Francis Nicholson.

The older nonconformity in Kendal : a history of the Unitarian Chapel in the Market Place ... online

. (page 1 of 60)
Online LibraryFrancis NicholsonThe older nonconformity in Kendal : a history of the Unitarian Chapel in the Market Place ... → online text (page 1 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


THE OLDER NONCONFORMITY
IN KENDAL



FRANCIS NICHOLSON

AND

ERNEST AXON



O Reader ! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring
() gentle Reader ! you will find
A tale in everything.



Wordsworth




MARKET PLACE CHAPEL.



FACE TITLE.



The Older Nonconformity
in Kendal



A history of the

Unitarian Chapel in the Market Place

with transcripts of the registers and

Notices of the Nonconformist Academies

of Richard Frankland, M.A.,

and Caleb Rotheram, D.D.



By

FRANCIS NICHOLSON

and

ERNEST AXON



KENDAL, TITUS WILSON
1915



TITUS WILSON, PRINTER, KENDAL



V.



PREFACE.



IN this book is given the history of the older noncon-
formity in Kendal so far as it relates to the
Congregation of Protestant Dissenters, the Nonconformist
Academies and the Unitarian Baptists. Except incident-
ally it does not deal with the Friends, the oldest noncon-
formists in the town, nor with the Trinitarian Noncon-
formist Churches established after the middle of the i8th
century.

The Congregation of Protestant Dissenters was appar-
ently of lay origin as the Presbyterian Vicar conformed
in 1662 and so deprived the local Nonconformists of
clerical leadership. The lay Presbyterians and Inde-
pendents held meetings for worship as opportunity
offered during the Persecution period. Shortly before
the Act of Toleration the Nonconformists of both sections
seem to have united and got a settled minister.

Shortly after Toleration there is evidence of the
existence of a meeting house, which in 1720 was super-
seded by the present Chapel.

Doubtless Calvinistic in the i7th century the Congre-
gation had, by the time the present chapel was built,
so far departed from old theological standards that they
enforced no theological tests on either ministers or
members. The doctrinal development of the Congre-
gation has been that of many other old congregations.
Trinitarian Calvinistic Presbyterianism was followed by
Arianism, and Arianism by Unitarianism, the changes



2072357



vi. PREFACE.

being made without any violent disruptions.

Early in the igth century a new and vigorous strain
of Unitarianism was brought into the older Congregation
by the incorporation of the Unitarian Baptists.

As the seat of two famous Nonconformist Academies
Kendal had, for Nonconformists of the late I7th century
and the second quarter of the i8th century, the status
of a university town. At the Academies conducted by
Frankland and Rotheram Nonconformist ministers and
laymen received an education little if at all inferior
to that given contemporaneously in the English univers-
ities from which at that time they were excluded.

Ten years ago I read before the Cumberland and
Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society a
short paper on " Kendal Chapel and its Registers," from
which the present book has developed. In 1908 the bulk
of the work was written, but pressure of business and,
it must be added, the fascination of research, have pre-
vented its earlier publication. To the draft of 1908 much
has been added and from it much has been deducted, for
it included some documents which have since been
printed by others, and a chapter on the Kaber Rigg Plot,
1663, which I contributed to the Transactions of the
Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeol-
ogical Society, was originally intended to be a chapter
of this work.

My thanks are due to my colleague and also to the
many friends for assistance acknowledged in the text and
footnotes.

FRANCIS NICHOLSON.

The Knoll,

Windermere.



vii.



CONTENTS.



PAGE

Preface v.

List of Illustrations ix.

