+LOCKHART NEWS NEWSLETTER #9
In my last letter, I stated that the Wynge family was one of the most interesting family groups to which I am related. Of course, the word "interesting" is a code word for the phrase "nuttier that a fruit cake" and to confirm that statement, this letter will cover some of the life of the Reverend Stephen Bachiler. While I find some of his religious beliefs an embarrassment, his "contrariety" does seem to explain some of my own behavior. Bachiler was born in England about 1561, his birth location and parents are unknown at this time.
Most of the information is from: The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III (Online database: NewEnglandAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2002), (Orig. Pub. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633, Volumes I-III, 3 vols., 1995). My comments are marked (*).
Additional information: http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/HAMPTON/biog/bachilertoc.htm
Stephen Bachiler led a most interesting life, filled with unusual twists and turns far beyond the norm. In the ensuing paragraphs we take a chronological tour of his nine decades, attempting along the way to resolve certain problems of interpretation. Stephen Bachiler entered college about 1581, and received his B.A. in 1586. On 17 July 1587 he was presented as vicar of Wherwell, Hampshire, and remained at that parish until he was ejected in 1605 [ NEHGR 46:60-61, citing Winchester diocesan records] (*Bachiler was also excommunicated from the Church of England). Bachiler began his long career of contrariety as early as 1593, when he was cited in Star Chamber (*Refers to an English court of law that sat at the royal Palace of Westminster until 1641.) for having "uttered in a sermon at Newbury very lewd speeches (*I had hoped to find a copy of the "lewd speeches" to include, but they, it seems, are no longer in existence.) tending seditiously to the derogation of her Majesty's government" (*Refers to Queen Elizabeth I)
[ NEHGR 74:319-20]. Upon the accession of James I as King of England, nearly a hundred ministers were deprived of their benefices between the years 1604 and 1609, and among these, as noted above, was Stephen Bachiler [Kenneth Fincham, Prelate as Pastor: The Episcopate of James I (Oxford 1990), p. 326].
Bachiler’s first marriage was about 1590 to [Anne?] _____, who was closely related in some way to Reverend John Bate, Bachiler's successor as vicar of Wherwell; she died sometime between 1610 and 1624. (Although this first wife's given name is stated to be "Anne" by many authorities, there is no record evidence to support this.) The known children from this marriage:
i NATHANIEL, b. about 1590;
ii DEBORAH, b. about 1592 (aged 32, 22 June 1624 [ Waters 520]); m. by 1611 John
Wing [ Waters 519-20]; she and her children came to New England in 1632 and resided at Sandwich. (*Our direct relative.)
iii STEPHEN, b. about 1594; matriculated at Oxford 18 June 1610 from Magdalen College, aged 16, son of a minister, from Southampton [i.e., Hampshire] [ Foster 1:53]; "Stephen Bachiler of Edmund Hall" was ordained deacon at Oxford 19 September 1613 [Bishop's Register, Diocese of Oxford]; with his father, accused in 1614 of circulating slanderous verses; no further record.
iv SAMUEL, b. say 1597; lived at Gorcum in Holland, where he was a minister, and had a wife and children
v ANN, b. about 1601 (aged 30 in 1631 [ Waters 520]); m. (1) by about 1620 _____ Samborne; m. (2) Strood, Kent, 20 January 1631/2 Henry Atkinson.
vi THEODATE, b. say 1610; m. by about 1635 Christopher Hussey.
Bachiler was living at Wherwell late in 1606 when he was a legatee in the will of Henry Shipton [ NEHGR 74:320]. A case in Star Chamber in 1614 still refers to Bachiler as of Wherwell, and adds much other useful information about the family. George Wighley, a minister and Oxford graduate, accused Stephen Bachiler of Wherwell, clerk, Stephen Bachiler, his son, John Bate of Wherwell, clerk, and others of libeling him, by means of verses ridiculing him. In the course of the complaint Wighley quotes John Bate as saying he would keep a copy of the poem "as a monument of his cousin's the said Stephen Bacheler the younger his wit, who is in truth his cousin" [Star Chamber Proc. James I 297/25, 1614]. (*In one biography of Bachiler, these three are described as doing a dance while singing the poem. Now I don’t know about you, but I always get a good laugh, well at least a broad smile, while thinking about these three Puritan clerics, dressed in very black clothes, large white collar and a wide brim black hat and dancing around singing a verse of poetry that degrades another minister.)
