ID: MARG_297

TitleIrregularities to be reformed in the Island of Mersey 1678
AbstractA note of Irregularities to be reformed in the Island of Mersey in the Countie of Essex 
Transcribed by Sue Howlett from ERO T/B 134/1

[Papers of Henry Compton, Bishop of London  FP Compton  1676-1713, Lambeth Palace Library Mersea, East and West, Essex: 'irregularities to be reformed in the isle of Mersey', including reference to Anabaptists and other sectaries, c.1680 (f.11).]

1. First there is neither Clark nor Sexton in either of the Parishes that will or can performe their office in answering the minister in divine Service nor will soe much as Say Amen to the Prayers & Thanks givings of the Church, but the minister is necesitated to doe all himself.

2. There are none or very few, that will come to the Prayers of the Church in either Parish but goe to meeting houses, or stay at home.

3. Of two hundred & twelve who should have been Communicants in the years 1678 there are but two that received the Communion in West Mersea at Easter & none in the Easter in this yeare 79 [?] there were none that received in the East parish, & but foure in the West, & yet the Churchwardens presentment is Omnia Bene [everything OK].

4. They will never come to prayers on Holy dayes though the minister be there readie to perform his Office.

5. The chiefe of both Parishes are Anabaptists & Sectaries & will not come to Church except it be to [elect?] those officers of the parish on Easter Tuesday & will not come then neither till prayers be ended, & when the minister propounds one to be Church warden they reject him & chose another as they did both the last & this yeare.

6. Divers of them have children not baptised, & when any of these children dye, they will bury them themselves in Consecrated ground without the ministers leave or knowledge.

7. There is one Timothie Kecih [Ketch of West Mersea, 2 hearths 1662] who got his maide wch was never Baptised with childe, & now would have her to be married to him without Licence.

8. There are two children at Phineahs Cookes in West Mersey whose mother having lived about eight years from her husband with him made her selfe away, & these children are not baptised the one being betwene three & foure & the other about five years old.

[NB Phineas Cooke will 1690 - his chief heirs were Philip Cleare and Sandford Cleare, both still under age MARG_227 ]

9. There is likewise on Robert Bullogne in the East who having married a simple woman to whom he was mistred neglected her & kept Companie with a whore both in the Isle & in Colchester, & afterwardes toke her into his house as his hired servant & soe kept her under his wives nose & his wife being lately dead Keepes the said Sarah Mrs Weame[?] son in his house without Controle the Churchwardens & officers of the parish letting them alone & presenting to the Court omnia Bene, without makyeing the minister acquainted with their presentment.

10. They have got a Custome of late to secure farme houses from the land & soe to make them Cottagy by such means they will pay no Tithes for their houses though they make Ales Houses of them alledging the land doth pay Tithes for them soe doe cheat the Church of her rights.

NB (1) In November of 1532 three Dutch Anabaptists were burned at Colchester,  including the twenty-two year old Peter Franke, 
    (2) In 1698 Celia Fiennes noted that_Colchester was 'a town full of dissenters,  besides Anabaptists and Quakers'

SourceMersea Museum