Tapestry of Time
We have many ‘Ancestral Men of Faith’, with whom had suffered great persecution, on many sides, during the Protestant Reformation. Many of whom, the Protestants, fled to The New World for their Religious Freedoms. The following is a synopsis of some my notes, showing the Tapestry of Time during the Reformation with my Ancestors and their Religious Persecutions.
1520 The Protestant Reformation begins in Northern Europe
Protestantism, began in the early 16th century as a reaction to medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices. Along with Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism became one of three major forces in Christianity. After a series of European Religious Wars in the 16th and 17th centuries, and into the 19th century, it took a foothold throughout the world, it influenced the social, economic, political, and cultural life of the area.
1521 Saxony, Germany Martin Luther protests the Church of Rome.
- Lutheranism born
- Martin Luther protested against the corruptions of the Church of Rome.
- Our Family – The Beekmans from our 13th gg parents on were steadfast Protestants, since 1521, when Martin Luther posted his protests against the corruptions of the Church of Rome.
1534 The Protestant Reformation begins in England.
1491-1547 England King Henry VIII Anglican
- Anglicanism born (Episcopalian in America)
- In 1534 King Henry VIII for personal reasons, broke with the Church of Rome and established the Church of England, with himself as its secular head. He appointed Thomas Crammer as Archbishop of Canterbury, its spiritual leader. England moved beyond permanent Catholic control, although much of the Catholic liturgy and governance by bishops was adopted into the tradition of the Anglican Church.
Our Family – The Sulyards were a prominent Suffolk Roman Catholic family, going back before Gentleman Sir John Sulyard, Knight 1420-1488, our 15th gg father. During The Reformation, they became Recusants, they were Roman Catholics in England whom incurred legal and social penalties in the 16th century and afterward for refusing to attend the services of the Church of England.
After King Henry VIII, his son King Edward VI took the throne.
1547-53 England Edward VI Anglican
- Lutheran and Reformed theology invaded Anglicanism during the short reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI, through Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer.
- Religious freedoms ebbed & flowed from the late 1540’s to the early 1550’s.
- After King Edward VI death, his half-sister Queen Mary took the throne.
1553-58 England Queen Mary Tudor Catholic
- Daughter of King Henry VIII. Upon becoming Queen of England, Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary, was possessed in her quest to return England to the Roman Church. She persecuted those who refused to abandon Protestantism.
- In 1555, she burned Anglican bishops at the stake, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, English Reformation Leader and author of Book of Common Prayer. The first to be martyred at the stake was John ‘Thomas Matthew’ Rogers, an English Clergyman, who guided the translation and printing of the 1537 common English ‘Thomas Matthew’ Bible during the reign of Henry VIII. Mary went on to burn reformers at the stake by the hundreds for the ‘Crime’ of being a Protestant. Over 800 dissenters fled, some came under the tutelage of more radical reformers, like John Calvin.
- This era was known as the Marian Exile, the refugees fled from England with little hope of ever seeing their home or friends again. During their exile, they produced the famous 1560 Geneva Bible, ‘The Bible of the Protestant Reformation’, from which many home-schooled their children.
Our Family – Sir John Sulyard of Wetherden (d 1574), the grandson of our 15th gg father, Sir John Sulyard, inherited the Sulyard family’s Suffolk estates and was granted the manor of Haughley, also in Suffolk, by Queen Mary I. a.k.a ‘Bloody Mary’. As a Knight, Sir John Sulyard of Wetherden, our 1st cos, 15xR, probably assisted in the persecution and burning at the stake of Protestants.
1558-1603 England Queen Elizabeth I Anglican
- Daughter of King Henry VIII. She succeeded Mary, her half-sister, and reestablished a more inclusive and tolerant Anglican Church. She warily welcomed from Europe the dissenters, who had become steeped in Reformed theology. Upon their return, they joined others who felt that Elizabeth’s reformation had not gone far enough. They sought to ‘Purify’ the church. (Puritans)
1563 England The Puritans
- The Puritans, so named in 1563, criticized Anglican liturgy, ceremonies, and lack of discipline, especially of the clergy. Their push toward independent thought and church autonomy, had laid the foundations for Congregationalism. However, they remained members of the Church of England.
