Sophie Felicité (De Rodes) Locker-Lampson.

A Quaker post-bag; letters to Sir John Rodes of Barlbrough Hall, in the county of Derby, baronet, and to John Gratton of Monyash, 1693-1742; online

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Online LibrarySophie Felicité (De Rodes) Locker-LampsonA Quaker post-bag; letters to Sir John Rodes of Barlbrough Hall, in the county of Derby, baronet, and to John Gratton of Monyash, 1693-1742; → online text (page 1 of 12)
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These letters have lain at Barlbrough in Derby-
shire for more than two hundred years, and are now
printed for the first time for any one who may care
to read them, with such thoughts over a buried past
as he may be able to muster. It is with some
reluctance that their present owner has taken the
letters out of the carved chestnut boxes, where they
have so long rested, enjoying a Silence, and bathed
with a Stillness, beyond any Quakers' meeting-
house ; unaltered by the slow passage of time,
save in an increasing dimness of the careful hand-
writing. If any one bluntly asks, what can such
artless, courageous Piety have to say to an Age like
ours, there is really no need to hammer out an
answer, for is not this too a fleeting Age, bound
to disappear like every other ? May not therefore
the lady responsible for publication be content to
shelter herself behind the venerable excuse " the
request of Friends, both inside and out of the
^Quaker profession."

The Sir John Rodes (i 693-1 742) to whom

w^hese letters were addressed was a descendant of

^the Elizabethan judge, Francis Rodes, who built

^arlbrough Hall in 1583 ; a great-grandson of the

Sir Francis Rodes who fought for Kins: Charles in




Ireland and was made a Baronet ; and great-grand-
son of Sir Gervase Clifton, who, as William Penn
points out in one of the letters, hereafter printed, is
"handsomely mentioned" in Whitelock's Memorials.

Sir John's father, though he made a pious ending,
does not appear to have joined the Friends, though
that his mother, Martha Thornton, did so clearly
appears by her letters to her son.

Sir John himself has left no letters behind him,
but in the Journal of Thomas Storey may be found
some references to him and the household at Barl-
brough. Thus in 17 14 Storey writes: "I went
that evening to Balber Hall to Sir John Rodes,
and William Thompson with me, where I was kindly
received by him and by the old lady his mother.
There I stayed several days and had good conver-
sations with them, being very open-minded and
courteous, and of a good understanding in the
Things of God. He was convinced when young
and held his integrity through many temptations.
But his circumstances differing from most among
us in some respects, he never married, having a
great aversion to all that was wanton, light or vain,
and being of nice sentiments, both as to vertue,
temper, education and Parts, all these (as I suppose)
he has not found to concur so perfectly in any one
agreeable person, as both to please the Delicacy ot
his own judgment and suit the good likings of his
Friends, which probably may have rendered his life
less satisfactory, having for the most part little
agreeable society, and though very sensible of these
and many other disadvantages in this world for the


sake of truth, yet he stands Steady and True, pre-
ferring the simplicity of Truth and the enjoyment
of it before all other things."

This subtle estimate of the character of Sir John
Rodes agrees to a shade of nicety with the judgment
any careful reader of the letters, addressed to him,
will be likely to form of his reserved and elusive

Despite the pious efforts of many Quaker match-
makers. Sir John Rodes died in 1743 unmarried.

Sir John Rodes and his mother. Lady Rodes, and
his two married sisters, Ann Thornton and Frances
Heathcote, the wife of Dr. Gilbert Heathcote,
were in the inner circle of the Quakerdom of their
day, and the intimate friends of William Penn,
the foremost Friend of all time, and of most of
the good folk, whose names are still known to
students of the Quaker history. Friends were ever
welcome at Barlbrough, whose shy owner they
would have liked to see married to some pious
damsel. (" A friend or two of thine have thought
of a person to be thy wife, if thou shalt think so.
She is young and hath a great deal of money, and
it is believed her Parents would be easy to consent,"
see p. 132.)

Peace to their memories ! They were quarrel-
some, but so are doves, and their friendships were
eternal. " Death cannot kill what never dies," says
William Penn in a beautiful passage on the
" Union of Friends." " Death is but crossing
the world as friends cross the seas."

And what of their Wisdom .'' Who among us



dare account them especially foolish ? If any one
would read of a true Quaker conversion circa
1659, let him take down the "History of the Life
of Thomas Elwood," 17 14. They will find how it
all came about from a visit to the Penningtons at
Chalfont in county Bucks, as naturally as any
Tractarian conversion may have resulted circa
1830-40 from a visit to a country rectory.

