Barrowists were the followers
of the basic teachings of
Barrowism was formulated by its
two principal divines:
The early English Separatists of the late 16th century were those
who separated themselves from the Church of England. A radical group named after
The early Separatist considered the Barrowist to be quite radical in their day. The early Separatists rejected the Roman church, and its offspring, i.e. the Church of England as being corrupted. They rejected their church administration but not their sacraments, and by extension their own baptisms, not all were beyond redemption.
A more radical theology of separation as voiced by Barrow had a different vision of a "true Church" of God, uncorrupted, and untainted from any lingering traits of Catholicism, the great corrupter of Christianity. Based on New Testament readings, the Radical Reformation groups often called Anabaptists embraced many of these same basic tenets. Later separatist groups that came to the same conclusions and embraced various aspects of these tenets were often labelled as "Anabaptists" by their critics.
Barrow claimed that the Church of England had been tainted by Catholicism, and was therefore beyond any hope of redemption. Barrow preached a total separation from, and a rejection of the "corrupted" churches. All of their clergy and its sacraments were held to be invalid, nor had they any true religion. Infant baptism by the Church was rejected. A Church structure which places layers of authority between the congregation and its ministers were rejected, i.e. a national church structure with bishops, for example.
The use of written public services such as the Book of Common Prayer used by the Church of England were rejected. A "New Testament" oriented service was to be embraced by "true churches". Barrow wanted "to reduce all things and actions to the true ancient and primitive pattern of God's word".
Contact by members with the "corrupted" church and its membership was to be avoided at all costs. Excommunication was the reward for those offenders that fraternized.
True religion for the Barrowist could only be fostered in a new Church structure outside of the control of the State or any other external church authority. Total authority was to be given to each congregation to govern themselves as independent religious bodies. The election of its ministers would rest in the hands of the membership of each individual congregation.
The administration of the congregation was in turn delegated to its elected spiritual representatives: the Pastor, the Elders who assumed the day to day duties to serve their congregation. The actual limits of this authority by the Pastor and Elders was not well defined. It was this unclear division of authority that would later result in problems with some of its later congregations.
Additional offices might include a Teacher, Deacons or Deaconess who would minister to the public needs of members of the congregation. These individuals took great pride and dedication in ministering to the needs of their congregation. Barrowists and the earlier Brownists used the same general congregational polity.
Barrowists may share many outward formats with the earlier Brownists, but were different under the skin. Both Barrow and Greenwood rejected any relationship with or influence from Brownist theology. Some might call the Barrowists a more radical theology in Brownist cloths.
Henry Barrow-John Greenwood
Henry Barrow came from an old and privileged family. Barrow matriculated from Clare Hall (Cambridge) in Nov. 1566. He received a B A. ca. 1569-70 during the lectureships of Dr. Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603), a prominent theologian, on the Acts of the Apostles (Bible), and the history of the early Church.
Barrow was an attorney by profession, and a member of Grey's Inn (London) in 1576. Barrow may not have been very active in his profession. He had a reputation as a high roller at Court. He became converted to a strict Puritan during 1580.
Greenwood came to London as chaplain
to the family of Lord
Barrow became associated with the younger Greenwood and his small London congregation as an occasional visitor between 1585-87. A friendship developed between the two men. Barrow was coming to the attention of the Church authorities for his dissident religious writings.
Henry Barrow probably had been influenced by other radical influences before meeting Greenwood. Barrow was an active writer before being arrested in October 1587. Many see a more radical tenor in Barrows' writings than Greenwoods'.
Greenwood's illegal congregation was discovered by church authorities on 8 October 1587. Greenwood and members of his congregation were arrested and sent to the Clink (Prison) in Southwark (London). The remainder of the congregation would continue without its pastor.
Some members of Greenwood's original "Ancient Church" congregation
had been associated with Robert Browne's Separatist congregation in
Holland. What relationship if any that might have existed between
Greenwood's congregation, and
Barrow was charged with seditious writings, and his Congregational doctrines. Barrow would be held in prison without any warrants until his death. He was being questioned on a regular basis by Church authorities. From 1587-1593, Barrow was basically held as an enemy of the Church and State.
From their jail cells, Greenwood and Barrow were not totally silent. Jailed members of Greenwood's congregation assisted in the preparation of their manuscripts while they were being held in prison. A small publishing house functioned in their prison.
few of their manuscripts were smuggled out of England to Holland for publication.
Francis Johnson (1562-1617)
In 1590, Johnson was allowed to leave England and to secured a position at the pro-puritan Gasthuis Kerk in Middleburg, Zeeland (Holland) as a minister to the local English nationals. Johnson would take on an additional activity in assisting the local and English authorities in Holland in the searching out of, and the confiscation of banned literature.
