Thomas Welde

Last updated

Thomas Welde (bap. 1595 – 1661) was an English clergyman, who became a Puritan, emigrant to New England, colonial missionary, author and polemicist. His sojourn in the New World turned out be brief lasting only nine years, but he left his mark over there. On returning to England, he was a parish priest and became embroiled in controversy with the Quakers. His son, Edmund, also came back to Europe and started an Irish Weld line and became chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. [1]

Contents

Biography

Thomas Welde, son of Edmund and Amy, was baptised in 1595 at St Peter's Sudbury, Suffolk. His ancestral roots may have been in Cheshire, via Rushton, Northamptonshire. He received degrees from Trinity College, Cambridge in England in 1613 and was ordained in 1618. [1] He formed lasting friendships with like-minded student activists, among whom was Oliver Cromwell. In 1624 he served as a minister at Terling in Essex. [2] He joined the Puritans and sailed for Boston, landing on 5 June 1632 on the "William and Francis". His first role was as first minister of The First Church in Roxbury in Roxbury, Massachusetts from 1632 to 1641. [3]

After moving to New England, via Amsterdam, he became involved in local politicking and was a strong opponent of John Wheelwright in the Antinomian debate and wrote a book on the topic. [4] Welde also assisted in the composition of the Bay Psalm Book and became an overseer of the newly established Harvard College. He was also an inquisitor at the trials of Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy and was one of her most vocal opponents. [5]

In 1641, he left part of his family in Massachusetts Bay Colony and returned to England with his brother, John, on business for the General Court of Massachusetts. Among his instructions were the acquisition of an extension to the colonial charter to include the territory of present-day Rhode Island. This territory had been settled by Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, to the dismay of the Puritan leaders of Massachusetts. Welde created a fraudulent document (known as the "Narragansett Patent") to bolster the Massachusetts claim to the territory. [6] His failure in this effort contributed to his dismissal as a colonial agent. He accepted a living in Gateshead. Welde's son, Edmund, settled in Ireland and became a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, serving until the latter's death. Welde senior never returned to the colony. He is said to have died on 23 March 1660/61. [1]

American descendants

Welde's son[ who? ] remained in Massachusetts and was the ancestor[ how? ] of Theodore Dwight Weld and Ezra Greenleaf Weld, two important figures of the 19th-century abolitionist movement.

Thomas Welde's younger brother, who also remained in the New World, was the ancestor of the most prominent branch of the Weld Family in America, including former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld and actress Tuesday Weld. Two buildings at Harvard (Weld Hall and Weld Boathouse) are named for his descendants.

Related Research Articles

John Eliot (missionary) Puritan missionary to the American Indians

John Eliot was a Puritan missionary to the American Indians who some called "the apostle to the Indians" and the founder of Roxbury Latin School in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1645.

Anne Hutchinson American religious figure and colonist (1591–1643)

Anne Hutchinson was a Puritan spiritual advisor, religious reformer, and an important participant in the Antinomian Controversy which shook the infant Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. Her strong religious convictions were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area and her popularity and charisma helped create a theological schism that threatened the Puritan religious community in New England. She was eventually tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

Thomas Dudley Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony (1576–1653)

Thomas Dudley was a colonial magistrate who served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Dudley was the chief founder of Newtowne, later Cambridge, Massachusetts, and built the town's first home. He provided land and funds to establish the Roxbury Latin School, and signed Harvard College's new charter during his 1650 term as governor. Dudley was a devout Puritan who was opposed to religious views not conforming with his. In this he was more rigid than other early Massachusetts leaders like John Winthrop, but less confrontational than John Endecott.

Richard Bellingham was a colonial magistrate, lawyer, and several-time governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the last surviving signatory of the colonial charter at his death. A wealthy lawyer in Lincolnshire prior to his departure for the New World in 1634, he was a liberal political opponent of the moderate John Winthrop, arguing for expansive views on suffrage and lawmaking, but also religiously somewhat conservative, opposing the efforts of Quakers and Baptists to settle in the colony. He was one of the architects of the Massachusetts Body of Liberties, a document embodying many sentiments also found in the United States Bill of Rights.