One thing in the strange history of the Quakers
stands out in the clearest relief Despite their
bold denial of all the Sacraments and of any kind
of formal Priesthood, or ministry, denials which,
in the first instance, brought down upon their
covered heads the whole forces of all the hatreds
of a Christendom for once united, they neverthe-
less were the first, and for a long, long time the
only. Nonconformists to obtain the protection of the
law. This they won, not by political strife, but by
a sublime indifl^erence to consequences, legal or
social. Unable to swear, they found the Courts
closed against them, when in pursuit of their
civil remedies. They submitted in silence, and
were the more careful not to make bad debts.
Marriage was only to be had within the walls
of the Establishment. All other Nonconformists,
wishing to wed, went to Church, at least once in
their lives, fearing bastardy for their offspring.
The Quakers feared nothing, did not go to Church,
kept their own Registers, and made it a matter of
religion never to die intestate. This attitude of
sublime indifference was soon found intolerable.
In 1696 Quakers were allowed to affirm in Courts


of Justice, and in 1754 their marriages outside the
walls of either Church or Chapel were recognised.
No such consideration was shown to more orthodox
Nonconformists for a century or so. Quaker
history stands alone in its indomitable success.
If it is finished, it is a pity.



The present owner of these letters, as Mr. Birrell
has said in his Preface, feels some diffidence in
taking them from the boxes which for generations
have been the resting-place of much correspondence
concerning the family of Rodes during the sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, correspondence
tor the most part undistinguished, and merely in-
teresting to the conscientious student of county
history. Fragrant with memories of innocent family
love and untarnished friendship, it has seemed
almost an act of sacrilege to thrust them upon a
reading public already fed to satiety with memoirs
and correspondence of every conceivable country
and epoch. " Of making many books there is no
end." It is felt, however, that these simple annals
of the Society of Friends two hundred years ago
will be of real and abiding interest to their de-
scendants in the faith at the present time, both in
America and at home, and for this reason, as well
as in response to many requests for the publication of
the " Penn " letters, this little book has been issued.
Sir John Rodes of Barlbrough was the fourth
and last baronet of his name, the first baronet being
Sir Francis Rodes, who married Elizabeth, daughter
and heir of Sir George Lassells of Sturton and Gate-
ford in Nottinghamshire. This Francis was the
grandson of Judge Francis Rodes of Staveley-Wood-
thorpe, one of the judges of the common pleas in the
reign of Elizabeth, to whom the practice of the law


does not seem to have been unprofitable, for, besides
Barlbrough Hall in Derbyshire, which he left to
his eldest son John, he also built two other houses,
Hickleton, for his son Peter, and Great Houghton,
in Yorkshire, for his son Godfrey, knighted in 1615,
whose daughter Elizabeth was the third wife of the
ill-fated Earl of Strafford. Judge Rodes's second son,
Francis, was apparently passed over in this distribu-
tion of mansions. Possibly he was less worthy than
the others, and early developed traits of character
which, in later life, led to his being mentioned in
certain family letters as having " hir'd three trusty
fellows from Eckington to break into Brother
Rodes's new house at Barlbrough."

Sir John Rodes, the Quaker, was the only sur-
viving son of the third Sir Francis, his mother being
Martha Thornton, daughter of William Thornton
of Grantham, in Lincolnshire, and sister of Cyprian
Thornton of Bloxham, in the same county. The
Quakers, at that time, were mostly men of the
humbler sort, and John Rodes was evidently of
some account amongst them. In these later (and
so much wiser) days it is delightful to read of the
exceeding joy of these simple people at the conversion
to their faith of one baronet.

Sir John Rodes died unmarried in October 1743,
when the baronetcy became extinct, and his estates
in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire passed to his
great-nephew, Gilbert Heathcote, who assumed the
surname of Rodes.


Barlbrough Hall,



Preface v

Introductory Note xi

Letter — William Penn to Sir John Rodes, 1693 3

„ „ H » » 1694 8

„ „ „ John Gratton, 1695 . 9

„ „ ,, Sir John Rodes, 1697 10

„ „ ,, John Gratton, 1699 . 11

Letters of Martha Rodes to her Son, 1690-17 13 13

Letters of Henry Gouldney, 1690- 17 25 . . 45

Letters of John Tomkins, 1694-1703 . . .111

Letters of Silvanus Bevan, 17 19-1742 . . -197


Sir John Rodes [Photogravure) . . Frontispiece

From a miniature at Barlbrough Hall

Facsimile of one of William Penn's

Letters ..... To face page lo

Martha, Wife of Sir Francis Rodes

{Photogravure) .... „ 30

From an oil fainting at Barlbrough Hall

The Address to King George . . „ 100

Barlbrough Hall in i8th Century
North Front ....