One such banned work was: A Plaine Refutation of the claims of the establishment (1591) by Barrow and Greenwood. Johnson helped with the confiscation, but keep two copies of the banned work. He kept one for himself and he gave the other to a friend. After Johnson read the banned work, he wanted to meet the authors. Johnson then travelled to London to that end.
Johnson meet with Greenwood, and Barrow while they were imprisoned in the Fleet (Prison) during July-September of 1592. After their meetings, Johnson decided to embrace Barrowism. Johnson may have been acquainted with Greenwood while they were at Cambridge. Johnson left his well paying position in Holland and returned to London.
From 1587-92, the remainder of Greenwood's original
London congregation was still without a pastor. In July 1592, Greenwood
with a few other members of that congregation were released by the Courts
on bail into the custody of responsible citizens. Greenwood was released into
the custody of
Johnson-Greenwood Congregation (London)
In September 1592, a new congregation
was being organized around
This congregation or conventicle continually moved about the London area meeting in private homes, or in rural areas to elude the ever watchful eyes of the church authorities. It was still a crime to conduct religious services not sanctioned by the Church of England. They did not want to repeat the mistake that had happened to Greenwood's original congregation.
In early October 1592,
In October 1592,
John Greenwood, Francis Johnson
with other Barrowists members were arrested in London early on 6 December 1592 by the authorities. Barrow was still being
held in Fleet Prison (London).
On 16 February 1593,
The Rippon incident became a cause celebre for the London authorities. Government agents were dispatched to find and detain all the individuals involved with or connected with the Rippon incident. Officials were greatly disturbed by the display of public dissidence in the streets of London.
On 4 March 1593, the residual of Johnson's congregation some fifty-six members were discovered and arrested near the gravel-pits at Islington (London) where they often congregated. Penry with a few others were able to make their escape from the authorities. On 14 March 1593, Penry had made his way as far as Reading.
During the month of March 1593 most of the imprisoned Barrowists were being examined by the Church authorities. Between 11-20 March 1593 both Barrow and Greenwood were examined by the authorities. Greenwood was tried on 21-23 March 1593 at the Newgate Sessions and was sentenced to death but he was reprieved. Barrow was tried on 23 March and sentenced to death and was reprieved. On 31 March both Barrow and Greenwood were sentenced and were again reprieved. Family influences were still stalling the rush to judgment by the Church authorities.
Barrow wrote a number of letters during his last two weeks in prison still seeking intercession on his behalf from influential individuals including this kin, Lord Burghley without success. His family connections were proving of little value against the determination of the Church authorities.
In a last final effort, Barrow sent a letter on 4-5 April to a kinswoman at Court, Anne (Russell) Dudley, Countess of Warwick, Lady-in-Waiting to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, asking for her good offices and the possibly intercession from the Queen. Questions have been raised about the disposition of this particular letter during those last few days before 6 April.
Barrow and Greenwood were hung together at Tyburn on 6 April 1593 for sedition, not as heretics. On 10 April 1593, only four days after the hanging of Barrow and Greenwood, the Statute of 35 Elizabeth, Chapter I was issued by the Queen. It provided for the banishment of nonconformists rather than the use of execution. Was this meant to have been the assistance requested by Barrow from his letter to Queen Elizabeth that came too late?
Charges have been made that the Church authorities and Archbishop Whitgift may have deliberately expedited the final execution proceedings to forestall any additional reprieves or intercessions on the behalf of Barrow and Greenwood. The Church authorities were determined to remove two major radical threats to the nation at any price. Having held Barrow in prison without warrants does indicates a certain attitude.
What a difference a few days might have made. Why did it take some five days to send a letter from the Fleet Prison (London) to Court and back again is a question often asked. This was a distance of only a few miles.
John Penry (1563-1593)
John Penry now in hiding was also on the Archbishop's
most wanted list.
Penry was a friend and companion
The Martin Marprelate Tracts (1588-89) were seven scathing satires issued against the clergy and the Church of England. They were seeking reforms within the Church based on the Puritan ideal of a new learned ministry. Unfortunately the tracts became a public cause celebre against the writers rather than as a positive message of support for their message. They became major political and religious dissident publications of the period. The search for its author(s) was a major undertaking of the agents of the government. Penry was thought to be a possible author of some of the tracts.
These tracts were erroneously
attributed to Henry Barrow, and others during their
lifetime. The question of authorship was a major issue for the Church of England. [Ed. note: The true nature of the Marprelate Tracts
authorship was not fully established until the published research of the well
known Elizabethan scholar Dr.
