Monday, 18 July 2011

Judge Jeffries and the Bloody Assizes

Judge George Jeffries features in several of Coleman's anecdotes. Read about Jeffries here and the Bloody Assizes of 1685 where he presided here.

Coleman Anecdote 05 Francis Bampfield

A Mr Francis Bamfield, ejected from Sherbourn, in the same county [Dorset], was, after his ejectment, praying and expounding a portion of Scripture, as was his custom, with his family, and a few neighbours were present, when some soldiers broke in upon them, and obtained a warrant for their imprisonment. He afterwards suffered eight years' confinement in Dorchester jail, which he bore with great courage and patience, being filled with the comfort of the Holy Ghost. He preached in the prison sometimes every day, and gathered a church there. When he obtained his liberty he travelled in several counties preaching the Word. Was taken up again and imprisoned in Salisbury, where he continued 18 weeks. He afterwards formed a church in London, of the Baptist persuasion, which met at Pinners' Hall; but here he was exposed to fresh persecution. On one occasion the constable and several men with halberts rushed into the assembly when he was in the pulpit. The constable ordered him, in the king's name, to come down. He replied that he was discharging his office in the name of the King of kings. The constable told him he had a warrant from the Lord Mayor. Mr B replied, "I have a warrant from Christ, who is Lord Maximus, to go on;" and so proceeded in his discourse. But the constable and one of the officers pulled him down. They seized him, took him and six more to the Lord Mayor, who fined several of them £10. In the same month he was again pulled out of his pulpit, and led through the streets with the Bible in his hand, and great numbers of people after him, some reproaching and others speaking in his favour, one of whom said, "See how he walks, with the Bible in his hand, like one of the old martyrs.'" Being brought to the session, where the Lord Mayor was, he and three more were sent to prison. When afterwards brought to receive their sentence, the recorder, after odiously aggravating their offence, and reflecting on scrupulous consciences, read their sentence as follows: "That they were out of the protection of the king's majesty; that all their goods and chattels were forfeited; and that they were to remain in jail during their lives, or during the king's pleasure." Upon this Mr. B. would have spoken, but there was a great uproar—" Away with them, we will not hear them"—when Mr. B. said, "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness," " The Lord be judge in this case." They were then returned to Newgate, where Mr Bamfield, who was of a tender constitution, soon after died.

Larkham Manuscripts

In his book on Cumberland and Westmorland benjamin Nightingale has this note among his sources
The Larkham MSS

These include:

(a) The Cockermouth Church Book. This was the work of George Larkham until his death, a few additions being made by later hands. It is in the possession of the
Deacons of the Cockermouth Congregational Church.
(b) The Diary of Thomas Larkham from 1647. This is a most remarkable document and is about the same size as the Cockermouth Church Book. There appear to be in
it at least five different handwritings:
1. That of the original owner who seems to have been an apothecary. The writing here is beautiful and the entries are such as would concern his business. The date in this writing goes back at least to 1697.

2. Near the end of the book are several pages occupied with Christenings, Burials and Receipts in "or [our] prish church of East Greenwch, by G. L. then elected Clarke," beginning with December 1615. The writing is small and neat, but distinctly different from the other.

3. Thomas Larkham was sometime Minister of East Greenwich, and probably the book came into his possession through this connection. He used it as a Diary and Book of Accounts and the earliest date is 1647. These items appear in the various spaces which the other writers had left; but Larkham was not satisfied with that, he has written on the top of the other, actually using their words and letters wherever possible for his own purpose. The result is that it is extremely difficult to pick out his entries.

4. From Thomas Larkham the book appears to have passed on to his son George, the Cockermouth Minister, who fills in remaining spaces and adds copies of letters which Mr Lewis has printed.

5. The next writer is Larkham Bowes, George Larkham's grandson, whose entries are few.

The MS. is owned by H M Fawcett, Esq, of Whitley Bay, a descendant of Larkham, who kindly lent it me for some time. It is very doubtful if a complete transcript can ever be made owing to the superimposition of Larkham's writing upon the original; and the task of making a fairly readable one is very serious. I have, however, proceeded some way through it. The MS is soiled and worn in places ; and was rebound by the owner a short time ago.

Thomas Larkham

Thomas Larkham was ejected from the lving at Tavistock in Devon. See here. Also see ODNB. A little history of the church can be found here. His diary is due to be published this year.