On 28 April 1614 Stephen Bachiler was a free suitor (*freeholder) of Newton Stacey at the view of frankpledge (*This term is a goody! And, I will leave you to decide what it means.) of the Barton Stacey Manorial Court, and was a free suitor of Barton Stacey at the court of 2 October 1615.
On 19 February 1615[/6?] Edmund Alleyn of Hatfield Peverell, Essex, bequeathed £5 to "Mr. Bachelour," and Stephen Bachiler was one of the witnesses [ Waters 518-19]. On 11 June 1621 Adam Winthrop, father of Governor John Winthrop, reported that "Mr. Bachelour the preacher dined with us" at Groton, Suffolk [ WP 1:235]. Although this might conceivably be the younger Stephen Bachiler, who had been ordained as a deacon late in 1613, the man referred to in these records is more likely the elder Stephen. Since he is well recorded as a resident of Newton Stacey both before and after this time, he must have made occasional visits to East Anglia.
The Hampshire feet of fines (*A popular way of conveying freehold property,)
show that "Stephen Bachiler, clerk," acquired land in Newton Stacey in 1622 and 1629, and sold it in 1630 and 1631 [ Batchelder Gen 76-77]. While at Newton Stacey (a village within the parish of Barton Stacey) Bachiler had managed to incite the parishioners of Barton Stacey to acts that came to the attention of the sheriff, who petitioned for redress to the King in Council; the complaint described Bachiler as "a notorious inconformist"
[ NEHGR 46:62, citing Domestic Calendar of State Papers, 1635]. In summary, while there are gaps in the English career of Bachiler, it would appear that he lived at Wherwell for most of the years from his induction there in 1587 until 1614, and that he then resided in Newton Stacey from 1614 until 1631, shortly before his departure for New England.
(*This story is not exactly chronological, but I am sure that you will forgive me!)
"The year of Mr. Bachelor's departure from England Sir Robert Paine was Sheriff of Hampshire, and was also chosen churchwarden of the parish of Barton Stacey, which adjoined the parish of Wherwell, — where Mr. Bachelor had been the minister. At any rate Sir Robert, three years later, found himself in very serious difficulties which he ascribed to the influence of the teaching of Mr. Bachelor as follows:
1635, Dec. 1. Petition of Sir Robert Paine to the same [i.e. the Council]. Petitioner being in 1G32 Sheriff of Hants, was also chosen Churchwarden of Barton Stacey1 in the same county, and finding the church and chancel ruinous and indecent, at his own charge beautified some part thereof, intending and offering fair hangings for the chancel. But some of the parishioners, petitioner's tenants, having been formerly misled by Stephen Bachelor, a notorious inconformist, had demolished a consecrated chapel at Newton Stacey, neglected the repair of their parish church, maliciously opposed petitioner's intent, and executed many things in contempt of the canons and the bishop. There being divers suits in the ecclesiastical and temporal courts between petitioner and Robert Cooper and others, his tenants of the manor of Barton Stacey, the Lords on complaint directed three trials at law, and in the meantime ordered all the suits to be stayed. Petitioner has conformed to that order, but his tenants have slighted the same, and have sued him in the Ecclesiastical Court at Winchester, presented him in the Archbishop's metro political visitation, and served him with a subpoena for costs for not filing a bill against them in the Star Chamber. Prays that he may be allowed to proceed against them in the High Commission upon articles exhibited two years ago." The Colonial Society of Massachusetts, V. XII, 1911, citing Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1695, pp. 520-521. (*I could not find a record of the neglected repair and demolition however I did find in the history section of All Saints, Barton Stacey (Photo above) the following: "1635 All Saints at Barton Stacey, The church is noted as being in a "ruinous state". So, I guess that not only did Bachiler make very lewd speeches, sing and dance to verse, he also incited to riot. Sounds like a relative of mine!)
Bachiler’s second and third marriages: 2) Abbots Ann, Hampshire, 2 March 1623/4 Christian Weare, widow [ GDMNH 81]; she died before 26 March 1627.