After Penry's arrest, numerous examinations and arraignments followed. Penry was hanged on 29 May 1593 at St. Thomas-a-Watering on the old Kent Road in Southwark (London). This site had been a pilgrim stop in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. With Penry's' execution, three major Barrowist had been martyred under the authority of the Church of England in two months
Johnson's London Congregation in Prison
Francis Johnson, and some fifty-six members of his Barrowist congregation found at the gravel pits of Islington (London) would remain in Fleet Prison until early in 1597. Francis Johnson was not charged under Statute of 35 Elizabeth, Chapter I, so he would remain in prison. The Church was still wary of a possible growing Barrowist threat.
Some of the Barrowists still
being held in prison included:
One of the Johnson congregational
members still at liberty was a Mrs.
In 1594 while still in Fleet prison, Francis Johnson married the widow Boyes under what was known as the "Liberty of the Fleet", a Crown holding. The "marriage" was done against the recommendations of his brother George and other members of the congregation. The new Mrs. Francis Johnson was at liberty to come and go at will.
In February 1597, a few of the jailed members of the Johnson congregation were released from prison. Those who were released were pointedly encouraged to leave England quickly by the authorities. They were encouraged to followed the example of the earlier congregation members in 1593 and departed for Holland.
The English government was starting to have second thoughts about keeping the Barrowist leadership locked up in prison. The Statute of 35 Elizabeth, Chapter 1 (10 April 1593) had provided for the possible banishment of nonconformists. This was now being considered as a viable option to prison time.
The Crown was considering the possibility of establishing an English colony on Rainea Island, the St. Lawrence River, Newfoundland. This could be a double blessing for the government by removing the Barrowists leaders and establishing an additional British presence in North America against France in a single move.
Problems did soon developed after their arrival in Newfoundland. Poor weather conditions and navigational problems, problems with local French nationals and the privateers resulted in both ships being lost. After a captured bark was secured by one of the English crews, it was used to return the four Barrowist leaders to the Isle of Wight in September 1597. The bark and the crew sailed off. From there Johnson and the others made their way via London to Holland.
English Exiled Church in Amsterdam
The Exiled English Church in
Amsterdam has its beginning with members of the 1592 London congregation of Francis
Others congregation members were released in the fall of 1597, these made their way to their former congregation members in Holland. They were to settled in the small communities near Campen, Naarden, and later in Amsterdam. They would maintain a viable congregation in waiting for their pastor, Francis Johnson to return.
Francis Ainsworth (1570-1622)
Henry Ainsworth (1570?-1622) was an educated person of obscure background. He may had attended Caius College, Cambridge (1587-91)? By 1593, Ainsworth was working in Amsterdam. He may have become acquainted with the waiting Barrowist congregation before Sept. 1597.
was active in the Amsterdam congregation before Francis Johnson returned.
By October 1597
Henry Barrow had died a wealthy man. There is good reason to believe that Barrow being a member of the legal profession may have directed some part of his estate to made provisions for Francis Johnson, or other Barrowist congregations. The building of the original meeting house of Johnson's Amsterdam congregation, and its later subsequent replacement unit may have been financed by the Estate of Henry Barrow.
Unfortunately for Francis Johnson, the old allegations concerning his wife Mrs. Francis Boyes-Johnson were again being raised by his own brother George and others in the congregation. By 1602, Henry Ainsworth was acting as the Teacher to his congregation. Ainsworth is reported to have tried to be mediate in the dispute between the two brothers over Mrs. Francis Johnson without success. The Johnson's father even came from England to help the situation between his two sons without success.
The manner in which George Johnson (1564-1605) was treated by his brother Francis and the other Amsterdam elders in 1603 left lingering concerns within the congregation that would manifest themselves later. The nature of the authority exercised by the Elders and the Pastor within the congregation would become a major issue later, but for now the incident was over. These incidents may have contributed to the eventual division between Francis Johnson, pastor, and Henry Ainsworth, Teacher.
In 1608, Johnson's Amsterdam congregation was invaded briefly by an influx of another Barrowist congregation from Gainsborough-on-Trent, under the leadership of John Smyth, a former clergyman and university friend of Johnson. Smyth was the other half of the original Gainsborough-Scrooby Congregation under Richard Clyfton (d. 1616). The Scrooby group was still heading for Holland during 1608-09. The Scrooby Congregation was expected to arrive shortly, but would run into problems leaving England which was illegal.
Between 1605-07 Clifton had attempted to establish an Independent or Separatist congregation in the Gainsborough area. By 1607, the nucleus of a small conventicle was established under Clyfton at Gainsborough-on-Trent. This congregation may have been established along moderate congregational leanings as a Brownist or Barrowist. We know they used the church offices of: Pastor, Teacher, Elders, and Deacons.
William Brewster (1590-1657)
The Gainsborough-on-Trent congregation grew quickly
and was soon divided for security reasons. A portion was moved to
the small community of Scrooby some ten miles west of Gainsborough.
Important in this decision was the personage of
The Scrooby congregation in
1607 included a number of future individuals prominent in English
and American religious history.
