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But though Scrooby was the residence of William Brewster, the chief agent in this move. The private ment, and his house was opened for wor- ed from peoship and discipline to the persons who Scrooby. thought and acted with him, it is not to Scrooby only that we are to look for the persons composing the church, who were drawn from various places in
December in the same year, he granted to his son Sir Samuel Sandys a lease of this inanor of Scrooby for a rent of £65. 68. 8d. It is probable that we have not sufficient information to enable us to form a proper estimate of the whole of the archbishop's conduct in this particular.
But it is clear that it amounted in fact to a perpetual alienation of Scrooby from the see. The defence in these cases lies in the legal power which was understood to be vested in the bishops to grant these beneficial leases, and next that possessing such a power, there was no reason why they should not exercise it in favour of those of their own household as well as of strangers to them in blood. It is in fact the great question of Nepotism. But it ought to be added, that if there was a case in which such a proceeding could be considered as justified by the subsequent conduct of the youths in whose favour the power was exercised, it is the case of the Sandys family in which we have Sir Edwin one of the most sensible writers on ecclesiastical affairs, and George the traveller and religious poet. Sir Edwin Sandys in the course of events was, as we shall see, a principal agent in obtaining a legal permission for the Scrooby people to remove themselves to America. He sympathized with the more cultivated and rational part of them in most of their opinions, and we see in what I have now stated how there would arise a private acquaintanceship between the Sandys' and the Brewsters.
the surrounding country. The vicinity of Scrooby was in those times, and is now, an agricultural district ; having a few villages scattered about, each
General with its church and perhaps an esquire's the country. seat; but the population was for the most part employed in husbandry, an occupation little congenial to the growth of extreme opinions in either religion or politics, or of voluntary sacrifices to a severe estimate of duty or a supposed call of conscience. The very natural features of the country may be said to have been unpropitious to the production of persons such as those who formed the emigration ; for it is usually in hilly countries not in plains that the sense of religious duty takes deepest root and produces the most remarkable fruits, or where men are collected in large masses, as in cities or great commercial towns. There had indeed been an unusual number of religious houses surrounding Scrooby in the times before the Reformation. Almost
all the more conspicuous of the religious for the number orders had here a representative ; for there
were Cistercians at Rufford, Gilbertines
at Mattersey, Carthusians in the Isle of Axholm, Benedictines at Blythe, Benedictine ladies at
of religious houses before the Reforma tion.
Walling-wells, Augustinians at Worksop, and Premonstratensians at Welbeck, the chief house of that Order. These formed quite a cordon round the part of Basset-Lawe Hundred to which Scrooby belongs, while a little farther removed was the house of Cistercians in a woody and stony valley eminently adapted to monastic habits, called the House of St. Mary of the Rock, but better known by its modern name of Roche Abbey. It might be expected that the existence of so many conspicuous seats of devotion would give an air of seriousness and piety to the places within their influence, which might remain even when their reverend heads were brought to the dust ; and it is probably at least to in- Attachment
to the Romish fluences thus created that we find several Church of of the principal families of Basset-Lawe, best families. the Molineuxes and Markhams, the Cliftons and Mortons, adhering to the old Christianity, and suffering hardships in consequence. There were also in those times two very distinguished ladies who retained a fondness for the old profession, Mary (Cavendish) Countess of Shrewsbury, at Rufford, and her sister Frances Lady Pierrepoint, at Thoresby.14 That it had much to do in originating the strong puritan feeling which pervaded the middle and lower classes of the population of Basset-Lawe can hardly be affirmed; but the presence of so much Catholic zeal would be likely to sharpen the opposition of those who had persuaded themselves that the Protestant could not go too far in his renunciation of everything that appeared to belong to Rome, or that revived or kept up the recollection of what England bad been in the days of their grandfathers.
14 In the Shrewsbury correspondence at the Heralds College is
some of the
But however created, it is certainly a very remarkable circumstance (apart from the consideration of the very important consequences which ensued upon it), that there should have arisen among such a population as that of Basset-Lawe a spirit so strong and so determined, or that it could have been induced to enter such a field of controversy at all. And it becomes the more remarkable, when we observe how few
a letter signed W. Bellenden to the Countess, which accompanied a present of relics, namely a portion of the cross, and measures of the length and breadth of the body of St. Mary Magdalene, from St. Maxence, in Provence, dated Feb. 12, 1608, vol. O. f. 127. When a very old woman, 63 years after her marriage, Lady Pierrepoint, who had been accounted a Popish Recusant, "renounced her former obstinacy” and professed to conform. This was in 1626.
ultra zeal of
persons in those times had, in any part of the country, separated themselves from the Church, and formed themselves into single self-directed communities. Not but that in most other parts of the kingdom the Puritan objections to the ceremonies were felt by many minds, and many were the persons Correspondent who would gladly have seen the yoke of the Protestant ceremonies removed : but there is a great difference between this uneasiness in a forced acquiescence, and the actual withdrawing from all communion, and throwing off the authority of the Church, and the authority of the State too, as far as respected affairs of religion. The separatist was a Puritan, but the Puritan was not necessarily a separatist; and the extraordinary feature in this case is, that the Puritanism of Basset-Lawe was so deep a sentiment that it urged so many to the act of separation, and afterwards to the desperate measure of emigration, while in other parts of the country, with few exceptions, though there were Puritan emigrants who sought relief from the ceremonies and subscriptions, there were few or none who had while at home entered into church union, as the Scrooby people did, and then took their departure a compact and united body.