(*Some bios do not claim Weare as a wife of Stephen, however there is an entry at Abbots Ann for this marriage.)
(3) Abbots Ann, Hampshire, 26 March 1627 Helena Mason, widow (of Reverend Thomas Mason) [ GDMNH 81]; she was aged 48 in 1631, so born about 1583 [ Waters 520]; died by 3 May 1647 [ WP 5:153].
Bachiler apparently lived briefly at South Stoneham, Hampshire, after disposing of his land at Newton Stacey, for that is the residence he gave for himself and wife on 23 June 1631 when he was applying for permission to travel to Flushing in Holland "to visit their sons and daughters" [ Waters 520]. (*There is some discussion if the English government wanted to let him out of the country or else, once out of the country, whether to let him back into the country. I could not find proof that he ever went to Holland.)
At about this same time Stephen Bachiler allied himself with a group of London merchants to form the Plough Company, which had obtained a grant of land in the neighborhood of Saco (Present day Maine.). The Plough Company managed to send two groups of settlers to New England, in the Plough in 1631 and the William & Francis in1632 (*Governor Winthrop records Batchiler’s arrival on the W & F on June 5, 1632.), but they were never able to occupy their patent, and the company soon failed. (For a full account of this ill-starred enterprise, see V.C. Sanborn, "Stephen Bachiler and the Plough Company of 1630," The Genealogist , New Series, 19 :270-84, and the sources cited there.)
Shortly after his arrival in New England in 1632, Stephen Bachiler settled at Saugus (later to be called Lynn), where he immediately began to organize a church. Over the next four years Bachiler and a portion of his congregation were repeatedly at odds with the rest of the congregation and with the colony authorities, and by early 1636 Bachiler had ceased to minister at Lynn [ GMN 1:20].
After his departure from Lynn, Bachiler is supposed to have resided in Ipswich, and to have received a grant of land there in 1636 or 1637, but no contemporary evidence for this has been found. Bachiler's next adventure occurred in the winter of 1637/8, for Winthrop tells us in his journal, in an entry made in late March of that year, that "Another plantation was now in hand at Mattakeese [Yarmouth], six miles beyond Sandwich. The undertaker of this was one Mr. Batchellor, late pastor of Sagus, (since called Lynn), being about seventy-six years of age; yet he walked thither (*Does anyone know how to walk thither?) on foot in a very hard season. He and his company, being all poor men, finding the difficulty, gave it over, and others undertook it" [ WJ 1:313].
Bachiler then resided for about a year at Newbury, where he received a grant of land on 6 July 1638. Bachiler also seems to have been able to organize a church at Newbury (or to keep in existence the church that he had earlier organized at Lynn). In a letter dated 26
February 1643/4 the minister, recounting his various experiences in New England, told how "the Lord shoved me thence [i.e., after his arrival in 1632, and the failure of the
Plough Company] by another calling to Sagust, then, from Sagust to Newbury, then from Newbury to Hampton" [ WP 4:447]. Later in 1644 Winthrop pointed out that "Mr.
Batchellor had been in three places before, and through his means, as was supposed, the churches fell to such divisions, as no peace could be till he was removed" [ WJ 2:216-17]. These records indicate that Bachiler headed churches in three towns (Lynn, Newbury and Hampton), or possibly that the church organized in Lynn had a continuous existence as it moved to Newbury and then to Hampton [see GMN 4:20-21 for a more detailed discussion of these possibilities]. Above is a map of Old Hampton showing Bachiler’s residence underlined in red and Timothy Dalton’s residence to the right marked with a red star.
In the summer of 1639 Stephen Bachiler and some other families, many of them from Newbury, began the settlement of Hampton, and Bachiler was soon joined there by Reverend Timothy Dalton, who shared the pulpit with him. As had happened throughout his life, controversy soon arose. In 1641 Winthrop reported that Bachiler "being about 80 years of age, and having a lusty comely woman to his wife, did solicit the chastity of his neighbor's wife" [ WJ 2:53], and this led to an attack on him by Dalton and a large portion of the Hampton congregation. These charges were apparently not resolved at the
time, but in 1643-4, when the town of Exeter invited Bachiler to be their minister, the
affair was raised again, and this was sufficient to prevent his removal to that church [GMN 4:21-22]. (*Apparently Reverend Dalton prevailed at the time and had Bachiler excommunicated from this church. Good track record, Bachiler in 1605 had been excommunicated from the Church of England and now the Congregational Church. He was also apparently reinstated in the Church within two years.) (*"did solicit the chastity of his neighbor's wife"!!! HA, HA, HA!, why you old dog you! It is only fair to state that this allegation does not seem to have been proven.)
