Robert Charles Anderson's Tour Talks

The Winthrop Fleet Great Migration Tour took place August 15-25, 2012 with leaders Robert Charles Anderson and Sandi Hewlett. Tour Talk was a series of newsletters sent to tour participants during the year preceeding the tour, detailing the history of the Winthrop Fleet and the historic sites in England connected to their eventual migration to New England.

Issue #1, September 2011


Our Great Migration tour to Suffolk and environs is now less than a year away. As we approach the date of the tour, we propose to issue this monthly bulletin to keep you informed about the details of the tour and also to provide background information on the sites we will be visiting, the New England immigrants who lived there, and a variety of related historical topics. We hope you find these messages helpful and that they will whet your appetite for this second Great Migration tour. If there are topics you would like to have covered in future issues, or questions you would like to have answered, please let us know.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

The Winthrop Fleet

Our tour concentrates on the immigrants to New England who sailed in the Winthrop Fleet of 1630. This was a group of about a dozen vessels which left England in April and May of that year, arriving at Salem in June and July, and carrying about seven hundred passengers. This fleet was organized in late 1629 and early 1630 by the newly created Massachusetts Bay Company, and was led by John Winthrop of Groton, Suffolk.

John Winthrop made his first appearance in the records of the Massachusetts Bay Company on 19 September 1629, but he must have been involved earlier than that date, for at this first appearance he was appointed to a committee to attend to one aspect of the Company’s business. On 20 October 1629, in anticipation of the voyage the following year, Winthrop was elected governor of the company, succeeding Matthew Cradock, who would not make the voyage in 1630.

Winthrop was the hub around which the Massachusetts Bay Company and its colony revolved for the next twenty years, and he will be the principal focus of our tour. One of the highlights of our time in England will be a visit to his home parish of Groton in Suffolk, where we will see the parish church where he and many of his family were baptized, and the manor house that the Winthrop family owned and occupied for many years.

In future issues of Tour Talk we will be presenting more detailed information about the structure and organization of the Winthrop Fleet, and will be recommending books and articles to read in preparation for our journey. The most important book you can read, and the one to read if you are only able to read one, is Francis J. Bremer, John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father, published in 2003 by Oxford University Press. This biography supersedes all earlier work on Winthrop and will be our frequent guide and companion.

Great Migration Immigrants from Mistley, Essex

On Wednesday, 22 August 2012, about two-thirds of the way through the tour, we will begin our day by taking the coach to Mistley, Essex, the most easterly location we will visit. Mistley is at the mouth of the Stour River, which is the boundary between Essex and Suffolk. Although there were no known inhabitants of Mistley who were on the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, there were a few Mistley residents who later came to New England, some with connections to other Great Migration immigrants. (Just to the west of Mistley is Dedham, our second stop of the day, which did provide passengers in 1630.)

Aside from the New England immigrants who derived from Mistley, the parish is of interest because of the unusual history of the church buildings themselves. A typical medieval church building once existed in the middle of the parish, about a mile south of the river, and in this building the seventeenth-century immigrants of interest to us were baptized and married. In the early 1700s, however, the leading family in Mistley shifted the center of economic activity to the north and west, to take advantage of the ease of shipping on the Stour. As a result, the old church was allowed to decay and a new church was built in 1735 in the new town center, close to the river. This building was of an unusual form for an English church, with two small towers, one at either end of the nave. This building in turn was allowed to deteriorate, and in 1868 a Gothic Revival church was built just a hundred yards to the south of the second church.

The coach will take us to the site of the oldest church, which is now reduced to the stone foundation in a private pasture. Beginning at this point, we will lead an optional walk across the parish, about a mile and a half through fields and woods and along peaceful lanes, ending at the Gothic Revival church. Those who do not wish to take this walk may reboard the coach to meet the walking group at that church. From that point the towers of the decayed second church are visible and may be reached by a walk of just a few minutes.

There are at least three Great Migration immigrants from Mistley:

  1. Henry Kimball was born about 1590 and sailed for New England in 1634, settling at Watertown where he resided until his death in 1648 [GM 2:4:152-54]. He was the son of Richard Kimball of Lawford, Essex, a parish that sits between Mistley and Dedham. Henry’s brother Richard Kimball also came to New England in 1634, the two brothers sailing together on the same vessel [GM 2:4:154-60]. Henry Kimball married at Great Bromley, Essex, in 1628 Susan (Stone) Cutting, daughter of Henry Stone and widow of Richard Cutting. The two eldest children of Henry and Susan, daughters Elizabeth and Susan, were baptized at Mistley in 1629 and 1632.
  2. John Cheney was born perhaps about 1600 and is first seen at Mistley with his first wife Amy, where we find the baptism of their daughter Mary on 24 July 1625, followed by daughter Martha in 1626 and son John in 1628. Amy must have died soon after this, for on 3 March 1630/1 John Cheney married Martha Smith at the adjoining parish of Lawford. Two more children were baptized there, in 1632 and 1634, after which, in 1635, the family sailed for New England and settled at Roxbury [GM 2:2:60-63]. (The evidence for what we know of John Cheney and his family in England was published in 2001 and 2008 by Leslie Mahler FASG [TAG 76:245-47; NEHGR 162:115-16].)
  3. Isaac Cummings was born about 1602 and had arrived in New England by 1636, where he first settled at Watertown, but soon moved to Ipswich and then to Topsfield, where he died in 1677. His first four children were baptized at Mistley, in 1629, 1630, 1633 and 1635 (as published in 1991 by John Plummer [NEHGR 145:239-40]).

Tour Arrangements

The 2012 Great Migration Tour begins on Wednesday, 15 August 2012, at 10AM, when the coach arrives at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel to collect the participants. We strongly recommend that you arrange your flight plans so that you arrive in London by Tuesday, 14 August. In this way, there will be no uncertainty regarding flights arriving on Wednesday morning, and the tour will be able to commence smoothly. With this in mind, spending the night of the 14th at the Sheraton Heathrow would be convenient. We will provide additional details on this hotel in a separate e-mail. However, you are free to choose another Heathrow hotel, but the coach will only be able to make the one stop at the Sheraton Heathrow.

Later in the day on 15 August we will check into The Angel Hotel at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. This will be our base for the next ten days. This hotel is in the center of the town, directly across from the massive and beautiful ruins of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, which provides the opportunity for morning and evening strolls through the carefully groomed grounds, for viewing the gardens and also for birdwatching. You may get a feel for The Angel Hotel by looking at their website:

In the other direction from the hotel is the business and shopping district of Bury St. Edmunds. The main market square is two short blocks away. On Monday, 20 August, we will have a "quiet day" in Bury St. Edmunds, when you can pursue a variety of activities on your own. On five evenings you will be on your own for dinner in Bury St. Edmunds. You may, of course, have dinner on any of those evenings in the excellent restaurant in The Angel. There are, however, many and varied restaurants within easy walking distance of the hotel. In a future issue of Tour Talk we will describe a number of these eating places, with our personal comments on some.

Issue #2, October 2011


Heathrow Hotel

In the previous issue of Tour Talk, we made the strong recommendation that you fly to England no later than 14 August 2012, and stay that night at the Sheraton Heathrow hotel. Through the diligence of one of our registrants, we have learned that that hotel is fully booked for that evening, with the exception of a few rooms that are available at an exorbitant rate. We are working on finding an alternative, and will inform you as soon as we have done so, hopefully prior to the date of the next issue of Tour Talk.

The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds

Edmund was a Saxon king who died in 869, fighting against the Vikings. He was initially buried at the site of the battle, which may have taken place at what is now the village of Bradfield St. Clare. About 903 Edmund’s remains were moved a few miles to the northwest, to the nearby Saxon village of Bedricesworth, a settlement which would grow into the town of Bury St. Edmunds. He was probably elevated to sainthood a few decades later.

In 1020 King Canute established a Benedictine monastery at Bedricesworth, which soon became the resting place for St. Edmund. The abbey became one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in England and accumulated massive wealth. Although Bury St. Edmunds was never a diocesan seat, the abbey church, much of which was built in the twelfth century, rivalled in size the cathedrals at Norwich and Exeter.

The abbey was dissolved in 1539 and decayed rapidly. The remaining ruins, which dominate the center of town (and the view from our hotel), are spread over many acres and challenge the imagination in reconstructing what the massive buildings must have looked like during the first half of the second millennium. In future issues of Tour Talk, we will provide more detailed descriptions of what is still to be seen.

Recommended Reading

Frank Meeres, A History of Bury St. Edmunds (Andover, Hampshire, England, 2002, 2010). A well-written and comprehensive history of Bury St. Edmunds, this volume gives a good summary of the life of St. Edmund and of the growth of the abbey, along with citations to more detailed literature on all aspects of the town’s history.

Jocelin of Brakelond, Chronicle of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds (Oxford, 2008). This brief chronicle, written by one of the monks of the abbey, provides a first-person account of life in the abbey and the town in the late twelfth century.

The Wives of John Winthrop

John Winthrop, organizer of the Winthrop Fleet and Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, married four times, thrice in old England and once in New England. During the course of our tour, we will be visiting villages associated with two of these wives. We present here the basic information on each of these wives [GMB 2039-40]. In future issues of Tour Talk, we will publish more detailed accounts of each of these wives and their families.

  1. At Great Stambridge, Essex, on 16 April 1605, John Winthrop and Mary Forth were married. She was buried at Groton on 26 June 1615.
  2. At Groton, Suffolk, on 6 December 1615, John Winthrop and Thomasine Clopton were married. She died on 8 December 1616 and was buried at Groton on 11 December 1616. The Clopton family, including Thomasine’s grandfather Richard, were prominent at Long Melford, Suffolk, which we will be visiting on the afternoon of Thursday, 16 August 2012.
  3. At Great Maplestead, Essex, on 29 April 1618, John Winthrop and Margaret Tyndal were married. She followed her husband to New England, arriving at Boston late in 1631 and dying there on 14 June 1647. Our first stop on the morning of Thursday, 23 August 2012, will be Great Maplestead.
  4. At Boston, soon after 20 December 1647, John Winthrop and Martha (Rainsborough) Coytmore were married. Martha was daughter of William Rainsborough and widow of Thomas Coytmore.

A Winthrop Fleet Immigrant from Kersey, Suffolk

Saturday, 18 August 2012, will be the day we visit the English home of John Winthrop himself. We will begin the day by taking the coach to Groton, where we will first explore the parish church, then walk a short distance up the street to see the manor house occupied by the Winthrop family. This will be followed by an optional stroll through fields and woods to the next parish to the west, Edwardstone, which also had Winthrop associations, and from which a number of Winthrop Fleet passengers derived. We will next take the coach to Lindsey Tye, where we will have lunch at The Lindsey Rose.

After lunch we will end the day by taking the coach to Kersey, the parish immediately to the east of Groton. This is an interesting little village, set in a small valley, through which runs a small stream, the River Brett, which is itself a tributary of the River Stour, the river that separates Suffolk from Essex. This stream which runs through the village of Kersey is so small that the villagers have never built a bridge across it, but simply allow it to flow across the main street through the village.

The parish church, which will be our main objective on this visit, sits on a small hill at the south end of the main street, looking down over the village. The village itself does not have many other attractions, except for a famous pottery, the Kersey Pottery, which you may visit online ( and which we will visit on foot.

A distinctive type of cloth, known as “kersey” and frequently listed in probate inventories of early New Englanders, presumably derived its name from this village. This type of cloth is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a kind of coarse narrow cloth, woven from long wool and usually ribbed.”