Coleman Anecdote 04 John Weeks

In Dorsetshire there was a Mr John Weeks, who after his ejectment became minister of a large congregation at Bristol. But he met with hardships on account of his Nonconformity, which he bore with great patience, meekness, and courage. As he was once preaching in Froom Woodlands, some informers came who had vowed to shoot him; but he directed his discourse to them with such majesty arid boldness that they rode away without giving him any disturbance. He was afterwards imprisoned six months for his Nonconformity, during which he preached out of the prison windows, and had many of the common people constantly to hear him. He was once carried to prison from his pulpit. While he was preaching the officers came in, and demanded by what authority he preached. He thereupon clapped his hand upon the Bible, and said, "By the authority of God and this book." They ordered him to come down. He desired he might conclude with prayer, which they yielded to, standing uncovered. He; prayed so heartily for the king and government, that one of his friends, after prayer, asked a clergyman, who came with the officers, what he had to say against such a man. "Truly nothing," he replied, "only such men eat the bread out of our mouths." There was one John Helliar, a lawyer, crafty and subtle, one of the most furious persecutors in that part of the kingdom. A rather amusing anecdote is related concerning him. On one occasion he went with the bishop to Mr Weeks' meeting-house at Bristol, to apprehend Mr Weeks, and he took down the names of several who were present at the meeting. One, however, hesitated to tell his name, and, though he was pressed again and again, he still refused. At length, being urged by several to inform them why he would not tell his name, he answered, "Because I am ashamed of it." Being further asked what reason he had to be ashamed of his name, he answered, with well-feigned reluctance and shamefacedness, " Because it is Helliar." It is needless to add that there was a general laugh at the mortified lawyer.
We are informed that Mr Weeks was as popular a preacher as most in England, and remarkably fervent in expostulating with sinners. He took pains with his sermons to the last. He was a minister out of the pulpit as well as in it; a most affectionate, sympathising friend, and one who became all things to all men. He discovered a most divine temper in his last illness, and was serene and joyful in the approach of death.

Coleman Anecdote 03 Robert Collins

In the same county (of Devon) our attention may be directed to a Mr [Robert] Collins, who preached in his own house after his ejectment. But under the "Conventicle Act," one Lord's day in September, 1670, his house was surrounded with the officers and the vilest rabble of the town, who, not daring to break open the doors till they had obtained a warrant from a neighbouring justice, kept the congregation prisoners till night, when the warrant arrived. On forcing the doors, the gentlemen and the rabble treated both the minister and the people with great incivility. They wrote down the names of whom they pleased; took some into custody ; had warrants issued out for levying £20 on Mr Collins for preaching, £20 on the house, and 5s on each of the hearers, though they could produce no proof that there was any preaching or praying at all. After this followed breaking open of houses and shops, taking away goods and wares, forcing open gates, driving off cattle and exposing to sale for the raising of the fines.
On another occasion he was brought before a justice of the peace, who treated him and some others with great inhumanity, calling Mr Collins a minister of the devil, using other abusive and scurrilous language; and when Mr C offered to reply, threatening him with the jail, and interlacing his words with oaths and curses. On another occasion he and his wife went on horseback to attend a funeral, and a constable, by a warrant he obtained, seized them both. But at length his wife was set at liberty, and he was taken to the constable's house, and kept there under a guard, night and day, from Wednesday to Friday, when he was brought before the magistrate, and had the "Corporation Oath" tendered. On his refusing it, he was sent to the high jail, though a thousand pounds bail was offered, where he lay six months with the common prisoners, though while there he was considered to have heen the instrument of converting a poor prisoner that was executed. He was repeatedly persecuted for not attending divine service at church; also for living within five miles of the place where he had been minister; till he was at last constrained to leave his family and the kingdom and to withdraw to Holland, at the loss of several hundred pounds, and was obliged to sell a very handsome mansion-house, and a fine estate adjoining, to maintain himself and his family in their distracted condition. He was a grave and holy man. At his death he left £20 towards building a new meeting house.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Coleman Anecdote 02 Nosworthy

In the county of Devon we find a Mr Nosworthy meeting with many enemies and much opposition. One Mr Stowell distinguished himself in his furious zeal against him; and with _____ Bevan, Esq., came
into his meeting and required him to come down. He was advised by an attorney who was present to keep his place; but they threatened to pull him out of the pulpit, and at length obliged him to come down. The same person more than once disturbed his meeting afterwards; and one time, on a week-day, with drums and muskets, which so frightened Mrs Nosworthy that it was thought to occasion her death. In consequence of his having a service in his house, they convicted him for holding a conventicle, imposed upon him a fine of £20, and £20 upon the house. Yet he was a man whose learning and other ministerial qualifications were considerable. The neighbouring ministers paid great deference to his judgment, and often made him moderator in their debates. After his death, several of his enemies were troubled on account of the disturbances they had given him, and sent to his children, who were eminent for their piety, begging their prayers, and desiring forgiveness of the injury they had done their families.