From water-colour drawings by S. H. Grimm


A Quaker Marriage Certificate . At end of Volume


1693— 1699


From William Penn to Sir John Rodes

S"" John Rodes

Joseph Storrs

In Chesterfield.

the ^ 1693.

Dear Friend, — I hope I shall allways be ready to
show thee how much I desire thy prosperity every
way. It is long I have travelled in my spirit for
thee and knowing the temptations that would grow
upon thee and the evill days by means thereof that
must attend thee, I have prayed that thy faith
fail not, and that thou faintest not by the way ;
for thou hast been called to a glorious mark, even
that of an Heirship with the Beloved of God in
Eternal Habitations. The Lord preserve thee to
the end. Now as to w' I meant at C. Mars.^ it is
this : a Course or Method of life as far as we can
be our own, I would divide my days of the week,
and then the times of the day, and when I had

' Christmas.


Considered and divided my business, I would pro-
portion it to my time. Suppose, for example, thus :
|- to Religion, in Waiting, Reading, Meditating &c.
... ^ to some generall study. J to meals and
some Bodily Labour as Gardening, or some Mathe-
maticall Exercise. ^ to serve friends or neighbours
and look after my Estate ; It prevents consumption
of time and confusion in Business. The books
I spoke of that are most valuable for a moderate
Library are as follow. For Religion the Bible,
Friends' Books, of w'^^ I advise an exact collection,
binding the small up in vollumes together. The
Books of Martyrs. For Controversy between Pap
and Protestants Bp Jewel against Harding. L^
Faulkland of Infalibility, and Chillingworth. For
Devotion the Scriptures, Friends' Epistles, Austin
his City of God, his Soliloquies, Thom a Kempis,
Bona, a late piece called Unum Necessarium, and
a Voyce crying out of the Wilderness Vv^ritt in Q
Elizabeth's time ; of Books forrunning Friends
appearance, T. Saltmarsh, W. Dell, W. Erberry,
Goad, Coppins, & Webster his Works. For
Religious History Eusebius, Bp Usher's Annals,
Cradock of the Apostles, History of the Waldenses,
S*" Sam Morland's of the Persecutions in Piedmont.
Of mixt & generall History Prideaux, thin quarto,
Petavius, a thin folio. Afterwards D'^ Howel late
of Cambridge, not forgetting S"" W. Raleigh's for
his Preface sake. For natural Philosophy Enchi-
ridion Physical and some of Sqr Boyle's Works.
For Mathematicks, Leyborn. For Physick, Riverius,
For the Gall, Way, and for Chymistry le Faber,
unless a Practitionner, then, Helmont, Glauber,


Crollius, Hartman Scroder & Tibaut &c. ; and
for Improvem" of Lands & Gardens Blith & Smith,
Systema Agriculturae, English and French Gardener.
For Policy, above all Books, the Bible, that is,
the old Testam' writings, Thucydes, Tacitus,
Council of Trent, Machieval, Thynanus, Grotius's
Annals. Of our own Country Daniel and Trussel.
S - F - . Bacon Life of H. 7'^ L^' Herbert's H.
S'*" and Cambden Eliz. S"" Thorn. Moor's Utopia.
Nat. Bacon. Hist, of the Gov. of E. Saddler's
Rights of the Kingdom, S" Rob Cotten's Works,
the Pamphlets since the Reformation pro et con.
to be had at the Acorn, in Pauls Yard, to be
bound up together, comprisable in about 6 quarto
vollumes. Rushworths Collections, tho large, are
not unusefull, being particular, and our own History
and the best since 30. w'''' is the chieftest time of
Action. But I will add one more, the English
Memorials, by the Lord Whitlock, a great man, and
who dyed a Confessor to Truth, in w*"'' thy Grand
father is handsomely mentioned.^ Thes for the
main Body of a study will be sufficient and very

There are other Books of use and valluc, as
Selden of Tythes, Tayler's Liberty of Prophesy,
Goodwin's Antiquities, Cave's Primative Christianity,
Morals of the Gentiles, Plutarch, Seneca, Epictetus,
M.A. Antoninus. Also Lives, as Plutarch, Stanly's
of the Philosophers, Lloyd's State Worthys, Clark's
Lives and Winstanley's England's Worthys. There
are 6 or 8. Books publisht by one R. B. as the

1 Probably his great-grandfather, Sir Gervase Clifton. See
Whitlock's "Memorials of the English Affairs," p. 185.


History ot England, S and J surprising Miracles,
Admirable Curiositys & that have profitable
diversion in them. But if I were to beg-in again,
I would buy as I read, or but a few more at least,
and in Reading have a Pencil, and w* is of Instruc-
tion or observable, mark it in the Margent with the
most leading word and collect those memorandums
with their Pages into a clean sheet put into the
Book or a Pocket Book for that purpose, w''*' is the
way to fasten w' one reads and to be master of other
mens sense.