I. The Commonwealth and Earlier . . . . i

II. Kendal Clergy during the Commonwealth 36
III. William Brownsword, M.A., Vicar of

Kendal . . . . . . . . . 65

IV. The Act of Uniformity, 1662 . . . . 80

V. Persecution and Indulgence, 1662-1672 . . 86
VI. Thomas Whitehead, M.A., and George

Benson, Licensed Teachers, 1672 . . 101
VII. Richard Frankland, M.A., Early Life and

Ejection . . . . . . . . 113

VIII. Frankland's Academy : Rathmell and

Natland . . . . . . . . . . 122

IX. Frankland's Academy : Student-life and

Course of Study . . ^ . . . 128
X. Richard Frankland, M.A. : Ordinations

and Persecution . . . . . . 142

XI. Frankland's Academy : Difficulties and

Migrations . . . . . . . . 153

XII. Frankland's Academy : Toleration and

Persecution . . . . . 159

XIII. Richard Frankland and the " Surey

Demoniack " . . . . . . . . 175

XIV. Frankland as Author . . . . . . 180

XV. Frankland's Death, Will and Family . . 188

XVI. Frankland's Character and Portrait . . 196

XVII. John Issot . . . . . . . . 199

XVIII. Persecution Renewed . . . . . . 201

XIX. James Hulme, died 1688 . . . . . . 223

XX. Legal Toleration, 1689 . . . . . . 227

XXI. Mr. Dearneley to Mr. Thorneley, 1690-1700 231

XXII. William Pendlebury, 1701-1706 . . . . 238

XXIII. Samuel Audland, 1709-1714 . . . . 249

XXIV. Was Kendal Chapel " originally ortho-
dox " ? . . . . . . . . 262



viii. CONTENTS.

PAGE

XXV. Caleb Rotheram, D.D., 1716-1752 . . 292

XXVI. Dr. Rotheram's Academy, 1733-1752 . 319

XXVII. Supplies, I75 2 ' I 754 33

XXVIII. Caleb Rotheram, the Younger, 1754-1796 334

XXIX. John Harrison, 1796-1833 . . . . 366

XXX. James Kay and the Unitarian Baptists . . 395

XXXI. Edward Hawkes, M.A., 1833-1866 . . 402

XXXII. Recent History 428

XXXIII. Crook and Stainton Chapels . . . . 438

XXXIV. The Registers of Baptisms and Burials of
the Market Place Chapel and of Births

of the Unitarian Baptist Congregation 446

XXXV. Monumental Inscriptions . . . . . . 495

XXXVI. Lists of Subscribers and Seat-holders,
1720 ; Chapel Wardens, 1789-1815 ;

and Clerks . . . . . . . . 499

XXXVII. Trustees of the Chapel and Market Place

Property, 1719-1868 . . . . . . 507

XXXVIII. List of Frankland's Pupils . . . . 532

XXXIX. Dr. Rotheram's Pupils . . . . . . 613

Errata and Corrigenda . . . . . . 635

Index . . . . . . . . . . 636



IX.



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

Market Place Chapel . . . . . . . . Frontispiece

The Humble Petition of 1642 . . . . . . . . face 4

Facsimile of the title page from the original in the

possession of F. Nicholson
Richard Frankland, M. A. .. .. .. .. 113

From the original portrait, perhaps by Thomas
Sanderson (see p. 198), now in Dr. Williams' s
Library

Robert Whi taker's Autograph and " Tables " . . 131

From the original MS. in the possession of W.

Ridley Richardson, Esq., M.A.
Oxenholme . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

Oxenholme, Staircase . . . . . . . . . . 151

Dawson Fold in Crosthwaite . . . . . . . . 153

.... 155

.. 156

Hartbarrow . . . . . . . . . . . . 157

Rathmell : Dated stone . . . . . . . . . . 159

Richard Frankland's Autograph . . . . . . 181

From the original letter in the possession of Thomas

Brayshaw, Esq., of Settle
Frankland Memorial in Giggleswick Church . . . . 190

Pew ends from the first Chapel, and old Communion

Cups . . . . . . . . . . 231

Now in the vestry of the Market Place Chapel
Moss Side in Crosthwaite . . . . . . . . 232

