Newmarket, as many of my readers will know, is a town sacred to that animal which is counted but a vain thing to save a man. It is situated partly in Suffolk and partly in Cambridgeshire, the main street being the county boundary. The north parish, St. Mary’s, and the village of Exning, which is possibly the “old market”, form a little Suffolk island in Cambridgeshire. Indeed there is, I believe, one point where this insulated fragment touches the main county. The open country all round it has always made it a great place for sport, and so it was in the days of the first Stuart King, before sport was sullied by that quasi-financial element which has caused gold and silver to flow on the whole less from knaves to fools than from fools to knaves.
James I. loved Newmarket as he loved flattery, theological discussion in which he was bound to win, and much else. On one occasion, hunting the buck, he roamed over the Freckenham-Icklingham-Elveden district till he reached the very parts over which we have just seen William Kemp performing his morrice, and came to Thetford. Royal visits to Suffolk have not been so numerous as to allow us to omit this one, little as there is to be said about it.
Of course, these journeys of royal personages were performed in the most comfortable and luxurious style that the age could afford – very different from the mode of travelling experienced by the King’s subjects. Carriers, whose carts formed the chief means of locomotion, were, in consequence, men of great importance, and well known in districts through which they worked. Besides conveying passengers, delivering parcels and letters, they brought the news from the great metropolis by word of mouth. One can easily imagine groups of men, anxious about political affairs, waiting in the yard of some inn to pick up some scraps of news from the carrier.
No doubt many an otherwise weary hour has been happily spent by passengers on their way to London in discussing the probable state of affairs in the political world on their arrival; or, on the return journey, in airing opinions as to how matters ought to have been carried out.
We may remember Milton’s two monographs on the Cambridge carrier, “Old Hobson, who sickened in the Time of his Vacancy; being forbid to go to London, by reason of the Plague”. The termination of each is full of suggestion:
“Hobson has supt, and’s newly gone to bed.”
” His letters am deliverld all and gone,
Only remains this superscription”.
John Taylor, “for the good use of the whole commonwealth”, published in 1637 the “Carrier’s Cosmography”, so that “if a man at Constantinople or some other remote part or region shall chance to send a letter to his parents, master, or friends that dwell at Nottingham, Derby, or any other town in England; then this book shall give instructions where the Carriers do lodge that may convey the said letter, which could not easily be done without it”.
In the whole of Suffolk he mentions but seven places from which carriers start for London, namely, Bury, Coggeshall102, Hadley, Ipswich, Melford, Sudbury, and Wallingfield.
The Carriers of Bury, or St. Edmund’s Bury, in Suffolk, do lodge at the Dolphin without Bishopsgate Street. They come on Thursdays.
The Waggons of Bury, or Berry, in Suffolk, do come every Thursday to the sign of the Four Swans in Bishopsgate Street.
A Foot Post doth come from the said Bury every Wednesday to the Green Dragon in Bishopsgate Street; by whom letters may be conveyed to and fro.
The Carrier of Coggeshall in Suffolk doth lodge at the Spread Eagle in Gracious Street. He comes and goes on Thursdays and Fridays.
Carriers from Hadley in Suffolk do lodge at the George in Lombard Street. They come on Thursdays.
The Carriers of Ipswich in Suffolk do lodge at the sign of the George in Lombard Street. They do come on Thursdays.
The Post of Ipswich doth lodge at the Cross Keys in Gracious Street. He comes on Thursdays, and goes on Fridays.
The Carriers of Melford in Suffolk do lodge at the Spread Eagle in Gracious Street. They come and go on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Carriers of Sudbury in Suffolk do lodge at the Saracen’s Head in Gracious Street. They do come and go on Thursdays and Fridays.
The Carriers of Wallingfield in Suffolk do lodge at the Spread Eagle in Gracious Street. They come and go on Thursdays and Fridays.
