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beggary was preferable to the life she was compelled to lead. And so, without a coin in her pocket, or a friend in the country, she fled from the inhospita
ble roof that afforded no shelter from insults and abuse, to wander abroad in the world.
SOME OLD RELIGIOUS ASSOCIATIONS OF THE NEW BOROUGH
OF HACKNEY.-PART I. The hamlet of Hackney-by the re- herself a lasting benefactress to the cently-granted Reform Bill, transformed poor. A daughter of Sir Thomas into a great metropolitan borough-is More inhabited a neighbouring dwel. a spot whose history abounds with ling; and till modern research had incidents of religious and historical shewn us otherwise, another old man. interest. Whether the neighbourhood sion enjoyed a reputation of being be regarded as a favourite retreat for Howard's birthplace. Through the courtiers and noblemen, or as an early years of the Commonwealth, Dr. centre of Puritan effort and Nonconform- William Spurston held the rectory; ist influence, we may become equally and from the outer world, to this instructed and interested. The suburb hospitable hearth, Richard Baxter has been consecrated by the labours loved to retire. Somewhat later, of a large number of worthies and Hackney benefited by the labours of celebrities. At the time of, and before Bates and Henry. The site of the the Reformation, the village likewise original manor-house has been long contained the country homes of many forgotten; but an extant description of leading English families, amongst whom it says, “It was a fayre house, all of was that of Lord Percy, sixth Earl of brick, with a fayre hall and parlour, Northumberland, and supposed suitor a large gallery, a proper chapel, and a of Ann Boleyn. This nobleman died proper library to laye books in.” in 1537, and lies near to the surviving From time immemorial, London citi. tower of the former church. In those zens have appreciated our old suburb on days the Knights Templars inherited account of its pleasant healthy situathe rectory; and a sumptuous mansion tion; and to-day, one cannot travel close at hand, served as a rural retreat far about its streets and lanes without for the brotherhood, whose principal repeatedly recognising spots known to home was the magnificent monastery, history. The village once boasted of whose site Saint John's Square, Clerken- several wells, whose cold clear waters well, now occupies.
were anciently highly valued, as we In 1591, Elizabeth honoured her infer from their names being yet reHackney subjects with a visit; and membered. One of these was Pig-well; while she walked around the grave- and from another, in the Old Church yard, her majesty doubtless noticed Field, Well Street took its name. the tomb of Alice Ryder, whose There was also one upon the Downs; fame the sculptured stone commem- and a little to the north was Shackleorated, by representing her as bearing well. Hackney likewise took its share a pail of milk. This effigy reminded in completing the Reformation ; for in the inhabitants of the fact that the days of Henry VIII., the rector, mistress Alice, from an humble ocupa- Richard Sampron, undertook, in a tion, had risen into a position of published work, a defence of the King's affluence, wherein she had proved policy in every innovation, besides
exposing Romish insolence and pre- which he supposed a book should consumption. This opportune service tain, the author experienced a sudden gained the Bishopric of Chichester as failing of his powers of delineation and its reward; though strangely enough, panegyric; he, nevertheless, adroitly after the seed, thus sown, had germi- escaped a dilemma, by filling the nated into fruition-Sampron relapsed space with extraneous notes which he into his former bigotry, and even chanced to have in stock. Miss Perendured some amount of hardship on wick resided with her family at the account of his opinions.
“ Black and White House,” in which The Church of Saint Augustine at mansion her parents conducted Hackney contained a number of curious, school for young gentlewomen. In the interesting monuments; and beneath middle of the seventeenth century this its time-worn aisles lay sleeping, many seminary had attained to a wide whom the world chooses to remember reputation, eventually winning the in death. At the close of the last sobriquet of The Ladies' University. century this ancient structure was In the person of the maiden Hannah, taken down, and the present building liberal intellectual endowments were erected in its stead. This is one of joined to an attractive disposition. the largest of our suburban churches, Besides being accomplished in the the design forming an exact cross. elegant learning of the period, she As regards education—as far distant became celebrated for a rare proficiency as the year 1616, one Mistress Audley, in music. The girl's early trials are bequeathed the sum of £20 a-year, affectingly referred to in this curious which she directed should serve in memoir. The hopes of life's springeducating a number of lads. Fifty time, death annihilated by taking a years subsequently to the planting of youth who had sought her love, and this school, the trustees, with be- whose affection she had fondly repaid. coming indignation, dismissed the Although well-nigh heart-broken by master, seeing that he had failed to the death of her lover, Hannah's sorrow prepare any pupils for either of the carried with it deep convictions of Universities, or the Inns of Court. Divine truth, and of the rectitude of
In Cromwell's days, there flourished Providence. Her own departure shortly in Hackney a singular dame whom succeeded that of her betrothed, the inhabitants called Hannah the having been sadly accelerated by a Prophetess." Certain eccentricities oc- damp bed in which she slept while casioned hundreds from amongst the visiting London. Relatives and schoolcurious to visit her; and the woman's fellows surrounded her in her last seemingly-earnest prayings for the moments, to whom she either disProtector, possibly shielded her from tributed her trinkets or gave a dying the rough treatment dealt out to her Christian's advice; and, bidding them class, when such were regarded with all farewell, she expired in the full suspicion and terror. A more amiable assurance of faith. The details of the and interesting person, during the same funeral afford an interesting glimpse years, resided in the village; and about into the daily life of a by.gone age. the time of the Restoration, a quaint Six maidens carried the body into the
appeared, entitled, The church, while as many others bore the Pattern Virgin,or the Life of Susonnah pall, and two
preceded the The writer describes at procession, carrying a banner bearing length, the virtues and attainments of an emblematical device. These were his once-renowned heroine; but be- all appareled in pure white. The fore the number of sheets were filled, parents followed, and were accompanied
by the school-girls and members of Scotland, for the purpose of turning pubthe principal neighbouring families, lic opinion in favour of the Parliament. all of whom wore white gloves. The In this, he was far from being un. crowd of mourners listened to a sermon successful, and his endeavours were by Dr. Spurston, from the words, rewarded with the living of Acton. “Death is yours;” and so ended the During his term of ministration in this day's ceremonies.