Stephen Bachiler’s 4th marriage:
4) by 14 February 1648 Mary (_____) Beedle, widow of Robert Beedle [ Kittery Hist 95-96]; she soon left her husband, and cohabited with George Rogers at Kittery. (*Now this story is just too funny! I will keep a straight face and make only sparse comments, you fill in the gaps.)
At about this time Bachiler's ministry at Hampton ceased, and he soon moved to Strawberry Bank [Portsmouth], where he remained until his return to England. On 9 April 1650 at a Quarterly Court held at Salisbury, "Mr. Steven Bacheller [was] fined for not publishing his marriage according to law." At the same court it was ordered "that Mr. Bacherler and Mary his wife shall live together, as they publicly agreed to do, and if either desert the other, the marshal to take them to Boston to be kept until next quarter Court of Assistants, to consider a divorce.... In case Mary Bacheller live out of this jurisdiction without mutual consent for a time, notice of her absence to be given the magistrates at Boston" [ EQC 1:191].
On 15 October 1650 at a court at York "George Rodgers & Mrs. Batcheller [were] presented upon vehement suspicion of incontinency for living in one house together & lying in one room" [ MPCR 1:146]. At a court at Piscataqua [i.e., Kittery] on 16 October 1651 the grand jury presented "George Rogers for, & Mary Batcheller the wife of Mr. Steven Bacheller minister for adultery"; George Rogers was to have forty strokes, and Mary Bachiler "for her adultery shall receive 40 strokes save one at the first town meeting held at Kittery six weeks after the delivery & be branded with the letter A" [MPCR 1:164].
Stephen Bachiler returned to England after these events, and most secondary sources claim that he made that trip in 1654 when his grandson Stephen Samborne returned to England. On 2 October 1650 "Steven Bachiler" witnessed a deed between Christopher Hussey (grantor) and Steven Sanborn and Samuel Fogg (grantees) [ NLR 1:19]; this is the last certain record of Bachiler in New England (unless the "Mr. Batchelder" who was presented at court on 28 June 1652 for being illegally at the house of John Webster is our man [ NHPP 40:87-88]). (*The record does not state if this offence was trespass or robbery, but it sounds like our Stephen.)
Although a number of records in New England between 1651 and 1654 mentioned
Stephen Bachiler, none of them necessarily implies that Bachiler was still in New
England, and a few indicate that he was not in close proximity to the courts in question. In a court held at Hampton on 7 October 1651, Francis Pebodie sued Tho[mas] Bradbury for "issuing an illegal execution, for or in behalf of Mr. Batcheller, against the town of Hampton" [ EQC 1:236]. On 14 October 1651 the Massachusetts Bay General Court ordered that "in answer to a petition preferred by several of the inhabitants of Hampton, for relief in respect of unjust molestation from some persons there pretending power for what they do from Mr. Batchelor, it is ordered, that whatsoever goods or lands have been taken away from any of the inhabitants of Hampton, aforesaid, by Edward Calcord or Joh[n] Sanbourne, upon pretence of being authorized by Mr. Batchelor, either with or without execution, shall be returned to them from whom it was taken, & the execution to be called in, & no more to be granted until there appear sufficient power from Mr. Batchelor to recover the same, to the County Courts, either of Salsbury or Hampton" [ MBCR 3:253]. Apparently John Sanborn and others were pursuing the interests of Stephen Bachiler in his absence, but without a proper power of attorney. It might be argued that he was in Strawberry Bank [Portsmouth], but unable to come to Hampton, but there is no indication that he was ill or unable to travel at any time in his long life, and the more likely explanation is that he was already in England by October of 1651. At a court held at Hampton on 3 October 1654 "Mr. Batcheller's letter of attorney to Mr. Christopher Hussie [was] approved" [ EQC 1:372]. (*Even while Bachiler was no where in sight, he was still causing problems.)