A further direction about Ships, Barks, Hoys and Passage Boats gives the following information: “He that will send to Ipswich in Suffolk, or Lynn in Norfolk, let him go to Dice Key, and there his turn may be served”. John Jegon, D.D., was Bishop of Norwich from 1602 to 1618. He had ruled the unruly spirits at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, with something more than persuasion. The union of repair of building and corporal punishment once brought forth this epigram, written on the screen:
Doctor Jegon, Bene’t College Master, Broke the scholars! heads, and gave the walls a plaster;
to which he replied:
Knew I but the lad who writ this verse in bravery,
I’d commend him for his wit, and whip him for his knavery.
Doubtless he was a man qualified to subject recusants., Roman and sectary, and for sixteen years he presided over the diocese. Then came Dr. John Overall, honourably known in relation to the Church Catechism. He died in the year following that of his appointment, when Dr. Samuel Harsnet was translated from Chichester to Norwich.
He was a native of Colchester, and his fine library, preserved in the castle of that town, testifies to his filial regard for his birthplace. From what we can learn of him, he seems to have been a genial, hospitable man, rather given to state and ceremonial, something tedious and extravagant in his eloquence. The fine brass to his memory in Chigwell Church is well known to collectors. He survived James I. about three years.
If the lot of the recusant sectary was hard, he had at least the satisfaction of seeing his deadliest enemy, the Roman recusant, under a harder yoke. In the last chapter we had a glimpse of the two houses of Rookwood, at Coldham Hall in Stanningfield, and at Euston,, and we saw how the scions of the former house were kept well away from home at the time of the inquisition in the latter part of Elizabeth’s reign. Ambrose, a younger son, must have been a young man at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, but life is not all measured by years. In those evil days the blossom of youth withered early, and men became old in the worst qualities of age before their judgments reached maturity. Such was Ambrose Rookwood’s case, according to his own account of himself. Yet it must not be our function to sit in Pharisaical judgment on the man of gentle birth, exiled from the beautiful home which his father had built, trained to regard as loathsome “heretics” all the authorities in Church and State, associating with men of his own faith rendered desperate by exactions and sufferings, fearing in every stranger some disguised pursuivant or Star Chamber spy, fervent in prayer, and taught to regard himself as a confessor for the Faith, in whose behalf the Virgin Mother of the Saviour was exerting her omnipotent influence. Such was this Stanningfield youth, who fell in with that restless adventurer, Robert Catesby, older than himself, and a participator in Essex’s rebellion.
“He had been neither author nor actor”, said he at his trial, “but only persuaded and drawn in by Catesby, whom he loved above any worldly man; and that he had concealed it, not from any malice to the person of the King or to the State, or for any ambitious prospects of his own, but only drawn from the tender regard and the faithful and dear respect he bore to Mr. Catesby his friend, whom he esteemed more than anything in the world”.
Catesby did not think fit to trust him with the detail of the Gunpowder-Plot at first, the running short of funds being the cause of his drawing in Rookwood, Grant, and Francis Tresham, of whom the last is the well-known divulger of the plot. November 4, 1605, saw Catesby ride off in the afternoon of the “brief November day” for the Midland rendezvous of the conspirators. At midnight Fawkes emerged from his retreat and was arrested. The last of the band to stay in London was Rookwood. His appearance would not be likely to attract attention. He tarried till noon of the memorable 5th, to gather up the latest talk. Then he galloped off by Highgate and Finchley. On that common be picked up Keyes, who parted from him at Turvey. Pursuing his course, he came up with his great ideal, Catesby, at Brickbill, with whom was John Wright. Soon afterwards they overtook Percy and Christopher Wright, and the exhausted five arrived about six o’clock in the evening. Rookwood had actually ridden eighty miles since noon.
