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History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845
By David Douglas, 1846


Broughton - Newcastle - Mr. Turner - Hexham; Mr. Ord. Derwent; Mr. Ward - Disruption of these societies - Reconciliation - Discipline at Hexham - Past British History - Fifth Monarchy - Persecution and Resistance - Their Origin - Retort of Paedobaptist Accusation - Cromwell's Death - Restoration - Breda - Results - Baptists - Bunyan - Venner - J. James - Proscriptions - Plots - Farnly Wood - Muggleswick - Baptists accused by Elrington - John Joplin - Acquitted - Mr. Surtees.

      On the commencement of this new period, we have little light to guide us, for a few years, relative to the progress of the cause at Broughton. At Newcastle also, information fails, for some time, except as incidentally introduced in the history of the cause on the Tyne and Derwent.

      Mr. Gower, Major Hobson, and others connected with the army, disappear. As the Baptists, always, partial to liberty, had been very unequivocal in their expressions of displeasure, under the Protectorate of Cromwell, so the Protector took care to purge the army as much of them, as he had purged the Parliament, at a previous period, of the Presbyterians. Consequently, the garrison of Newcastle, as well as others, would feel the effect of this new arrangement. Whether the above-named gentlemen remained in Newcastle, or retired from it, we have not at present the means of knowing. It is probable, as some had

come from London and the South of England, they might repair thither again ; and some might take up their permanent abode, where a society had heen form- ed under their own guidance, on those principles, which corresponded to their own views of revealed truth. This was probably the case with Mr. Turner, whose name - we find in connexion with the letters sent from the church at Newcastle to the church at Hexham, and afterwards referred to, as the pastor of the church at Newcastle, for a series of years. He is, probably, the same person alluded to, as Captain Turner, in the Hexham records.*

      The church at Hexham, after the resignation of Mr. Tillam, divided into two sections the one on the Tyne, and the other on the Derwent. Two elders had been ordained by Mr. Tillam the one, Mr. Richard Ord, who had, henceforward, the charge of that portion of the church in Hexham and the vicinity of the Tyne; and Mr. John Ward, who had the charge now, and for a long period afterward, of the disciples on "the Derwentwater Side."

      As to Mr. Ord, little is known of him; but from what is known, he appears to have been the steadily-attached friend of Mr. Tillam, who alludes to him in very affectionate terms, in the end of the letter he sent to the church at Hexham, during his journey to London and the south. "Oh how greatly," says he, "have you endeared me, by the faithful affection and tender care of my dear yoakfellow, which is conveyed through mine eye to my hart [sic], by the faithfull penne of my beloved brother Rich.
* In a letter from Mr. Hickhorngill, dated Dalkeith, Mar. 15, 1652-1653, we have the following reference to Capt. Turner, in connexion with Mr. Gower, of Newcastle: "Captaine Turner hath since his last coming changed his judgmt about living uppon ye gospel when maintenance is freely given, and I hope Mr. Gore will shortly be like minded, so that I hope that yon and our brethren will own each other in all Christian fellowship and communion."

Ord, unto whom I return my unfeigned thanks." Mr. Ord never, as far as is known, deserted the cause of Mr. Tillam. He is supposed to have resided at Ardley, and probably was employed in agriculture.

      With regard to Mr. Ward, he seems to have been a native of Muggleswick, the village where Mr. Tillam was so successful in shewing to many the error of in- fant baptism. The name of Ward seems to have been indigenous here, as it has been known since the seventh century. We are unacquainted with the immediate parentage of Mr. Ward, but we are told by tradition, that he was "a skilfull mineralogist." As a man of capacity, he was, probably, employed as an agent in the lead mines, in the neighbourhood of Muggleswick. He appears to have been brought under the influence of religion by Mr. Tillam, and baptized 16th October, 1652, in the twenty-second year of his age, being born in 1630.