Market Place Chapel, Rear view . . . . . . 298

Prizett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309

Dr. Rotheram's Autograph . . . . . . . . 322

Edward Blackstock's Autograph . . . . . . 322

Market Place Chapel, Entrance and Old Parsonage . . 350

Rev. John Harrison . . . . . . . . . . 366

From the silhouette in the Chapel



x. ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

The Rev. Edward Hawkes, M.A. . . . . . . face 402

From a lithographed portrait in the possession of

J. E. Hawkes, Esq.
Market Place Chapel, Interior . . . . . . . . face 434

Stainton Chapel, Rear view . . . . . . ,, 438

,, Interior . . . . . . ,, 443

Old Pew Ends . . . . . . ,, 444

The Gravestone of " The Wanderer " . . . . . . ,, 496

Myles Harrison, Recorder of Kendal . . . . . . ,, 510

From the portrait, by Romney, in the Kendal Town

Hall
James Ainslie, M.D. . . . . . . . . . . 515

Reproduced by permission of the Bradford Art
Gallery Committee from the painting by Romney
in the Cartwright Memorial Hall
John Thomson, M.D. . . . . . . . . . . 517

From the original portrait, by R. Leslie, R.A.,

in the Kendal Town Hall
Robert Gawthrop . . . . . . . . . . 520

From the original silhouette in the possession of

F. Nicholson
Roger Anderton's Autograph . . . . . . . . 562



I.

THE COMMONWEALTH AND EARLIER.

\TONCONFORMITY was no mere creation of the Act
i-N of Uniformity of 1662, although that Act was its
technical beginning. Nonconformity was in truth, the
outcome of a century's conflict, within the Church of
England, between two schemes of church government
(Episcopalian and Presbyterian), and in its modern
developments represents the victory of a third scheme
of church government (the Independent).

When King Henry VIII. reformed the Church of
England he dealt tenderly with doctrines and practices
inherited from the Roman Church and severely with
endowments left by Romanists for pious purposes.
Amongst the things left unchanged was the system of
church government, and so episcopacv remained the
rule in England. The English reformers were at no
loss to prove from the Scriptures and elsewhere that
a hierarchy was in strict accordance with the practice
of the primitive church. Contemporary with Henry
VIII. was an obscure Frenchman, John Calvin by name,
who by the time he was 27 years of age had developed
an entirely different system of church government which
was also in strict accordance with the practice of the primi-
tive church. This system was Presbyterianism, and it was
adopted in many continental countries and in Scotland.

In England Presbyterianism met with little acceptance
until the return to England of the clergymen and others
who had fled to the Continent to avoid persecution under
Queen Mary. Many of the refugees returned convinced
Presbyterians, and in the Church of England their in-
fluence was directed against episcopacy. But they were
not the dominant party in the Church.

B



2 THE OLDER NONCONFORMITY IN KENDAL.

Neither Episcopalians nor Presbyterians seem to have
thought of the possibility of a church existing apart
from the State. Both aimed at a national church, and
each approved of parochial organization and parochial
support.

A third sect, the Independents, insignificant at first,
did not believe in a church of which the basis of member-
ship was birth on this or that side of a boundary line.
They also went back to the primitive church and found
their ideal a church in which the only bond of union
was a common faith. In the nature of things the early
Christian church could not have been organized on a
parochial basis, and there can be no doubt that the Ind.e-
pendents came nearest in their system of church govern-
ment to that of the church as it existed before it became
important enough to be captured by the State.

There was, however, one great difficulty about Inde-
pendency. Its ministers had either to support themselves
or to depend on the contributions of the faithful, and
voluntary contributions were apt to be a poor substitute
for a fat living.*

During the Commonwealth some Independent ministers
compounded with their convictions by receiving the wages
and performing the duty of parochial clergy, and at the
same time acting as ministers of an Independent " gath-
ered " church of the elect. f

Independency, which implied separation from the
State Church, was but in its infancy until the Civil War.