After 1587, Brewster seems to have "retired to the country" being the area around Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, on the road between Doncaster and Tuxford. It is most likely that Brewster came from the area, and may have returned for business opportunities. There are indications that a growing interest in religious matters were taking up more of his time.
By 1594 Brewster was the Keeper of the Post Office at the village of Scrooby (1590-1608), a position which his father had formerly held. He was also the Bailiff to the Archbishop of York and the tenant of the old Scrooby Manor House, a former residence of the Archbishop. The later became the congregational meeting house used by Richard Clyfton (d. 1616).
Other separatists associated
with this congregation were:
John Smyth (1570?-1612) and the Baptist Connection
A decision was soon made to move both congregations to Holland for safety. The Gainsborough Congregation under Smyth and Helwys would depart first, and the Scrooby congregation would follow shortly later.
John Smyth and Helwys with their flock arrived in Holland during April 1608. The crossing did not go well, and many in the congregation were very ill. Smyth and the Gainsborough congregation promptly headed to Amsterdam. Smyth hoped to establish intercommunion with the Exiled English Church, Barrowists, under Francis Johnson (1562-1617), an old college friend of Smyth.
John Smyth began to express this own theological opinions soon after joining with the Johnson's congregation in Amsterdam. Smyth had his own opinions on how to run a Barrowist congregation. Francis Johnson objected to Smyth causing dissent within this own congregation.
Francis Johnson had been an early
Barrowist and a close friend of John Greenwood and
The Scrooby congregation had problems while trying to leave England. Their initial attempt resulted in arrest and jail after being reported by their ship captain. The second attempt resulted in many of the male members being arrested and placed in the Boston Jail while the remainder sailed off for Holland.
Some 125 members
did arrive in Amsterdam during 1608 in dribbles and drabs, and by
late 1608 most of the Scrooby congregation had arrived. The Scrooby
congregation was now under the pastorship of
There was a period during late 1608 and the early part of 1609 when John Smyth and the Gainsborough congregation, John Robinson and the Scrooby congregations worshiped together alongside Francis Johnson and his Amsterdam congregation under one roof. This situation would not last for long.
To this end, Robinson sought out and requested residency in the nearby University City of Leyden from its City Council in April 1609. By June of 1609, John Robinson and most of his congregation were residing in Leyden. Richard Clyfton (d.1616), its former pastor had decided to remain behind in Amsterdam with Francis Johnson and his congregation.
Relations in Amsterdam between Francis Johnson (1562-1617) and John Smyth declined after Robinson's departure. Smyth was now questioning the basic Barrowist congregational structure in Amsterdam and its authority. Richard Clifton (d.1616) the founder of the original Gainsborough-Scrooby congregation had denounced John Smyth and his radical new policies.
Smyth had made himself an unwelcome guest and trouble for Francis Johnson. Johnson's English Exiled Church in Amsterdam withdrew itself from communion with John Smyth and his Gainsborough congregation during late 1609-1610, and was asked to leave town.
Second English Exiled Church in Amsterdam
Smyth was still in the process of rethinking his own religious values while in Amsterdam. Smyth began to rethink the subject of a valid baptism, a major theological issue for many. Smyth had rejected his own baptism from the Church of England as had other later English Separatists as invalid. After some soul searching Smyth had decided to baptized himself from a basin. This single act caused much controversy within and without the religious community in Europe and England. Smyth was soon being called the Se-Baptist, or Self Baptizer.
Smyth soon rejected his recent self-baptism. Smyth was now looking for a "true church" to administer his valid baptism. Smyth was expanding his religious values, he was becoming interested in the local Dutch Waterlanders, a Mennonite sect, and their theology.
In 1609 a Waterlander Confession of Faith was presented to Smyth by Hans de Ries and Lubbert Gerrits, local Mennonite ministers. After having embraced their theology of believer's baptism and immersion, Smyth was baptized by them. Smyth in turn baptized Helwys, and all the members of his own congregation by immersion as "believer's baptism". The Waterlanders also supported pro-Arminian "universal salvation" and "free will" (i.e. anti-Calvinism) tenets.
Smyth and his associated congregations may be broken down into three basic groups: (1) the pro-Memmonite leaning group under Smyth; (2) Helwys and his Scrooby congregation and the anti-Mennonite; and (3)Leonard Busher (1571-??) with his own smaller following.
Helwys and his remaining Scrooby congregation had become influenced by aspects of Smyth's and his Mennonite theology and "free will" ideas. Helwys rejected various aspects of the Mennonite Confession of Faith. They had embraced adult or believer's baptism and immersion. Helwys had assumed the working leadership of the Gainsborough congregation after Smyth's excommunication during 1610.