On the night of the 7th they were at Holbeach in Warwickshire, where our Suffolk man participated in the agony and terror caused by the explosion of the powder which had been placed before the fire to dry. This catastrophe converted him and some of his companions, who, “perceiving God to be against them, prayed before the picture of Our Lady, and confessed that the act was so bloody, as they desired God to forgive them”. We need not dwell on his execution. The day was January 31, and the place Westminster. Thomas Winter, amongst the most sanguinary; Keyes, amongst the most resolute of the misguided men; Fawkes, the very hand of the conspiracy; and Rookwood, only entering on the prime of life, suffered in the accustomed manner, unworthy of the meanest savages. To this end had reciprocal bigotry brought the boy who had sported with his brothers so often in the new and spacious chambers of Coldharn Hall. Now comes the Emerald Isle into contact with our county, and the red hand of Ulster is seen on the carriage of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Baronet, of Redgrave Hall. Not that the skill of the interpreter could rightly divine its signification. Mr. Rye records that one rural Oedipus of later days had a truly original reading of the riddle, regarding it as a symbol of disgrace because one of that family once flogged a boy to dead. The intent of the new order was to provide for the defence of Ulster, it is hardly necessary to say, and for this purpose each newcreated baronet engaged to support thirty foot soldiers for three years; but this arrangement soon fell through, and at the present day the reasons for granting baronetcies are more than one would care to particularize. Among the earlier creations from the county are Lionel Tollemache of Helmingham, Henry Felton of Playford, Thomas Bishop of Parham, John Barker of Grimston Hall in Trimley, and Thomas Playters of Sotterley. The earldom of Suffolk was revived in 1603 in the person of Thomas, Lord Howard of Walden, and his descendants have held it ever since, not that the title bears with it anything more than the mere name. It is remarkable that the majority of Suffolk people seem sceptical as to its existence. The Puritan troubles arise from causes interlaced the one with the other in a way which seems to defy disentanglement. Government, ceremonial, abstract doctrine, concrete morals, are by no means in themselves simple elements to deal with, and each might require the patience and moderation of several generations to bring about a result which would hold the main body of Christians together.
The Presbyterian objected to diocesan episcopacy, though it is beyond conception what episcopacy without local circumscription could practically mean. Cartwright maintained that archbishops and archdeacons should be abolished, as unscriptural, though it would be hard to find Scriptural authority for the Calvinistic classical presbyteries. As to ceremonial, Oedipus himself, had he been a Theban Christian, would have given up the riddle. The Calvinistic doctrine of predestination was held as absolute truth, and this by the most rigorous Churchmen as well as by the most rugged Nonconformists, by Whitgift as well as by Hacker and Copping.
A better agreement might have been looked for in morals. It will not, however, be found. Among the questions which came to the front and demanded some kind of solution was the manner of observance of the Lord’s Day, the Christian Sabbath.
It was no new difficulty. Dr. Bound, in 1595, had deduced from the injunction of the seventh day’s rest the putting aside of usual studies or worldly business, and the recreations of the week, such as shooting, fencing, and bowling. The Mosaic code simply enjoins rest from labour as the sanctification of the Sabbath; but there is a well-known passage in the prophet Isaiah which bears on the other part of the subject. Bound may have drawn the line too stringently103; nevertheless, the experience of after-ages104 has confirmed much of his teaching, and the quiet cheerfulness of the English Sunday needs no apology here.
However, for weal or for woe, came forth in 1618 “The King’s Majesty’s Declaration to his Subjects concerning Lawful Sports to be used”. He refers to a similar declaration made in Scotland, and to the calumnies which Papists had sown in Lancashire, saying that “no honest mirth or recreation is lawful in our Religion”, whereof came discontent, absence of exercise necessary for those who should be wanted in war, and filthy tipplings, with idle and discontented speeches in alehouses. To remedy this condition of things, a jolly and sportive spirit was enjoined by royal authority, and those who were not of this frame of mind, whether from simple disinclination, or from opinion of the jeopardy of the soul in case of compliance, were informed that they might leave the country if they did not like it – very much the language of a certain member for Sussex at the time of the Reform Bill. It did not seem to occur to James I., or to his really estimable and most unhappy son, that arguments which appeared to them irrefragable could fail to be so to others. Not only the Bishop of the diocese, but the “inferior Churchmen” (parochial clergy), and even the churchwardens, were to instruct the ignorant and reform the misled; failing these methods, to report the incorrigible for pupishment.
