Almeley to America ~~~ Herefordshire Quakers Contribution to the History of America

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1 Almeley to America ~~~ Herefordshire Quakers Contribution to the History of America

2 Almeley to America ~~~ Herefordshire Quakers Contribution to the History of America by Kit Byatt Almeley Wootton Local Quaker Meeting September Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

3 Acknowledgments Many people have given invaluable advice and kind support to the development and production of this exhibition. I owe a debt of thanks to the following organisations and their members/staff who have patiently helped and encouraged me. Kit Byatt Almeley Wootton Local Quaker Meeting September Almeley Wootton Local Quaker Meeting Friends House Library, London Hereford Museum Herefordshire Community Heritage Service Hereford and Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting Herefordshire Archive Service Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre Library, Selly Oak, Birmingham 2007 Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

4 Contents Introduction 1 Summary 2 The Reformation 3 England in the 1600s 4 What are Quakers?! 5 Quaker Persecution 6 Early Quakers in Wales 7 Edward Prichard 9 John Eckley 11 William Penn 15 Pennsylvania 19 Quakers Persecution th Century Quaker Life 27 Sources Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

5 Introduction1 This is the story of two men, Edward Prichard and John Eckley, who were living in Herefordshire 325 years ago, but who became involved in the exciting, if challenging, endeavour of founding the English colony of Pennsylvania in America. The exhibition is intended to give a flavour of the times, and to show how Almeley Quaker Meeting played its own small part on the 17 th century World stage Almeley Wootton Quaker Meeting House Today Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

6 Summary Edward Prichard and John Eckley were in many ways unremarkable for their day: comfortably off, but not aristocracy; living in the heart of the country, a long way from the centre of power; and men of simple faith who had to secure their families future - as far as was possible in those days. They became involved with the Quaker mover and shaker of his day, William Penn a man who rubbed shoulders with members of the royal family whilst maintaining his nonconformist faith. Penn had a vision of a colony in America with democratic rule, fair justice, and freedom from religious persecution. He proposed that the early English colonies in America form a federal state (this eventually did happen, albeit a century later after the War of Independence). Many of the principles of his draft constitution were used in the subsequent American constitution Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

7 The Reformation This period, approximately 1517 to 1650, was a time of political, social and religious turmoil and war throughout Europe. The Protestant Reformation gathered pace in Europe after Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses in These criticized various aspects of the prevailing Roman Catholic Church and the Pope, and in particular the practice of selling indulgences. An indulgence allowed a person to enter heaven without spending time in purgatory being cleansed of his or her sins (i.e. purged ) before- A printed indulgence from 1521 hand. England had more stability than much of Europe at this time, after Henry VIII formally broke from the papacy in 1534, declaring himself to be Defender of the Faith thus formally establishing the Anglican Church. source: Wikimedia Commons Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

8 England in the 1600s During this period, the total population of England was pretty stable at about 5 million. The Renaissance had seen much social and cultural change, and improved techniques of agriculture which forced a move of peasants from the country to towns. The population of London trebled during the course of the century from about 200,000 in 1600 to over half a million in 1700 almost 10% of the population of England and Wales then. In 1642, the first of the Civil Wars broke out between supporters of Parliament and those espousing the King s cause. A number of issues were involved including religion, authority to levy taxes, and civil rights. King James I of England died in 1625 before achieving his dream of uniting the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. His son, King Charles I, maintained the Stuart belief of the Divine Right of Kings (i.e. that he derived his authority directly from God, and not from the assent of the people through Parliament) Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

9 What are Quakers?! Quakers are people belonging to a faith group originally called The Society of Friends of the Truth. This was one of the many protestant groups dissenting from the established English church in the early 17 th century. George Fox is generally accepted as having been the founder of the Society. He travelled widely in Britain and abroad, preaching and debating with priests and supporters of the established church. By 1642 the English version of the Bible commissioned by King James was fairly widely available in England. Fox and other early dissenters supported their claims with quotes from the Bible. Fox s message was simple his own experience was that a personal faith need not depend on an intermediary (a priest) but on a direct relationship with God Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