There is only one known Winthrop Fleet immigrant from Kersey, but he was a very interesting man, and he was followed to New England by other family members.

Edward Bendall was baptized at Kersey on 18 October 1607, son of Edward and Jane (_____) Bendall [GMB 151-56]. He joined the church at Boston in the winter of 1630-1, which is the evidence that he came in the Winthrop Fleet. No direct connection to John Winthrop prior to 1630 has been found, other than his residence in Kersey, adjacent to Groton.

Bendall resided in Boston for twenty-four years, although he made a number of trips back to England during that time. His residence was on the waterfront, facing the tidal flats where Faneuil Hall now sits. He was a merchant, ferryman and lighterman, making his living from the shipping traffic in Boston Harbor. He had three wives and six children, and returned permanently to England in 1654. Of his six children, only his eldest son, Freegrace, child of his first wife, remained in New England. He married and became a prominent Suffolk County court official.

Edward Bendall, father of this immigrant, was buried at Kersey on 6 April 1613. On 16 January 1615/6, also at Kersey, his widow, Jane, married George Scarlett, with whom she had two sons, John and Samuel, baptized at Kersey in 1618 and 1621. In 1635 Jane Scarlett came to New England, where she was admitted to Boston church on 6 December 1635. She presumably brought her two Scarlett sons with her in 1635, for they both appear in New England records within a few years thereafter [GM 2:6:199-200].

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #3, November 2011

Massachusetts Bay Company: The Precursors (Part I)

The story of the Winthrop Fleet is just a part of the larger story of the Massachusetts Bay Company. We will explore this history in a series of articles in Tour Talk, beginning here with an account of the different groups which were establishing settlements in New England, prior to the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

When the Leiden Pilgrims began their planning for the move to the New World, they approached the Virginia Company for a patent to lands across the Atlantic. The Pilgrims had already learned that they would not be successful if they applied for such a patent in their own names, so they sought out middlemen for the job. In fact, they acquired two patents, one issued on 19 June 1619 to “Mr. John Wincop (a religious gentleman then belonging to the Countess of Lincoln),” and one on 2 February 1619/20 granted to John Peirce.

Although the Pilgrims eventually sailed under the authority of the second of these patents, the first is of interest because of the involvement of the Earl of Lincoln. John Wincop served the Earl of Lincoln as tutor or chaplain, and probably both. He would then have been in regular contact with Arbella and Susan Fiennes-Clinton, daughters of the third Earl and sisters of the fourth. In 1623 Arbella would marry Isaac Johnson and about 1632 Susan would marry John Humfrey. Both of these men would become leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

While the Pilgrims were at sea in the latter half of 1620, the Virginia Company was divided into two patent-issuing authorities, with the northern Atlantic seaboard coming under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Council for New England. John Peirce and his associates soon applied for a new patent, which was duly issued on 1 June 1621. Peirce and his associates became the Adventurers, with whom the Pilgrims wrangled endlessly over financial matters.

On 18 December 1624, the Adventurers wrote to William Bradford and others at Plymouth, announcing that the business arrangements between the London Adventurers and those in Plymouth had been terminated. After consultations among themselves, the Plymouth settlers sent Isaac Allerton to England as their agent, to bring these affairs to an end. On 15 November 1626, a formal agreement was reached, in which the Plymouth settlers bought out the holdings of the London Adventurers. Among the forty-two Adventurers who signed this agreement at London were five men who would later be investors in the Massachusetts Bay Company: Thomas Goffe, Richard Andrews, John Revell, Samuel Sharp and Robert Keayne. Revell and Sharp would in 1630 sail with the Winthrop Fleet, and Keayne would follow them to New England in 1635.

In the next installment, we will examine the Dorchester Company, another of the precursors of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

Recommended Reading

Frances Rose-Troup, The Massachusetts Bay Company and Its Precursors (New York, 1930). Although now outdated in some aspects, this little volume is still the best summary of the subject available. Rose-Troup did not always make her chronology clear, and, like so many scholars working before the days of Perry Miller and Samuel Eliot Morison, her understanding of the different varieties of Puritanism was deficient. (This book is not easy to find. There are a few copies available on Amazon; the original hardcover may be had for quite high prices, but the paperback reprint can be purchased more cheaply. The book description on Amazon is hilariously inappropriate and irrelevant.)

Bury St. Edmunds Restaurants

On four of the evenings of the tour, we will be dining at the Angel Hotel, and on a fifth evening, if all goes according to plan, we will be dining in London at the Globe Theatre. All five of these dinners are covered by the tour registration fee. On the remaining five evenings, you will be on your own for dinner in Bury St. Edmunds. You may, of course, dine in the restaurant at the Angel Hotel, but most will desire some gastronomic variety for those meals. We have expended considerable effort in patronizing as many Bury St. Edmunds restaurants as possible, and present our recommendations here.

As you leave the Angel Hotel by the front door, you find yourself at the bottom of Angel Hill, facing the ruins of the abbey. Behind the hotel, as you climb the gentle slope of Angel Hill, you will enter the old center of town, with a multitude of shops and restaurants.

So, if you turn left upon leaving the Angel Hotel, the first turning on the left is Abbeygate Street. Along this street are many restaurants and coffee shops. In the first block or two of Abbeygate are two eating places which we have found more than acceptable.

Prezzo, 35-36 Abbeygate, Italian. Prezzo is a chain of restaurants, something like our Olive Garden. My standard test is spaghetti Bolognese, and they passed the test.

La Tasca, 23 Abbeygate, Spanish Tapas. These are not the same tapas that you would find on a sidewalk restaurant in Seville. After two visits, though, and sampling six different dishes, we can say that a meal here is more than acceptable.

If you return to the front of the Angel Hotel, and turn right instead of left, you will pass along a small alley and come out on Churchgate Street. There are several restaurants here, although not so many as on Abbeygate. We have two establishments to recommend on this street as well.

Maison Bleue, 30-31 Churchgate, French Seafood. The proprietors and staff are all from France, and the food, service and ambience are all excellent. Not surprisingly, this translates to prices somewhat higher than at the other places recommended here. If you choose to eat at Maison Bleue, you should plan ahead and make reservations a day in advance.

Valley Connection, 42 Churchgate, Indian. Above-average British Indian fare, with good service and clean and pleasant surroundings.

Finally, if you walk a few blocks along Crown Street, also to the right as you leave the Angel Hotel, you will come to an excellent pub.

Dog and Partridge, 29 Crown Street, Standard English Pub. This is a very popular pub, and can become quite noisy later in the evening, especially if you take an inside table close to the bar. If the weather is good, find a table in the patio in the rear of the pub.

There are, of course, many other places to eat in the evening in Bury St. Edmunds, also within easy walking distance, but those named above are the only ones that have been tested by the tour directors. For a map showing the locations of dozens of Bury St. Edmunds restaurants, go to

Parish Church Architecture – The Basics

On almost every day of the Great Migration Tour, we will be visiting one or more parish churches in Suffolk or Essex. Apart from the intrinsic importance of these buildings as the places of baptism and marriage of so many of our immigrant ancestors, we will want to know something of the meaning of these buildings in the lives of our ancestors. In this issue of Tour Talk we will take a look at the basic features of the layout and construction of these churches. In the next issue we will discuss the internal ornamentation and furnishings of the churches, the importance of these features in the lives of the parishioners, and the attacks on these decorations during periodic episodes of iconoclastic activity.

Our guide to the basic architecture will be Hugh Braun, Parish Churches: Their Architectural Development in England (London, 1970, 1974). Braun’s approach is refreshing, in that it challenges some of the traditional categories of church architecture. For example, in describing the Gothic period of construction, he does not adhere rigidly to the older trifold division of the period into Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular. He notes that these phases were not clearly separated in time, and are frequently mingled in construction of a single period. Also, he argues that what were often referred to as Norman elements in church design may sometimes more properly be termed Saxon.

The fundamental organizing feature of church architecture, from the grandest to the simplest, is the requirement to orient the church with respect to Jerusalem, so that the church is laid down on an east-west axis, with the chancel, containing the altar, at the east end of the building. All else flows from this alignment of the floor plan.

Braun argues that the most important model for most of the parish churches we see now was the older churches of Byzantium. In these, the main body of the church, the nave, was separated from the chancel by a crossing, with a tower or steeple being built over the crossing. In most English parish churches, the tower ceased to be erected over the crossing, and eventually migrated to the west end of the church. As a result, in many smaller churches there may be no crossing.

There were usually three entrances to the church, on the south, west and north sides. When all three of these entrances were present and in use, processions on some feast days would leave the church through the north door, move around the church in a clockwise direction, and reenter through the west door. As the west tower also incorporated bells and perhaps an organ, the west door in many churches fell into disuse. Also, because of the climate, the north door also became less frequently a main point of access. As we move from parish to parish, take note of the relative frequency of the employment of the south door rather than the north door as the main point of entrance, and see if you can figure out why the north door sometimes took precedence over the south.

A second important feature of the church was its height, both as an aspiration toward heaven and as an attempt to tower over the rest of the buildings in the village. In most early English parishes, this latter goal was not difficult to achieve. The tower usually took the form of a wooden spire, first over the eastern crossing, and then later on the western tower. These wooden spires, of course, were frequently the victims of fire, from lightning strikes or otherwise. As lead replaced thatch as a roofing material, towers were often capped in lead, and the spire was omitted. But, as protection against lightning strikes came into use, towers were rebuilt. Some of the steeples that we will see are of relatively recent construction, but probably replace any number of earlier steeples.

As parishes increased in size, the main options for expansion were only to the north and south, with growth to the east prevented by the chancel and to the west by the tower. Most churches would expand first to the north, adding a north aisle, and then after that a south aisle. If this expansion were undertaken during the period when the church was still roofed in thatch, this could cause some engineering problems, as the thatched roofs had to be more high-pitched than the later lead roofs. In some churches the changeover from thatched to leaded roofs may still be seen in scars on the outside of the nave.

The final form of a fully-developed parish church, then, would include a central nave, flanked by a chancel to the east, a tower (perhaps with spire) to the west, and aisles to the north and south. There would be a main entrance through the south porch, or, less frequently, the north porch; the west door would be present but probably not used. There might be some remnant of a crossing, or transept. As we move around on our tour compare, for example, Lavenham, an excellent example of a fully-developed church in an affluent cloth town, to Boxted, which never grew much beyond its medieval size.

In the second installment of this article, we will look at such internal features as wall paintings, the rood loft and rood screen, the piscina and other functional and decorative additions.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #4, December 2011

Mary Forth, First Wife of John Winthrop

As Francis Bremer points out in his biography of John Winthrop, "Adam Winthrop [John's father] had been engaged in a Great Stambridge land transaction with John Forth and his wife, Thomasine, in 1592" [ John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father (Oxford, 2003), p. 89]. John Forth was the sixth and youngest son of William Forth of Hadleigh, Essex. Great Stambridge was in the southeast corner of Essex, near the mouth of the river Stour, and John Forth had come into his lands there through his marriage to Thomasine Hilles.

In November of 1604 John Winthrop made his first recorded visit to Great Stambridge, travelling from Groton, across the breadth of Essex by way of Chelmsford, in the company of William Forth of Nayland, a nephew of John Forth. During that visit John Winthrop would have met Mary Forth, the daughter and only heir of John Forth. Although John was only sixteen years old at this time, and Mary was four years older, the courtship proceeded with unusual speed, and the couple were married at Great Stambridge on 16 April 1605, when John was just three months past his seventeenth birthday. This was an unusually young age for a man of Winthrop's status to marry, and an immediate consequence was that he had to leave Cambridge without taking a degree.