* Occasionally, of course, the Independent minister had a rich congregation
and was supported generously. Edwards, in his Gangraena, makes envious
mention of some of these successful preachers.

t The first ministers of the Cockermouth Independent Church were all
parochial clergymen. It needed the experience of the years between 1662
and 1689 to demonstrate the possibility of a ministry supported entirely by
voluntary contributions and to wean the dissenting ministry from belief in
an endowed and established church. After the Act of Toleration all the
older dissenting churches, whether nominally Presbyterian, Baptist or Inde-
pendent, adopted, in practice, the Independent principle of church support.
Later experience has shown that neither the Episcopalian system nor the
Presbyterian system is necessarily dependent on tithes and other national
and compulsory sources of revenue.



THE COMMONWEALTH AND EARLIER. 3

The bulk of the members of the Puritan party were
Presbyterians, and even they were a comparatively small
section of the Church, which remained overwhelmingly
episcopalian. For a couple of generations prior to the
Civil War the Puritans had continued to grow within
the Church, though they were often persecuted. When
William Laud became a power in the Church the
persecution of the Puritans increased. Laud, by his
persecution of the Puritans roused the dormant " Protes-
tant " spirit of the nation and alienated the " moderate "
churchmen. The King and Straff ord were performing
a similar work in the secular affairs of the kingdom,
and these three men brought about the Civil War, and
as the result of the Civil War came the Commonwealth,
the most glorious failure in English history. For the
Commonwealth was a failure. Nothing it did had
stability and yet who shall say that after all the
Commonwealth was not the most glorious success in
English history. Its only fault was that it was before
its time. Like the French Revolution, it has exercised
a dominating influence in history.

The Long Parliament which met in November, 1640,
had a Puritan majority. In 1641 it spent much time in
discussing the abortive " Root and Branch " Bill, by
which the archbishops and bishops and other high dig-
nitaries of the church were to be abolished, and the
revenues of the various deans and chapters devoted to
the propagation of religion, in other words to increasing
the maintenance of the parochial clergy, who, under
the episcopal system, had suffered in order that scholars
and courtiers might have well paid offices with little
work attached. By the Root and Branch Bill lay com-
missioners were to be appointed to govern the church
and administer ecclesiastical justice, and five ministers
in each county were to be set aside for the purpose of
ordaining ministers. Nothing came of the scheme.



4 THE OLDER NONCONFORMITY IN KENDAL.

In the summer of 1642 war between King and Parlia-
ment was inevitable, and on August 22nd the King raised
his standard.

A petition from Kendal to Parliament immediately
before the commencement of hostilities illustrates the
share religious grievances had in strengthening the
Parliamentary side. The petition was presented to the
House of Commons on 6th August, 1642. The petitioners
placed religion in the fore-front, civil grievances and
Parliamentary privileges taking a very subsidiary position,
though, curiously enough, religion was not mentioned on
the title-page of the petition as published by order of
Parliament. Here is the petition : *

To the Honorable, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of the
House of Commons now assembled in Parliament ; The humble
Petition of the Gentry, Ministers, and Commonalty of the Barony
of Kendall in the County of Westmerland, who have subscribed
hereunto. In all humility sheweth, That we are very sensible
of our too great remisnesse, in rendring thanks for your unwearied
labours, and constant endeavours (to the hazard of your lives
and fortunes) for the generall good and safety of the whole King-
dom, And especially for your endeavours to preserve the true
reformed Protestant Religion without mixture or composition,
against those subtle Innovators that have long laboured to
hinder and caluminate [sic] the power and practise thereof,
evidenced by their wicked designes, in molesting, and suppressing
of many worthy, and powerfull Preachers, by Innovations in
Religion, and by casting unjust scandals and aspersions upon
ths Zealous Professors thereof ; together with many other things
of maine importance, intended by you (as by Declarations and
Votes do appear unto us), for the glory of God, the advantage
of His Majestic, the honour of his Government, and the con-
tentment of all His Majesties well affected Subjects'. And now
perceiving that by the subtle and cunning practises of some
evill affected Persons, (Enemies not onely to a thorough Reforma-
tion and the power of Religion but also to the honour of His



* It is referred to in Commons' Journals, ii., 706. The full text, which we
quote, is given in a small quarto tract of the title page of which we give a
facsimile. F. Nicholson possesses a copy of the tract.