John Cotton (minister) 17th-century Puritan minister in England and America

John Cotton was a clergyman in England and the American colonies and was considered the preeminent minister and theologian of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He studied for five years at Trinity College, Cambridge, and another nine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He had already built a reputation as a scholar and outstanding preacher when he accepted the position of minister at St. Botolph's Church, Boston in Lincolnshire, in 1612. As a Puritan, he wanted to do away with the ceremony and vestments associated with the established Church of England and to preach in a simpler manner. He felt that the English church needed significant reforms, but he was adamant about not separating from it; his preference was to change it from within.

Mary Dyer 17th-century American Quaker martyr

Mary Dyer was an English and colonial American Puritan turned Quaker who was hanged in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, for repeatedly defying a Puritan law banning Quakers from the colony. She is one of the four executed Quakers known as the Boston martyrs.

William Coddington

William Coddington was an early magistrate of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and later of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He served as the judge of Portsmouth and Newport, governor of Portsmouth and Newport, deputy governor of the four-town colony, and then governor of the entire colony. Coddington was born and raised in Lincolnshire, England. He accompanied the Winthrop Fleet on its voyage to New England in 1630, becoming an early leader in Boston. There he built the first brick house and became heavily involved in the local government as an assistant magistrate, treasurer, and deputy.

William Hutchinson (1586–1641) was a judge in the Colonial era settlement at Portsmouth on the island of Aquidneck. Aquidneck Island was known at the time as Rhode Island, and it later became part of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

John Coggeshall

John Coggeshall Sr. was one of the founders of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the first President of all four towns in the Colony. He was a successful silk merchant in Essex, England, but he emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1632 and quickly assumed a number of roles in the colonial government. In the mid-1630s, he became a supporter of dissident minister John Wheelwright and of Anne Hutchinson. Hutchinson was tried as a heretic in 1637, and Coggeshall was one of three deputies who voted for her acquittal. She was banished from the colony in 1638, and the three deputies who voted for her acquittal were also compelled to leave. Before leaving Boston, Coggeshall and many other Hutchinson supporters signed the Portsmouth Compact in March 1638 agreeing to form a government based on the individual consent of the inhabitants. They then established the settlement of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island, one of the four towns comprising the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Hugh Peter

Hugh Peter was an English preacher, political advisor and soldier who supported the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil War, and became highly influential. He employed a flamboyant preaching style that was considered highly effective in furthering the interests of the Puritan cause.

John Wheelwright Colonial American clergyman

John Wheelwright was a Puritan clergyman in England and America, noted for being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Antinomian Controversy, and for subsequently establishing the town of Exeter, New Hampshire. Born in Lincolnshire, England, he graduated from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Ordained in 1619, he became the vicar of Bilsby, Lincolnshire, until he was removed for simony.

Increase Nowell, (1590–1655), was a British colonial administrator, original patentee of the Massachusetts Bay Company, founder of Charlestown, Massachusetts, and first ruling elder of the First Church in Charlestown.

Francis Marbury (1555–1611) was a Cambridge-educated English cleric, schoolmaster and playwright. He is best known for being the father of Anne Hutchinson, considered the most famous English woman in colonial America, and Katherine Marbury Scott, the first known woman to convert to Quakerism in the United States.

Edward Hutchinson (1613–1675) was the oldest child of Massachusetts and Rhode Island magistrate William Hutchinson and his wife, the dissident minister Anne Hutchinson. He is noted for making peace with the authorities following his mother's banishment from Massachusetts during the Antinomian Controversy, returning to Boston, and ultimately dying in the service of the colony that had treated his family so harshly.