village, the divine achieved a peculiar Shortly after the death of James I., reputation, arising from an eccentric the Puritans established themselves in mien in public and private life. Many Hackney. Phillip Nye and Adoniram strange things recorded about the old Byfield both preached here many years Puritan, are probably nothing more prior to the civil wars; and by them, than his enemies' imaginings. We we may suppose the seed to have been
are told, for example, that the vicar sown, which, in due time, germinated habitually proceeded to his pulpit and grew into the Church presided “exercise” sitting in a coach drawn by over by Dr. Bates. Nye early mani- four horses, which ostentation atfested antipathy to Episcopacy, and he tracted much public notice. He liketherefore became singled out by Laud wise preserved an abundance of careas a special object of Archiepiscopal fully-cultivated hair about his chin, vengeance. The persecuted preacher and thus served to pique opponents, found refuge in Holland, but returned while it occasioned Butler's contempt. to England about the time when the uous allusion:Long Parliament assembled. He “With greater art and cunning reared, found a friend in Lord Kimbolton,
Than Phillip Nye's thanksgiving beard." Earl of Manchester, from whom he During his sojourn at Acton, the obtained some preferment in the pastor quarelled with a conjuror; and Church. The patron of such a preacher a controversy arose between the two necessarily stoutly opposed the royal about the lawfulness of practising policy; and it is therefore not sur- slight of hand. As an appointed comprising to find, that in his pulpit, Nye missioner, Nye conferred with Charles I. declaimed against bishops and their in the Isle of Wight, and received £500 attendant evils; whilst be avowed for the service. He also found employ. himself an Independent and adhered ment in various other public matters. to the Covenant. He sat in the He penned the preface to “The DirecWestminster Assembly, and during the tory,” which his party intended should debates expressed opinions, which are supersede the Common Prayer. In thought to have exercised great influ- 1653 he became a Trier of ministerial
When at length the memorable candidates; and in the next year day arrived for senators and divines following he joined the Council who alike to subscribe the solemn articles ejected incompetent schoolmasters and of the Covenant, Nye preached the scandalous parsons. The rigour with sermon of the day in Saint Margaret's which these duties were performed, his Church. With a loud voice, the enemies well remembered in future auditors were
reminded that the years, when the bishops were once sacred nature of the act of subscription again masters of the situation. Nye's made it lastingly binding; and, as procedure drew forth from his enemies the orator proceeded, each one of the such manifestations of hatred and conillustrious congregation stretched forth tempt, that the politicians of the his right-hand heavenward, swearing Restoration debated for several hours to fulfil the great engagement.
the question of his exemption from im The preacher also travelled about peachment, and the divine 'only escaped
at last with his life, by engaging no arbitrary power, provided such opposi. more to occupy any ecclesiastical or tion redounded to the nation's welfare civil office. His papers were seized and the safety of religion. Such and remitted to the archbishop; and utterances revealed much temerity ; these may still be inspected in the yet prudence directed the orator into Lambeth library. Ejected from his the hospitable mansion belonging to city living of St. Bartholomew's Ex- Lord Warwick, and situated at Leighs, change, Nye employed life's closing in Essex—a grateful retreat, where in years in occasional ministrations to
tiivse rougher days a number of kindred Dissenting congregations, and in writing spirits found shelter.
spirits found shelter. The discourse the lives of a number of his eminent alluded to made quite a sensation, and contemporaries. To the sore loss of for a time served as a theme of converposterity, the Fire of London devoured sation amongst the populace; and this valuable collection. The author through being widely discussed, its died six years subsequently.