The young couple split their time between Groton and Great Stambridge in the earliest years of their marriage, and their first two children, sons John and Henry, were born and baptized at Groton, in 1606 and 1608. For the next few years they seem to have been more firmly established at Great Stambridge, where they undoubtedly lived with Mary's family at Stewards, the house that John Forth occupied as steward of the Rich family. Their third and fourth children, son Forth and daughter Mary, were baptized at Great Stambridge on 10 January 1609/10 and 19 January 1611/2. Evidence that John Winthrop participated in local community affairs during these years is provided by his signature as witness to the wills of Toby Hudson of Little Stambridge (28 January 1611/2) and widow Sara Meade of Great Stambridge (22 June 1612). (Bremer gives further details on interactions between the Winthrop and Forth families in his Chapter 5, "Turning Points.")

An important aspect of John Winthrop's connection with Great Stambridge is that the parish minister who married him to Mary Forth was Ezekiel Culverwell, a leading Puritan and member of the Dedham Classis (which we will discuss in a latter issue of Tour Talk). Although Culverwell was deprived of his living at Great Stambridge in 1609 and would remove to London for the rest of his life, he had a profound impact on Winthrop's spiritual life, thus becoming an important influence on Winthrop's eventual decision to come to New England in 1630. (For a detailed discussion of the Culverwell family and their wide connections among the Puritan ministry, see NEHGR 148 (1994):107-29.)

John Forth died in 1613, at which point John Winthrop and his wife apparently moved back to Groton, for their fifth and sixth children, both named Anne, were baptized there in 1614 and 1615 and each died soon after birth. Mary (Forth) Winthrop was buried at Groton on 26 June 1615, the same day as the baptism of her sixth child.

Of the six children of John and Mary (Forth) Winthrop, two would die in infancy (the daughters Anne), two would die in young adulthood without leaving issue (Henry, who married Elizabeth Fones in 1629, came to New England in 1630, but drowned almost as soon as he arrived; and Forth, who was buried at Groton on 23 November 1630, just short of his twenty-first birthday), and two would come to New England and have extensive families (John Jr., whose career is well-known, and Mary, who by 1633 had married Samuel Dudley, son of Thomas Dudley).

Winthrop Fleet Immigrants from Sudbury, Suffolk

Sudbury, Suffolk, was and is a substantial market town in the southwest of Suffolk, about six miles west of Groton. Even in medieval times, the town was large enough to support three parishes – St. Peter at the top of the market square and All Saints and St. Gregory each a short distance to the west.

On Thursday, 16 August, the first full day of the tour, we will spend the morning visiting all three of these churches. The coach will drop us off near St. Peter, which we will visit first. This church was rendered redundant some decades ago, and is now used for community events, such as choral recitals. We will then walk down through the market to All Saints, no more than half a mile away. Finally, we will continue our walk across town to St. Gregory, less than half a mile from All Saints. When we are finished at St. Gregory, the coach will collect us again and take us the few miles north to Long Melford, where we will have lunch and explore that village.

In the late 1620s the lecturer (preacher) at All Saints was Rev. John Wilson , who had attended Eton and Cambridge, at the latter of which he obtained his B.A. from King's College in 1610 and his M.A. in 1613. By about 1617, Wilson had married Elizabeth Mansfield, whose sister Anne had at about the same time married Robert Keayne, an early investor in the Massachusetts Bay Company and a 1635 immigrant to New England, where he settled in Boston [GM 2:4:127-33]. Two of John Wilson's children, John and Elizabeth, were baptized at All Saints, on 19 October 1621 and 13 March 1624/5.

John Wilson and John Winthrop were certainly known to one another by 3 February 1627/8, when Wilson wrote to Winthrop in the latter's capacity as justice of the Court of Wards and Liveries [WP 2:57-58]. When the time came to organize the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, Winthrop recruited Wilson as one of the two ministers to sail to New England in that year. For the remainder of his life, Wilson was teacher and then pastor at the First Church of Boston.

Sometime in 1629, as part of his preparation for the sailing in 1630, John Winthrop compiled a list of those heads of family who might become passengers on the Winthrop Fleet [WP 2:276]. This list was arranged in three columns, with subdivisions within each column. Not all of the persons on this list came to New England, and not all those in the Winthrop Fleet were on this list. Nevertheless, the list is an important guide to the passengers in 1630.

The last name in the first column, separated by a space from other groups in that column, was "Mr. Wilson," presumably Rev. John Wilson. The third column is separated into two groups, the names in the second group being "Sale, Bolston, Penne, Jo[hn] Ruggles, Milles, Waterburye, Jef[frey] Ruggles, Hawkins, Gosnold, Hamond, Reeder, Redby."

Most of these names can be identified as 1630 arrivals to New England, and many of them were from Sudbury. In The Great Migration Begins are sketches for Jeffrey Ruggles and John Ruggles , noting that Jeffrey was from Sudbury, Suffolk, but not providing much information on him. There was also a sketch for a George Ruggles, who appeared in Boston in 1633, with a suggestion that he might be related to John Ruggles, although no origin was suggested for either of these men [GMB 1604-9]. Since those sketches were published, Myrtle Stevens Hyde FASG of Salt Lake City has undertaken extensive research on the Ruggles family, and in unpublished work has demonstrated that Jeffrey and John were both baptized at All Saints, Sudbury, and that they were brothers, sons of a George Ruggles. She has found two marriages for each of these men and baptismal records for several children of each, at all three of the Sudbury parishes. As it turns out, the George Ruggles of Boston was the eldest son of John Ruggles, and delayed his migration to New England until his marriage in England in early 1633. Furthermore, the eldest daughter of John Ruggles was Phillip Ruggles, baptized in 1599 and by 1616 married to George Hammond. She is, therefore, "Phillip Hammond widow" who was admitted to Boston church in late 1630 and also the "Hamond" in Winthrop's 1629 list [GMB 850].

William Waterbury had settled in Boston in 1630 [GMB 1939-40]. Although previous researchers had noted records for a man of this name at Sudbury, we expressed some doubt about this identification because of tight chronology in later generations of the family. Given the presence of "Waterburye" in Winthrop's 1629 list in close proximity to other Sudbury immigrants, we are prepared to reverse those doubts, and will undertake further research on the dates for his son and granddaughter in an attempt to relieve the chronological concerns.

Another couple who were admitted to Boston church in late 1630 were " Henry Gosnall and Mary his wife" [GMB 795]. On 16 January 1625/6, Henry Gosnall and Mary Howlen were married at All Saints, Sudbury. Again, based on the appearance of "Gosnold" in Winthrop's list, we believe that this marriage is for the Winthrop Fleet passengers to New England. No children have been found for this couple.

Finally, while examining the All Saints registers for further details on all of these families, the baptism on 28 October 1626 of "Elizabeth, daughter of William Bolston," was found. William Baulston , who settled in Boston in 1630, had a daughter Elizabeth, whose birth we had estimated as "say 1628" and who was the only child of this immigrant known to have been born before his arrival in New England, and so we believe that the origin of this Winthrop Fleet passenger has been found [GMB 133-37].

The surname Reeder is also found in Sudbury parish records in the 1620s, but no Great Migration immigrant of that surname is known. No Sudbury records for the other surnames in this part of Winthrop's 1629 list have been found.

Also, there are many more Great Migration immigrants from Sudbury who came to New England after 1630, some related to the Ruggles family. These families will be discussed in a future issue of Tour Talk.

Parish Church Architecture – The Iconoclasts

In the fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the devotional activities of the English laity proliferated in many directions. The centrality of the Eucharist to the Mass led to a wide variety of rituals, including processions around the churchyard and around the village and worship of the host at the moment of transubstantiation. Associated with these rituals were such objects as the monstrance, which held the host for adoration, and the pyx, where the host was housed.

Veneration of the saints was raised to new levels. More and more holy days were declared in honor of a large number of saints. Extensive participation in church services on these holy days made serious inroads in the daily routines of parishioners at all social and economic levels, with the result that much working time was lost, especially at harvest season.

Eamon Duffy has prepared a massive, detailed account of these phenomena, the first half of his book covering the years before the English Reformation of the 1530s, and the second half describing the results of the early decades of the Reformation [ The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580 (New Haven, 1992, 2005)].

The physical manifestations of these pious practices were seen everywhere in the parish churches. Most prominently, every church had a rood screen and associated rood loft dividing the nave from the chancel. The rood, or cross, was mounted on the nave side of the wall above the chancel arch. A wooden screen filled much of the space between the nave and chancel, and on this screen might be painted images of various saints. The worship of these saints involved the placement of candles before the images on certain days of the liturgical year.

The walls of the churches would be covered with paintings of Biblical scenes, as an aid to the devotions of the parishioners. In a period when most of the congregation were illiterate, and when everything was in Latin, these painted images served as "laymen's books."

When Henry VIII and his ministers broke with Rome in the 1530s, they took many actions to carry out this separation. Most famous, of course, was the dissolution of the monasteries. At the same time Cromwell and Cranmer attempted to expunge those features of lay piety which they felt were associated with the church at Rome, and which were not supported by scripture. They attempted to outlaw the veneration of the saints, and so discontinued many of the holy days. This was in part a practical matter, in hopes of regaining some of the economic productivity which had been lost to the endless fast days and processions and other interruptions.

They also tried to remove the physical concomitants of these pious practices. Roods and rood screens were torn down. Wall paintings were scraped off or painted over. Statues were removed or defaced. Stained glass windows were demolished.

These iconoclastic activities were not immediately successful in all places and occurred in waves of destruction. Even at the time of the break with Rome, the traditional forces were still strong. In some dioceses the destruction of images was widespread, while in others little was done. When Cromwell was overthrown, the traditionalists were able to slow down the work of the reformers. Iconoclastic activities increased again during the brief reign of Edward VI, then were reversed upon the accession of Queen Mary. Then again, the work of destruction resumed when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne, but she tempered the work of the reformers in all their activities.

So, by the 1620s and 1630s, when the Puritan reformers were again on the rise, there was still work for the iconoclasts to do. Thus, the Great Migration immigrants to New England would have experienced parish churches relatively impoverished in their religious decorations and imagery, by comparison with their ancestors three or four generations earlier. But there were still some manifestations of the old ways in those years, so that when another Cromwell came to power in the 1640s, the iconcolasts were unleashed one more time.

In our visits to several churches during the tour, we will search out the remaining evidence for these old features of the medieval pious activities of the churchgoers. In many churches, some of the paintings have been uncovered and may still be seen. In other churches we will find the cramped stairways that led up to the rood loft, but little or no sign of the rood loft itself.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #5, January 2012


On Sunday, 19 August, we will travel to London for our anti–Puritan day. The main event will be an evening at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We have just learned that we will be attending a performance of Henry V, in which we will see the Battle of Agincourt recreated on stage. At the end of this section you will find some suggestions for further reading on Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Having determined that we will be attending an evening performance, we are now in the process of making arrangements to have an early dinner at the Globe Theatre, and are exploring the logistics of arriving in London early enough in the day to spend some time at Fulham Palace, for a tour of the palace and the adjacent gardens. Fulham Palace was the official residence of the Bishop of London, and so is connected with Bishop William Laud during his years in that office, from 1628 to 1633, when he attempted to stifle the activities of Puritan ministers within his diocese, which included Essex, Middlesex and Hertfordshire, as well as London itself. In a later bulletin we will present more detailed information on our Sunday activities.