The unfortunate precisian was now hit doubly. He had to go to church and hear a priest of Baal, decked in a Popish surplice, read from a book a formal and frigid service, witness the rite of Baptism desecrated by the superstitious use of the cross, and, on occasion, couples married with a ring of some “ethnic and idolatrous” origin. After emerging from these dread scenes, worse was in store for him. Lads and lasses who had been to church were incurring perdition by Sabbath-breaking, and he must either miserably partake of their sins, or be hauled by some unneighbourly churchwarden or constable.
The Roman recusant had only to drink the first half of this cup of misery. The meditative and retiring Churchman of the George Herbert type shared only the second with his Puritan opponent. There was a crass grimness in the regulation which forbade the enjoined sports to the inflexible sectary who could not bring himself to go to church. Let the recreation part of the proclamation speak for itself. Putting its religious aspect aside, it is a monument of that kingcraft on which James I. prided himself:
Our Pleasure is, That after the end of Divine Service, Our good People be not disturbed, letted or discouraged from any lawful recreation, such as Dancing (either men or women), Archery for men, Leaping, Vaulting, or any other such harmless recreations; nor from having of May Games, Whitsun Ales, and Morris Danc-es; and the setting up of May Poles, and other Sports therewith used : so as the same be had in due and convenient time, without impediment or neglect of Divine Service. And, That women shall have leave to carry rushes to the church for the decoying (decorating) of it, according to their old custom. But withal, We do here account still as prohibited, all unlawful games, to be wed upon Sundays only; as Bear and Bull baitings, Interludes : and, at all times, in the meaner sort of people by Law prohibited, Bowling. And, likewise, We bar from this benefit and liberty, all such known Recusants, either men or women, as will abstain from coming to Church or Divine Service: being, therefore, unworthy of any lawful recreation after the said Service, that will not first come to the Church, and serve GOD. Prohibiting, in like sort, the said recreation to any that, though conforme (conformable) in Religion, are not present in the Church, at the Service of GOD, before their going to the said recreations. Our pleasure likewise is, That they to whom it belongeth in Office, shall Present, and sharply punish all such, as its abuse of this Our liberty, will use these exercises before the ends of all Divine Services for that day. And We, likewise, straitly command, That evety Person shall resort to his own Parish Church to hear Divine Service; and each Parish, by itself, to use the said recreation after Divine Service. Prohibiting likewise, Any offensive weapons to be carried or used its the said times of recreation. And, Our Pleasure is, That this Our Declaration shall be Published by order from the Bishop of the diocese, through all the Parish Churches; and that both Our judges of Our Circuit, and Our justices of Our Peace be informed thereof.
Given at Our Manor of Greenwich, the four and twentieth day of May  in the sixteenth year of Our reign of England, France, and Ireland; and of Scotland, the one and fiftieth. God save the King V
The first Parliament of Charles I. passed an Act punishing with fines and the stocks those who frequented these assemblies. In spite of this, the proclamation was again published by royal authority, October 18, 1633, to the general displeasure of the country.
In the diary of John Rous, Rector of Santon Downham, an exceedingly small parish on the heaths between Brandon and Thetford, the second proclamation is recorded without note or comment, and that in spite of his general goodwill to his Sovereign. Somehow the Sunday sports did not altogether die out. Old Mr. James Gower, of the Uplands, Bungay, whom I knew thirty-six years ago as a very old man, told me that his father could remember the football after morning prayer at Alburgh, just over the Norfolk border, the parson coming to look on at the game.