      In 1655, Mr. Ward was elected an elder of the church on the Derwent. He was, at this time, only in his twenty-fifth year, but he had qualifications adapted to the important work, as is evident from his success and perseverance, during the long course of sixty-two years. The exercise of Mr. Ward's ministry, even in the time of Mr. Tillam, would, it is probable, be chiefly confined to the friends around the Derwent; it was permanently so afterwards, while at the same time he co-operated with the section of the church on the banks of the Wear.

      Mr. Ward, along with the brethren of the quarter where he resided, at the commencement of the controversy be- tween Mr. Tillam and Mr. Gower, had warmly taken the part of his own minister, but so soon as the church in Coleman-street had withdrawn from him~he and his brethren appear to have done so likewise. The result was, the friends at Hexham withdrew from them, as they

had thus, in a day of trial, deserted their best friend their spiritual Father. For several months there was therefore no communication between them.

      A reconciliation, however, was then attempted at Eadsbridge, near Muggleswick, but at this meeting they could not agree. The friends at Hexham then held a conference with the church at Newcastle. At this meeting, it was decided that messengers should be deputed, to meet the Hexham and Derwent brethren; and endeavour to reconcile them. This meeting proved successful. It is said to have been "held at brother Joplin's, 22d. July, 1656." The deputation, after mutual explanations, declared the conflicting parties to be one body in the Lord. The ringleader, however, of the schism - Mr. S. Anderton, was expelled.

      From the period of the above conference, little is noted regarding the affairs of either section of the church. None appear to have been added during the three following years, but in the end of 1658, one of the members was expelled for marrying an unbeliever, and two were reproved for "going to one of the world's drinkings after a wedding." In the early part of the year 1660, Mr. Anderton was restored, "to the great joy of the church;" two females were added, but the brethren withdrew from one, who did not regard it a duty to devote a seventh part of his time, to the worship and service of God.

      An important crisis in the history of the country in general was now at hand the restoration of the Stuart family to the throne of Britain. This event was big with serious consequences, both to the civil and religious liberties of the empire. During the past twenty years, the great struggle had been enacted between despotism and freedom, prelacy and puritanism, or, in other words, a religion suited to the taste of those who loved tyrannical rule and the uncontrolled indulgence of

heir passions and a religion aiming at purity in heart and life, though clogged with imperfect views of liberty of conscience. In this great struggle, the throne was overturned; Prelacy was banished, as the religion of the state; Presbyterianism, if not fully establish- ed, gained the ascendancy in the country. The Inde- pendents, under the guidance of a few able men, and the countenance of the great leaders in the army and mutilated parliament, had made rapid strides. The Baptists, as we have seen, became numerous, after the death of the King, and in 1653 had arrived at the climax of their success, under the favour of Cromwell; but when he assumed the supreme power of the nation, in his own person, and when some of his former friends, who were Baptists, had distinctly expressed their displeasure at this, seconded by the opinion of the great bulk of the party, he ever afterwards frowned on them. It is true, indeed, that he still continued on terms of peace with those among them that were peaceable and submissive to the government; but as to those who held extreme views of what was termed the fifth monarchy or the reign of Jesus and the saints owing to their turbulent dispositions, he coerced them severely, and imprisoned their leaders.

      It is much to be regretted, that among the Baptists, Independents, and some others at this period, there were some who held the lawfulness of establishing the above view by the sword. The idea savours much more of Judaism than of Christianity, and is akin to the notions of temporal power and earthly grandeur, entertained by the disciples of our Lord, and reproved by him in the person of Peter, when he said, "Get thee behind me Satan, for thou savourest not the things which be of God, but these that be of men."

