social, political and spiritual, of an obscure minister who was an impotent observer in ‘interesting times'. While an apology might be made for a biography that resembles a wedding cake that is all icing and little fruit, as it were, the icing is of interest and the fruit still excites the palate.
Samuel Rogers was the eldest son of Daniel Rogers, the lecturer of Wethersfield, Essex, and Sarah Rogers. He was born on 30 November 1613, the second child of Rogers’ second wife. He had an older half-brother, also called Daniel, the only surviving progeny of Daniel Rogers and Margaret Rogers, née Bishop, the latter expiring around 1610. Samuel's mother was the daughter of John Everard, a citizen of London. They had eight children, but only five seem to have reached adulthood. The first was Hanna, and there were two younger daughters, Mary and Margaret. There was a younger brother, Richard. For most of the period before the diary begins, Samuel lived in the substantial family home in Wethersfield, where Sarah tended the house with the help of servants and her sister, Mary Everard. We will return to the members of the family in greater detail shortly. An important part of his upbringing included religious instruction from an early age. His father gave his children catechizing sessions including questionand- answer exercises.