It was a quarrelsome time in truth, but there are signs enough of material prosperity. Houses, rather intended for comfort than for show, sprang up all over the country. Money was spent in considerable amounts over large square pews, for which faculties were obtained in the episcopal courts, wherein the squire could compose himself to slumber should the sermon be prolonged beyond the usual length. Some of the Jacobean and Caroline carving, particularly in pulpits and chimney-pieces, is deservedly noted, and the stacks of chimneys remain in great numbers, indicating much of a wholesome love for home. Very often a double cottage, or even a single one, let to some pauper whose rent is partially discharged by means of a subscription list, headed and written by the Rector, has in its chimneys the decaying memorial of some family of repute in its day. Those names, now unknown in their old districts, are sometimes found flourishing in other parts of England, and still more frequently in the United States of America. Indeed, the bond between East Anglia and the eastern seaboard of North Americas Furdurstrandi, was being constantly strengthened. A trifle sent from Weybread, a mere two shillings, in 11618, is a sign of this. In that year in Virginia there was a great drought, and afterwards “such a cruell storme of haile, which did such spoile both to the Corne and Tobacco, that wee reaped but small profit”. I take this little Weybread item, which I lighted on, as the type of many another. A comforting sum, made up of such small amounts, reached Virginia the next year by the Margarett of Bristol. It is refreshing to find constant traces of the non-polemical side of Christianity.
There is no name more honourably regarded in the early annals of New England than that of Winthrop, a corruption of Winthorpe. Certainly, Adam de Winthorp wag the grantee of the manor of Groton, which had belonged to Bury Abbey, in 1548. The family probably took its name from a village in the Lincolnshire marshes, north of Wainfleet, just about the most easterly extension of that county into the German Ocean. In 1588 John Winthrop was born at Groton. He was educated for the law, and, being a young man of ability and high character, was placed in the commission of the peace when he was only eighteen years of age, in the same year which witnessed the execution of Ambrose Rookwood. Stanningfield and Groton are in different districts, and the young men probably never met. After the Mayflower settlement had become a little consolidated and expanded, under the name of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop was summoned to be their Governor, and he landed in the bay with the first charter in 163o, having sold the Groton property to Thomas Waring. He passes thus from Suffolk, and we can only advert to his “Life and Letters” edited by his esteemed and gifted descendant, Robert Charles Winthrop, LL.D., a prominent Massachusetts politician, who was born at Boston in 1809, and died there in November, 1894, leaving two sons who still represent this Lincoln-Suffolk-New-England house.
Another name not to be passed over is that of Sir Simonds Dewes of Stowlangtoft, the antiquary, and friend of Sir Robert Cotton. He inherited Stow Hall from his father, who purchased the estate in 1614. The family was of good Low Country blood, being descended from the lords of Kessel in Guelderland. Adrian Dewes migrated from the Low Countries to England in troublous times. His son Geerardt, the antiquary’s grandfather, became a printer in Paul’s Churchyard, and acquired the manor of Gains in Upminster. Paul Dewes, father of the antiquary, was one of the six Clerks in Chancery, and married Cecilia, only daughter of Richard Simonds, of Coaxden, in Chardstock, Dorset, which manor, together with other property, Simonds Dewes derived from his grandfather. He was born at Coaxden in 1602, and spent his young childhood there, being schooled successively by the Rev. Richard White, of Chardstock, and one Malaker, of Wambrook, an adjoining village. In 1614 he left the West Country, never to return, and was transferred to the care of one Reynolds, in St. Mary Axe, whose daughter he esteemed more learned than her father, and whom he left after two years for Bury School. In 1618 he went into residence at St. John’s College, Cambridge, as a Fellow commoner, having as his tutor Richard Holdsworth, sometime Gresham Professor of Theology. Throughout his life Simonds Dewes was devoutly, dogmatically religious, much given to the hearing (and even the composition) of sermons, and a very diligent student. During his Cambridge course his mother died, and he himself was within an ace of losing his life by being drawn up in ringing a bell that hung in the gateway of St. John’s. In August, 1620, he became a student of the Middle Temple, having been admitted a member of the Inn nine years before, and was called to the Bar in June, 1623. From the commencement of his law studentship Dewes applied himself diligently to legal studies, tempered liberally with researches into ancient records, which