10 Quaker Persecution Early Quakers refused to follow many accepted social conventions as the only authority they acknowledged was God. They objected to doffing their hats and using the polite form you (rather than the more familiar thee and thou then in use) to social superiors because they felt all people were equally children of God. They therefore also refused to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the Crown. This often resulted in imprisonment. In rejecting the established church and its sacraments, they also refused to take communion. From 1661 several laws were passed to discriminate against nonconformists including the 1662 Quaker Act. These laws effectively barred Quakers from holding political office or going to university. Quakers also objected to paying tithes to the local church. This often resulted in their goods being confiscated Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

11 Early Quakers in Wales Quakerism in Wales appears to have started when an Independent Church priest in Wrexham, North Wales, sent two preachers to hear George Fox preach in England. One, John ap John, was convinced by Fox and went on to be one of the leading Welsh Quaker preachers of his day and was imprisoned several times. Fox visited Wales and preached in every county. He went on to set up organizational structures in Wales to strengthen the organisation. Quakers were largely unwelcome in Wales, possibly because of the threat to local order and hierarchies that their egalitarianism encouraged. Originally Penn had wanted to name his colony New Wales, but the King over-ruled him. When Penn advertised for colonists, some 2000 Welsh Quakers left to start a new life there. There are still many local Welsh place names in Pennsylvania Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

12 The Three Men Involved Edward Prichard John Eckley William Penn Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

13 Edward Prichard Edward s father, Roger, was a glover who came to Herefordshire from Worcester. In 1668 he bought an estate in Almeley. Roger converted to Quakerism the next year. He suffered imprisonment several times for non-payment of tithes. Edward helped in the running of the Almeley property, and took over when his father died in Three years before this he had married Elizabeth Jackson from Worcester. Over the next 28 years they had 13 children, only four of whom survived into adulthood. Edward evidently was known to William Penn, presumably through Quakers. He was a signatory of Penn s first Frame of Government for Pennsylvania drawn up in He was also one of the first purchasers people who bought land there from William Penn before the colony was properly established Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

14 From a Meeting House deed dated 1712 Edward Prichard s signature The signature of his wife, Elizabeth The signature of his son, Roger (jnr) Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

15 John Eckley - 1 John Eckley was born in Kimbolton in His father, a Church of England churchwarden, died a few months later. John had become a Quaker by 1678 and married Hannah Prichard (Edward Prichard s sister) at Eardisland the following year. In 1682 he purchased land in the fledgling colony of Pennsylvania from his brother-in-law Edward Prichard. About this time (sadly) his wife died. The following year he was sent to London to represent Herefordshire Quakers at London Yearly Meeting the annual gathering of English Quakers. Later in 1683 he arrived in Pennsylvania. Three years later he had remarried. He died of smallpox in 1690 leaving a son, John, by his first marriage and a stepdaughter, Sarah, by his second Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

16 Extracts From Kimbolton Parish Register, 1652 John Eckley ) John Bach ) Churchwardens 1652 Thos. Werall ) John Eckley snr. burial John Eckley of ye Lea was buryed the 19 th day of february Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

17 John Eckley - 2 After arriving in Pennsylvania, Eckley established a successful dry goods importing and retail business. He returned to England in 1685 and married his second wife, Sarah Burge from Haverford, the following year. A successful and respected businessman and Quaker, Eckley was appointed in 1684 by Penn to serve as a Provincial judge. After his return from England, he was made a justice for the county court in Philadelphia Pennsylvania s main town. In 1688 Penn appointed Eckley as one of five commissioners to oversee the colony in his absence. The commissioners encountered many political challenges from various factions in the rapidly evolving young colony. Despite this Eckley was respected by his peers for his love and zeal for the Truth. He also remained active in his local Quaker meeting throughout this time Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

18 Extract From Kimbolton Parish Register, 1652 Kimbolton Parish Register - John Eckley jnr. baptism John the son of John Eckley & Sibbell his wife was Baptized the foure & twentieth Day November 1652 This memeo was omitted to be put down on Day to the month Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