Humble

IPETITIONf

H O F T H E "3

*i* _^-^ _&.

H Gentry, Minifters 3 and Commo- 8>

2-' nalty of the Barony of Kendall in the County ^

I VVeftmerknd ? |

^ Who have fubfcribed hereunto. &-

*4 WHEREIN H

^They fet forth their readinefle to i

maintain and defend His Ma jellies RoyaJl Per- ^
fon. Honour, and Eftatc, and according to <>$
their Protect ion, the power and priviledgr
of Parliaments,! he law full Rights and
Liberties of the Subjecl.



tf. tsf*g*fH t

Ordered bythc Commons in Parliament, That Matter Bayni
who delivered this Petition into the Houfe, return the <
C'nui'y hearty thanks for their duty to Hi.s MajdKe, nd ^-;
t-ood j] Legion to the Parliament. And it is further Or- '*?*.
dered, That this Petition be forthwith Prinrcd.

H. EIfjuge t CU r. I'.trl. D . Cant. jfc



I- '":< l <>":. Pr ;ptui by L.N. 2nd /.F. for friftartl //;.'//.; ;r^- and r 5
' Atigu(t 8. 1642. <



FACE P. 4.



THE COMMONWEALTH AND EARLIER. 5

Majesties Government, the peace and welfare of the whole King-
dom, and to the poor distressed Protestants our Brethren in
Ireland) so happy a Reformation both in Church and in Common
wealth is much hindred ; discountenanced and opposed, to our
no lesse grief then amazement.

Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray this Honourable
Assembly, to continue and go on in your Godly and Christian
Resolutions, for a happy and thorough Reformation, such as
may chiefly tend to the honour of God, the greatnesse and pros-
perity of His Majestic, and the publique good of the Church and
Common-wealth ; And that the Authors and Fomentors of our
evills, may be brought to condigne punishment, the power and
priviledges of Parliaments, and the lawfull Rights and Liberties
of the Subjects, vindicated and confirm'd And we according
to the duty of our Allegiance, shall be ready to maintain and
defend His Majesties Royall person, honour and estate and
according to our protestation, the power and priviledges of
Parliaments, the lawfull Rights and Liberties of the Subjects,
and every of your Persons, in what ever you shall do in the
lawfull pursuance of the same.

And shall ever pray, &c.



We the Subscribers of this Petition, do hereby authorize the
Transcriber hereof, to transcribe our names in a faire manner.*

The House of Commons appreciated the tone of this
petition and acknowledged it very graciously, as appears
by this extract from its Journals as given in the tract :

Die Sabbathi : 6 Augusti.. 1642.

THE humble Petition of the Gentry, Ministers, and Free-holders,
of the Barony of Kendall in the Countie of Westmerland was
this day read, and Master Bayns who had authority from that
Countrey to deliver it, was called in, and Master Speaker by the
Command of the House, told him that they had read this petition,
and found it full of duty to His Majestic and affection to the
Common-wealth, and especially at this time, and therefore he
is commanded to return the County hearty thanks, and that
this House will have speciall care of them : They have further
Ordered, that this Petition be forthwith printed
H. Elsynge : Cler. Parl. D. Com.
FINIS.

* The names are not given in the tract.