Coleman Anecdote 01 Calamy

In London the celebrated Edmund Calamy, BD, was one of the first that was imprisoned after the passing of the "Act of Uniformity." He went on Lord's-day, December 28, to the church of Aldermanbury, where he had been minister, with an intention to be a hearer; but the person expected to preach happened to fail. To prevent a disappointment, and through the importunity of the people present, he went up and preached upon the concern of old Eli for the ark of God. Upon this, by a warrant from the Lord Mayor, he was committed to Newgate as a breaker of the "Act of Uniformity;" but in a few days, when it was seen what a resort to him there was of persons of all qualities, and how generally the severity was resented, he was discharged by his Majesty's express order. His grandson relates the following:
"I have been informed that a certain Popish lady, happening then to pass through the City, had much ado to get along Newgate Street, by reason of the many coaches that attended there, at which she was not a little surprised. Curiosity led her to inquire into the occasion of the stoppage, and the appearance of such a number of coaches in a place where she thought nothing of that kind was to be looked for. The standers-by informed her that one Mr Calamy, a person generally beloved and respected, was imprisoned there for a single sermon, at which they seemed greatly disturbed and concerned. This so moved the lady that, taking the first opportunity of waiting upon the King at Whitehall, she frankly told his Majesty the whole matter, expressing her fear that, if such steps as these were taken, he would lose the affections of the City, which might be a very ill consequence. Upon this account, and some others, my grandfather was in a little time discharged by the express order of his Majesty." 
This imprisonment made no small noise in the country. Dr Wilde published a copy of verses, in a facetious style, addressed to Mr. Calamy, which was spread through all parts of the kingdom. And oh what insulting, says Mr Baxter, there was by that party in the Newsbook and in their discourses, that Calamy, who would not be a bishop, was in jail. Coleman gives the Wilde poem.

Coleman on the 2000 Confessors of 1662

Thomas Coleman's book on the 2000 Confessors of 1662 first appeared in 1862. Some 240 pages long it has seven unequal chapters. After an introduction linking the St Bartholomew's Day massacre, 1662 and the disruption in Scotland the first chapters (1-3) cover the history of the period - the events leading up to the ejection (17-27), the principles on which they acted (28-51) and the oppressive measures they suffered (52-84).
At this point the book becomes more anecdotal with a long chapter (82 pages) on Characteristics of the men and their times, looking at the sufferings endured (85-137), some remarkable interpositions on their behalf (138-158) and rebukes suffered by adversaries (159-167). Chapter 5 outlines the eminent piety of some of these men (168-207). Chapter 6, makes four points regarding their subsequent influence (208-223) - 1. Their great influence on the civil and religious liberties of Britain 2Their powerful influence in teaching to their own generation, and to those that have succeeded them, that there is something more in religion than a name and a form 3. Their great influence on the theology of their country 4. Their great influence in maintaining the vital power of Christianity against the formality that was promoted by the ritualism of the Church. A final chapter considers the way things were at the time of  publication (224-236).
There is also an appendix listing numbers county by county and an index. An edition of the book can be accessed here

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Baptists and 1662 Chart

Double Click to enlarge
Ministers charged with holding posts in the Established Church while being Baptists, grouped in eleven classes.

1. Never Baptist. 2. Never in the Establishment. 3. Became Baptist after 1662. 4. Resigned from the Establishment on becoming Baptist. 5. Doubtful if Baptist. 6. Date of resigning living uncertain. 7. Not identified. 8. Chaplain. 9. Died as Baptist in the Establishment. 10. Ejected as Baptist from the Establishment 11. Conformed though Baptist.

Millard The Great Ejectment of 1662

Benjamin A Millard's 1912 book The Great Ejectment of 1662 is just 114 pages and seeks to introduce the subject to young Congregationalists of the time. It is the sort of thing we need today updated.
It was published by the Congegational Union of England and Wales has 8 chapters.
1. Before the king came home - Giving the background and explaining the religous parties of the time (Independents, Presbyterians, Praltists adn Roman Catholics)
2. "Presbyterian" Ideals - Having explained their dominance among the Puritans at this time he says that they sought four things - 1. Limitation of the scope and powers of the Episcpal office 2. A more thorough and effective system of spiritual discipline 3. Omission of certain ceremonial acts and prohibition of certain vestments 4. Thorough revision of the Prayer Book inviolving omissions and additions.
3. The Act of Uniformity - Here he surveys the course of events to the passing of the act
4. "Black Bartholomew" - This relates the actual events of the time the act was implemented
5. The whip of scorpions - Here he realtes the persecution that followed including the bringing in of further Acts that served to make the suffering of the Nonconformists greater.
6. "Of whom the world was not worthy" - something further on the sufferings that were endured 1662-1688 with some examples
7. The spoils of victory (1) - After a brief review he give, first, more particular consideration to the matters arising, namely 1 The supremacy of Scripture 2 The responsibilities of conscience 3 The basis on which a National Church should be established 4 How spiritual unity can be realised
8. The spoils of victory (2)  - The final brief consideration is to do with 1 Human rights 2 Spiritual freedom