John Robinson and his congregation having settled in Leyden had maintained their distance from Smyth and Johnson and their disagreements. Robinson's own theology was probably a more moderate point of view and was considered to be more tolerant than Francis Johnson. Smyth's more radical theological views had little impact on Robinson and his community in Leiden. Calvinism was still a major tenet of the Leiden congregation.
Leonard Busher and his small congregation would appear to had remained behind in Holland. Early tradition attributed a migration to London about the same time as Helwys departure.
Helwys had decided to move his Scrooby congregation back to England as a statement of their faith. By 1611, Helwys and his congregation were established just outside of the old London City walls at Spitalfields.
John Smyth had a dissident journey from Calvinism, to separatism, to Barrowism, to Arminianism, to the Mennonites. Along the way he had developed a new concept of Christian polity which would developed under Thomas Helwys. Smyth was well respected in Amsterdam and was buried with honors in the Neue Kerk (New Church) on 1 September 1612.
Johnson-Ainsworth Amsterdam Congregations
John Smyth's arrival in Amsterdam in 1608 had short term and long term effects for Francis Johnson (1562-1617), and his Barrowist congregation. Smyth had disrupted Johnson's congregation, and he left as an unwanted guest during 1609-1610 only to establish his own congregation in Amsterdam.
Smyth questioned traditional Barrowist tenets, and added pro-Arminian leanings. Smyth's dissident views may have influenced a number of individuals within Johnson's congregation including Henry Ainsworth, its Teacher.
By 1612, there seems
to have been a general falling out within the Amsterdam congregation. The congregation basically divided
between Francis Johnson (1562-1617), its Pastor, and
A principal area of disagreement centered on the question of Pastor and the Elders authority within the congregation. The office of Pastor, Elder and Deacon were a basic tenet of Barrowist congregational polity. George Johnson, brother of Francis, who had been excommunication earlier, had also raised these same questions of restraints on the authority of the Pastor and Elders. John Smyth had raised the questioned of greater congregational authority before his leaving in 1609.
Francis Johnson would argue that the Pastor and the Elders having been elected by the congregation were the custodians of the congregational authority. This had been a basic tenet of Barrowism with little guidelines.
Johnson had been criticized in University for holding pro-presbyterian views. It may be argued that Johnson have expected to have a firm hand of the tiller as the Pastor. Or was Johnson was just practicing what Barrow and Greenwood had preached to him? Johnson represented traditional Barrowism views, and the status-quo.
Ainsworth advocated that all true authority came from the congregation itself and that the Pastor and Elders were only the instruments of that authority, but not the actual authority itself. Ainsworth may have been more disposed to a moderate administrative style from Johnson. Ainsworth came to embraced some non-traditional Barrowist tenets that John Smyth had expounder including "believers baptism" and "free will". Brownist polity historically had treated the relationship between the congregation and the pastor and elders on a more democratic basis than Barrowism.
Johnson had been elected Pastor in Oct. 1593 while in London with John Greenwood as its congregational Teacher, one of the founders of their faith. Francis Johnson as Pastor and Studley his Elders argued for the status-quo. Johnson argued that the Pastor's authority had come from the congregation having been duly elected to their respective offices. Until now their decisions and authority had been upheld by the congregation.
Francis Johnson and his Elders had been criticized by some for being too authoritarian. The exact nature of the historic authority exercised by the Pastor and Elders would seem to be somewhat vague or open-ended. Some members might grumble or criticize, but in the majority Johnson's decisions were accepted by the congregation.
Added to these
concerns were the additional problems that developed with
Studley had been criticized as a trouble maker and charged with a number of moral offenses. He was defended by Richard Clifton (d.1616), the former Pastor of Gainsborough-on-Trent Congregation in his work: An Advertisement Concerning a Book Lately Published by C. Lawne and others, against the English Exiled Church in Amsterdam (1613), but eventually Studley was excommunicated.
This question over
authority resulted in a division of Francis Johnson's
original Amsterdam congregation into two separate
congregations in 1612. One faction supporting
A dispute over the ownership of the congregational Meeting Hall developed. Both groups claimed ownership of the property. Henry Barrow's estate had helped to supported the construction of the original Amsterdam congregation and the rebuilding of the old Meeting Hall. After a contentious legal proceeding before the local courts, the Ainsworth faction was finally given possession by the local Leyden courts.
Ainsworth had represented his faction to the Dutch Court as the true version of the original Barrowist congregation. This was a strange argument since Francis Johnson was the original Pastor of the London Johnson-Greenwood Barrowist congregation in 1593.
Johnson was criticized as holding pro-Presbyterian views which had been also alleged while he was at Cambridge. Ainsworth for his part was characterized as being an Arminian who practiced free-will and "believers baptism". In the end, the Dutch Court found in favor of Ainsworth and against Johnson.
