Tour Talk

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

« Tour Talk Issue 4Tour Talk Issue 6 »