Recommended Reading

Andrew Gurr with John Orrell, Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe (New York, 1989). On 29 June 1613, the original Globe Theatre was destroyed by fire. The structure was soon rebuilt, but was demolished by the Puritans in 1644. Gurr and Orrell first describe the Globe Theatre as it was in the seventeenth century, and then narrate the process of rebuilding the theater in the late 1980s.

David Crystal, Pronouncing Shakespeare (Cambridge, England, 2005). One of the recent movements in staging Shakespearean performances has been to train the actors to speak the lines with an accent as close as possible to what would have been heard in Shakespeare’s time. The Globe Theatre hired David Crystal, a noted historian of the English language, to undertake that project. Crystal describes the process of bringing an "original practices" version of Romeo and Juliet to the stage in 2004.

Jennifer Lee Carrell, Interred With Their Bones (New York, 2007). The author is a literary historian who has staged performances of Shakespeare at Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this thriller, she begins with the burning of the original Globe Theatre on 29 June 1613, and then jumps forward to 29 June 2004, when she has the new Globe Theatre also burn. This sets off a chase for buried knowledge of Shakespeare that leads to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cedar City, Utah, Shakespeare, New Mexico, and many other venues. The scholarship behind this work of fiction is solid, and includes references to the migrations of the Puritans to New England and the closure of the theaters by the Puritans in the 1640s. Good entertainment, and educational as well.

Thomasine Clopton, Second Wife of John Winthrop

Mary (Forth) Winthrop, the first wife of John Winthrop, was buried at Groton, Suffolk, on 26 June 1615. Barely two months later, on 1 September 1615, John Winthrop entered into a marriage contract with Thomasine Clopton, daughter of William and Margery (Waldegrave) Clopton of Groton, and, on 6 December 1615, the couple were married at Groton. The marriage lasted just two days beyond a full year, for on 8 December 1616 Thomasine died at Groton, and she was buried there three days later. She died from complications of childbirth, as an unnamed and unbaptized daughter of John and Thomasine was born at Groton on 30 November 1616 and buried on 2 December, only to be reburied with her mother nine days later. John Winthrop wrote an extensive account of the circumstances surrounding her death [WP 1:165-73].

Despite the brevity of this marriage and the early death of the only child, the connection with the Clopton family remained strong for Winthrop for many years to come. Fourteen years later, in November of 1630, Winthrop’s third wife referred to Margery (Waldegrave) Clopton as "my mother Clopton" [WP 2:321]. Anne Clopton, sister of Thomasine, had married John Maidstone. On 4 November 1629, their son, John Maidstone, then residing in Boxted, Essex, wrote to John Winthrop, recommending to him George Phillips, the Boxted minister, as a potential passenger on the Winthrop Fleet [WP 2:164–65]. Phillips did make the voyage and became minister at Watertown.

William Clopton, father of Thomasine, was son of William Clopton of Long Melford, Suffolk, who, through his third marriage, to Thomasine Knyvett, had come into possession of Castelyns Manor in Groton. The Cloptons were prominent in Long Melford, where they occupied Kentwell Hall. (For much more detail on the Cloptons, including the Latin text of the marriage contract for John Winthrop and Thomasine Clopton, see Joseph James Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families [Exeter 1909], 1:22–23, 136–45. Muskett also provides much information on the Winthrop family and on the many families with whom the Winthrops intermarried.)

On Thursday, 16 August, after spending the morning in Sudbury, we will take the coach the few miles north to Long Melford, where we will have lunch at the Bull, and then explore the village itself. Finally, we will make our way to the north end of town for a visit to the church, which has many monuments to the Clopton family, including a very unusual Lady Chapel with an interior cloister.

Winthrop Fleet Immigrants from Boston, Lincolnshire

Boston, Lincolnshire, was an important part of the Great Migration because of the presence there beginning in 1612 of Rev. John Cotton, one of the most prominent and charismatic of the Puritan ministers. Although Cotton did not himself join the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, a few of the most powerful and affluent members of his congregation did join with Winthrop. In 1633 Cotton did come to New England, where he rejoined these families.

On Wednesday, 22 August, we will leave Bury St. Edmunds at eight in the morning, a little earlier than our usual time of departure, and make the coach journey north through Norfolk and then across The Fens to Boston. Because of the unrelieved flatness of the topography in this part of England, we will see the church tower at Boston long before we arrive in the town itself. The church tower is quite massive, without a steeple, and so is known colloquially as the Boston Stump. Once we have visited and enjoyed the church, you will be free to explore the center of town and have lunch at one of the many pubs and restaurants in the vicinity of the church.

In late 1629 John Winthrop compiled a list of those heads of family who might make the voyage to New England in 1630, or who might at least send servants ahead to prepare for the arrival of their masters [WP 2:276]. Of the three men known to have come from Boston to New England in 1630, two are included in this list, "Mr. Coddington" and "Mr. Pelham."

William Coddington was born about 1601 and first appears in the records of Boston, Lincolnshire, in early 1627 [GMB 395–401]. On 7 March 1626/7, he was in the list of those who had refused to contribute to the Forced Loan. Although this refusal was not limited to those of Puritan persuasion, this act indicates that Coddington by this date had already become associated with the Puritan movement. A day later, on 8 March 1626/7, Micah, the first child of William Coddington, was baptized at Boston.

As noted above, Coddington was included in Winthrop’s list of potential passengers to New England in 1630. That he did migrate in that year is proved by his election as an Assistant of the Massachusetts Bay Company on 18 March 1629/30 at Southampton, as the Winthrop Fleet was about to set sail. Once in New England, he was admitted to Boston church during the winter of 1630–1. His first wife died about the same time, and he returned to England for two years, during which he married again. Not long after his return from this trip he became involved in the Antinomian Controversy, siding with Wheelwright and Hutchinson. He remained loyal to this cause, as a result of which he was a founder of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1638 and of Newport in 1639. He died at Newport in 1678, having fathered thirteen children with three wives.

William Pelham was born about 1609, son of Herbert and Penelope (West) Pelham [GMB 1417–19]. At the time of William’s birth, the family resided in Sussex, but by 1621 they had moved to Boston, Lincolnshire, for on 24 May 1621 "Anthonie, son of Harbert Pelham esquire" was baptized in that town.

William Pelham was in the 1629 list of potential passengers compiled by Winthrop. On 19 October 1630, "Mr. Will[ia]m Pelham" requested freemanship in Massachusetts Bay, but he was not among those admitted as freemen the following May, as he had already returned to England by that time. By 1645 (and probably some years earlier) he had returned to New England, where he was granted land at Sudbury. He went back to old England again by 1652 and died there in 1667. At least four of his siblings also came to New England, brothers Herbert and John and sisters Penelope and Elizabeth [GM 2:5:421]. Penelope married Richard Bellingham as his second wife [GM 2:1:243–50].

The third immigrant from Boston in 1630 was William Cheeseborough . He was born about 1595 and married at Boston, Lincolnshire, on 15 December 1620 Ann Stevenson [GMB 339–45]. This couple had eight children born at old Boston between 1622 and early 1630, including two sets of twins. He and his wife Ann were among the earliest of those to be admitted in the fall of 1630 to the newly organized church at Boston in New England, and on 18 May 1631 he was admitted a freeman.

Cheeseborough soon moved to that part of Boston that became Braintree, then on to Rehoboth, New London and finally Stonington, Connecticut. He died there on 9 June 1667, having had twelve children in all. Only three of these children, all sons, married and left descendants.

Many more of John Cotton’s congregants came to New England in later years, some in 1633 when Cotton himself made the crossing and others even later than that. Among those who migrated in 1633 was Atherton Hough [GMB 1005–10], who is probably the "Mr. Hoffe" of Winthrop’s 1629 list. Presumably, Hough had planned to come to New England on the Winthrop Fleet, but at the last minute changed his mind and instead sailed three years later in the company of John Cotton and others.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #6, February 2012

Margaret Tyndal, Third Wife of John Winthrop

John Winthrop’s second marriage, to Thomasine Clopton, lasted barely a year, and on 8 December 1616 he became a widower for the second time. Unlike the first time he was widowed, when he waited less than six months to remarry, on this second occasion he did not remarry for nearly a year and a half.

On 29 April 1618, he married Margaret Tyndal at Great Maplestead, Essex, a few miles to the southwest of Sudbury, Suffolk, and just over ten miles southwest of Groton. She was daughter of Sir John Tyndall of Great Maplestead [Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families, 1:146-54].

After their marriage, John and Margaret returned to Groton, where six children were born to them, two more were born in New England. Four of these children died young, while four [sons Stephen, Adam, Deane and Samuel] survived to adulthood and married. (Sir John Tyndal’s wife was Anne (Egerton) Deane, widow of William Deane of Great Maplestead. Because of this connection, John and Anne named a son Deane, and John and Margaret (Tyndal) Winthrop followed in this tradition.)

When John Winthrop sailed for New England in 1630, Margaret was in the late stages of her sixth pregnancy, and stayed behind at Groton, where she delivered a daughter Anne, who was baptized there on 29 April 1630. John Winthrop and the Winthrop Fleet were on that date already three weeks at sea, passing the latitude of the Azores [WJ 1:17].

After nearly thirty years of marriage, by far the longest of John Winthrop’s four marriages, Margaret (Tyndal) Winthrop died at Boston on 14 June 1647. John and Margaret were separated for much of the time from late 1629, when he began the intensive preparations for the Winthrop Fleet, until late 1631, when she finally joined him in New England. During those two years they exchanged many letters, which reveal a great deal about her character and about their marriage. This correspondence may be found in the second and third volumes of the published Winthrop Papers.

Arthur Tyndal, brother of Margaret (Tyndal) Winthrop, came to New England on the Winthrop Fleet, but he returned almost immediately to old England and was buried at Great Maplestead on 3 October 1633, apparently unmarried.

William Laud

As we continue to iron out the details of the tour, we have just made the arrangements to spend the afternoon of Sunday, August 19, prior to our visit to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, at Fulham Palace, in the western precincts of London. There are many reasons to visit Fulham Palace, including a museum and a pleasant garden. For our purposes, however, the most important reason is that Fulham Palace was the official residence of the Bishop of London and, during the time of interest to us, from 1628 to 1633, this would have been William Laud.

William Laud was born in Reading in 1573 and entered St. John’s College, Oxford, in 1589, receiving his B.A. in 1594 and his M.A. in 1598. He became a Fellow of St. John’s and held a number of other offices there. Although he was more of a politician than a theologian, his inherently conservative approach to life made him a lifelong opponent of the then dominant Calvinist group in the Church of England. In time he became associated with the Arminian party in the church, those who opposed the strict predestinarian doctrines of the Calvinists, holding instead that man could attain saving grace at least in part through his own labors.

Because of his anti-Calvinist position, Laud did not rise as rapidly in the church as did others of his abilities. He held offices at Oxford and a prebendary at Westminster, for example. In 1616 James I appointed Laud to the position of Dean of Gloucester, where he immediately became notorious by insisting that the altar table be moved from its east-west orientation in the nave (tablewise) back to the east end of the chancel in a north-south orientation (altarwise). This was calculated to infuriate the Puritans, and was a warning of what his policies would be as he moved up the ecclesiastical ladder.