      It was worldly views of the spiritual religion of the Son of God, that, in the days of Constantino, led to its

incorporation with the Roman State, and which has retained to the present time, that connexion, in the different kingdoms of Europe, into which the empire of Rome finally split. Out of this connexion have proceeded two circumstances which, in their operation, have proved the hane of religion and the great source of calamity to the different nations in Christendom, namely, persecution hy the established, and resistance by the nonconformist party. The Jewish and Roman persecutions of the first Christians; the Romish Inquisition; the Star Chamber, and the High Court of Commission in England, evince the tendencies of establishments to persecution in its more horrid forms: and on the other hand, the rising of the Paulicians in Bulgaria and Thrace, against the bloody persecutions of Theodora the Greek empress, and her successors; the resistance of the Albigenses to Simon de Montford; the opposition to papal tyranny by the Protestants in Germany and the North of Europe; and the resistance of the Huguenots in France, the Puritans in England, and the Covenanters in Scotland, exhibit the disposition to oppose, by unchristian means, on the part of Non-conformists, efforts employed, in an unchristian manner, on the part of. Establishments, either to make men Christians, or to make presumed heretics orthodox believers.

      The conduct of the physical force party among the Millenarians, partook, doubtless, of the same spirit. The doings of Blockhold, at Munster, and of Venner, in London the one a Baptist, and the other a Paedo-baptist - had their origin in a worldly view of Jewish prophecy, respecting the spiritual kingdom of God under the new dispensation. Instead of waiting for the giving of the kingdom to the saints not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord, they thought it their duty to take it immediately by the sword. The idea is, however, opposed to the whole genius of Christianity,

as seen in the benedictions of our Lord on the mount, and his distinct and explicit declaration in the presence of Pilate, that "his kingdom was not of this world, else would his servants fight, that he should not be delivered to the Jews." We should therefore be at a loss to account for the forgetfulness of this, by any believer in Revelation, were we not aware that there is a tendency to evil - to all evil - in the heart of man; and especially to evil, when presented under the very specious form of good. We are also aware, that the prince of darkness, assuming the garb of an angel of light, can throw over men of contracted views and ardent temperament, such a cloudy, but yet seductive perception, that even the most bloody and impure deeds of darkness, may, in their esteem, be surrounded by a kind of sacred halo, when performed in the name of religion.

      As thus, in bygone days, a portion of the evil tendency of our nature has been exhibited, more or less, in the operations of all the different parties professing Christianity: as all with one bright exception, the Friends or Quakers have acted too much like John, when he wished fire to descend from heaven to consume the Samaritans; so no party can, with justice, throw the first stone of innocence against another. Whilst, therefore, our brethren, who hold Paedobaptist sentiments, taunt the Baptists with the rustic war in Germany, because Munzer, a Baptist, was a leader in that movement, and also, with the maniacal disorder of the city of Munster for a brief period, under the insane guidance of some weak and wicked men, that were professedly Baptists; it may not be improper to remind them, that Venner, the wine cooper of London, although associated with some Baptists, was not a Baptist. It may be necessary also to state, that the Baptists are never implicated, in better educated, and more civilized times, in either instigating or forwarding

the infuriated Protestant, riots in London, under Lord George Gordon, in 1780; nor yet, the cowardly, mean, and detestable fury of the orthodox mob of Birmingham, that gutted the house of the Unitarian Dr. Priestley, in 1791. But we must return to our narrative.

      That remarkable man, Oliver Cromwell, reached the end of his eventful career, September 3, 1658. He was succeeded by his son Richard, who soon resigned both the sword and sceptre, that he was equally unable and indisposed to wield. The restored Commonwealth maintained a reeling existence for about a year and a half. At length, through the duplicity and artifice of General Monk, at the head of his small, but well-appointed, and ably-commanded army, it expired; and monarchy again, in the person of Charles the Second, was restored. This took place, 29th May, 1660.

      At Breda, on the 4th of April preceding, Charles had made a declaration in the following terms, "We do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man shall be disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion, which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom." This Jesuitical declaration, in the hands of the premier, the Earl of Clarendon, and his companions and successors in office, both in England and Scotland, was, during the long range of the succeeding eight and twenty years, most appallingly interpreted, by the exhibition of such scenes of proscription and blood, as are scarcely equalled in the history of civilized man.

