Wednesday, 4 June 2014

No Win Situation

It is said of Oliver Heywood that because for two or three Sundays he persisted in preaching after the Act of Uniformity he was excommunicated, the sentence of excommunication being publicly read in Halifax Church on November 2, 1662, in the parish church of Bolton, Lancashire, on January 4, 1663, and again at Halifax on December 3, 1663. For this reason attempts were made to exclude him from churches, even as a hearer. At the same time the churchwarden claimed fines from him for his non-attendance at Coley Chapel, under the statute of Elizabeth (four shillings for four sabbaths).
Heywood's diary says
"Stephen Ellis, our churchwarden, came to demand four shillings for my absence from church four sabbaths. My servant answered, that if I came, he would put me out of church. Yes, said he, and so I will too, for the law must be executed, both to keep him away, and punish his absence."

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