As the Arminian party began to grow in strength in the latter years of the reign of James I, Laud was finally inducted as bishop of St. David’s in 1621, then as bishop of Bath and Wells in 1626, of London in 1628, and then Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633. During the latter years of the reign of James I, he also attached himself to the royal favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, but managed to survive the demise of that shooting star and gain the full confidence of King Charles I.

Even before becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Laud was clearly the leading force in the Arminian party, but not until he became archbishop was he able to fully implement his anti-Calvinist and anti-Puritan policies throughout the kingdom. During the tour we will be paying attention to his years as Bishop of London, a diocese which then included all of Essex and Hertfordshire.

Although now nearly seventy years old, the biography of Laud by Hugh Trevor-Roper remains one of the most important and most accessible studies of this central figure of the first half of seventeenth century England: Hugh Trevor-Roper, Archbishop Laud: 1573-1645 (London, 1940).

Massachusetts Bay Company: The Precursors (Part II)

In the early 1620s a number of West Country merchants and ministers of a Puritan bent became interested in beginning a settlement in New England. On 18 February 1622/3, they petitioned the Council for New England for a patent and, although the records of the Council are incomplete, this patent was apparently granted.

Little was done in 1623 to advance this project, but in early 1624 a number of leading citizens of Dorchester, Dorsetshire, held a meeting, which was later termed "The New England Planters Parliament." Second in the list of those present at this meeting was the treasurer, "Mr. Humfreys, Esq.," who is none other than John Humfreys, who later became active in the Massachusetts Bay Company, married a daughter of the Earl of Lincoln, and eventually migrated to New England in 1634. Although we cannot be certain, Reverend John White of Dorchester was probably at this meeting as well. This group was also known as the Dorchester Company.

This group sent settlers to New England in 1624, 1625 and 1626. These immigrants to New England were mostly from the West Country, and formed the core of the settlement at Cape Ann under Roger Conant, which soon moved a few miles west to Naumkeag, later named Salem.

The energy of the Dorchester Company flagged, however, and no further provisions or passengers were sent in 1627. The ministers and merchants then looked toward London and East Anglia for further resources, by which time the Dorchester Company was essentially moribund. John White continued to be active, however, and was the leading force behind the gathering of the passenger complement of the Mary & John in 1630, which would precede the Winthrop Fleet to New England and settle the town of Dorchester in Massachusetts.

In the next installment, we will look at the brief life of the New England Company, the final precursor to the Massachusetts Bay Company.

Recommended Reading

Frances Rose-Troup, John White, the Patriarch of Dorchester [Dorset] and the Founder of Massachusetts, 1575-1648, with an Account of the Early Settlement of Massachusetts, 1620-1630 (New York, 1930). This is a companion volume to Rose-Troup’s study of the formation of the Massachusetts Bay Company, which was recommended in the November Tour Talk. Although billed as a biography of Reverend John White, it is also the most comprehensive study of the Dorchester Company and its activities in New England.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #7, March 2012

Winthrop Fleet Passengers from Little Waldingfield, Suffolk

Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, is just three miles northwest of Groton, with the parish of Edwardstone in between. The wealthiest family in this parish were the Appletons. Samuel Appleton, baptized at Little Waldingfield on 13 August 1586, came to New England in early 1636 and settled at Ipswich [Phoebe Tilton Anc 75-77]. Other Little Waldingfield families preceded Appleton to New England and sailed with the Winthrop Fleet.

In late 1629 or early 1630, John Winthrop wrote to "our loving friend Mr. Gager at Litle Waldingfield in Suffolk," inviting him to join the 1630 migration in order to exercise "his abilities in the Art of Chirurgerye [Surgery]" [WP 2:199]. William Gager did make the migration, but died not long after arrival, on 20 September 1630 [GMB 722-24]. He was baptized at Little Waldingfield on 15 June 1592, and he and his unnamed wife had nine children baptized there between 1618 and 1630. Only one of these children, son John, survived; he resided at New London and married about 1647 Elizabeth Gore.

John Gosse was baptized at Little Waldingfield on 18 February 1582[/3], son of Thomas Gosse [TAG 82:295-307]. He married about 1625 and with his wife Sarah had three children born before 1630. The couple must have resided somewhere other than Little Waldingfield during the late 1620s, for the children were not baptized there. Upon arrival in New England in 1630, he settled at Watertown and died there in early 1644 [GMB 795-98]. Only one of his children, daughter Phebe, survived; she married at Saybrook in 1649 Robert Bull.

John Dillingham was baptized at Cottesbach, Leicestershire, on 13 July 1606. His whereabouts for the next quarter century are not known, but he did sail for New England with the Winthrop Fleet as a single man, where he was admitted to Boston church during the winter of 1630-1 [GMB 547-50]. He made two trips back to England during the next four years, on the second of which he married at Assington, Suffolk, on 18 February 1633/4 Sarah Caly, daughter of Thomas and Thomasine (Gosse) Caly of Little Waldingfield. Sarah’s mother was sister of John Gosse discussed in the previous paragraph [TAG 82:295-307]. When John Dillingham and his wife returned to New England in 1634, they settled at Ipswich. John died soon after, and Sarah was dead by the summer of 1636. The couple had one child, a daughter Sarah who was born about 1634 and married about twenty years later John Caldwell.

Martha (Rainsborough) Coytmore, Fourth Wife of John Winthrop

John Winthrop’s third wife, Margaret (Tyndal) Winthrop, died at Boston on 14 June 1647. Winthrop was by this time fifty-nine years old, and all of his surviving children had reached adulthood.

Stephen Winthrop, the eldest child of John and Margaret (Tyndal) Winthrop, had married by 1644 Judith Rainsborough, daughter of William Rainsborough of London. Judith had an elder sister, Martha Rainsborough, who had married Thomas Coytmore on 14 June 1635 at Wapping, Middlesex. This couple had one child baptized and buried at Wapping in 1636, soon after which they moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts [TAG 32:15-16; Waters 158-71; Muskett, Suffolk Manorial Families, 1:155-59]. Perhaps Judith Rainsborough had accompanied the Coytmores when they came to New England.

Thomas Coytmore was shipwrecked off the coast of Spain and died on 27 December 1644. Therefore, by the time John Winthrop’s third wife died, Martha (Rainsborough) Coytmore had been a widow for two and a half years; for about the same length of time she had been sister-in-law to Winthrop’s son Stephen.

On 20 December 1647, John Winthrop and Martha Coytmore entered into a marriage contract, and were married soon after [MBCR 2:232-36]. By this union, John Winthrop became his son’s brother-in-law. Curiously, for such a prominent event, there is no surviving record of the marriage itself. (Some secondary sources give the impossible date of 4 December 1647, but this derives from a misreading of a nineteenth-century account of the family [GMB 2040].) John and Martha had one child, a son Joshua who was baptized at Boston on 17 December 1648 and died there on 11 January 1651/2 [GMB 2041].

After John Winthrop’s death on 26 March 1649, Martha endured another three years of widowhood. On 10 March 1651/2, she married at Boston John Coggan, less than two months after the death of his second wife [GMB 403]. Coggan died at Boston on 27 April 1658 and Martha about 24 October 1660: "One Mrs. _____ Cogan, a gentlewoman that had lived in good credit, and before thought to be very pious, poisoned herself" [Hull 195-96].

Two of Martha’s brothers, Thomas and William, played a prominent role on the parliamentary side during the English Civil War [Whitney R. D. Jones, Thomas Rainborowe (c. 1610 — 1648), Civil War Seaman, Siegemaster and Radical (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2005)].

Massachusetts Bay Company: The Precursors (Part III)

As we noted in the last issue of Tour Talk, by 1627 the Dorchester Company was essentially moribund. Late in that year, however, a few of their number approached the Council for New England again and obtained another patent. This document itself does not survive, but portions of it are incorporated in the royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company that was issued a year later, on 4 March 1628/9 [MBCR 1:4]:

the said Council ... have, by their deed, indented under their common seal, bearing date the nineteenth day of March last past, in the third year of our reign [1627/8], given, granted, bargained, sold, enfeoffed, aliened, and confirmed to Sir Henry Rosewell, Sir John Young, knights, Thomas Southcott, John Humphrey, John Endecott, and Symon Whetcombe, their heirs and associates forever, all that part of New England in America aforesaid which lies and extends between a great river there commonly called Monomack, alias Merriemack, and a certain other river there called Charles River, being in the bottom of a certain bay called Massachusetts, alias Mattachusetts, alias Massatusetts Bay.

As Frances Rose-Troup notes, with regard to these six patentees, "[t]o fulfil the requirements of the Council for New England it was necessary to obtain the guarantee of gentlemen of blood who White easily found among his neighbors, some of whom had been members of the Dorchester Company" [John White, p. 107]. The two knights played no further part in the colonization efforts, and may have been included only for window-dressing. The other four men are seen more or less frequently in later records relating to New England, especially Humfrey and Endicott.

The most interesting of these six men is John Endicott. Humfrey had already been associated with the Dorchester Company for many years, but this is the first appearance of John Endicott. Principally because of this connection, his origin has been sought in the West Country, but a number of clues indicate that he may have been from the east of England. At various points in 1629, Mathew Cradock, London merchant, refers to Endicott’s wife as "my good cousin" and notes that Endicott has at some time in the past benefited from the ministry of Samuel Skelton of Tattershall, Lincolnshire [MBCR 1:383, 386]. The question arises, then, of whether Endicott was recruited by Rev. John White or by Mathew Cradock.

This line of inquiry leads to another unanswered question about these activities in early 1628. Although the patent of 19 March 1627/8 was taken out in the names of a group of West Country men, was there at that time already an agreement that the London and East Anglian merchants and ministers would take over the running of the Company? The evidence on this point is slim, but there is a document dated at London in May 1628, the original of which no longer exists, of "sundry men [who] owe unto the general stock of the adventurers for plantation intended at Massachusetts Bay in New England, in America, the sum of two thousand one hundred and fifty pound" [John White , pp. 111-12]. The first two names on this list, seen here for the first time in connection with migration to New England, are "Richard Saltonstall, knight," and Mr. Isaac Johnson, Esq.," each of whom contributed £100. The remaining thirty-nine subscribers pledged £50 each, and among them were such men as Hugh Peter, Mathew Cradock, Increase Nowell and Richard Bellingham.

One other scrap of evidence demonstrates that these men were not simply contributing money, but had also taken over the reins of the New England Company. Another document, the original of which has not survived, is a letter of instructions to Endicott, dated 30 May 1628 and signed by many of these same men, including Cradock, Nowell and Peter [Hutchinson 1:10].

The surviving records of the Massachusetts Bay Company actually begin with the minutes of the last few meetings of the New England Company, a month or two before the granting of the royal patent. In these records, Cradock and the other London and East Anglian leaders are in control, and had apparently been in that position since the previous May. The records of the settlement activities of these men at this level appear seamless over this period when the Company was transitioning to the 4 March 1628/9 royal patent. We will continue our inquiries in the next installment with a look at the work of the Company in 1629.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #8, April 2012

The Dedham Classis

The Oxford English Dictionary does not provide a definition for the word "classis"that pertains directly to the Dedham Classis. The following is its first and main definition of the word:

In the Presbyterian system: an ecclesiastical court or assemby above the consistory and below the synod consisting of the elders or pastors from each parish or congregation within a given area.