By 1613, Amsterdam had became too small for these two distrustful Barrowist congregations to reside side by side. Johnson and his remaining congregation had decided to move from Amsterdam. They found a new home at Emden in East Friesland, a seaport city some fifty miles North East of Amsterdam.
N[icholas?] Lee (1619-1621)There are reports that Sabine Staresmore (fl. 1616-1647) came into contact with a remnant of a London Barrowist congregation may have been active during the period between 1619-1621. The congregation was under the leadership of a N[icholas?] Lee, identity uncertain. Staresmore was a member of the Henry Jacobs congregation that seperated in 1630, and was associated with John Robinson's Leiden congregation in 1618, and became a printer in Amsterdam. Information on the congregation after 1621 is uncertain .
Ainsworth-Canne Congregation (Amsterdam)
After the departure of Francis Johnson from Amsterdam, Henry Ainsworth establish a prosperous independent congregation in Amsterdam. He practiced a more moderate version of Barrowism from Francis Johnson more in the tradition of John Robinson in Leyden and incorporating some of John Smyth's policies.
Ainsworth was well respected in Amsterdam, and devoted a large portion of his remaining years to the writing of books, papers on theology and the works of the Bible. Over twenty volumes have been attributed to Ainsworth between 1612-20.
rift between Johnson and Ainsworth was never really mended under Ainsworth. With
the death of
Canne became the new pastor of Ainsworth's' Amsterdam congregation. He was to remained for the next seventeen years as its pastor (1623-40). Canne may had attempted to reconcile relations with Johnson's former congregation at Emden.
During his ministry in Amsterdam, John Canne became an active writer of some note, and had some success as a printer. Canne may have had access to some of Ainsworth's earlier writings. Canne visited England for a short period during 1640.
Canne returned to Amsterdam and remained there from 1640-47. Canne published a new translation of the Bible (1647) which was rather popular and appeared in many editions. The status of Canne's Amsterdam congregation after he left in 1647 is uncertain.
John Canne in England
Canne returned to England and arrived at Hull during 1649-50. Here Canne continued to write and publisher books especially versions of his Bible (1647) for which he was granted special rights.
John Canne became chaplain to
Canne suffered a great personal
tragedy during 1656-57. His young daughter and his wife both died
in fires. He may have been become distraught and seems to have become involved with
the radical sect the Fifth Monarchy Men during
1657. He developed a certain notoriety and was later banished from Hull
over disagreements with another prominent local puritan,
John Canne resettled to London in 1657 where he published his work: The Time of the End ... (1657) a pro-Fifth Monarchy Men statement. He embraced the sect, and became identified with them until 1559/60. He was arrested and than released for preaching in a London church in 1658. Records of his life in England between 1659-1664 is uncertain.
John Canne returned to Amsterdam by 1664. There he started a new family and a new life around his book business. Canne died there in 1667?
English Exiled Church at Emden
By 1613, Francis Johnson and the remainder of his Amsterdam congregation had made a decision to relocate. They chose the seaport community of Emden in East Friesland as the location.
Emden was an early stronghold
Emden (modern Germany) was a seaport community at the mouth of the Ems River, and a Free City (1595). The city was located some 50 miles NE of Amsterdam on the North coast on the Dollart (River).
The congregation continued under Francis Johnson until his death in 1617. There are some indications that the Emden congregation may have continued there into the 1630's. There are indications that some of Johnson's congregation may have returned to Amsterdam and joined the Reformed congregations of that city.
There are indications that an olive branch may have been offered by Ainsworth to Johnson in Emden at one time without much results. Canne also attempted to reconcile relations with the Emden congregation during his tenure.
English Exiled Church at Leyden
What Robinson found when they finally arrived were ruffled relations between John Smyth and Francis Johnson. All three former English Barrowist congregations worshipped together under the same roof for only a few months. Francis Robinson began to seek out surrounding away from Amsterdam.
Robinson petitioned the City Council of the nearby university city of Leyden (Leiden) in April 1609. They were granted permission in mid-1606 to moved his congregation. Robinson established his own congregation here away from the strife and problems of Amsterdam. They became known as the English Exiled Church in Leyden (1609-1625).
Brewster would established himself as a printer and publisher of books and pamphlets in Leyden. His Barrowist press became very prominent, he published many nonconformist or "banned" texts for the English market. Eventually his press became a political liability, the English authorities eventually drove him and his press underground in the Leyden area.
John Robinson was admitted to the Faculty of Leyden University in 1615. He took advantages of this new relationship and became fully involved in the campus life of the University. His new academic position helped to provided a good financial base for his growing family.
Robinson participated in the University
discussions of the period between the pro-Calvinism professors and the
supporters of the doctrines of the Dutch Reformed theologian,
Leyden searching for a new home
Between 1617-20 there was a growing unrest within the Leyden English congregation. There was a desire especially among the older generation to find a new home on English soil, or to relocate as free Englishmen to a new English homeland beyond the sea.