Allways write thy name in the Title Pages, if not
year and cost, that if lent, the Owner may be better
remembred and found. Observe to put down in
a Pocket-Book, for that purpose, all openings of
moment w^*" are usually short, but full and lively ;
for I have few things to remember with more
trouble then forgetting of such irrecoverable
Thoughts and Reflections. I have lost a vollume
of them. They come without toyle or beating
the Brain, therefore the purer, and upon all subjects.
Nature, Grace, and Art. Thou art young, now
is the time and use it to the utmost profit. Oh !
had I thy time in all likelihood to live, w' could
I not do. Therefore, prize thy time. I am now
26 years beyond thy age, and tho I have done
and sufFerd much, I could be a better Husband
of that most precious Jewel. The Lord direct thee
in thy ways, and he will, if thou take him for
thy Guide, and if he be the Guide of thy Youth,
to be sure he will not leave thee in thy old age.
To him I committ thee and to the word of his Grace
with w"^^ is wisdom and a sound understanding that


makes men Gentlemen indeed and accompllsht to
inherit both Worlds, for the Earth is for the Meek,
and Heaven for the Poor and Pure in Heart and

Give my love and respects to thy Mother and
Relations ; all your welfare in the Lord I wish and
am affectionately Thy Cordial friend

W. P.

My dear love salutes friends and J. Gr/ especially.
My indisposition with the toothache obliged me
to use an other hand. Farewell.

1 forgot Law Books, as the Statutes at Large and
abridged — Doctors and Students, Horn's Mirror of
Justice, Cook's Institutes, the Compleat Justice,
Sheriff, Constable & Clark, and of Wills, Godolphin,
Justinians Institutes is an excellent book also.^

^ John Gratton, Quaker preacher of Monyash, Derbyshire;
died 9th of first month 171 1-12, aged sixty-nine.

^ Many of the books recommended by Penn to John Rodes are
still in the library at Barlbrough, and John did not forget to in-
scribe his name in all of them, but not, alas, the " year and cost."

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania and the most
romantic figure in the whole of Quaker history, was born in a
house near the Tower of London in 1644. His father was Admiral
Sir William Penn, a man of wealth and distinction, who was in
great favour at Court, and his conversion to Quaker ideals meant
breaking with all the old friends and the old life — but he never
wavered, and perhaps the happiest of his days were those spent
in the quiet Buckinghamshire home of Isaac Penington, with
Thomas Ellwood and Gulielma Springett, Penington's step-
daughter, who afterwards became his wife.

Despairing of liberty of conscience in England, Penn carried
out the " Holy Experiment," and obtained from the English
Government (instead of a sum of ^i 5,000, which was due to him at
his father's death), a Charter for the ownership of a large tract of


William Penn to Sir John Rodes

To Charles Hartford, Jn'.
For S'' John Rodes.

Lond. 31. 5. 94-

Dear Friend, — With my love to thee and com-
pany ; know by this I had thyn, was glad of your
well fare, and very sorry for my entanglements that
gave so many good desires a dis-apointment. I have
payd so dear for my last Leaveing the town, I finde
my selfe engaged to persue this to a period before
I quit it again. If I can be with you 7'^ night
by flying coach I shall, but to see friends by the
way is impossible. We have managed our after
game the best that was possible, and I hope yet, a
pretty good issue. I received great civilitys and
better truly — from severall, and some rubs, that
are smoothed.

This gave me an opertunity to visit Rochester to
my unspeakable comfort, not only in beholding the
beautifull effects of former services, but an addition
of an other member or two upon this visit, though
they were restless ever since the last we had, that is

country in America, on the banks of the Ohio river and north of
the province of Maryland. This was Pennsylvania, the " Forest of
Penn," and here he chose the site of Philadelphia, the " City of
Brotherly Love." Penn died in England, not in the land of which
he was the governor and which was called after his name, and
he was laid to rest in the quiet burying ground at Jordans, in
Buckinghamshire, by the side of his first wife and his son


D' F'. St' and I, 2 publick meetings on first day,
and one in private with friends, and as oyly an one,
as we have had ma(ny) a day. Also a farewell
pub(lic)k one on 2 day afternoon, and to our souls
content, and came up last night's tyde off boats, and
am through mercy better for it, the numbers, and
their seriousness and tenderness are hardly to be
exprest for the place. So the Lord be with us all,
and keep us low, and tender and steadfast in his
precious Truth in which I salute you and desire thy
encrease, being thy very true Friend

W. P.

My love to all Friends as is named. 1 am even
with you for bad writeing.