The Dedham Classis was not so formal, nor was it part of any larger "system," but was an informal and secret gathering of ministers of the Puritan persuasion in the latter days of Queen Elizabeth, mostly from Essex and Suffolk. The more formal definition implies a compact group of contiguous parishes, whereas the members of the Dedham Classis were from those scattered parishes which were at that time of a Puritan persuasion. (In the latter part of the sixteenth century, the critical division between the Independents [Congregationalists] and the Presbyterians has not yet arisen.)

The Dedham Classis operated from 1582 to 1589. Much of the time in the meetings was taken up with exposition of a Biblical text. Other business involved the placing of young ministers, just out of Cambridge or Oxford, in various parishes or lectureships. Although the ministers of the Dedham Classis were of an older generation than those who took part in the Winthrop Fleet, many connections can be traced.

Ezekiel Culverwell (1554-1631) was minster at Great Stambridge when John Winthrop married there his first wife, Mary Forth. Culverwell was influential in Winthrop’s spiritual development. (Culverwell was also distantly related by marriage to Roger Conant.)

John Knewstub (1544-1624) was a friend of John Winthrop’s father, Adam Winthrop, and dined often with the Winthrops as he travelled about East Anglia.

Richard Rogers (1551-1618) was lecturer at Wethersfield, Essex, from about 1578 until his death in 1618. He was uncle of John Rogers (1570-1636), who was lecturer at Dedham, Essex, at the time of the Great Migration and corresponded with Winthrop.

Henry Sandes (1549-1626) was lecturer at Boxford, Suffolk, from about 1582 to 1624. Boxford was immediately to the south of Groton, and the Winthrop family held land there. Adam Winthrop and Henry Sandes were very close friends, and Sandes was buried at Groton.

Thomas Stoughton, who died about 1622, was minister at a number of Essex and Suffolk parishes until he was silenced and deprived of his benefices in 1606. He was father of Thomas Stoughton and Israel Stoughton who came to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in the early 1630s.

The surviving records of the Dedham Classis have been published a number of times, most recently in 2003 as Volume Ten of the Church of England Record Society: Patrick Collinson, John Craig and Brett Usher, editors, Conferences and Combination Lectures in the Elizabethan Church: Dedham and Bury St. Edmunds, 1582-1590. (This volume is expensive and difficult to find, and is recommended only to the hardiest of readers.)

Some Useful Websites

In the course of wandering about the World Wide Web in the planning and preparation of this tour, three interesting general websites have come to our attention which you as participants in the tour may also find of value.

On the home page, this website describes its mission as follows:

The Geograph Britain and Ireland project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland.

11,338 contributors have submitted 2,897,398 images covering 265,092 grid squares, or 79.9% of the total.

The home page also includes a very small map of Great Britain and Ireland. Clicking on this map allows you to zoom in until you reach a page devoted to one of the grid squares. There you will find one or more images, almost always including the church if there is one in that grid square. Once you have had your fill of that particular grid square, there is also a little box which allows you to move to the next adjacent grid square in any direction. Or, you may return to the original map and set off in another direction.

The material gathered here for each of the Suffolk churches is extensive, including many photographs and descriptive text. Unfortunately, not all the parishes we will be visiting are represented here. The page for Lavenham, for instance, was taken down recently. For Bury St. Edmunds, be sure to look at "Bury Abbey." At the moment, the link for Bury St. Edmunds St. James, now the cathedral for the diocese, is broken.

This website is simpler than the previous one for Suffolk, and includes only a few photos of each church. There are pictures here for all the parishes we will be visiting. Note especially Mistley, which has pictures for two churches. We will also be visiting the ruins of a third, older church, where a number of Great Migration immigrants were baptized.

Ministerial Economics and Titles

Throughout the Winthrop Fleet Tour, as we visit one church after another, we will be discussing terms such as "rector," "vicar," "advowson" and "living." In order to understand these terms, we must first understand the different ways in which ministers of the Church of England were compensated in the early seventeenth century.

Each ecclesiastical parish had attached to it two important property rights, the advowson and the benefice (or living). The advowson was "The ’patronage’ of an ecclesiastical office or religious house; the right of presentation to a benefice or living" (this and other definitions given here are from the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary). In other words, upon the vacancy of a church office, some person or corporation had the right to name the successor to that office. The person holding the advowson (a word derived from the same root as "advocate") might be a bishop or a college at Cambridge or Oxford or a lord of a manor or a borough, among many possibilities. The advowson could be devised and inherited and could be bought and sold.

The benefice or living comprised the various sources of revenue available to support a particular church office, including mainly the glebe lands and the tithes. The glebe lands were those lands controlled directly by the holder of a church office, while the tithes were payments in money or in kind owing to the church office by other landholders in the parish. Tithes came in several varieties, some of which will be referred to below.

We now come to a group of terms which are all entangled with one another. The "holder of an ecclesiastical benefice" was termed the incumbent. "A parson or incumbent of a parish whose tithes are not impropriate" is called a rector. If the tithes are impropriate, then the incumbent is the vicar. Impropriation is the "annexation of a benefice or its revenues to a corporation, office, or individual, especially ... to a lay corporation or a lay proprietor."

Now, to attempt to untangle this knot of definitions. The person who controlled the entire benefice, including the glebe and all the tithes, was called the rector. If the rector was a lay person or a corporation, then the most common arrangement was that the rector took for himself the "great tithes," which were the tithes from grain, hay, wood and fruit, and the remainder of the benefice would go to a vicar, who would actually have the "cure of souls," that is, who would actually perform the ecclesiastical duties. The lay rector might be the lord of the manor, and so live locally, or might be an absentee landlord, such as a college or bishop. In other cases, the rector might be the minister, that is might himself have the cure of souls. Whoever had the cure of souls would be the incumbent, whether vicar or rector. The lay rector was not an incumbent. (As an aside, the term "rectory" might refer only to the house occupied by the rector, as it does now, or it might refer to the whole financial package, including the rectory house, the glebe and the tithes.)

The impropriation of a benefice might take place in many ways, but for our purposes the most important was the redistribution of church wealth at the time of the English Reformation, when thousands of benefices formerly controlled by the religious houses fell into the hands of laymen.

Finally, there were two important classes of minister who fell further down the economic ladder. In general terms the curate was anyone entrusted with the cure of souls, and so might include the incumbent rector or vicar, but for our period the word had a more restricted meaning: "A clergyman engaged for a stipend or salary, and licensed ... to perform ministerial duties in the parish as a deputy or assistant of the incumbent." A curate did not receive any portion of the tithes directly, although his stipend generally was paid from the tithes by the rector or vicar. A curate might be hired in a large parish where one man could not carry out all the ministerial duties. Also, if the incumbent was a pluralist, that is held more than one living, he might need to hire a curate for those parishes in which he did not reside.

A lecturer’s duties "consist[ed] mainly in delivering afternoon or evening lectures," or sermons. This office became especially important to the Puritans, for whom sermonizing was far more important than the various ceremonies associated with the Catholic church. Hiring a preacher was a way for the Puritans to promote their own goals through an officer who, at least until the rise of Laud, could not be as easily controlled as the holder of an ecclesiastical benefice.

Don’t be concerned if all this is not immediately clear. We will be using and further exploring all of these terms throughout the course of the tour.

An excellent resource on this subject is Christopher Hill, Economic Problems of the Church: From Archbishop Whitgift to the Long Parliament (Oxford, 1956). Hill was, during the second half of the twentieth century, one of the most important investigators of the English Revolution and its origins. Unfortunately, the volume cited here is no longer easy to come by.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

Issue #9, May 2012

The Massachusetts Bay Company

In three previous issues of Tour Talk, we described three stages of corporate activity which led up to the organization of the Massachusetts Bay Company. For the Winthrop Fleet volume, which is now in the final stages of production, we composed a fifty-page interpretive essay which briefly characterizes the structure of immigration in the entire Great Migration period, from 1620 to 1640, and then discusses the circumstances surrounding the migration to New England in 1629 and 1630 as conducted by the Massachusetts Bay Company. We present here a selection from that essay.


Having taken control of the New England Company and worked toward furthering its goals during 1628, the London merchants [interested in the settlement of New England] also began the process of obtaining a charter directly from the crown. This goal was achieved on 4 March 1628/9, when the royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company passed the great seals.1

The charter named twenty-six patentees, the first six of whom were the same as the patentees of the New England Company from a year before. Among the twenty new patentees, the first two were “Sir Richard Saltonstall, knight,” and “Isaack Johnson,” who had in May 1628 made the largest investments in the New England Company and who were of higher social status than the remainder of the new patentees. Other important additions to the list of patentees were Matthew Cradock, Increase Nowell, Richard Bellingham, Theophilus Eaton, William Vassall and William Pynchon.

These men had already been at work for some months preparing to send six ships with passengers and provisions to New England to augment the [1628] settlement at Salem. The acquisition of the charter is not reflected in the ongoing records of the Company, as the leaders continued their preparations and dispatched the George BonaventureTalbot and Lyon’s Whelp in late April, and the MayflowerFour Sisters and Pilgrim not long after.

The patent decreed that there should be “one Governor, one Deputy Governor, and eighteen Assistants of the same Company, to be … chosen out of the freemen of the said Company,” and named Matthew Cradock as Governor, Thomas Goffe as Deputy Governor, and eighteen of the remaining twenty-four patentees as Assistants, including three of the six who had been carried over from the patent of the New England Company (John Humfrey, John Endicott and Simon Whetcombe).2

On 6 April 1629, a committee was appointed “for making orders and power for meet government of New England, to write letters to Captain Endicott, to order divisions of land and whatsoever may concern the Company’s affairs.” Eleven men were chosen for this committee, including two ministers, John Davenport and Francis Higginson.3

On 30 April 1629, presumably pursuant to a report of this committee, “Mr. John Endecott and Mr. Samuell Sharpe being both put to election for Governor of the Plantation in the Mattachusetts Bay, Captain John Endecott was chosen by a full and free election for the year following to be Governor.” At the same meeting, “Mr. Francis Higgenson, Mr. Samuel Skelton, Mr. Francis Bright, Mr. John Browne, Mr. Samuel Browne, Mr. Thomas Graves, Mr. Samuell Sharpe, these by free erection of hands were chosen to be of the council of the Mattachusetts Bay for the year ensuing …, to assist the Governor, Captain John Endecott.” The Company immediately drafted a letter to Endicott containing this information and arranged for it to be carried to New England by the ships then departing. From this point until Winthrop landed in New England the following year, the Massachusetts Bay Company had two men designated as Governor: Cradock (and then Winthrop) in London, and Endicott in Salem, each with his own set of duties.4

The patent further ordered that the Governor, Deputy Governor and Assistants were to be chosen “yearly once in the year for ever hereafter, namely, the last Wednesday in Easter term yearly.”5 Accordingly, the Company met on 13 May 1629 and re-elected Cradock as Governor and Goffe as Deputy. Of the eighteen Assistants named in the patent, sixteen were re-elected; “Mr. Jno. Endecott & Mr. John Browne being out of the land …, to make up the number of 18, Mr. John Pocock & Mr. Chr[istopher] Cowlson were chosen Assistants.”6

By the time of this election, the process of provisioning and lading the vessels sailing for New England was complete and the six vessels were on their way. The Company then turned its attention to the larger migration planned for 1630. Much of their work was devoted to raising further funds to advance their colonization efforts.7

An important new item of business was the purchase of a ship which would lead the Winthrop Fleet. On 28 July 1629, it was “moved by Mr. Governor, that a ship of 400 ton & of good force being now to be sold, should be bought for the Company’s use, upon their general stock.” Ten men, including Cradock, pledged to purchase either one-eighth or one-sixteenth shares in this ship, with the Company itself taking up one-eighth.8 After further discussion, the purchase was authorized on 20 October 1629. The vessel was named the Eagle : in honor of Isaac Johnson’s wife, the ship was renamed the Arbella.9

On 26 July, the same day that he suggested purchasing the Eagle, Cradock introduced another new and even more momentous issue. “Mr. Governor read certain propositions conceived by himself, viz: that for the advancement of the plantation, the inducing & encouraging persons of worth & quality [blank] transplant themselves & families thither, & for other weighty reasons therein contained, to transfer the government of the plantation to those that shall inhabit there, and not to continue the same in subordination to the Company here, as now it is.”10 After some debate, a final resolution of this question was deferred to a later meeting.

