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From: David Hoye <>
Subject: [Ess] Non comformists of 17th C
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2009 10:36:00 +1100 (EST)


Dear Cornelia,
I'm no expert in the field but like you I became interested because of my ancestors preferences.
The majority of people of that time simply accepted the establishment of the C of E with the execption of the two extreme wings. On the "right" were Roman Catholics, termed Recusants, who couldn't accept the sovereign as head of 'their' church. On the "left" were those who felt that the new church should be further "purified" of all Roman Catholic influence. These Puritans grew more numerous and vocal as the monarch flirted with Catholicism.
It was unlawfull to absent oneself from church but many did so and suffered the consequences. Read their Sessions trials in Seax. Thousands were imprisoned in the 30's and 40's, including George Fox, a Quaker leader who also suffered under Parliamentary rule in the 50's. Quakers would not fight for King or Parliament.
Catholic James II signed an Act of Toleration but it wasn't untill the protestant Dutch King William usurped in 1688 that legitimate non-comformist chapels and meeting-houses were allowed to conduct services, provided they kept proper records.
William Hoy of Great Chishall had but two entries in the parish register. Baptism in 1627 and burial in 1703. His son James had but one - burial in Wixoe 1706.
Fortunately for me both left wonderfully informative and cross-referencing wills and William's court appearences for civil disobedience can be read online via Seax.
On one occaision the powerfull preacher Corbett was at a meeting held in 1662 at the house of yeoman Richard Hagger. More than 100 were in attendance including the constable and probably the magistrate. Special constables were sent to lay hold of Corbett but he escaped and the "specials" were beaten... William was fined.
Great Chishall got its own Quaker meeting-house about 1720 [see A2A] but no records survive from that time. Look on old maps for the place-name "New England" as that was a euphemism for an illegal meeting-house. [New England was founded by Puritans, Pennsylvania by the Quaker William Penn]. There is one south of Barley, Herts and another near Wixoe, site of the pumping-station. There must be many.
Keep digging and you may find something.


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