tenets probably had a share in effecting Calybute Downing, when the Long the after changes in the nation's life. Parliament assembled on November The Revolution proceeded, and yet 1640, was Rector of Hackney, and his devoted to the people's cause, Downing action in the succeeding civil troubles, followed the Parliamentary army in renders him interesting as an historical the capacity of chaplain to Lord Roberts' character. Born in 1606, he had regiment. Our divine embracing Presstudied at Oxford University, and byterianism, made one in the Westafterwards inherited the living at West minster Assembly; but he continued Idelsy, Berkshire; but this pulpit he only a short space with these allies, for ultimately exchanged for the one at he died at Hackney, in 1644. Hackney. As an historian, Anthony judging impartially of the Downings as Wood is neither amiable nor trust- a family, they would seem to have been worthy; yet according to his testimony, trimmers, suiting their actions to the Downing turned with the times—wrote times. After the Restoration, they so in favour of the Starchamber and far relapsed from Nonconformity as to Bishops, when Laud and Anglicanism go regicide hunting, and were instruwere in the ascendant. He is likewise mental in bringing death upon one or accused of courting Stafford's patronage
more of their former friends. during that nobleman's short-lived In High Street, Hackney, there prosperity, thereby hoping to obtain a formerly stood a mansion called Barchaplaincy as a prelude to a mitre. ber's Barn. Dating its origin from the The rector, his enemies say, joined close of the sixteenth century, its apthe popular party, when the path to pearance was quaintly interesting. Church preferment plainly terminated During the ascendancy of Cromwell, in his suburban parish. What ever it this house had been inhabited by John was that occasioned a reaction, or how- Okey, a subscriber to the death warrant ever good or bad his motives, Calybute of Charles I. While the Puritan party soon stood forth a formidable opponent were in power, Okey emerged from an to the kingly faction. In the midst of Islington brewhouse, and rose into a the national crisis of 1640, he was position of considerable importance in chosen to test the popular opinion. In the State. The Protector patronised a celebrated sermon delivered before him and made him a colonel; but at the Artillery Company—a Society then the dawn of the Restoration, the brewer's representing the military strength of prosperity departed. Forewarned of London-he boldly advocated armed danger, he fled from Hackney to estabresistence to the encroachments of lish himself in Holland, where being discovered by George, the brother of of the answers was debated and apCalybute Downing, he was taken, sent proved by the Presbyterian conclave. back to England, and suffered death as The rector's name is amongst the cona penalty for his former political action. fessing two thousand of 1662; and
After Downing's decease, William three years subsequently he died. Six Spurstow succeeded to the Rectory. village almshouses keep the good man's He inherited a name remembered by name in remembrance. The inmates history; and one yet respected within have to be poor persons belonging to the precincts of our new borough. The Hackney, and each receives
sum of doctor, like his predecessor, took a £8 yearly. The tenements have been prominent part in the troubles and
rebuilt during the present century. disputes of the period; but manifested
Dr. Spurston's curate, Ezekiel Hopthroughout his career a manlier spirit, kins, achieved some fame as a preacher, and a more consistent mien. In his
and his writings are still known to younger days, Spurstow had held the
many. Educated in the schools of mastership of Catherine Hall, Cam
Independency and Presbyterianism, his bridge; and this office he forsook rather
predilections never favoured the ex: than subscribe opinions he disbelieved. tremes of Anglicanism. Such liberal We have in Spurstow another member views were not popular in the higher of the Westminster Assembly. He regions of Episcopacy; and upon the also sat in the Savoy Conference, and occasion of the divine being chosen accompanied his predecessor and Phillip lecturer to a city parish, his diocesan Nye in their visit to the King at New- refused to allow an induction into office. port. The rector appears as one in Hopkins was more kindly regarded by the notable galaxy, who sent forth the the bishop and people of Exeter, and celebrated book“ SMECTYMUUS," a work he preached for a time in St. Mary's wherein the party protested against the Church. Leaving Exeter, he accomtenets of Bishop Hall in his Right of panied the Lord-Lieutenant into Ireland, Episcopacy; and the initial letters to
serving as his chaplain. He was next the author's names made up the mys- appointed Bishop of Raphoe, and from terious title. In disposition, Spurstow thence he became promoted to the See was meek and peaceable ; yet he closely of Londonderry. The prelate returned adhered to the popular cause, as an again to England, while the presence uncompromising defender of the Parlia
of the iniquitous James acted as a blight mentary policy; and he therefore ac
upon the country—cursing Ireland, as cepted the chaplaincy to Hampden's he did, by an idiotic policy and cruel regiment, while he occasionally preached nature, which delighted to extend disbefore the Commons. In an old record
cord and misery where other victories about Hackney, a reference occurs to were unattainable. After the memo. “A tenement buylded by the parish- rable raising of the siege of Londonioners, called the Church Howse." derry, Hopkins resumed his episcopal This was William Spurstow's home, duties, but died, only a few months the old town hall now occupying the later, in June, 1690. The king in site. Around his comfortable hearth, tended to instal Dr. Walker into the in this retreat, the doctor loved to vacant See, had not the divine been gather his compeers who were stars in accidentally killed in the celebrated the Puritan Church. Here Baxter charge across the Boyne. sought eight days' retirement, that he Another noteworthy man, who figured might in quietness write a reply to the in the Revolution, and, after its com. bishop's exceptions to his Liturgy. pletion, retired to Hackney and died Here also, as is supposed, the substance there, in 1690, is Timothy Hall.