Even as this consequential question was being debated, a man not yet heard of in the records of the Massachusetts Bay Company was debating whether he should join the migration to New England. On 8 July 1629, Isaac Johnson wrote to Emanuel Downing, asking when he might expect Downing and “Mr. Winthorpe” to arrive at Johnson’s home in Sempringham, Lincolnshire, for discussions about the migration project.11

On 28 July, just two days after the Company meeting at which the idea of transferring the government to New England was broached, John Winthrop, Downing’s brother-in-law, wrote in his spiritual diary that “my brother Downing and myself riding into Lincolnshire by Ely, my horse fell under me in a bog in the fens, so as I was almost to the waist in water; but the Lord preserved me from further danger.”12 Winthrop eventually arrived safely, and he met not only with Johnson but with John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, Roger Williams and undoubtedly others associated with the Massachusetts Bay Company.

The conference at Sempringham led directly to Winthrop’s decision to join the migration to New England in 1630.13 Within a month, on 26 August, Winthrop travelled to Cambridge where he joined eleven other men to compose and sign the Cambridge Agreement. In this document, upon “due consideration of the state of the plantation now in hand for New England, wherein we (whose names are hereunto subscribed) have engaged ourselves,” Winthrop and the other eleven committed themselves to “embark for the said plantation by the first of March next … provided always that before the last of September next the whole government together with the patent for the said plantation be first by an order of Court legally transferred and established to remain with us and others which shall inhabit upon the said plantation.”14 In the end, only ten of the twelve would sail for New England the following spring. At the head of the list were, as usual, Sir Richard Saltonstall and Isaac Johnson.

Just two days later, on 28 August, a General Court was convened, for the “special cause of … [giving] answer to diverse gentlemen, intending to go into New England, whether or no the chief government of the plantation, together with the patent, should be settled in New England, or here.” At this point the Company adopted an interesting procedure, which they would use on other occasions during the remainder of the year. A sort of ad hoc debating society was created, in which two groups of men, one opposed to the transfer of government and one in favor, would prepare arguments on either side and present them to the Company on the following day.15

On the following day, “the committees which were appointed to meet yesterday in the afternoon to consider of arguments pro & contra touching the settling of the government of the Company’s plantation in New England” presented and debated their arguments. The Governor then called for a vote, “where, by the erection of hands, it appeared by the general consent of the Company, that the government & patent should be settled in New England.”16

John Winthrop does not appear in the lists of those attending these two critical meetings. He is first seen in the Company records on 19 September, where he must have been included in the unnamed “others” recorded as in attendance, during which meeting he was assigned to a committee representing the Company’s side in the dispute with John and Samuel Brown.17

On 29 September, the General Court met and began to consider the details of implementing their decision of the month before. One of the issues to be settled was “by what way or means the same may be done, to correspond with, and not to prejudice the government here.”18 In this spirit, beginning with the next meeting of the General Court, on 16 October, the Company began a long series of debates “to resolve of the settling the trade in New England … for the encouragement as well of the adventurers in the joint stock here, as of those who already are, & of others who intend to go over in person to be planters there.”19

Again, a two-part committee was appointed to develop the arguments for the two sides, those remaining in London and those bound for New England, and to draft a document on the continuation of the Company’s trading activities. On 16 October, the committees reported, upon which the Company concluded that “it was thought fit & natural that the government of persons be held the[re,] the government of trade & merchandises to be here.”20

The stage was now set for the transfer of power to the emigrants. At a General Court on 20 October 1629, a special election was held. Four men were nominated for Governor: Winthrop, Saltonstall, Johnson and Humfrey. The latter three men needed no introduction, but the records explicitly record the “extraordinary great commendations of Mr. John Wynthrop, both for his integrity & sufficiency, as being one very well fitted & accomplished for the place of Governor.” Winthrop was elected Governor, after which John Humfrey was elected Deputy Governor, and, in obedience to the patent, eighteen men as Assistants.21

The newly elected officers devoted themselves to the business of completing preparations for the sailing of the Winthrop Fleet in the following spring. Even so, much of the recorded business of the Company revolved around the ongoing concerns over the continuation of the trade and the management of the joint stock.22

The final meeting of the Massachusetts Bay Company held in London was on 10 February 1629/30. By 18 March, Winthrop and the other officers about to sail for New England were with the gathering fleet at Southampton, where three meetings of the Court of Assistants were held, the last on board the Arbella on 23 March. The business recorded at these meetings was limited to readjustments of some of the offices, as John Humfrey chose not to sail at that time and was replaced by Thomas Dudley, and a few other changes were made among the Assistants.23

When the Winthrop Fleet sailed, Winthrop took with him not only the patent but the written records of the Massachusetts Bay Company. The transition from joint-stock trading company to self-governing colony was well underway and would be complete within a few years after 1630. Despite all the debate over dividing the government of the Company, with “persons” being ruled “there” and “trade & merchandises” being ruled “here,” few indications survive regarding continued organized activity on the part of the London merchants, several of whom were soon complaining of being “undone by their trade.” The influence of those members of the Massachusetts Bay Company who remained in England gradually faded away.

John Winthrop and the Poetry of Charles Olson

For the last fifty years I have spent many pleasant days and weeks in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and for most of that time have been well aware of Charles Olson (1910-1970), a poet who lived for much of his life in that city. For all that, I had not read a word of his poetry until quite recently. In the December 2011 issue of The New England Quarterly, Gary Grieve-Carlson, a professor of English, published a lengthy article titled “John Winthrop in The Maximus Poems” [NEQ 84 (2011):655-95].

The Maximus Poems, published by Olson in three parts in 1960, 1968 and 1975, roam back and forth over the history of Gloucester and Cape Ann. A major theme for Olson is the settlement of Gloucester by Roger Conant, the move to Salem, the replacement of Conant by Endicott in 1628, and then the replacement of Endicott by Winthrop in 1630.

Grieve-Carlson digs into the papers left by Olson and shows that the poet’s work was firmly grounded in contemporary sources. For example, Olson owned a copy of Savage’s 1853 edition of Winthrop’s journal. Grieve-Carlson shows that Olson’s understanding of Winthrop was highly nuanced, and took into account the changes in Winthrop’s outlook during his time in New England.

Learning about Winthrop from The Maximus Poems will be different from reading Frank Bremer’s biography, but you will certainly see the man in a new light. Olson’s work is not easy to find in stores, but copies are available from Amazon.

New Englanders Back in Old England

William Jennison first appeared in New England in 1630, as a resident of Charlestown, and so he has been included as a member of the Winthrop Fleet. He was, however, different in several ways from many of the others who came with Winthrop in that year, and we cannot in fact be certain that he was an integral part of the Winthrop migration.

Prior to his appearance in New England, Jennison, who was a ship’s captain, had apparently lived for some time in Bermuda. During the few years of his residence at Charlestown, he did not live in the main settlement, but off in a corner of the town, with three other men who were not closely associated with Winthrop: Edward Gibbons, Walter Norton and Alexander Wignall. Yet we know from later events in Jennison’s life that he was a committed Puritan.

By 1634 Jennison had moved the few miles to Watertown, where he resided until about 1650, at which time he returned permanently to England. From 1654 (and perhaps earlier) until his death in 1667, he resided at Colchester in Essex. In his will he left a bequest to “Mr. John Knowles of London, clerk, sometimes lecturer at Colchester.” John Knowles had come to New England in 1639 and in the following year was ordained pastor at Watertown church. Knowles also returned to England, in 1651, but for the decade of the 1640s Knowles and Jennison were neighbors in Watertown.

Jennison went on to name as the supervisors or overseers of his will “my two loving friends Herbert Pelham Esq. of Bewers & Mr. Bezaleell Anger the elder of Dedham.” Herbert Pelham was elder brother of William Pelham, who was in Massachusetts Bay briefly in 1630, went back to England almost immediately, but returned to New England by 1645, and perhaps as early as 1639, when Herbert Pelham himself crossed the Atlantic to settle at Cambridge for seven years. In 1646 Herbert went back to old England and lived at Bures [“Bewers”], Essex, just a few miles from Colchester.

Bezaleel Angier was brother of Edmund Angier, one of many immigrants to New England from Dedham, Essex. Edmund arrived in 1636, and, like Pelham, settled at Cambridge. Another brother was John Angier, who married a daughter of William Aspinwall. The Angiers were related to the Shermans and Sparrowhawks, among other Dedham families who came to the New World.

These four men, Jennison, Knowles, Pelham and Angier, with their many connections with and intimate experience of New England, continued to associate closely for the rest of their lives, even after they had returned to old England.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

1 MBCR 1:3-20.

2 MBCR 1:10-11.

3 MBCR 1:37e.

4 MBCR 1:37j-39, 361-63.

5 MBCR 1:12.

6 MBCR 1:40. In 1629 Easter fell on 5 April, so 13 May was the end of Easter term, on the eve of Ascension.

7 MBCR 1:37b-c, 45, 46, 49, 53, 54, 60, 62.

8 MBCR 1:48.

9 MBCR 1:53, 57, 58.

10 MBCR 1:49.

11 Various editors, Winthrop Papers, 6 volumes (Boston 1925-1992), 2:102-3, cited hereafter as WP.

12 WP 2:103.

13 As was typical of the Winthrops, the documentation surrounding John Winthrop’s decision-making process is voluminous. Two excellent treatments of the evidence and the process are Darrett B. Rutman, John Winthrop’s Decision for America: 1629 (Philadelphia 1975), and Francis J. Bremer, John Winthrop: America’s Forgotten Founding Father (Oxford 2003), Chapter 8, "The Decision to Migrate." Bremer also covers Winthrop’s part in outfitting and provisioning the Winthrop Fleet and in recruiting passengers for the voyage.

14 WP 2:151-52.

15 MBCR 1:49-50.

16 MBCR 1:50-51.

17 MBCR 1:51. See the sketch for JOHN BROWN.

18 MBCR 1:52.

19 MBCR 1:55.

20 MBCR 1:56.

21 MBCR 1:58-60.

22 MBCR 1:62-63, 63-65, 67, 68.

23 MBCR 1:67-70.

Issue #10, June 2012

Recruited Professionals in the Winthrop Migration

Much of Massachusetts Bay Company business in 1629 and 1630 was devoted to the recruitment of professionals of various stripes to be sent to New England with the other immigrants. This included ministers, soldiers, surgeons and physicians, as well as artisans such as coopers and shipwrights. As we did in the last issue of Tour Talk, we include here an excerpt from the Introduction to The Winthrop Fleet, describing the hiring of surgeons and physicians during these two years. (The Winthrop Fleet has gone to press, and will be available in August.)

iii Physicians and Surgeons


Abraham Pratt
At a General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Company held in London on 5 March 1628/9, terms were propounded under which “Mr. [blank] Pratt” would be hired as a surgeon for the settlers to be sent to New England, for a term of three years. He sailed for New England in 1629.