They were concerned that their children were becoming part of the Dutch community, rather than as Englishmen. There was also a growing fear of a possible coming war with Spain, and attacks on Leyden.
A number of options were discussed in the congregation including possible resettlements in New Amsterdam (New York), Dutch Guiana, and a few others places but these were finally dismissed. The congregation decided to partition the English Crown for a charter to establish an English colony in the New World on English soil. There was some concerns about approaching the government of King James that had forced them to leave England for Holland.
William Brewster had maintained
his political and government contacts in England during his period of service with
A document was drafted by John Robinson, William Brewster, and others in 1617 outlining their current theological positions in an attempt to blight the possible fears of the London-Virginia Company concerning the Leyden congregation theological beliefs. The document Seven Articles (1618) outlined a church theology somewhat similar to the French Reformed Church (Huguenots). There were indication that some French Huguenots may had already become members of Robinson's congregation in Leyden.
An attempt was made to approached the Virginia Company London for a patent of land to establish a colony in the New World. They were to secure a charter in 1619 from the London Company. Problems developed and the charter was not offered to the Barrowists at Leiden.
In 1620 a group of London merchants, or venture capitalists gave their financial backing for the project with the political assistance by Brewster from his old friend Sir Edwyn Sandys. A joint stock company for seven years was to be formed by these backers. This financial backing helped to secure a charter from the London Company for a track of land at the mouth of the Hudson River. The Leyden congregation purchased a vessel for its members, the Speedwell (Ship) in anticipation for their voyage to England, and on to the New World.
The officials of the Virginia Company were contacted and their preparations for getting underway were begun. One Hundred and twenty members of the Leyden Barrowist congregation under the spiritual leadership of William Brewster as Elder were to set sail on July 1620 from Holland on the Speedwell (Ship) bound for Plymouth, England. In Plymouth, they would meet the London Company representatives, and their sister ship the Mayflower (Ship) that would transport the employees of the London Company to establish their trading post.
Mayflower (Ship) and the New World
When the Leiden Barrowists arrived at Plymouth (England), the Barrowists were welcomed by the local church and its congregation. Before the ships set sail a number of disagreement ensued between the representatives of the London Company and the Leiden colonists.
Some of the Lonon Company representatives were not above making a profit off the colonists in Plymouth. Many of the colonists came into disagreement with the London Company employees on the Mayflower. Things were so bad that neither party could reach any agreement with the other. This was the status of their relationship with the two ships when they set sail.
Both the Mayflower (Ship), and the Speedwell (Ship) set sail from Plymouth (England) on 5 August 1620. Problems developed on the Speedwell (Ship) after a week at sea, they were forced to returned to Dartmouth Harbor (Devon). After repairs to the Speedwell (Ship), they set sail again for America. In a few days they had to returned to Plymouth for additional repairs to the Speedwell (Ship).
After a month of repairs, a decision was made to abandoned the Speedwell (Ship), and everyone was re-boarded onto the London Company's ship Mayflower (Ship) along with all of the Speedwell's goods. The Mayflower (Ship) now carried all the employees and goods of the London Company who would establish a working plantation, and the Leiden colonists. The Mayflower (Ship) was not designed for its new cargo, but they finally set sail from Plymouth on 6 Sept. 1620.
The sea voyage was very hard on the 102 Leiden passengers, the London Company employees and the crew of the Mayflower (Ship) that had set sail from England. The Mayflower (Ship) was very crowded, and conditions only got worse over time. The conditions on board ship were very harsh, many were sea sick and some died from scurvy while at sea. The original voyage was conceived for two ships not just one.
The Mayflower (Ship) landed off Martha's Vineyard (modern Massachusetts). This location was considerably North of the original London Company land grant. The captain of the Mayflower (Ship) who was very familiar with the local waters but lingered off Cape Cod while the colonists reconnoitered the area.After an encounter with the local Indians, they set sail for the Cape Cod area. The Mayflower (Ship) and its company did not sail South towards the original colony site of the colony.
There seems to have been a fair amount of confusion when the Mayflower (Ship) set anchor off modern Cape Cod. There were growing concerns about the food supply and securing good winter shelter. Some wanted to explore the local area which to those ends was done. Winter was starting to set in and a suitable location had not been found to establish a winter home. There was disagreement in the company on whether to find a better sheltered site, or to return to England.
The Barrowists nor the London Company members had no legal claim to the land that they now occupied. Out of this general confusion a committee was formed to discuss their situation. Some wanted to continue south to their official location, some wanted to return to England. They held a meeting to discussed their options and opinions. They voted that they would stay and find a suitable site nearby to establish their new colony. And a new charter was drawn by the company to that end.