William Penn to John Gratton

To William Storr in Chesterfield

for J. Gratton Darbyshire.

Lond. 21.6. 95.

D** John, — My unfeined dear love salutes and
embraces thee. Know, I had both thy dear letters
at my Comeing to Town, and still hold my resolu-
tion, if the Lord will, in a month or 6 weeks, if (1)
can, and 1 hope by that time to be at liberty. My
way will be from Bucks to Northampton and so the
road to Nots, of which may inform thee. I rejoyce
thou art better. If thou canst drink Garlick boyled

^ P'rancis Stamper, Quaker preacher, of the parish of St.
Edmund the King and Martyr, Lombard Street, London ; died
1698, and was buried in Bunhill Fields.


in milk, or an handfull of Ivory shaveings — boyled
in clear whit wine posset, drink it, and, then drink
the posset drink (a pint). I hope thy Jaundice will
be cured. So with my dear love to thee, thyn and
Friends, I close, v/ith deep owings of thy dear love,
and prayers for thy preservation I am Thy assured
friend W. P.

D'" John, the expectations of people are great and
my abasement instead of exaltation and pray that
God may help and defend, and carry through, it
is my peculier trial and travail I am sure.

For S' John Rodes

At Balbrough.

Brist. 27. 5. 97.

Dear Friend, — Many carefull thoughts has the
love of God filled my heart with for thy preservation,
praying fervently that strength, and powr, and love,
may attend thee, to encourage thee in thy obedience
and service to and for the Truth, which shall prevaile,
and does in divers parts, abundantly, blessed be the
Lord, many being enclined and some added, and
those of good note among men and many are ripe
unto harvest. And Dear John, I have often be-
grug'ed thee thy unactive life. The proverb is
wise : Use leggs and have them. Gett abroad, and
mix with liveing friends and thou will feel an en-
crease in thy bosome, and it will engage thee more
in an universall spirit and generall service. The
Lord that found thee out and called thee, intended
thee other work than to spend thy youth, the cream
of thy time, in a retired unconcerned silence. It


- '^^^ —




^/X^ X^^>^- -^^:^^


does not fill up thy caling nor quality. Thy out-
ward Character, as a man, and thy service in the
Church are at too great a disproportion, We have
bitter adversarys, and want helpers : It were a fine
Introduction for thee, many friends would be glad
of thy company in their travails. I can say It was
my delight, and I thought it my honour to be
admitted to such fellowship and service, and so will
that eye and minde that sees and Judges right. It
has been often in my heart to visit thee, and I embrace
this season, tho otherwise much prest in service and
business. Pray give thy Mother and the Doctor^
my Salutes. The Lord engage you all with an ever-
lasting obligation, that your portion may be with the
redeemed of the Lord for ever, amen. I am Thy
assured and affect. Friend

Wm. Penn.

To Samel Allen in

For J. Gratton Darbyshirc

Lond. 5th mo. 99.

Dear John, — I can easily pass by thy reproofs, be-
cause they come from love, but I have forgot myself
much if I writt not to thee long since, directed to
Jos. Storr for thee at Moniash. However, my love
is, as it should be, very dearly to thee in the abide-
ing truth, where it lives and springs to all Gods

' Dr. Gilbert Healhcole, of Cutthorpc, Chesterfield, who had
married Frances Rodes, Sir John's sister. He was the son of
George Heathcote, of Cutthorpe, and Lydia, sister of Cornelius
Clarke, of Norton Hall, who built and endowed the first dissenting
chapel in Chesterfield.


Heritage every where without Guile ; and in which
the Lord preserve us, and all will do well with us.
Dear John, I remember thee often, and have fellow-
ship with thee and thy Dear wife, and the faithful.
Know my eye is towards America.^ At Bristoll
yearly meeting I hope to be ; but for London, I say
little and hope not, for time speeds, and heats will
come in, and some spirits have enough to tame and

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Online LibrarySophie Felicité (De Rodes) Locker-LampsonA Quaker post-bag; letters to Sir John Rodes of Barlbrough Hall, in the county of Derby, baronet, and to John Gratton of Monyash, 1693-1742; → online text (page 1 of 12)