      All parties met with their full share. The Presbyierians, though ever loyal, were made to feel, in its full weight, after a few hypocritical conferences, that want of toleration which they themselves were so much disposed, in the day of prosperity, to deny to others. The Independents were called also to suffer grievously, in the reaction of impiety, for piety, and of intolerance, for

the comparatively extensive liberty, enjoyed even by tbe Episcopalians, in the time of the Commonwealth.

      It was, doubtless, owing to the ill odour in which the Baptists were ever held, by their fellow Protestants on the Continent and in Britain, at the time of the Reformation, and afterwards, together with the fifth monarchy principles, held by some of the most distinguished among them in England, such as General Harrison and others; and the connexion of many of them with the army of the Commonwealth, as also their numbers throughout the country, and the zeal with which they propagated their views; that they became, on the very year of the Restoration, so obnoxious to the court, and were so severely persecuted.

      One of the first victims of this persecution, was the celebrated John Bunyan. His zeal and popularity were great. As all the acts of the days of the Commonwealth and Protectorate had been declared void, so, on an obsolete statute of Elizabeth, by way of intimidation to others, he was imprisoned on Nov. 12th, 1660. Afterwards he was offered liberty, if he would desist from preaching. To this, however, he would not agree. He was tried in January, 1661, when it was hinted, that his zeal and pretences might be the same as those of the parties who in- tended the ruin of the government. In this there was an allusion to the case of Venner, who had attempted to rise against the government of Cromwell, in 1657, and did so again, on the 6th of January following, a few days after Bunyan's trial.* Bunyan denied the charge, and
* Venner and his companions had intended to oppose the government, in 1657, but were discovered by Thurlow, Cromwell's Secretary; but now he made the attempt with fifty men. These routed the train bands of London, but were dislodged by a detachment of horse and foot, and some were taken prisoners. Some of them then returned to the city, and fought furiously. About twenty of them were killed, and Venner, after being wounded, was taken with the rest of his companions. A few days afterwards

said that "if occasion called, he would shew his loyalty to the King, both by word and deed. Notwithstanding this, and the additional circumstance of the coronation of the King, in the following month of April, when the jails were nearly emptied, there was no enlargement for Bunyan. He was, indeed, a peaceable subject, but, because he would publicly tell sinners the road to heaven, therefore he must remain in prison, and there, with difficulty, for twelve years, maintain himself, his wife, his poor blind daughter, and the rest of his family. The wrath of man, however, tended to the praise of God, and the advancement of his kingdom. As some of the most important parts of the New Testament were written in prison, so, in prison, Bunyan wrote his immortal "Pilgrim" one of the most interesting and edifying allegories that ever was conceived; by the ingenuity of man: a book, the writing of which not only cheered his own spirit in his solitary hours, amidst the gloom of his dungeon, but which has since his time, solaced and animated the heart of many a weary pilgrim, through the varying scenes of this world to that which is to come. Mr. Ivimey says, that this treatment of Mr. Bunyan was but a sample of the usage which was experienced in every other part of the land.*
they were tried, condemned, and executed. It has been already stated, that Venner wis not a Baptist. In proof of this, it is af- firmed, that a number of declarations were made by the Baptists in general, expressive of their abhorrence of the conduct of Venner, and stating, there were no Baptists, but one, among the fifty. Ven- ner is also represented as having declared, that if his party succeed- ed, the Baptists should know, that Infant Baptism was an ordinance of Jesus Christ. Ivimey's History of Baptists, Vol. i, p. 306-314.

      * One of the most affecting instances of the persecutions of this period, is the case of Mr. John James, a Baptist minister. A person had informed against him, that he had uttered treason in one of his sermons. This all that heard him denied. He was, notwithstanding, condemned to be hanged and quartered. His