19 William Penn -1 William Penn s father (also William) was a distinguished senior admiral in the British Navy who was knighted for his service, and was also a court favourite. At his death in 1670 he was owed some 16,000 by the Treasury. In 1662, aged eighteen, William the younger was expelled from Oxford for his dissenting beliefs. He briefly studied law but later became a Quaker, to the further distress of his conservative father. He was subsequently jailed several times for preaching but was involved in a key court case in 1670, which established in English law the independence of the jury. In 1680 Penn began negotiations with King Charles II for some 45,000 square miles of crown-owned land in America in settlement of the unpaid debt owed to his father. The next year he was granted the land, which the King directed be called Pennsylvania, after Penn s father Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

20 William Penn source: Wikimedia Commons Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

21 William Penn -2 Penn s vision for his new colony was one of Quaker values, and religious toleration. He hoped to serve God, honour the King, but also to make a profit from this venture. He drew up a draft constitution (which was ahead of its time) for the colony. He advertised the colony widely and had sold over 700,000 acres by However he did not achieve financial success from his venture; this was due to a combination of his well-appointed lifestyle, his very generous personal subsidy of the administrative costs of the colony, and a complex financial tangle with his business manager in England. He went to Pennsylvania twice in 1682 and His first wife, Gulielma, died in 1694 leaving 3 children who survived infancy. His second wife, Hannah, also went on the later visit. He died penniless in England in 1718 after several years of illness following an apoplexy Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

22 Early Philadelphia A Dutch map dated 1684 The distance between the rivers is about 4 miles source: Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

23 Pennsylvania Penn s Holy Experiment, as he called the establishment of this new colony, was an opportunity to put his ideals into practice. Although he wanted to earn money from the venture, his principles were recognised and widely admired. He established a system of democratic representative government which initially worked well. He insisted on negotiating to buy land from the Native Americans rather than taking it by force. Many dissenters arrived from England, Wales and Europe to build a new life free from religious oppression or persecution. Life in the early colonial days was tough, but potentially rewarding. During the first year of its existence the colony produced sufficient food for its own needs and also a surplus for export. Pennsylvania was the first state to pass anti-slavery laws although this process started much later, in Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

24 Evolving Pennsylvania Like many American states, it took time for the boundaries to be finally agreed. The map above shows some of the boundary disputes during the colony s first century. Below is a map of Pennsylvania today Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

25 Pre-Colonial Pennsylvania Prior to European settlement, this area was home for centuries to several Native American tribes, notably the Lenni Lenape (or Delawares), Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, and Shawnee. At the start of the 1600s much of the land that was to become Pennsylvania had been occupied by the Dutch, under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, and later the Swedes arrived, under the New Sweden Company. In 1645 Peter Stuyvesant was made Director-General of the Dutch territory. His military background influenced his robust administration of the settlement. In 1664 James, Duke of York, brother of King Charles II (and friend of William Penn) led a well resourced and successful mission to supplant the Dutch control. James was subsequently granted proprietorial rights to the area Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

26 Pennsylvania Now the state flag Pennsylvania s location in America Some Facts about Pennsylvania Was the 12 th of the 13 early colonies Occupies 46,000 square miles Is the 6th most populous state with a population of 12.4 million Harrisburg is its state capital Philadelphia is the 5th largest US city Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

27 Quakers Persecution Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

28 Quakers Persecution This is the Hereford area Quakers Book of Sufferings from It contains records of impropriation (i.e. forcible removal) of goods in lieu of unpaid tithes and fines. It covers the Quaker Meetings at Almeley, Bromyard, Hereford, Leominster, and Ross. At the front are the accounts of impropriations year by year; at the back are housekeeping notes for the period. This document gives us a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of local Quakers of the late 1600s Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