The Mayflower Compact as it became known was drafted and signed on 11 November 1620 as a legal document stating the aims of the company and their desires to establish a legal colony in the New World. It was signed by all of the male members of the company. An elected government was formed under the former deacon John Carver (d. 1621), as its first elected Governor.
New Plymouth Colony
While searching the area for a suitable location, one of the ship's crew led them to a site known to him as Plymouth. It was originally discovered by Captain John Smith in 1614. On 15 Dec. 1620 the Mayflower (Ship) dropped its anchor in what was to become known as Plymouth Bay for the winter of 1620-21. In retrospect, there were better locations available to the colonists to the North, and South of Cape Cod in 1620.
The winter of 1620-21 was long and bitter. The Barrowists with its one hundred or so odd souls were not adequately prepared or properly provisioned for a harsh Cape Cod winter. It would take its toll on the entire colony.
The lack of any proper shelter on shore or onboard, inadequate supplies and clothing, a lack of basic knowledge of the area and its agriculture did not bode well for the community. Unknown to the colonists, there camp site suffered from disease. The women and their children suffered the most. There were also concerns about the local native tribes. Only fifty-four members of the original one hundred and two members that set sail on the Mayflower (Ship) actually survived the sea voyage and the first winter at New Plymouth.
On 5 April 1621 the Mayflower (Ship) set sail bound for England. It arrived there on 6 May 1621.The ship was in poor condition and was later salvaged for its lumber. The ship's hole was also empty of any goods for the London Company.
Robert Cushman, a member of the congregation and one of the representative to the London Company, left England in July 1621 on the Fortune (Ship) with another fifty-five Barrowists mostly from Leyden. They were looking forward to settling at New Plymouth with their friends and relatives. Cushman carried with him letters of concern from the stock holding company to the Barrowist Colony.
The merchant stockholders were anxious to see some tangible financial return on their investment from the colony. Cushman returned to England with a shipload of trade goods and other commodities in 1621. Unfortunately the Fortune (Ship) was captured by French pirates on its homeward journey, after which the crew and passengers were released.
Over the next five years (1621-26) various groups and individuals would arrive at New Plymouth, some stayed and others moved on to other colonies. New Plymouth grew and prospered in the proceedings years, and helped to spread its form of Congregationalism to other English settlements in the New World. Whether described as Barrowism or Congregationalism the influences of John Robinson and William Brewster of Leyden (Holland) are apparent.
John Robinson was buried in the Pieterskerk (Leyden) in 1625 never having reached the New World. The funeral was well attended by members of the University and the community in Leyden. The location of his burial attests to the respect in which he was held in Leyden.
A small congregation of mostly
the elderly membership remained behind in Leyden rather than attempt the
voyage. Eventually most of these including Mrs. John Robinson were
to join the local Reformed Church. Both
Barrowist congregations were not necessarily straight laced or limited in their expression of concern for others. The amount of congregational authority exercised by their respective Minister and Elders could vary. Pastors such as Francis Johnson, and John Smyth may have wanted a firm hand at the tiller but could vary in their level of toleration. John Robinson, Brewster, Ainsworth and Canne might hold more moderate and tolerant views. Congregations elected their ministers and elders, they generally got what they wanted.
The exact history of other Barrowist congregations in England after the Greenwood-Johnson congregation, and Canne in the London area is uncertain. The spread of Barrowism in the Lincoln area by the Scrooby or Gainsborough-on-Trent congregations is also uncertain. It would be unreasonable to assume that Barrowism simply died out in England beyond the individuals represented here, or that all English Barrowist in Holland may not have returned back to England to establish new congregations or supplemented those that remained behind.
The doctrine of toleration advocated by some Barrowists in England would have an impact on later Baptist thinking. "The birth of the Separatist idea of religious liberty: the theory of the separated churches". Barrowism would influence the development of Congregationalism in America.
Barrowists and the Pilgrim Fathers
The use of the term "Pilgrim Fathers" in reference to the Mayflower (Ship), Plymouth Rock and the Barrowist congregation at Leyden (Holland) and those that later settled in the New Plymouth Colony dates from 1820. Senator Daniel Webster, a famous American orator, he coined the phrase "Pilgrim Fathers" at a Bicentennial Celebration of the Landing at Plymouth Rock speech.
The phrase was popularized and has become part of the American tradition. Even the events that pre-date the actual landing of these "Pilgrim Fathers" at "Plymouth Rock" have now been re-translated as Pilgrims not as Barrowists. There is little or no references to those early English dissenters known as Barrowists in this new view of history.
These English Barrowists are remembered now only as the ancestors of Americans that landed at "Plymouth Rock". Pilgrim landmark plaques now dot the English and Dutch countryside in homage to a small group of radical English religious dissenters who have been almost forgotten for who they were rather than where they landed in 1620.