      Owing to the close connexion of church, and state, and the severe and bloody intolerance that sprang out of it, it appears almost impossible to give an account of evert a; small and remote portion of a comparatively small denomination of Dissenters, then only in emhryo, without referring, almost constantly, to the history of the times. From the unsettled state of affairs, during nearly half a century, there was a continued recurrence of reaction on the feelings and circumstances of the court and the nation. The despotism of Charles the First, civil and religious, brought him to the scaffold. The military government of Cromwell at length, brought the nation to long for its old masters; and now that Charles, Clarendon, and the hierarchy, intoxicated with success, had gratified themselves with the blood of their victims, by the execution of ten of the regicides, of the great Sir Harry Vane, and some of the leaders of the
wife petitioned the King for his life, as he entered the Palace from the Park. The King replied, "Oh! Mr. James, he is a sweet Gentleman," and then shut the door upon her. The next day she again presented herself to his majesty, and he again re-plied, "He is a rogue, and shall be hanged." He was accordingly hanged, on the 26th Nov., 1661. His conduct on the scaffold was very calm ; he had no raptures ; hut the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, kept his heart and mind through Christ Jesus. The executioner said, " The Lord receive your soul." He said, " I thank you." A person present said, ft This is a happy day." He answered, " I bless the Lord, it is so," Ano- ther said, "The Lord make your passage easy." "I trust he will so," replied Mr. James. He was then asked, if he had anything to say to the Sheriff. He replied, "No; but only to thank him for his civility." He then said aloud, lifting up his hands, "Father into thy hands, I commit my spirit," and so finished his course. His quarters were placed on the city gates, and his head was set upon a pole opposite his own meeting-house, in "White-chapel." Ivimey, vol. i p. 320-327. State Trials, vol. ii. p. 546-549. Crosby, vol. ii. p. 172.
sectaries in England; also of Argyle and Guthrie in Scotland; these events, together with the passing of the Act of Uniformity in August 24, 1662,* caused another reaction to take place. The people got tired of blood and tyranny; the extreme fervency of their loyalty began to cool; and the men of "the good old cause" daring once more to lift up their heads, rumours of plots against the government, in different parts of the country, began to circulate.

      One of these plots is said to have occurred at Tarnley Wood in Yorkshire, but it is affirmed regarding it, that the insurgents were "only a few enthusiasts of various sects, but not embracing one person of talent or consideration."+ Another of these plots is also stated to have taken place at Muggleswick Park, and the principal conspirators were said to be the Anabaptists that usually met for worship there. Information regarding this plot was lodged with several magistrates, by one John Elrmgton of Blanchland, a small place lying a few miles north-west of Muggleswick.

The persons accused, were the minister, a number of the members of the church on the Derwent,$ and
* This Act involved the removal of upwards of 2000 ministers from the Established Church. In the four northern counties 115 left the Church; but 27 afterwards conformed. - See Palmer's Nonconformist Memorial.
+ Histopry of England, by Sir James Macintosh. - Vol. vii. p. 34.
$ The members accused were John Readshaw, Robt. Blenkensop, Rowland Harrison, Capt. Dobson, Capt. Geo. Gower, Robt. Readshaw, Robt. and Mark Taylor, John March, John Joplin, John March, Cuthbert Newton, Richard Taylor, Henry Angas, Cuthbert Maughan. Geo. Readshaw, John Oliver, Lewis Frost, Cuthbert and Michael Coatsworth, Richard and John Ord, James Carr, Robt. Dalmer, Rowland and Nicholas Harrison, John Hopper, Thomas Readshaw, Michael Ward, Cuthbert Ward, Ralph Iley, Richard Johnson, and _____ Foster. Several of these were members of the church at Newcastle. History of Durham, by Surtees, vol. ii., page[s] 389-391.

also some of the members at Newcastle. Ellington professed to be a member of the Derwent church, and had, he said, been at the meetings where the plot was concocted, having taken an oath of secresy not to reveal what transpired; "Being however pricked in his conscience," as he said, "at the horror of such a bloody design, he had had no rest or quietness in his mind till he had discovered the same."