29 Quakers Persecution The first entry in the Herefordshire Book of Sufferings refers to Edward Prichard below is a transcription An account of ye Sufferings of ffriends upon ye account of tiyth in Heriford Shire In the yeare 1692 as ffolloweth Allmely Meeting Taken from Edward Pritchard from ) L s d the 4th month to ye 7th by Abraham Godwin ) ffarmer to y e Impropriator Rye wheate ) barly pulse Clover and Hay to ye vallew of ) The said Abraham Godwin did take y e a Cowe and wheate out of Edward Prichard Barne NB In the Julian dating system in use at the time, the year started in March ( 1 st month ), so 4 th month was June, and 7 th month was August. This system prevailed in England until Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

30 Quakers Persecution A complete page from the Herefordshire Quakers Book of Sufferings. It is roughly the same size as the original Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

31 17 th Century Quaker Life Quaker Meeting Housekeeping transcription below The 10 th of the 12 th month 1683; by the order and consent of friends, then sent two shillings, by Tho: Pembridge to widdow Price of Welson towards her reliefe, being then in necessity L s d The 10 th of the 12 th month ordered by the meeting of friends, to give un^to John Simpson ten shillings The 13 th of y e 5 th mo: paid to Edward Prichard six shillings, which he disbursed for a paire of Andirons for the meeting= =house These notes give a brief insight into the everyday life of a Quaker meeting in the 1600s. A mixture of mutual spiritual and temporal support, and building maintenance much like today! Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

32 17 th Century Quaker Life What their reading list was then transcript below An account of friends Bookes belonging to Almelyes meeting and where they are this present being the the 12 th day of the 8 th mo: At Edw: Prichards there is William Baylys At William Colliers ffrancis Howgils & Sam ll : fisher Dan ll : Collier had ye booke of Martyrs the 12 th day of ye 8 th mo: Jo n Griffiths hath Edw: Burroughs booke E: Bimoe broug ht to y e meeting hous & Francis Howgils Bayly, Burrough, Howgil, and Fisher were all early Quakers preachers and writers. Foxe s Book of Martyrs was first published in 1563 and ran to three more editions over the next 20 years. It was a widely read text among Anglicans and especially nonconformists during the Reformation and thereafter Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

33 17 th Century Quaker Life The connection finally comes full circle transcription below The 5 th mo: then disburst at our Quarter= =ly meeting at Bromyard (by the order of friends) ten shillings towards the transporting of A poor friend out ^of Brecknockshire to Pensilvania who was unable to pay for transporting himself and family. We don t know who this Brecknockshire man was who received financial support from Hereford Quarterly Meeting (the local Quaker area administrative body) to join fellow pioneers in the new colony. The cost of a passage was 6 for adults, 5 for servants, and 50s (= 2.50) for children; suckling babies went free! The journey was perilous and could take several weeks, depending on the weather Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

34 1675 deed for Almeley Quaker Meeting House This is the first deed relating to the Meeting House in which Roger Prichard gives the building to Quakers 1675 deed for Almeley Quaker Meeting House The signature of Roger Prichard Edward s father - on the first deed for Almeley Quaker Meeting House Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

35 Sources Books Armor WC. Lives of the Governors of Pennsylvania Simon 1872 Hyett-Warner R. Historic Memories of the Manor and Parish of Almeley in the County of Hereford Jakeman & Carver, Hereford, 1917 MacCulloch D. Reformation Europe s House Divided Penguin, 2004 Macpherson T. Friends in Radnorshire Orphan Press, 1999 Soderlund JR (ed) William Penn and the Founding of Pennsylvania UPP, 1983 Southall I. Memorials of the Prichards of Almeley (no publisher given) 1901, 2 ed Southall JE. Leaves of the History of Welsh Conformity Southall, 1899, 8 ed Primary Documents Hereford Record Office Herefordshire Hearth Tax Records microfilm copies Kimbolton Parish Records microfilm copies Almeley Particular Meeting & Hereford Quarterly Meeting documents Prichard family documents Friends House, London Almeley Quaker Meeting House Deeds, Friends Trust Ltd National Records Online Sundry Eckley and Prichard Wills, National Record Office Hereford & Mid Wales Area Quaker Meeting,

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