Stephen Bachiler died in London and was buried on 31 October 1656 [ NHGR 8:14-17]. Among many remarkable lives lived by early New Englanders, Bachiler's is the most remarkable. From 1593, when he was cited before Star Chamber, until 1654, when he last makes a mark on New England records, this man lived a completely independent and vigorous life, never acceding to any authority when he thought he was correct. Along
with Nathaniel Ward of Ipswich, Stephen Bachiler was one of the few Puritan ministers active in Elizabethan times to survive to come to New England. As such he was a man out of his times, for Puritanism in Elizabethan times was different from what it became in the following century, and this disjunction may in part account for Bachiler's stormy career in New England [Simon P. Newman, "Nathaniel Ward, 1580-1652: An Elizabethan Puritan in a Jacobean World," EIHC 127:313-26]. But Nathaniel Ward did not have anything like as much trouble, and most of Bachiler's conflicts may be ascribed to his own unique character.
Earliest surviving parish register of Allhallows Staining (MS 17824), Steeven Batchiller Minester that dyed att Robert Barbers was buryed in the new church yard Octob 31th 1656"
Receipts by Richard Pockley, churchwarden:
"Received for Stephen Bachilers knell 000 - 01 - 06"
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume LXXIV, 1920, pages 319-320. In the printed volumes Acts of the Privy Council, , meeting of the Council in the Star Chamber on May 29, 1593, the following entry is recorded:
"A letter to the Lord Bishop of Winton, Mr Doctor Bilson and the rest:
"Whereas we perceave by your letters of the xxvijth of this presente month and the examinacions therewith sent, that Steven Bachiler, vicar of Wherwel in your Dioces, hath uttered in a sermon at Newbuiry verie lewd speeches tending sediciously to the derogacion of her Majesties government, and that you have examined and committed him til farther direction from us in this behalf:
"Theis shalbe to praie and require your Lordship &c., to send the said Stephen Bachiler under safe custodie up hither to me the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury with such further mater and proof as hath sithhene fallen owt, to be proceded with according the nature and qualitie of his offene and the laws of this realm:
"So, not doubting of your care in the due performaunce hereof, etc."
(*The above letter was written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, John Whitgift. Whitgift was not known for his leniency in church nor government matters. In 1593, the year that he summoned Bachiler hither under safe custody, he got a law passed making Puritanism an offence against the statute law and had a Welsh cleric hung for criticizing the Church. I do wonder what Bachiler was thinking while going "hither", under arrest. There seems to be no additional information on this proceeding but Bachiler returned to his parish at Wherwell and remained in office until 1605, so he either did some very fast talking or had friends in high places. Not wanting to assume too much: Hither, Middle English, adverb: To or toward this place.)
Following is the official entry in the records for George Rogers and Mary Bachiler.
The case of the woman branded for adultery first appeared in the records of York, in what is now Maine. Dated 15 October 1651, the entry reads:
"We do present George Rogers for, & Mary Batchellor the wife of Mr. Steven Batcheller minister for adultery. It is ordered by ye Court yt George Rogers for his adultery with mis Batcheller shall forthwith have fourty stripes save one upon the bare skine given him: It is ordered yt mis Batcheller for her adultery shall receive 40 stroakes save one at ye First Towne meeting held at Kittery, 6 weekes after her delivery & be branded with the letter A."
Few original references to Bachiler's early life in England have come down to us. In Winthrop's "History of New England," in the account of Bachiler's excommunication from the Hampton church, it is said that he "had suffered much at the hands of the bishops in England." Thomas Prince, in his short account of Bachiler, said that "(From governor Winslow and captain Johnson we learn, that) he was an ancient minister in England; had been a man of fame in his day;" etc.
We know that Bachiler was presented, 17 July 1587, by William West, Lord de la Warr, to the vicarage of Wherwell in Hampshire, and that on 9 Aug. 1605 John Bate was made vicar there because of the ejection of Stephen Bachiler. " No record has been found of the date of this ejection.