6 THE OLDER NONCONFORMITY IN KENDAL.

A few months later, when the Civil War had begun,
Parliament again considered a matter relating to West-
morland, and on i8th November, 1642,* declared that
" they hold it a thing most fit, necessary and healthful
for the present state of this kingdom, and do accordingly
order " that the inhabitants of the northern counties
should " associate themselves, and mutually aid, succour,
and assist one another, by raising forces of horse and foot
. . . and by all other good ways and means whatso-
ever, to suppress and subdue the Popish and malignant
party in the said several counties." This was ostensibly
only a measure of self defence, Parliament " being cer-
tainly informed that the Papists and other malignant
and ill-affected Persons, Inhabitants in the Counties of
Yorke, Northumberland, Westmerland, Cumberland, Lan-
cashire, Cheshire, County Palatine of Duresme, and Town
and County of Newcastle, have entered into an Associa-
tion, and have raised, and daily do raise, great forces
both of horse and foot, to oppress and distress the well
affected subjects, and to aid and succour the Popish
and malignant Party in those Northern Parts, and in
particular those now in the City of Yorke."

We may look on this declaration as a broad hint to the
followers of the Parliament in the northern counties
that they would be' expected to take their own defence
in their own hands. It suggests moreover that " Papists
and other malignant and ill-affected persons " (in more
polite English, the Royalists) were very strong in the
north.

The Royalist successes early in the war made it
necessary for the Parliament to obtain the assistance
of the Scots, which was only to be obtained at a price.
Part of the price was the adoption in England of Presby-
terianism, the Scots desiring the union of England and
Scotland in one form of kirk government, one confession

* Lords' Journals, v., 451.



THE COMMONWEALTH AND EARLIER. 7

of faith, one cateehism, and one directory for worship.
In 1643 the Assembly of Divines,* known, from its place
of meeting, as the Westminster Assembly, was called
into existence "to be consulted with by Parliament for
the settlement of the government and liturgy of the
Church of England." The Westminster Assembly, which
included a few laymen, was almost entirely Puritan and
overwhelmingly Presbyterian. Its first work of im-
portance was the preparation of the " Directory for
Worship." After some consideration by both Houses
of Parliament, the " Directory " was ordered to be
printed and circulated, and by an Act passed in March,
1644-5, it was " ordained by the Lords and Commons
assembled in Parliament . . . that the said Book of
Common Prayer, shall not remain, or be from henceforth
used in any Church, Chappel, or place of publique Wor-
ship, within the Kingdome of England, or Dominion of
Wales ; And that the Directory for publique Worship
herein set forth, shall be henceforth used, pursued and
observed, according to the true intent and meaning of
this Ordinance, in all Exercises of the Publique Worship
of God, in every Congregation, Church, Chappel, and
place of publique Worship within this kingdome of
England and Dominion of Wales, "f

It is very unlikely that this law was carried out to the
letter.

In July, 1645, the Assembly of Divines completed its
scheme of church government, which became law in the
following month.

The " Directory " and Presbyterian government have
disappeared, but other work of the Assembly lives to
this day for its " Confession of Faith," and its " Cate-
chism " and "Shorter Catechism" remain, in essentials,



* It may be mentioned that F. Nicholson is directly descended from the
Rev. Charles Herle, M.A., Prolocutor, that is Chairman, of the Assembly of
Divines.

f Scobell's Acts and Ordinances, 1658.



8 THE OLDER NONCONFORMITY IN KENDAL.

the standards of faith of all the Calvinistic churches in
England, Scotland and the United States. There is no
doubt that the Assembly's " Catechism " represents the
faith of the bulk of the first generation of Nonconformists,
though even in their time Baxter's great influence was
on the side of a less rigidly Calvinistic interpretation of
the Christian faith. While Parliament and the West-
minster Assembly were together adopting measures for
placing the government of the church on a Presbyterian
basis, the Episcopalian clergy were gradually being
ejected from their benefices. Some were ejected as
" malignants," i.e., members of the Royalist party, and
others for their scandalous lives or for neglecting their
duties.* Having turned out malignant and scandalous
priests the Parliament replaced them by ministers who
were regarded as " godly " men. This process of ejection



Online LibraryFrancis NicholsonThe older nonconformity in Kendal : a history of the Unitarian Chapel in the Market Place ... → online text (page 1 of 60)