- The Puritans held to Reformed belief in the sovereignty of God, the authority of scripture as the revelation of God’s will, and the necessity to bend to the will of God. They regarded human rituals and institutions as idolatrous impositions upon the word of God. They wanted to rid the church of old remnants of papism. Puritan zeal in spreading their belief about God’s confrontation with humanity conflicted sharply with the established Anglican church. Nevertheless, they thought of themselves as members of the church, not founders of new churches.
The ‘Congregational Way’ probably was born in 1567 when a group of Separatists, calling themselves ‘The Privye Church,’ worshiped in London’s Plumbers’ Hall. They were persecuted severely and their leader killed. Clandestine meetings of Congregationalists continued for simple worship in fields and unexpected rooms, dangerously subject to surveillance by spies for the government, who brought persecution upon the worshipers.
Robert Browne, an Anglican priest, was the first conspicuous advocate of Congregationalism in England. By gathering, in 1581, a congregation in Norwich, he expressed his conviction that the only true church was a local body of believers who experienced together the Christian life, united to Christ and to one another by a voluntary covenant. Christ, not the King or Queen, was the head of such a church; the people were its governors, and would elect a pastor, teacher, elders, and deacons, according to the authority of the New Testament. Furthermore, each autonomous church owed communal helpfulness to every other church. He was imprisoned 32 times and fled to the Netherlands, he retained his beliefs but did not remain a Congregationalist, he returned from exile to pastor a small Anglican parish in England.
.1603-1625 England King James I Anglican
- Elizabeth had no heir, so James I, the great-great grandson of King HenryVII ruled England next. He commissioned a new translation of the Bible, The King James Version.
- Our Family – The Beekmans, from our 13th gg parents on, were steadfast Protestants, since 1521, when Martin Luther’s protest against the corruptions of the Church of Rome.
- Rev. Gerard Beekman 1558–1625, our 11th gg father, was one of the 47 scholars who helped translate The Original Bible Manuscripts into English, The King James Version. For his services, King James I granted the family a remodeled and special Family Crest.
- James’s Church of England did not satisfy the Puritans. Yet, they could not agree among themselves about their differences with the church. They were called variously, Dissenters, Independents, Non-Conformists or Separatists. By this time, many Puritans were unwilling to wait for Parliament to institute ecclesiastical reform and separated themselves from the Church of England. Among them were groups that later were called Quakers, Baptists, and Congregationalists.
- Among the early Separatists were John Smyth, founder of the Baptist Church, and John Robinson, pastor of the Separatist Church in England and Holland. Their lives became entangled with that of William Brewster, who became a leader of the Plymouth Colony in America. Brewster lent his home at Scrooby Manor as a Separatist meeting place. Richard Clyfton became pastor and John Robinson, teacher. Brewster was ruling elder.
- In 1607 the Separatist Church was discovered, its members imprisoned, placed under surveillance, or forced to flee. They went first to Amsterdam and then to Leyden, Holland. Concerns in Leyden that their children were losing touch with English language and culture, and beset by economic problems and threats of war. 102 of these Holland exiles became the Separatists ‘Saints’ who, under John Carver and William Brewster, migrated to the New World. John Robinson, beloved pastor and teacher stayed with a majority in Holland,
- In 1619 William Brewster and his associates in Leyden, published an illicit Separatist book called ‘Perth Assembly‘ by Calderwood. The book enraged King James I, who sent authorities to Holland to arrest William Brewster, the printer. Brewster fled to England and went into hiding. He was never apprehended, and later made the voyage to America in 1620.
- Calderwood wrote ‘Perth Assembly‘ out of protest to King James‘ imposition of the Five Articles upon the Church of Scotland. He fled to Holland after the book, and did not return to Scotland until the death of James I, in 1625.
- Brewster hid in plain sight from King James I. He created a myth, calling the passengers of the Mayflower ‘poor English farm folk‘. This scheme was a cover for the escape of himself and his printing associates: Edward Winslow, George Soule, Edward Raban and Johannes Sol’s widow.
In 1620, they departed for The New World aboard the Mayflower. On 11 November 1620, needing to maintain order and establish a civil society, the adult male passengers signed The Mayflower Compact, it was a legal social contract that bound the Pilgrims together when they arrived in New England.