In a letter addressed to Governor John Winthrop, he complained bitterly of Timothy Dalton, teacher at the Hampton church of which Mr. Bachiler was pastor:
"I see not how I can depart till I have, God forgive me, cleared and vindicated the cause and wrongs I have suffered of the church I yet live in; that is from the teacher (indeed) who hath done all and been the cause of all the dishonor that hath acrew'd to God, shame to myself, and griefs to all God's people. By his irregular proceedings and abuse of the power of the church in his hand by the major part cleaving to him, being his countrymen and acquaintance in old England.
"The teacher's act of his excommunicationing me would prove the foulest matter, both for the cause alleged of that excommunication, and the impulsive cause (even wrath and revenge), and also the manner of all his preceding throughout to the very end; and lastly, his keeping me under bonds."
The Family Poore, Prehistory to the Present
By: James H. Creighton
October 12, 2001
6. Rev. Stephen Bachiler (Bachelor) 1556-1656 this man can be called the symbol of the century in which he lived. Born in Hampshire during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, he studied under some of the most famous religious leaders of his time. He was schooled at Oxford’s St. John’s College under such people as Lawrence Humphrey, John Harmer, Thomas Kingsmill, Edward Cradocke and John Rainoldes, who was also the head of the Puritan Church. A fellow student was Henry Cromwell, uncle of Oliver the Protector.
In 1586 Stephen Bachiler became the chaplain to Lord Baron De la Warr (Delaware), whose home estate was at Wherwell, Hampshire. The following year he became Vicar of Wherwell, once a Saxon abbey in 986AD and home of the first Lord la Warr, Thomas West. By chance, Wherwell was in the center of Poore localities in Hampshire. It was just east of Andover and but a few miles to Nether Wallop and the Amesbury Poore estates beyond. By 1596 Lord de la Warr had died and his son, Thomas West, 3rd. Lord Baron De la Warr and future governor (1610) of Virginia promoted Bachiler by giving him money and land. Bachiler was influential in West’s marriage to the daughter of Sir Francis Knollys, founder of the Baptist Church.
Throughout this time, Bachiler preached the reformist doctrine learned at Oxford, harboring on Separatist views of the Pilgrims. His fame as a minister and vicar of Wherwell spread far and wide however, even though the nearby Winchester and Salisbury bishoprics were strongly anti-Puritan. Divisions rose between King James, his bishops and the ever-growing Puritan factions. The showdown happened in 1604 with the Royal Council at Hampton Court. Thomas West, Rev. Bachiler and many others attended, only to hear the king denounce the Puritan movement. The following year Bachiler left Wherwell along with a good portion of his followers. Some joined with the "Pilgrim" dissidents in Holland. He may have taken his family there for a time, but they seem to have traveled back and forth for years as he preached wherever he could.
He was married and had many children, now mostly grown. There is no record as to who his first wife was, but Thomas West in 1610, the year that he became Governor of Virginia, sent the younger Stephen Bachiler to the West family school of Magdalen College at Oxford. Rev. Bachiler found many financial supporters during his wandering years, in Berkshire, Essex and Hampshire. In 1621 he was in Suffolk and dining with Adam Winthrop at his home near Colchester, perhaps discussing the Plymouth Plantation, newly founded in New England.
I think that the old minister and scholar had an impact on the entire Winthrop family. Here was a homeless 65-year-old itinerant preacher who had the ear and support of Lord De la Warr. His children were Southampton merchants, regimental officers, and wives of Christopher Hussey, Rev. John Wing and John Samborne. He had a following of staunch Puritan parishioners, although he had no church.
The Bachiler entourage eventually found a safe haven at Newton Stacy, directly across the river from Wherwell, Hampshire. From 1622-1630 he established a church there for his followers, meeting the Dummer family of Swathling and Bishopstoke in the process.