Samuel Wilbore

Samuel Wilbore was one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He emigrated from Essex, England to Boston with his wife and three sons in 1633. He and his wife both joined the Boston church, but a theological controversy began to cause dissension in the church and community in 1636, and Wilbore aligned himself with John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, signing a petition in support of dissident minister Wheelwright. In so doing, he and many others were disarmed and dismissed from the Boston church. In March 1638, he was one of 23 individuals who signed a compact to establish a new government, and this group purchased Aquidneck Island, then known as "Rhode Island", from the Narragansett Indians at the urging of Roger Williams, establishing the settlement of Portsmouth.

William Freeborn (1594–1670) was one of the founding settlers of Portsmouth on Aquidneck Island, having signed the Portsmouth Compact with 22 other men while still living in Boston. Coming from Maldon in Essex, England, he sailed to New England in 1634 with his wife and two young daughters, settling in Roxbury in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He soon moved to Boston where he became interested in the preachings of the dissident ministers John Wheelwright and Anne Hutchinson, and following their banishment from the colony during the Antinomian Controversy, he joined many of their other followers in Portsmouth.

Antinomian Controversy Religious controversy in colonial America

The Antinomian Controversy, also known as the Free Grace Controversy, was a religious and political conflict in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1636 to 1638. It pitted most of the colony's ministers and magistrates against some adherents of the Free Grace theology of Puritan minister John Cotton. The most notable Free Grace advocates, often called "Antinomians", were Anne Hutchinson, her brother-in-law Reverend John Wheelwright, and Massachusetts Bay Governor Henry Vane. The controversy was a theological debate concerning the "covenant of grace" and "covenant of works".

John Wilson (Puritan minister) American Puritan clergyman (c.1588–1667)

John Wilson was a Puritan clergyman in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the minister of the First Church of Boston from its beginnings in Charlestown in 1630 until his death in 1667. He is most noted for being a minister at odds with Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638, and for being an attending minister during the execution of Mary Dyer in 1660.

Edward Hutchinson was a mercer and a resident of Lincolnshire, England, most noted for the careers of his children in New England. While his father and several of his uncles and brothers became prominent as clergymen, aldermen, sheriffs, and mayors in the city of Lincoln, Edward focused his efforts on his business after moving to the town of Alford. Remarkably, not a single record for him has been found in Alford, other than his burial and the baptisms of his 11 children, but he likely gained a considerable estate, and his children married into prominent families. What was most exceptional about Edward Hutchinson occurred following his 1632 death. Beginning in 1634, five of his nine surviving children and his widow immigrated to New England, and all six of them were exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a result of the events of the Antinomian Controversy from 1636 to 1638. From Boston two of his children went south and became founding settlers of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and three of them, with his widow, went north to establish Exeter in the Province of New Hampshire, and then proceeded to Wells, Maine. Because of their involvement in the controversy, his children had a disproportionately large role in the establishment of these new settlements in New England.

William Baulston (c.1605—c.1678) was a colonial New England innkeeper, who was very active in the civil and military affairs of both the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He was a founding settler of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was continuously elected to the highest positions in the colony, and was one of the ten Assistants named in the Rhode Island Royal Charter.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Webster, Tom (2006). "Weld (Welde), Thomas (1595-1661)". In Bremer, Francis J.; Webster, Tom (eds.). Puritans and Puritanism in America and Europe: A Comprehensive Encyclopaedia. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-Clio. p. 267. ISBN   9781576076781.
  2. Michael P. Winship, [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/28986 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 17 Sept 2008
  3. A History of the Grammar School, or, "The Free Schoole of Roxburie", p. 111
  4. The Winthrop papers (Massachusetts Historical Society, 1871), pg. 365 https://books.google.com/books?id=AxLVAAAAMAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s
  5. Battis, Emery (1962). Saints and Sectaries: Anne Hutchinson and the Antinomian Controversy in the Massachusetts Bay Colony . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp.  189–248.
  6. Winship, Michael. Making Heretics: Militant Protestantism and Free Grace in Massachusetts, p. 242