Books on Hertfordshire

Historic Cheshunt

Compiled by Percy Charles Archer

The Cheshunt Press, 1923

Nonconformity in Cheshunt in the 17th Century

The following extract comes from the book:

In the Appendix of Urwick's "Nonconformity in Hertfordshire" details are recorded of collections in Herts for the distressed protestants of Piedmont, June, 1655. Oliver Cromwell, after giving 2,000 from his private purse, appealed to Puritan England for funds. In our county 123 towns and villages contributed a total sum of 754 14s. 3d. Watford headed the list with 103 5s. 6d. Totteridge came second with 50 19s. 8d. and Cheshunt was third with 35 17s. 5d. The circumstances which occasioned this appeal were the plight of protestants in several villages of the Savoy Alps, who were persecuted and driven from their homes, by the Duke of Savoy.

Much interesting information is obtainable in the Hertfordshire Session Rolls, from which the following are extracted :-

A.D. 1661: No. 133.-- Indictment of Thomas Medlicot, of Chesthunt, for refusing to attend Divine service.

A.D. 1665: Nos. 143 and 167. -- Presentment of Nicholas King, of Chesthunt, bricklayer, for suffering a conventicle in his house; and also a burying-ground in his orchard adjoining his house.

A.D. 1669: No. 42. -- Order by the Justices of the Peace states that there are frequent unlawful assemblies of great numbers of persons both at Theobalds and at the houses commonly called-the King's Stables and elsewhere in the parish of Chesthunt, to the terror of the King's subjects. The constables are therefore ordered to disperse such assemblies and upon refusal to arrest the principals, especially such as teach or preach.

A.D. 1682: No. 617. -- The names of some of the wealthiest dissenters in the parish of Cheshunt. Such as joyne with the Presbyterians and Independents at the meeting in Theobalds:-William Barefoot, a schoolmaster, excommunicated formerly and indicted at the sessions. Mr. Robert Bragge; Mr. Castair, a Scott; Mr. Samuel Otway; Teachers at Theobalds. Sam. Shute, E;sq., Sheriff of Middlesex. Robert de Luna, who entertains Castair in his house. Isaac Eure, barrister-at-law. Mr. Thomas Abney. Mrs. Mary Shute, relict of Mr. Benj. Shute. All these have their families all summer in Chesthunt, but never come to their parish church, but doe all they can to encourage the meet(n)ers.

Mr. John Graye, now churchwarden. Thomas French and wife. Mr. Eamond Foxley. Hester, wife of John Ward, butcher. Robert Rolfe, baker.

Of the some sort : -- Dr. James Desborough, M.D., and all his family. Eleanor Kerby. widow. Thomas Joyes. Mary Jeale, widow. Daniel Doughty. Mary Joyce, widow. Daniel Hall. John Eves. Henry Rowe. Mr. John Mickil. John Sole, constable, who hath lately come to his parish church once in a day, but his wife scarcely ever. Hannah Pharroh, widow. Mary Collins, widow. Mr. John Drew, an attorney, and his wife and family. John Fame. Jonathan Trevor. Thomas Freeman. Thomas Leatherdale. John Nash, Senr. George Lathbury. Mr. John Armiger. Mrs Elizabeth Booth, widow. John Ballard. William Tuttey, baker. John Stockin, their Clerk at the meeting.

Such as are Anabaptists: -- Mr. Joseph Masters and Capt. John Spencer, teachers. Mrs. Mary Dashwood, relict of Alderman Dashwood. Mr. Samuel Harris. Mr. William Hart. Mr. Arthur Ottray.

Quakers: -- Gaven Lourdy, merchant and speaker. Samuel Goodacre. Wm. Page. John Robbins. Wilm. Bates, Anthony Deighton, Senr. Nicholas Ring. Widow Runnington. Nathaniel Thompson. John Blendall.

Such as seldom go to Church, or any other religious meeting. -- Thomas Medlicott. Mr. Nicholas Mutton and Susanna his wife. Allan Sawyer, Senr. Allan Sawyer, Junr. Samuell Noon. John Cordle, Cow-leech. Waiter Adams. John Grubbe. John Palmer.

A.D. 1683: Nos. 241-243.-- Convictions and presentments of the following persons for being present at unlawful conventicles held at Flamstead End, in the parish of Cheshunt, under the teachership of Gawen Lowry, viz., Gawen Lowry and Mary, his wife. William Bates, weaver, and his wife. Thomas Roberts, husbandman. The wife of Anthony Dighton. Mary Price, spinster. Anne, wife of Samuel Goodaker. Sarah Runnington, widow. John Robbins. William Bates. Mary his wife, and Joseph his son. John Montford. Nicholas Ring. Anne Rash. and Elizabeth Rash. Wonderful Warwick. George Archer. John Blindell. Nathaniel Thompson. William Willmott -- all of Chesthunt.

No. 248. -- Note of the conviction of Gawin Lowry for teaching and preaching at an unlawful conventicle for which he is fined 20.

Nos. 249 and 252. -- Further presentments of persons present at unlawful conventicles at Flamstead End, containing the following additional names, viz., Hester Horridine. William Warrington. Elizabeth Epps. Katherin, wife of William Page. Martha Scudamore. Mary Scarborough. Alexander Burnett. Nathaniel Thompson. John Mumford. Peter Lunmans. The wife of William Tolson, of Cheshunt.

No. 257: 5 Octr. -- " Samuel Goodakers and Anne his wife, are since gone out of the country. Anne Rash, Mary Tolson, Mary Bates, Nicholas Ring, John Mumford and John Robbins are all poore and nothng to be had."

A.D. 1683: Nos. 246 and 247. -- Note of convictions "for being present at an unlawful conventicle at the house of Israel Mayo, Esqre.; called Bayford Place in the parish of Bayford; and that the latter was fined 20 -- for permitting the assembly " (amongst them was William Gryce, of Cheshunt, petty chapman). Fined 5s. each and some 10s. for a second offence.

A.D. 1684: No. 616. -- Thomas Meddlicott, of Chesthunt, formerly one of Oliver Cromwell's owne troop, a great and constant companion of Rombald's, who hath been an holderforth at Hackney amongst the Anabaptists, never was at his Parish Church that any can tell of this 20 years, a great ring-leader and law-giver amongst all the phanaticks, one that hath paid his debts by swearing himself not worth 10 -- though he lives plentifully; by which he cheated a Scotch gentleman of 500 -- and would not pay him so much as one penny to beare his charges back again to Scotland, as Hardinge, the Constable of Cheshunt, can witness. When he was sent for to the sessions at Waltham Cross he professed himself to be a seeker, and that there is no Church in the world pure enough for him to communicate withall. If he be not made to comply with the Church, the rest of the phanaticks will never be brought to any compliance. He was chosen Church-warden by the parish, but would never execute any of the justices' warrants.

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