      The amount of the information was, that Mr. John Ward, and a number of the members of his community, had held meetings, either in Muggleswick Park, in his own house, or in the house of one of the deacons of the church. At these meetings, after taking an oath of secresy, they had conspired the destruction of the present parliament; to murder all bishops, deans, and chapters, together with all the other ministers of the established church and the gentry; to destroy the book of common prayer; break all organs, and pull down all churches. It was also their intention, first to attack Durham, to seize any magazine there, and what money there was in the hands of the treasurer; and also to burn the town.

      Many thousands of their own people, they said, as well as among the Independents, would join them, and they expected to be reinforced likewise by a number of papists. The rising was determined to be on the 25th March; but they had delayed it that they might be the better prepared.

      The information was signed by the following magistrates Samuel Davidson, Cuthbert Carr, Thomas Featherstone, and Richard Neele. The original docu- ment is now preserved among the Harleian manuscripts.

      This Anabaptist plot, as it was called, excited a great alarm at Durham and the neighbourhood.* Bishop
* "The Cavaliers," says Surtees, "who saw with dismay, the good old cause rearing its ominous head in more places than the green banks of the Derwent, had every occasion to preserve the

Cosin called out the train bands, and the principal gentry and their retainers embodied themselves in their different wards in the county. Several Baptists were seized and examined. It was then that Elrington was brought in as evidence against them. We are not informed what treatment they received, whether they were confined, or set at liberty; but John Joplin, of the Foxholes, appears to have been tried, but was acquitted.*
ascendant they had just regained; they were still sore under the bruises inflicted by the iron mallet of Cromwell, and had had scarcely time to forget.

'The Psalm singing rascals who drubbed them so well.'

To the Cavalier, the swell of a noctural hymn, pealing down the mountain's side, from some conventicle of separatists, must have spoken of war, disaster, ruin, and defeat; of Naseby; of Worcester; of Long Marston; and loyal addresses were poured in, and armed associations were formed in all quarters; and such a face of general resistance was displayed, that the malcontents shrunk quietly into their mew without daring the field.

* John Joplin was the 34th male baptized by Mr. Tillam. His wife Anne was baptized 5th July, 1653, at the Stokesley revival, and her husband was baptized on the 14th, after Mr. Tillam returned. Mr. Joplin lived at a farm called Foxholes, in the township of Heyleyfield, on the south of Muggleswick. He is only once referred to after this time; but as a family of the name of Jopling has been connected with the Baptists from that period, it is not improbable that they have either sprung from him, or that he was so related to their immediate ancestors, as to draw them to embrace his own principles. The first account we have of the name in Surtees' History, is the following: By Ind. 21 Sept. 1609, John Jopling purchased from William Fenwick half the maynefeild (the ancient demesne). Michael Jopling died, seized of the same lands, 1634. Andrew, his brother and heir, aged 39. The only other reference in Surtees, to this name, is (page 300, 2nd ed., vol. 1.) where we have the following intimation. By 13 July, 10 Jac., 1612, Edward Musgrave, of Abbeyhouse, alienated his half messuage, called the Broomhill, to Robert Smith, whose daughter Jane married John Joplin. This J. J. seems to have had