Excerpts on the Rev. Stephen Bachiler from the History of Lynn by Alonzo Lewis (1829)
p.41 (1632) The Reverend Stephen Batchelor, with his family, arrived at Boston on Thursday, the fifth of June. He came in the ship William and Francis, captain Thomas, which sailed from London on the ninth of March, with about sixty passengers. He immediately came to Lynn, where his daughter resided, and fixed his abode here. He was now 71 years of age. In his company were six persons who had belonged to a church with him in England ; and of those he constituted a church at Lynn, to which he admitted such as were desirous of becoming members, and immediately commenced the exercise of the ministerial duties, without installation.
p.42 (1632) Mr. Batchelor had been in the performance of his pastoral duties about four months, when a complaint was made of some irregularities in his conduct. He was arraigned before the court at Boston, on the third of October, when the following order was passed. "Mr. Bachelr is required to forbeare exerciseing his giftes as a pastr or teacher publiquely in or Patent, unlesse it be to those he brought with him, for his contempt of authority, and till some scandles be removed." (Source: Col. Rec.)
p.43 (1633) In the course of a few months, Mr. Batchelor so far succeeded in regaining the esteem of the people, that the court, on the fourth of March, removed their injunction, that he should not preach in the colony, and left him at liberty to resume the performance of his public services.
p.51 (1635) The dissentions which had commenced in Mr. Batchelor's church at an early period, began again to assume a formidable appearance. Some of the members, disliking the conduct of the pastor, and "withall making question whether they were a church or not," (Source: Winthrop) withdrew from the communion. In consequence of this, a council of ministers was held on the fifteenth of March. Being unable to produce a reconciliation, they appointed another meeting, and went to attend a lecture at Boston. Mr. Batchelor then requested the disaffected members to present their grievances in writing, but as they refused, he resolved to excommunicate them, and wrote to the ministers at Boston, who immediately returned to Lynn. After a deliberation of three days, they decided, that although the church had not been properly instituted, yet the mutual exercise of their religious duties had supplied the defect.
p.53 (1635) The difficulties in Mr. Batchelor's church did not cease with the decision of the council, but continued to increase ; till Mr. Batchelor, perceiving no prospect of their termination, requested a dismission for himself and first members, which was granted.
p.54-7 (1636) Mr. Batchelor had been readily dismissed from his pastoral charge, in the expectation that he would desist from its exercise or remove from town ; instead of which, be renewed his covenant with the persons who came with him from England, intending to continue his ministrations. The people opposed this design, and complained to the magistrates, who forbade his proceeding. Finding that he disregarded their injunctions, and refused to appear before them, they sent the marshall to compel him. He was brought before the court of Assistants, at Boston, in January, and discharged on engaging to leave the town within three months. There are reasons for supposing Mr. Batchelor to have been censurable; but the court seem to have been somewhat arbitrary
in compelling him to leave the town.
The Reverend Stephen Batchelor was born in England, in the year 1561, and received orders in the established Church. In the early part of his life he enjoyed a good reputation, but being displeased with some of the ceremonies of the Church, and refusing to continue his conformity, lie was deprived of his permission to perform her services. The Church has been much censured for her severity, and all uncharitableness and persecution are to be deprecated ; but in ejecting her ministers for nonconformity, after they had approved her mode of worship, and engaging themselves in the support of her doctrines, the Church is no more censurable than all other communities, with whom the same practice is common. On leaving England, Mr. Batchelor went with his family to Holland, where he resided several years. He then returned to London, from which place he sailed on the ninth of March 1632, for New England. He came to Lynn about the middle of June, and continued his ministerial labours, with interruption, for about three years. He was admitted a freeman on the sixth of May, 1635, and removed from Lynn in February, 1636. He went to Ipswich, where he received a grant of fifty acres of land, and had the prospect of a settlement ; but some difficulty having arisen, he left the place. In the very cold winter of 1637, he went on foot, with some of his friends to Matakeese, now Yarmouth, a distance of about one hundred miles. There he intended to plant a town and establish a church ; but finding the difficulties great, and "his company being all poor men," he relinquished the design. He then went to Newbury, where, on the sixth of July, 1638, the town granted to him and his son-in-law, Christopher Hussey, two portions of land which had formerly been given to Edward Rawson, Secretary of State, and Mr. Edward Woodman. On the sixth of September, the General Court of Massachusetts, granted him permission to commence a settlement at Winicowett, now Hampton in New Hampshire. In 1639, the inhabitants of Ipswich voted to give him sixty acres of land on Whortleberry Hill, and twenty acres of meadow, if he would relinquish their previous grant of fifty acres, and reside with them three years; but he did not accept their invitation. On the fifth of July, he and Christopher Hussey sold their houses and lands in Newbury to Mr. John Oliver, for "six score pounds," and went to Hampton, where a town was begun, and a church gathered, of which Mr. Batchelor became the minister. He had not resided there long before dissentions commenced, and the people were divided between him and his colleague, Mr. Timothy Dalton. In 1641 he was accused of irregular conduct, and was excommunicated. Soon after, his house took fire, and was consumed, with nearly all his property. In 1643, he was restored to the communion, but not to the office of minister. In 1644, the people of Exeter invited him to settle with them ; but the General Court of Massachusetts, on the twenty ninth of May, sent an order to forbid his settlement till they should grant permission. On the twentieth of April, 1647, he was at "Strawberry Bank," now Portsmouth, where he resided three years. In 1650, he married his third wife, being then nearly ninety years of age, and in May, was fined by the court, ten pounds, for not publishing his marriage according to law; half of which fine was remitted in October. In the same year the court passed the following order, in consequence of a matrimonial disagreement.
