Cover of Public Spirit: Dissent in Witham and Essex, 1500-1700

Contents

Contents Page
List of Figures vi
List of Drawings by Ray Brown vii
Preface viii
Location Maps x
Chapter 1 — Witham 1
Chapter 2 — Useful Information 8
Christianity 8
Clergymen 10
Churchwardens 10
Wills and Will Preambles 12
Preambles 13
The Church Courts 14
Organisation 14
Meeting places, Colchester archdeaconry area 15
Court officers 16
Nature of court business and punishments 18
Volume of court business 20
Education, Reading and Writing 23
The purpose of education 23
Teachers 23
Literacy: reading 23
Literacy: writing and signatures 25
Chapter 3 — Henry VIII, 1509-1547 29
Background 29
Early Protestants in Essex 30
Accusations of heresy in Essex 30
Protestant will preambles in Essex 30
Christopher, Dyonise, and Joan Raven, Thomas Hills, and John and Richard Chapman, of Witham 32
Christopher Royden of Witham 35
Tradition and its Erosion in Witham 37
Clergymen 37
Tradition in Witham wills 38
Overview 41
Chapter 4 — Edward VI, 1547-1553, and Mary I, 1553-1558 42
Edward VI, 1547-1553 42
Witham church during Edward’s reign 42
Dissent during Edward’s reign 42
Will preambles in Essex and Witham during Edward’s reign 43
Mary I 44
Accusations of Protestant heresy in Essex during Mary’s reign 44
Protestant will preambles in Essex and Witham during Mary’s reign 45
‘Mixed’ Will Preambles in Witham and Essex, 1543-1560 45
Minor Witham churchmen writing mixed preambles 47
William Love, Vicar of Witham 1536-1560 48
Traditional associates of William Love 48
Overview 49
Chapter 5 — Elizabeth I (part 1), 1558-c.1583 50
Background 50
Puritanism 50
Secular Officials 50
Magistrates 50
Officers of the half-hundred 53
Parish constables 53
Clergymen 53
Edward Halys, vicar of Witham 1560-1587 53
Curates 54
Teaching 54
Will Preambles 55
Joan Raven 55
Preambles taken from William Tracy 56
Offences Taken to Court 57
Secular courts 57
Church courts 57
Overview 58
Chapter 6 — Elizabeth I (part 2), c.1583-1603 59
Economic and Social Difficulties 59
Secular Officials 59
Magistrates 59
Half-hundred and parish officers 60
Clergymen 60
John Sterne, vicar 1587-1608 60
Curates 60
Teaching 61
Will Preambles 61
The Secular Courts 61
Crime 61
Vagrants and lodgers and employment 62
The Church Courts 63
Churchwardens 63
Amount of business 64
Non-payment of rates 64
Discipline 64
Sundays, and church attendance 65
Anti-Catholicism 66
The Southcotts and Southwells 67
Other Witham Catholics of the late sixteenth century; Bayles, Ridgleys and Campions 69
Thomas Campion 70
Other possible Catholics 70
Witchcraft 70
Overview 71
Chapter 7 — James I, 1603-1625 72
Background 72
The Barnardistons 72
Secular Officials 74
Magistrates 74
Half-hundred and parish officers 75
Clergymen 75
Vicars 75
Curates and a lecturer 76
Edmund Halys 77
Teaching 78
Will Preambles 79
Discipline and the Courts, 1603-c.1611 79
The events of 1604 79
Churchwardens, 1603-c.1611 80
Discipline and the Courts, c.1611-1625 81
Churchwardens, c.1611-1625 81
Adultery and fornication 81
Alehouses and drinking 82
Drinking and disorder on Sundays and feast days 83
Sunday games 84
Sunday working 84
Absence from church 85
Church pews 85
Overview 86
Chapter 8 — Charles I — interlude — The Forced Loan of 1626, and St. Patrick’s Day 1628 87
Background 87
The Forced Loan of 1626 87
Billeting Soldiers in Essex 89
The Move to Witham 90
St. Patrick’s Day, Monday 17 March 1628 92
Aftermath 95
Overview 96
Chapter 9 — Charles I (part), 1625-1640 97
Background 97
Local Officials 98
Robert Aylett 98
Magistrates 98
Other local secular officials 99
Churchwardens 99
Dame Katherine Barnardiston and Her Friends 99
Her place in society 99
Her beliefs 100
Ministers 100
Contacts in Witham 102
Local Clergymen 103
Francis Wright, vicar of Witham 1625-1643 and 1660-1668 103
Curates and teachers 104
Thomas Weld, vicar of Terling 1625-1631 104
1625-c.1628: Witham Parishioners’ Protests, and the First Visits to Terling 104
1628-1632: Official Involvement, and More Visits to Terling 106
The high constable and Francis Wright 106
Thomas Weld in trouble 107
The consistory court at Kelveden, December 1631 108
Witham churchwardens 109
Other parishioners, 1631 110
Opposition to curate Thoams Herris 111
1632-1636: Possible Puritan Caution 111
The mystery list of names, and the ‘unlawful meeting’ of 1634 111
Other activity in Witham, 1632-1636 112
Catholics 112
Francis Wright and the Court of High Commission, 1632-1635 113
1637-1640: Puritans to the Fore Again 114
Francis Wright at the Bishop’s Commissary court 114
Irreverence 115
Communion rails 115
Overview 116
Studies of other places 116
Witham 118
Chapter 10 — The Long Parliament and the Civil War, 1640-1660 119
Background 119
Religion 120
Essex Before the War, 1640-1642 121
Local Disturbances, 1642 121
Thomas Bayles of Witham 121
Parliament’s Organisation and Support 122
The Committees 122
Magistrates 122
Half-hundred soldiers 123
Soldiers and other supporters 123
The King’s Supporters 126
Henry Nevill 126
John Southcott 127
The Ayloffes 128
Running Witham 128
Before the war, 1640-1642 128
The Parliamentarian petition of January 1642 129
The ‘Royalist’ petition of 1643 130
The sequestration of vicar Francis Wright, 1643 130
Vicars after 1643 132
The sequestrators of the vicarage 132
Local affairs, 1643-1660 133
Religious Separatism 135
Quakerism 135
Overview 137
Chapter 11 — Charles II, 1660-1685, James II, 1685-1688, and William and Mary, 1689-1702 138
Background 138
Local Officials 139
Magistrates 139
Half-hundred officers 139
Secular parish officers 140
Churchwardens 140
Vicars 141
The return of Francis Wright, 1660-1668 141
John Harper, 1668-1670, Thomas Cox, 1670-1676, Thomas Brett, 1676-1680 142
Jonas Warley, 1680-1722 143
Other clergy and teachers 143
Dissent 144
Quakerism 144
Success and expansion, 1660-c.1680 144
Quakers’ role in the town 147
The Quakers and the poor 148
Quakers and tithes 149
Change in the Quaker meeting, c.1680 onwards 149
Nonconformists 152
Travelling preachers 152
George Lisle 154
Edmund Taylor 156
Lay nonconformists 157
Catholicism 159
Overview 159
Chapter 12 — Post Script 160
Acceptance 160
Wealth and Status 160
Continuity 161
Appendices 162
Notes 171
Sources 193
Index 200