Lambert Wilson
On 17 April 1629, the Massachusetts Bay Company in London informed John Endicott in Salem that “[w]e have entertained Lambert Wilson, chirurgeon, to remain with you in the service of the Plantation; with whom we are agreed that he shall serve this Company and the other planters that live in the Plantation, for three years, and in that time apply himself to cure not only of such as came from hence for the general and particular accounts, but also for the Indians, as from time to time he shall be directed by yourself or your successor and the rest of the Council. And moreover he is to educate and instruct in his art one or more youths, such as you and the said Council shall appoint, that may be helpful to him, and, if occasion serve, succeed him in the Plantation; which youth or youths, fit to learn that profession, let be placed with him; of which Mr. Higginson’s son, if his father approve thereof, may be one, the rather because he hath been trained up in literature; but if not he, then such other as you shall judge most fittest, &c.” No New England records have been found for Lambert Wilson.


William Gager
In late 1629, John Winthrop wrote to “our loving friend Mr. Gager at Litle Waldingfield in Suffolk,” stating that “having sufficient assurance of your godliness and abilities in the art of surgery to be of much use to us in this work, being informed also, that the place where you live doth not afford you such sufficient and comfortable employment as your gifts do require, we have thought good to offer you a call to join with us, and become a member of our society.” William Gager did sail with the Winthrop Fleet and settled at Boston. On 23 August 1630, “It was propounded what should be Mr. Gager’s maintenance,” but he died less than a month later.

Richard Palgrave
The other known physician who came to New England in 1630 was Richard Palgrave. Although there is no direct evidence that he was recruited in the way we have seen for William Gager, there are indications that this was the case. First, in John Winthrop’s lists of 1629, Palgrave’s name immediately precedes that of Gager. Second, on 9 September 1639, “Mr. Palgrave is granted 200 acres of land, with Capt. Jeanison & Mr. Browne.” The General Court usually gave such grants of land in return for service to the colony, which in this case would likely be for his medical services.

Nikolaus Pevsner

Nikolaus Pevsner was born in Leipzig in 1902 and was educated in Germany as an art and architecture historian. In 1933 he departed Nazi Germany for England and resumed his career there. After the war he began work on a series of volumes which surveyed the architectural history of England, county by county, under the series title The Buildings of England. By 1974 all the counties of England had been covered, most of the volumes written by Pevsner himself.

Each county volume proceeds through the parishes and towns in alphabetical order. The account of each parish begins with a detailed description of the church, providing the age of each element of the structure and discussion of ornaments and monuments. In larger parishes other private and public buildings are also treated.

The second edition of the volume for Suffolk, published in 1974, and a more recently updated third edition of the volume for Essex, published in 2007, will guide us in August and will be included in the Great Migration Tour Travelling Library.

Ministerial Offices in Early New England

In the April issue of Tour Talk, we described the variety of ministerial offices found in the English church at the time of the Great Migration, including rectors, vicars and curates. When the Puritans reached New England, they organized their churches in a quite different fashion, according to Calvinist Reformed principles.

The ministers were to be chosen by the congregation and established over their parishes by the laying on of hands by the ruling elders of the congregation and by previously established ministers from neighboring parishes. There were to be two types of ministers ordained in this fashion, the pastor, who was to “have the oversight and charge of the whole parish, to instruct, to admonish, to exhort … and to minister the sacraments,” and the teacher, who was to “teach and expound, ‘so that he ought to be an exquisite and mighty man in the scriptures’” [Patrick Collinson, The Elizabethan Puritan Movement (London and New York, 1967), p. 335].

In addition, there were two types of officers drawn from the laity. The more senior were the ruling elders, who supervised church discipline and directed the process of selecting the pastor and teacher, eventually taking part in the ordination of these clerical officers. The deacons handled the financial aspect of church government, collecting the ministerial rates and disbursing church funds. In New England, the deacons were often seen taking the probate inventories of deceased members of the congregation.

Winthrop Fleet Passengers from Edwardstone, Suffolk

John Winthrop was born at Edwardstone, Suffolk, on 12 January 1587/8, son of Adam and Anne (Browne) Winthrop. Anne (Browne) Winthrop had inherited a house at Edwardstone from her father, Henry Browne. Edwardstone is immediately adjacent to and west of Groton, the two churches being about a mile and a quarter apart. On Saturday, 18 August, we will begin our day by taking the coach to Groton. After exploring the church and village, we have have an optional walk across the fields to Edwardstone.

Benjamin Brand was one of the young single men who accompanied Winthrop on the Arbella , perhaps more out of a sense of adventure than as serious planters. (Another of this sort was Winthrop’s brother-in-law, Arthur Tyndall.) Benjamin was son of John Brand of Edwardstone, and was born perhaps about 1610. His stay in New England was very brief, and by early 1631 he was back in England. By 1641 he was married with at least one child, but he has not been traced beyond this. During our walk from Groton to Edwardstone we will be passing through property owned by John Brand.

John Pond was born at Edwardstone about 1600, son of William Pond. John came to New England on the Winthrop Fleet, along with an unnamed brother. Either John or his brother wrote a letter home to William Pond in early 1631, with a desperate plea for provisions. The writer of the letter had a wife and children, and spoke of returning soon to England. Neither brother is seen in New England after 1631.

Researching Edwardstone families can be quite difficult, owing to the loss of the early parish registers. The Edwardstone immigrants listed above are the only ones known to have been on the Winthrop Fleet, but there may well have been others.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader

MBCR 1:29-30.

MBCR 1:396.

WP 2:199.

MBCR 1:74.

WP 2:276.

MBCR 1:273, 282.

Issue #11, July 2012

The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds

In the second issue of Tour Talk (October 2011) we briefly described the events which led up to the founding of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. The abbey grounds and the remaining ruins of the abbey occupy a large plot of ground in the center of town, just across from our hotel. On most days during the tour, either in the morning or the evening, you will have the opportunity to stroll at your leisure through the grounds. On Monday, 20 August, our “quiet day” in Bury St. Edmunds, probably in the afternoon, I will lead an informal and optional walking tour through the abbey grounds.

At the peak of its existence, from the late eleventh to the early sixteenth centuries, the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds was one of the largest and wealthiest in England. Although Bury was not in medieval times a diocesan see, the abbey church itself rivalled in size and splendor the cathedrals at Norwich and Exeter, which were built at the same time. All that remains of the abbey church are the outlines of the foundations and portions of a few pillars.

Most of the other buildings of the abbey suffered the same fate, but a few pieces of the abbey have been maintained and give some indication of the magnitude of the institution. Most of the north and west walls of the abbey have survived, and imbedded in those walls are four major structures. First, there are the two parish churches of Bury St. Edmunds St. James and Bury St. Edmunds St. Mary. The latter exists much as it did centuries ago, but the former has been much expanded and enhanced, as it has been since 1960 the cathedral church for the diocese of St. Edmondsbury.

Immediately to the south of St. James is the Norman Tower, built in the twelfth century. It stands in front of the west façade of the abbey church, and served as the main entrance to the abbey, especially for processions at the times of royal or episcopal visitations. Some distance to the north of St. James is the Great Gate, built in the fourteenth century. Prior to the dissolution of the monasteries, this gate led to the business end of the abbey, where the Almoner and the Cellarer and other abbey officials had their quarters. The gate, which is directly across from our hotel, now leads to a pleasant formal garden.

On our walking tour we will see all these features, and also some of the oddities created by the not-quite-complete destruction of some parts of the abbey. For example, only a portion of the grand west façade of the abbey church survives. However, what does survive has been utilized for a number of modern residences.

The Green Man

On our tour we will from time to time encounter the Green Man. He comes to us in many shapes and forms, but the most common is as a disembodied head, carved in wood or stone, with either vines and leaves emanating from the mouth, or a full-facial mask of leaves, generally found as a decoration in churches.

The pinnacle for production of this image was at the height of Gothic church building, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The versions created then had grown out of a wide range of pre-Christian myths. In pagan times, the Green Man, or his precursors, symbolized fertility and fecundity, and also the cycle of death, metamorphosis, and rebirth. Rituals of tree worship, as practiced by druids and other priestly cults, also became part of the symbolic mix. These pagan elements were then co-opted by Christianity, and connected with the death and resurrection of Christ and the cult of the Virgin Mary.

Another pre-Christian strand that became associated with the Green Man was the Celtic reverence for the head, and especially for detached talking heads. This was Christianized in the Arthurian story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

The name “Green Man” was not firmly associated with this iconographic tradition until the publication of some anthropological studies early in the twentieth century. Prior to that time there were many pubs named The Green Man, but the pub signs generally depicted Robin Hood, whose legends were also interwoven with the other strands of mythology relating to the Green Man. There are still many pubs named The Green Man, but they now more often display the disembodied foliate head now connected with that name.

Be on constant lookout for his appearance in unexpected locations.

Recommended Reading

Wikipedia, entry for “Green Man.” Provides a good overview, a brief bibliography, and links to about two dozen other relevant websites.

William Anderson, Green Man: The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth (London, 1990). A historical discussion of the development of the imagery and connotations of the Green Man from paganism and classical religion into Christianity, with a Jungian flavor. More than one hundred photographs of exemplars of the Green Man.

Simon Armitage, translator, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (New York, 2007). There are dozens of good and serviceable translations of this poem, many still in print. The advantage of this edition, aside from being the most recent and readily available, is that it is a parallel edition, with the Middle English and the modern translation on facing pages.

Gainsborough, Constable and Sargent

During the course of our tour we will be repeatedly crossing the trails of three first-rate artists: Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and John Singer Sargent.

Thomas Gainsborough was baptized at Sudbury, Suffolk, on 14 May 1727, son of John Gainsborough, a weaver. The family resided in All Saints parish, and there is a large memorial to the parents of the artist in that churchyard. There is also a statue of Thomas Gainsborough at the top of the market square, in front of St. Peters church.

John Constable was born at East Bergholt, Suffolk, on 11 June 1776, son of Golding Constable, a corn merchant. East Bergholt is just across the Stour River from Dedham, Essex, and the entire eastern end of the Stour River valley is often referred to as “Constable Country.” Constable attended grammar school at Lavenham, in the building which may have been the birthplace of Adam Winthrop, grandfather of John Winthrop, three hundred years earlier. Constable produced at least three paintings which were altarpieces at three churches in the area, and we will see one of them at Nayland. He also frequently painted the church and other scenes in Stoke-by-Nayland.

John Singer Sargent was born at Florence, Italy, on 12 January 1856, son of Fitzwilliam Sargent of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He travelled and painted widely in Europe and the United States. One of his important patrons was his third-cousin once-removed, Daniel Sargent Curtis, who was born in Boston in 1825. Curtis owned a palazzo in Venice, which was long his base of operations and where he hosted John Singer Sargent at times. Curtis married Ariana Wormeley, who was born at Dedham, Essex, in 1833. On the exterior of the Dedham church are memorial plaques to Curtis, his wife and their son, and in the interior is a large wall memorial to Ariana’s father, Admiral R. R. Wormeley.

Bob Anderson, Tour Leader
Sandi Hewlett, Assistant Tour Leader