latter pursuit became the passion (if so self-restrained a character could be deemed passionate) of his life, his ample prospects rendering it unnecessary for him to follow up the law as a means of gain. Dewes was twice married, first in 1626 to Anne, daughter of Sir William Clopton, of Liston’s Hall, Essex, and of Kentwell Hall, in Long Melford parish, she being then scarce fourteen years old; and secondly to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir H. Willoughby, of Risley, Derbyshire. He left male issue by his second wife. Dewes was knighted by King Charles I. at Whitehall in 1630, and made a baronet in 1641- On his death in 1650 his son, Willoughby Dewes, succeeded him at Stow Hall. The labours of Dewes’ life had amassed a great and valuable library of papers and manuscripts, to which he made special reference in his will, desiring that it be preserved entire and accessible to “all lovers of learning of known virtue and integrity”. Through the medium of Humphrey Wanley, librarian to Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, the library was acquired by that great collector at the beginning of the eighteenth century, “the then owner, a second Sir Simonds Dewes, taking small personal interest in the collection, and believing that his ancestor’s wishes would be satisfied by its finding a home in the Harleian Collection. With the death of Sir Jermyn Dewes in 1731 the Dewes baronetcy became extinct
We possess an intimate account of Dewes’ childhood and early manhood, written. by himself about 1638, and published in 1845 by the late James Orchard Halliwell, from the manuscript in the Harleian Collection, which, besides narrating the passages of his life, great and small, from childish tumbles at Coaxden to matrimonial negotiations conducted in very sober, business-like fashion, contains constant reference to public events, in which he took an active part. He was returned for Sudbury in the year of his shrievalty, with the Cavalier Sir Robert Crane. In politics he might have been described, had the word been then coined, as a steadfast Constitutionalist. He deplored the vice and corruption of the Court, and took a decided view of the illegality of the ship-money exaction. At one time, when grieving for the loss of his then only son, the idea crossed his mind of migrating to America. As the breach between Charles I. and the people widened, Dewes adhered to the Parliamentary side, and signed the Covenant. Yet he both wrote and spoke against extreme dealings with the King, and was turned out of the House in “Pride’s Purge” (December, 1648), soon after which he died.
In religion, Dewes was a Puritan, devout to austerity., addicted to private fasting and self-humiliation, and unfeignedly abhorrent of all that savoured of Popery, though stopping short of the extreme views of many of his day. His character is tersely and not unfairly summed up by Carlyle in these words :
A man of sublime Antiquarian researches, Law-learning, human and divine accomplishments, and generally somewhat Grandisonian in his ways; a man of scrupulous Puritan integrity, of high-flown conscientiousness, exactitude and distinguished perfection; ambitious to be the pink of Christian country-gentlemen and magistrates of counties; really a most spotless man and High sheriff. 105
From his earliest years Dewes took an assiduous interest in the public events of the day, and his autobiography is replete with his reflections on the times.
Besides three sisters, Dewes had one brother, Richard, younger than himself, to whom he was strongly attached. The letters, etc, which have come down to us concerning Richard Dewes figure him as cast in a more robust mould than his brother. He spent a good deal of his early manhood on the Continent, and joined the King’s forces when the open rupture came. Some of the letters which passed between them about this time are touching in their terms, the younger brother affectionately essaying to induce the elder to follow him, and adhere to the King. Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Dewes was killed by a cannon-shot at Reading.
Sir Edward Coke, too, was not unknown in Suffolk, though a Norfolk man by birth and burial. He was Lord of the Manor of Thorington, and in the register of that parish is a memorandum of the gift of the bell by him and his wife, Bridget (née Paston), in 1598. The bell yet remains, and the inscription on it shows that it was made for Wanstead in Essex two years before that date.
This Bridget Paston was the only child of John Paston, of Sporle, in Norfolk, by Anne Moulton, widow of Nicholas Smith, of Huntingfield Hall, a woman whose bountiful disposition is noted on her monument. During Edward Coke’s first conjugal life, the plague in London in the summer of 1592 drove him from his official duties in town, as Solicitor-General, to seek refuge in Huntingfield. Bridget Coke died in 1598, having become the mother of ten children; and nineteen weeks after her decease, Coke, now Attomey-General, espoused one of Burghley’s sisters, the widow of Sir William Hatton.