     This acquittal, and the dropping of all farther proceedings against any of the parties implicated, appears to have arisen from the two following considerations: The first is, the absence of all corroborative evidence. Several parties, as witnesses, were, indeed, examined; but nothing was elicited except the fears and rumours of the neighbourhood, about two troops of horse in arms, and two men, who, they said, they had heard had appeared in glittering arms, on horseback; and, that one Joseph Hopper, who, it seems, had been some time from home, was supposed to be one of them. Joseph Hopper himself was examined, and said, "he had
by her two sons, Thomas and Ralph. Ralph died in 1635, and had one son, John, aged 1 year and 8 months said to possess 1 mess, and 3 acres, value L2. Broomhill is in the chapelry of Ebchester. It is probable these Joplings, or Joplins, for the name is evidently the same, like the Anguses, had one original, the traces of whom the lapse of years has obliterated, and that the descendants became distinct families. The first mention of the name in the Hexham church-book, after the record of the baptism of John Joplin and his wife Ann, is that of Andrew Jopling, as subscribing L10, along with Mr. Ward and others, for the support of a regular ministry. Surtees mentions an Andrew Jopling as a freeholder of Satley, in 1687. This is the ancestor of the present Baptist family, as far back as can at present be traced. It is probable, as already hinted, that he was related to the above John Joplin, but what that relationship was, we are altogether unacquainted with. We know nothing of the descendants of John; but Joseph the son of Andrew, born probably about 1658, is said to have married Deborah, only daughter of Henry Angus, of Raw house, by whom he had three sons, Joseph of Satley, Caleb of Hetr, and Silas of West Butsfield; also four daughters Sarah Willey of Waterhouses, Hannah Teasdale of West Butsfield, Deborah Watson, of the same place, and Mary Annesley of Durham. It is said, by tradition, that Mrs. Deborah Watson perished, among the snow, one Lord's day morning, in returning from the meeting. It was an ordinance day. She was mother of Adah, wife of Mr. Michael Garthorn, of Hamsterley, oldest son of Mr. Michael Garthorn, of New Raw,
been abroad five weeks in Ireland, to see some friends there; but he had not acquainted his wife with his intention, as he knew she would be unwilling for him to go." He also declared, that "he knew not of any neighbours that were abroad." Hopper's evidence was confirmed by one who had seen him in Ireland, and had returned with him. "Thus," says Surtees, the historian of the county of Durham, "the two troops of Anabaptist horse, and the men who forded the Derwentwith glittering swords, are reduced into - Joseph Hopper, who took a five week's jaunt to Ireland, and had reasons for not informing his wife.

      The other reason of acquittal was the failure of Elrington's evidence in the case of certain gentlemen, whom he had accused of being connected with the plot. Four were accused - Sir Henry Witherington, of Northumberland; Edwd. Fenwick, of Stanton, Esq.; Tim. Witherington, Esq., Holmside; and Capt. Lilburne of Sunderland: the two last were detained in custody for three months, and were then liberated, from want of the slightest evidence to criminate them. Mr. Neele, one of the magistrates, to whom Elrington had given the information, in defending the Bishop of Durham, himself, and his fellow magistrates, against the insinuation of some, that they had not taken sufficient pains to obtain evidence against Joblin, thus affirms respecting the matter: "I am sure, we did not save Joblin. I am confident that Judge Twisden, in his heart, is of this opinion; and I think my lord, (the bishop), is bound in conscience, in regard to his country, to demand of the judge, whether any justice could have given other verdict on that evidence." After referring to the failure of other evidence attempted to be brought forward, Mr. Neele adds, "If Elrington's evidence will serve single, how 'scapeth the great persons in Northumberland that he accused?" Mr. Surtees himself concludes thus, respecting the

accusation: "After all, Elrington seems to have been an infamous scoundrel; who, finding his audience had itching ears, accused every one who leaned to the Presbytery, of participation in the plot."

      It is a pleasing consideration, thus to be able to rescue from infamy, the fair name of our fathers and predecessors in profession and the ministry; and for this we are deeply indebted to the careful researches of Mr. Surtees, and his impartial remarks on the whole matter. It is well to be approved by those who themselves deserve approbation. As to Elrington, his name stands connected with a genus that have never been an honour either to themselves, the church, or the world. Judas stands prominent as the first of the genus, in the early annals of the Christian church. Elrington stands also prominent in the list, and it would have been well for mankind if he had been the last.*
* It is a matter of regret that in some histories of Durham, &c., where this conspiracy is referred to, no notice is taken of the acquit- tal of the parties. This is the case in the History, &c., by Parsons and White of Leeds, 2 vol. pages 108, 109. It was there the writer first met with the incident, and felt unable to disprove the accusation, until he was kindly favoured with Mackenzie and Dent's History of Durham, and also with the still more elaborate and satisfactory history of the county by Robt. Surtees, of Mainsforth, Esq.


[From David Douglas, History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845, London, 1846, SECOND PERIOD - From 1656 to 1717, Chapter IIa, pp. 70-86. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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