Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Coleman Anecdote 11 Maidwell, Browning, Clarke

In the county of Northampton we have a Mr Thomas Maidwell [1609-1692] ejected from the Church at Kettering, and afterwards becoming the devoted successful pastor of the Independent Church formed in that place, much tried, like many of his brethren, by persecutions. One H Sawyer, Esq, a large landed proprietor in the parish, was a bitter enemy to the Nonconformists, and often tried to get Mr Maidwell into his power. He frequently escaped with difficulty, sometimes in disguise. It is said that he was once cast into prison. He was also banished from his home by the "Five Mile Act."
Mr Thomas Browning, ejected from Desborough, Northamptonshire, who became pastor of the Independent Church at Howell, in the same county, was for some time confined in Northampton jail for preaching the gospel; and in the records of the church it is stated, in 1664, "from this time dates a sore persecution and scattering that lay upon us, that we hardly got together, much less obtained church meetings."
In the adjoining county of Leicester we have a Mr Matthew Clarke ejected from the living of Narborough, who afterwards became the pastor of the Independent Churches at Market Harborough and Ashley, three times cast into Leicester jail for the crime of preaching the gospel, narrowly watched by some furious justices of the peace, though he often had the happiness to escape. He dwelt for a time in a lone house in Leicester Forest, and was driven from thence by the "Five Mile Act" to live at a greater distance from any place where he had preached.

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