East Anglia continued to be a home for jurists for ages. Elizabeth’s “Good judge”, Clench, married the heiress of Almot of Creeting, and settled at Hollesley, where his eldest son, Thomas, dwelt. Another son, Almot Clench, planted large hop-grounds, but it greatly weakened his estate. Thomas Clench was Knight of the Shire with Sir Robert Crane of Chilton in the third Parliament of James I., elected 1620. They succeeded Sir Henry Bedingfeld and Sir Robert Drury, the knights of the shire in the “Addled Parliament” of 1614. Those were the early days of “benevolences”. The men of “Addled” notoriety were sent about their business after two months’ ineffective session, because they questioned this manner of taxation. Their successors were -treated in the same way early in 1622, but the impost continued. The small parish of Cratfield paid in this year £3 “for a Benevolence or Gratuity to the King”, induced thereto, perhaps, by the hope that he would go to war in behalf of his son-in-law, the Elector Palatine. Religion was at the root of most of these troubles, external as well as internal. The very next item in the Cratfield book is £2 towards the relief of poor French Protestants “refuged hither for their conscience”.
There were Puritans and Puritans, of course. Some, zealous for pure doctrine and clean life, regarded government and externals as in comparison of minor moment. Others have been so often described and so often caricatured that the less said about them the better. Among the former was that famous Ipswich preacher, Samuel Ward, whose portrait yet remains in the town-hall. Though thus more constantly brought under public notice, neither he, nor his brothers Nathaniel and John, were regarded as on a par with their father, John Ward, of Haverhill, Writtle in Essex, Bury St. Edmunds, and elsewhere.
Ful.ler says that the sons named “put together would not make up the abilities of their father”, of whom the great Dr. Whitaker, Master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, recorded his opinion in the emphatic words, “Give me John Ward for a text”. Cooper 106 regards the father as identical with one of the name who matriculated at Christ’s College as a Sizar in April, .1579. This is doubted by Mr. John Ward Dean 107, because the son Samuel must have been born about 1577. It is hardly possible that in Elizabeth’s time a married man should be a Sizar. Though the father was buried at Haverhill, he describes himself in his will as “Preacher of God’s woord in Bury Ste. Edmond”. Samuel Ward was a native of Haverhill, a scholar of St. John’s, and a Fellow of Sidney, Cambridge, vacating his fellowship by marriage with a widow named Bolton, of Isleham, just over the Cambridgeshire border, about which time (1604-5) he was appointed Town Preacher at Ipswich, and shortly afterwards licensed by Bishop Jegon as a preacher throughout the diocese of Norwich. Wodderspoon, in his “Memorials of Ipswich”, gives these particulars as to his office:
Mr. Ward’s stipend as town preacher was a hundred marks, and an allowance of £6 13s- 4d. quarterly for house rent. The terms on which he undertook the office were that, in the event of sickness or absence, he should provide a minister to preach three times a week in the usual place; that he should not be absent above forty days in one year without leave; and that if he should take a pastoral charge, his retainer by the corporation should be void. In 1607 the corporation purchased a house for him, and the next year they increased his salary to £90, and in 1616 they increased it to £100″.
A man he was in whom the “power of the world to come” reigned paramount. In his lifetime his gravestone was prepared and laid where he should rest, inscribed:
Watch, Ward; yet a little while, and he that shall come will come.