Our Family – George Soule Sr. 1590-1677, our 9th gg father, being one of these Mayflower Separatist ‘Saints’, signed the 1620 Mayflower Compact. It was the first legal social contract composed and signed in the New World. He was a printer apprentice under Edward Winslow, as such, he was involved with the printing ‘Perth Assembly‘ by Brewster and his associates.
1625-1649 England King Charles I Anglican
- The Son of King James. King Charles I was beheaded by Puritans
- Anglican like his father, but married Catholic, and was thought to lean too Catholic. A civil war during the reign of Charles I was led by English and Scottish Puritans who beheaded the king and under Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector, seized English government, for 11 years.
- At the end of the first war Charles, the First was being held by the Scottish Presbyterian Army, who handed him over to the parliamentary forces.
- Our Family – In 1649 George Clemens, a Puritan and a member of British parliament, was 1 of 59 who signed the death warrant for King Charles I, who was then beheaded.
- In January 1649 a trial was arranged, 135 commissioners were summoned, Some refused to participate, but most were named without their consent. 47 of those named did not appear either in the closed preliminary sessions or the subsequent public trial. At the end of the 4 trials, 57 of the commissioners present signed the death warrant, 2 added their names subsequently. The following day, 30 January, Charles I was beheaded outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall; Charles II went into exile.
1649-60 England Puritan radicals ruled England with excessive zeal
- The English Monarchy was replaced with, at first,
- the Commonwealth of England 1649–53, and then
- the Protectorate 1653–59, under Cromwell’s personal rule.
1660 England The Monarchy was Restored in 1660.
- George Denny Clemens 1615–1660 – My 9th gg father. A Puritan, beheaded in 1660 for his faith.
- George Clement, son of George and Audry (Denny) Clements, became Puritans, and he along with 10 or 12 others, were beheaded in the year 1660, upon the restoration of the crown to Charles II, for having signed with Oliver Cromwell and 57 others, the warrant for the execution of Charles I.
1620 The Mayflower Separatist
Our Family – In 1620, George Soule 1590 – 1677, our 9th gg father, being one of these Separatist ‘Saints‘, sailed to The New World aboard the Mayflower, and was a signer of The Mayflower Compact. He was a printer apprentice under Edward Winslow, as such, he was involved with the printing of Calderwood’s book ‘Perth Assembly’ by Brewster and his associates in Leyden. King James I was very irate after this publication, causing all involved to go into hiding or flee.
1683 Germantown, Pa. – Thirteen Krefeld Emegrants – Quaker/Mennonite
William Penn’s cousins, the Opden Graeffs, an old Krefeld Mennonite family, who ‘turned’ Quaker, abt. 1679. Abraham Op den Graff (1651-1731), our 9th gg father, and his brothers Herman, and Dirck, were among the first Thirteen Krefeld Emegrants of 1683. The first 13 families to settle Germantown, Pa., arriving at Philadelphia from Germany on 6 October 1683. Some Op den Graeffs returned to the Mennonite faith, settling in Skippack, Montgomery County, Pa. and helped founded many ongoing congregations.
- These notes are mostly on my English lines.
- Other notes will be on my German and Dutch Netherlands lines.
Read my other posts:
- Rev. Gerard Beekman… 1558–1625 Ancestral Men of Faith
- Sir John Sulyard, a Knight… 1420-1488
- George Soule… 1590-1677
- George Denny Clemens Ancestral Men of Faith
- Our Mayflower Lines… Plymouth Colony to Pennsylvania
- Our New Netherlands Dutch Line… 1623 Fort Orange, New Amsterdam to Penna.
- Pennsylvania Governor William Penn… My 2nd cousin 10x removed
- Wilhelmus Beekman… 1623-1707
Reach out and touch your Elders,
talk to them and take many notes, even if what they say doesn’t make sense to you. Where did they, their parent, grandparents live, work, etc. Ask about customs, foods, trades, don’t forget to include the hearsay (it might come in handy). Write everything they say down, it may come into play later.
Have Fun -OmaEagle
I hope you join me on my journey, as I recount many things from my past, and explore the many other creative possibilities in my future. – OmaEagle