Peter Ince

The story of the ejected minister Peter Ince is often told. Coleman has it like this
A Pleasing Discovery
Mr Peter Ince, ejected from the rectory of Dunhead, in Wilts, after being silenced, clothed himself in the dress of a shepherd, and engaged himself in that capacity to a Mr Grove, that in this way he might obtain support for himself and his family.
But not long after the year 1662, the wife of Mr Grove, who was a gentleman of great opulence, was taken dangerously ill, and Mr G sent for the parish minister to pray with her. When the messenger came, he was just going out with the hounds, and sent word that he would come when the hunt was over.
Mr Grove expressed much resentment against the minister, for choosing rather to follow his diversion than attend his wife, under the circumstances in which she then lay, when one of the servants said, "Sir, our shepherd, if you will send for him, can pray, very well; we have often heard him at prayer in the field." Upon this he was immediately sent for, and Mr Grove asked him whether he ever did or could pray. The shepherd fixed his eyes upon him, and, with peculiar seriousness in his countenance, replied,
"God forbid, sir, I should live one day without prayer." Hereupon he was desired to pray with the sick lady, which he did so pertinently to her case, with such fluency and fervency of devotion, as greatly to astonish the husband and all the family that were present. When they arose from their knees, Mr. Grove said, " Your language and manner discover you to be a very different person from what your present appearance indicates. I conjure you to inform me who and what you are, and what were your views and situation in life before you came into my service." Whereupon he told him that he was one of the ministers that had been lately ejected from the Church, and that having nothing of his own left, he was content, for a livelihood, to submit to the honest and peaceful employment of tending sheep. Upon hearing this, Mr Grove said, "Then you shall be my sfiepherd/" and immediately erected a meeting-house on his own estate, in which Mr Ince preached, and gathered a congregation of Dissenters. He is said to have been a good scholar, well skilled in the languages, especially in the Hebrew, and a good practical preacher. He had an admirable gift in prayer, and would, in days of special prayer, pour forth his soul with such spirituality, variety, fluency, and affection, that he was called praying Ince.

Monday, 4 July 2011

English Religious Laws 1660-1728

                      English Religious Laws passed from 1660 to 1728
Date passed
Date repealed
Required oaths and communion for officers
Penalties reduced by Indemnity Act; Final repeal 1871
Publications approved by Archbishop or Bishop

Uniformity [1]
Ejected nonc. ministers by 1664

To present
Bartholomew Act
Uniformity [2]
Required teachers to take communion and have Bishop’s License

Uniformity [3]
Required oath 39 Articles universities
Changed in 1772
Banned Quaker assemblies, required oaths

Conventicle  [1]
Banned religious gatherings of more than 5

Five Mile
Banned ejected ministers and unlicensed preachers within  5 miles of towns

Conventicle [2]
Banned religious gatherings of more than 5

Civil/military officers must take communion, renounce Mass, swear Corporation oaths, aimed at Catholics, also affected other Nonconformists
Penalties reduced by Indemnity Act
Papist’s Disabling
Barred Catholics from Parliament

Suspended penal laws agt. Nonconformists, allowed Trinitarians to license chapels

To present
Modified in 1779
Penalties incl. death for arians, socinians and atheists

Occasional Conformity

Barred  Dissenters from taking Anglican communion to qualify for office

Barred Dissenters from keeping schools

Reduced penalties under Test and Corporation Acts; allowed Dissenters to hold offices

Became annual from 1756 until repeal of Test and Corporation Acts

Baptists and 1662

This is a 46 page Carey Kingsgate booklet from 1962 containing two essays, one by E A Payne and one by Norman S Moon giving the background to 1662 and saying what there is to be said about Baptists in that connection. Moon says that according to W T Whitley no more than 26 Baptists were among the 2,000 (Payne suggests less). Most notable was Henry Jessey of Southwark. Others include Richard Adams, Richard Breviter, Daniel Dyke, John Donne, John Gibbs and John Tombes. Also note Vavasor Powell, John Miles and Thomas Ewins. Payne also points out that Francis Bampfield and others later became Baptists, after their ejection. The conventicle act affected Baptist churches quite a bit and at the end of 1662 there were 289 Baptists in Newgate Prison and 18 in The Tower. The booklet takes the story into the more recent past, mentioning The Occasional Conformity Act of 1711, Dissenting Academies, Carey and the eventual repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828.
(An article on the subject by W T Whitley can be found online here)

Books on the subject 1962

See here for a summary of some books published in conncection with our subject in 1962.