Whether it was the Spanish marriage or the drinking customs of his day that roused him, he was no mere academic foe. With caricature as well as pulpit-thunder he carried the war into the enemy’s quarters, heedless of personal risk, a bold man with his heart in the right place, and plenty of brains to keep his tongue in order. Attempts were made to entangle him on points of conformity, for some time unsuccessfully, and Bishop Corbet’s letter to him in 1633 does equal credit to the writer and to the person addressed. Two years afterwards, when Bishop Wren had succeeded Corbet, Ward’s enemies found means to trouble him, the King’s “Book of Sports” being one of the counts in his indictment. He was suspended, enjoined a public recantation, and, on his refusal, committed to prison. Here he wrote an epistle dedicatory to a volume of his sermons, euphemizing his imprisonment as “a little leisure, occasioned against my will”. He died in March, 1639-40, a righteous man, taken away from the evil to come. Like John Winthrop, his name is not extinct, surviving in John Ward Dean, secretary to the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
We must revert to Parliaments. In 1623 Sir William Spring of Pakenham, of the Lavenham Clothier family, and Sir Roger North were knights of the shire. Sir Edmund Bacon and Thomas Cornwallis appear in the first Parliament of Charles I., and Sir Robert Naunton and Sir Robert Crane in the second. In the third, Sir William Spring reappears, and with him a name of no good omen to the abettors of royal prerogative, Nathaniel Barnardiston, of Ketton or Kedington, Esquire. Then comes the twelve years’ gap between the third and fourth Parliament, and Barnardiston, now knighted, and Sir Philip Parker of Erwarton and elsewhere, represented the county in the fourth or “Short” Parliament, and sought re-election in the Long Parliament. Meantime, Sir Roger North bad obtained a seat for the borough of Eye; and his son Henry, of the Mildenhall Manor-house, yet remaining in its picturesque beauty, thought fit to stand in the Court interest against the two Puritan knights. The primitive simplicity of the proceedings, under an elm, in Mr. Hambie’s field, which sent up the members to this awful historic Parliament, contrast strangely with the care now taken at the election of parish councillors who may not, perhaps, spend a five-pound note during their tenure of office. The County Court is held at Ipswich by the order of Sir Simonds Dewes, High Sheriff. It is Monday, October 19, an “extreme windy morning”, and at eight o’clock the writ is read. Of the three candidates, only North was present, the others breakfasting at the King’s Head, sign of ill omen for those who should be returned. North was surrounded by a crowd of his party, who chaired him for about half an hour, to show him off. Henry North of Laxfield, and John Clench of Creeting, his uncles, Sir Robert Crane, Mr. John Smith of Cratfield, and Mr. Waldegrave, were there to see fair play for the young man, and some of them thought that Samuel Duncon, Constable of Ipswich, who had been assisting in taking the votes, had been dealing corruptly; nor did one of the party, Mr. Gardiner Webb of Elmswell, son of William Webb, attorney, of Ixworth, and the Gardiner heiress, spare the worshipful High Sheriff, saying that he “had been damnedly base in all his carriage”. Duncon carried this “outrageous and scandalous speech” to Dewes, to whom Webb justified his language, and, in defiance of all Dogberrydom, called the Constable “base rascall and rogue”. It is not to be passed over that women in the heat of the contest tendered themselves to be sworn that their net estate valued clear forty shillings, but had their votes given for Barnardiston and Parker struck out. A riot was imminent between North’s hot-blooded young friends and the sailors, whom they called Water-dogs. However, all passed off without bloodshed, and Parker with 2,240 voices “at the least”, and Barnardiston with 2,140, were triumphantly returned over North, who received only 1,422. We owe Thomas Carlyle thanks for printing these documents. Sir Frederick Cornwallis was Sir Roger North’s colleague at Eye.
The other Suffolk members of the Long Parliament were: for Ipswich, John Gurdon and William Cage; for Dunwich,. Henry Cooke and Anthony Bedingfeld; for Orford, Sir William Playters and Sir Charles le Gros; for Sudbury, Sir Simonds Dewes and Sir Robert Crane, who generally neutralized each other in all likelihood; for Aldborough, two of the Bence family,”Squire” and Alexander; and for Bury St. Edmunds, Thomas Jermyn and Sir William Spring.
- It is in Essex, though Taylor calls it in Suffolk.
- So thought Rogers, “On the XXXIX Articles” (Parker Society), p. 319.
- See especially the evidence of President Harrison and Mr. Gladstone, quoted in a confereuce held at Paris, September, 1889.
- Carlyle, “Critical and Miscellaneous Essays”, vii. 58.
- Athenae Cantabrigienses”, ii. 310.
- In a letter to me, February 9, 1895.
A most fascinating article which provided a very interesting study of the attitudes and needs that presented themselves over this period of history in rural Suffolk.
I note your reference to “old Mr James Gower of Uplands”, I would be rather interested in any additional information you may have regarding this gentleman.