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help of the Earl of Warwick; but was not long free from persecution, which caused him to join other exiles, who became the founders of the Church at Charleston.
Thomas Hooker, a native of Marfield, co. Leicestershire, was a Fellow of Emmanuel College about the same time as Eliot and Shepherd: he was curate for some time to John Michaelson, rector of Chelmsford, Essex. Hooker at one time kept school at Little Baddow, near Chelmsford, in which office he was assisted by John Eliot, afterwards called "the apostle to the Indians;" and through the tyranny of Laud he sought refuge in Holland, and afterwards went to Rotterdam, where he joined William Ames, as co-pastor. After a while he heard of some Essex friends going to New England, and speedily united with them, and sailed in the Griffin, from the Downs, in 1633. The celebrated John Cotton was one of the company. Hooker and his friends were the first settlers in Cambridge, New England. Giles Firmin, another Essex minister, emigrated from Sudbury, in 1632, with his father and other friends, to New England. Firmin was born at Ipswich, Suffolk, England, in 1614, and in 1629 he matriculated at Cambridge. He afterwards mar ried Susannah, the daughter of Nathaniel Ward. John Rogers, it is said, was instrumental in his conversion.
Mention might be made of a number of other Essex divines, who once flourished far beyond the locality from which we write, and who, to escape the horrors of the High Commissioner Court, and the persecuting spirit of Laud, fled to New England; and whose history is of equal interest with those already given; but our purpose is mainly to record original material relative to that cluster of Pilgrims that resided for years in and around the sequestered village of Nazing, and of which the renowned John Eliot is the most prominent,
"Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod."
Several American gentlemen during the past twenty years
have paid hasty visits to Nazing and Waltham Abbey, and have examined the registers of each parish for names corresponding with their own, and have not sought in vain ; although no descendants of the early families of Eliot, Curtis, Ruggles, Heath, Payson, Graves, Peacock, Gore, or Uffett, are known to be living in the immediate locality at the present day; nor are there any kindred names to be found on the old moss-covered tombstones in either of the churchyards. The family of Pegrum claims to have the longest standing in the parish registers of Nazing of any now living; and these registers date back to 1559. Chief of the inhabitants of the village in the present day are composed of the families of Pegrum, Nichols, and Standingford.*
At first sight the village of Nazing presents a rather antique and interesting appearance; and one might justly suppose that little improvement had been made in the neighbourhood for centuries beyond the recent erection of a few new buildings. Many of the domestic buildings, which are shaded by gigantic oaks and elms, the resort of rooks and daws, are, we imagine, much about as they were when the Pilgrim Fathers took their last farewell of the place of their nativity. This "original and select " state of things may, however, be partly. accounted for by the isolated situation of the village, it being some distance from the smoke and noise of the "iron horse.' The nearest approach by rail to it is either from Waltham, or Broxbourne Station, on the Great Eastern Railway. Several of the old houses inhabited by farm labourers have thatched roofs, gable fronts, low eaves, with massive stacks of chimneys, many of which are built outside. There are other wooden houses of a higher class, with tiled roofs and gable
* W. H. Whitmore, Esq., of Boston, New England, in his "Essay on the Origin of the Names of Towns in Massachusetts," 1873, says, relative to Waltham, New England: "Waltham, 1737. There are several places of the name in England. Perhaps the best claim can be made for Waltham Abbey, co. Essex, England; to which place belongs Nazing, the home of the Rev. John Eliot, and other early settlers in New England." There are two other Walthams in the county of Essex, i.e., Waltham Magna and Waltham Parva.