It is ordered by this Court, that Mr. Batchelor and his wife shall lyve together as man and wife, as in this Court they have publiquely professed to doe, and if either desert one another, then hereby the Court doth order that ye Marshall shall apprehend both ye said Mr. Batchelor and Mary his wife, and bring them forthwith to Boston, there to be kept till the next Quarter Court of assistants, that farther consideration thereof may be had, both of them moving for a divorce, and this order shall be sufficient warrant soe to doe, provided notwithstanding, that if they put in £50, each of them, for their appearance, with such sureties, as the Commissioners, or any one of them for the County shall think good to accept of, that then they shall be under their baile to appear at the next Court of assistants, and in case Mary Batchelor shall live out of the jurisdiction, "without mutual consent for a time," that then the Clarke shall give notice to magistrate att Boston of her absence, that farther order may be taken therein."
Soon after this order, Mr. Batchelor returned to England, where he married his fourth wife, his third wife Mary being still living. In October, 1656, she petitioned the court, in the following words, to free her from her husband.
"To the Honored Govt Deputy Governor with the Magistrates and Deputies at the General Court at Boston. The humble petition of Mary Bacheler Sheweth Whereas your petitioner having formerly lived with Mr. Steven Bacheler a minister in this Collany as his lawfull wife & not unknown to divers of you as I conceive, and the said Mr. Bacheler upon some pretended ends of his owne hath transported himselfe unto ould England for many years since and betaken himselfe to another wife as your petitioner hath often been credibly informed, and there continueth, whereby your petitioner is left destitute not only of a guide to her and her children, but also made uncapable thereby of disposing herselfe in the way of marriage to any other without a lawful permission, and having now two children upon her hands that are chargeable to her in regard to a disease God hath been pleased to lay upon them both, which is not easily curable, and so weakened her estate in prosecuting the means of cure that she is not able longer to subsist without utter ruining her estate, or exposing herself to the common charity of others, which your petitioner is loth to put herself upon, if it may be lawfully avoided as is well known to all or most part of her neighbours. And were she free from her engagement to Mr. Bachelor, might probably soe dispose of herselfe as that she might obtain a meet helpe to assist her to procure such means for her livelyhood and the recovery of her children's health, as might keep them from perishing, which your petitioner to her great grief is much afraid of, if not timely prevented. Your petitioner's humble request therefore is that this Honored Court would be pleased seriously to consider her condition for matter of her relief in her freedom from the said Mr. Bachelor, and that she may be at liberty to dispose of herselfe in respect of any engagement to him as in your wisdomes shall seem most expedient, and your petitioner shall humbly pray &c. Mary Bacheler" (Source: Colonial Files)
At this time Mr. Batchelor must have been in the ninety sixth year of his age. How much
longer he lived, and how many more wives he married, is unknown. He has long since gone to his last account, and his errors and follies, of whatever kind, must be left to the adjustment of that tribunal, before which all must appear. He had undoubtedly many virtues, or he would not have had many friends, and they would not have continued with him through all the changes of his fortune. Mr. Prince says that he was "a man of fame in his day, a gentleman of learning and ingenuity, and wrote a fine and curious hand.