fronts, the upper story considerably overhanging the lower, many of which are very picturesque and others are equally rustic, and built exactly in the same style as the old house erected by William Curtis (a native of Nazing) in 1638-9," on the margin of a little stream called 'Stoney Brook' in Roxbury, Massachusetts." One would naturally suppose that he had the plan of one of those houses now standing in Nazing before him when he erected that venerable homestead on the other side of the broad Atlantic. If we were permitted to search over some of the old deeds, now in the possession of the owners of these ancestral homes, it is quite possible we might discover the very houses once occupied by the Pilgrim Fathers prior to their departure to America. The Curtice house, on Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, New England, is stated by Dr. Lossing to be yet (1876) standing, and in a good state of preservation; and singular to say it is still in the possession of the Curtis family, the lineal descendants of the original owner. The widow and children of Isaac Curtis, being the fifth Isaac who has occupied the house, and seventh in descent from William Curtis who erected it. In those early days, the locality where the house stands was thickly wooded, which, as we are told, was a shelter for wild deer, bears, and wolves. There is still in the house a pair of antlers taken from a buck's head, supposed to have been shot while drinking at the spring not far from the back-door. The Boston records (circa 1658-9), state that Philip Curtis was awarded "twenty shillings for killing a wolf in Roxbury." The old house, as described by Dr. Lossing, corresponds exactly with some now standing in Nazing; the timbers of it are of solid oak, and the nails are all wrought by hand. It is two stories in height, with an attic, and the front entrance is by a small wooden porch, the roof slopes to within a few feet of the ground at the back, and a large chimney rises from the centre which in general is of great support to the building. The original windows were leaden sashes, holding diamond-shaped glass. The furniture is said to be very antique, some of which may have been brought
from Nazing by the Pilgrims.* We have no earlier documentary record of the antiquity of the village of Nazing, beyond what is mentioned in the Great Charter, Carta Antique of Edward the Confessor and Domesday Survey. Nazing was one of the seventeen lordships bestowed by King Harold to his college at Waltham. Prior to that, in the time of Edward, there appears to have been another estate here, which belonged to three freemen, and at the survey to Ralph, the brother of Ilgar, when it was valued at £4 6s. The boundary of the parish is given in the Anglo-Saxon charter, of Edward, which is translated thus:
"These are the land boundaries to Nassingam, that is, from Curlenhatch, along the mark to Scelden boundary, and from Scelden boundary to the brook, and from the brook to Butterwyelle, and from Butterwelle to Thuroldes boundary, and from Thuroldes boundary again along the mark to Cerlein-hatch; and the meadow thereto belonging lies out by the Lea." †
Some time ago we were favoured to take tracings of this Carta Antique and the Domesday Book, both of which are preserved in the Public Record Office, Fleet Street, London. The annexed is a translation of Domesday Book, as far as relates to Nazing :
'Nasinga has always been held by the Holy Cross [Waltham Holy Cross, or Waltham Abbey] for v. hides. Then there was one team in the demesne, now i. and a half. Then i. team of the homagers, now i. and a half. Always v. villeins: now ii. bordars. Then ii. serfs, now none. Wood for 1. swine, xiii. acres of meadow. Half a fishery, i. horse, iv. beast, x. swine, xv. sheep. It was then worth xl. shillings, now lx."
(See "Domesday Trans." fol. xxxi.).
* A full account of this interesting building is given by Benson J. Lossing, LL.D., under "The Historic Buildings of America," in vol. vi. of Potter's American Monthly, No. 51. The article is illustrated with an engraving of the house by Mr. Clarke, of Jamaica Plain. Miss Catherine P. Curtis, a descendant of William Curtis, still resides on the Plain, and with whom we have frequently corresponded relative to the history of the family of Curtis.
+ xxix. "Annual Report," p. 30.
The parish of Nazing is situated on the north-west corner of the half-hundred of Waltham; part of it being on an elevation renders it pleasant and healthy, commanding a view over portions of the counties of Essex, Middlesex, and Hertfordshire. From east to west it is four miles, and nearly the same from north to south. It is bounded on the west by the ancient river Lea, and on the east and south by Waltham and Epping. The church stands on a hill, and is seen for miles round. This elevated part of the village, we presume, gave rise to its name, Nazing, i.e., Naze, a nose or promontory, and ing, a meadow or pasture, which derivation is in strict harmony with the knoll on which the church is built :
The well-known park and common of Nazing consisted of 575 acres; but in 1651, by an indenture of the 22nd of July, an agreement was entered into between the lord of the three manors of Harold's Park, Nazing Great Bury, and Nazing Little Bury, and the commoners, the owners, and occupiers of the 101 ancient houses within the parish entitled to commoning, that the then Lord and Duke of Manchester and his wife, Lady Carlisle, should fence off two portions of fifty acres each for their absolute use; and that the remaining 475 acres should be vested in trustees, who were then and there named, for the benefit of the owners and occupiers of the 101 ancient houses then extant in the parish of Nazing, and sanctioned by Act of Parliament. Tradition speaks of this as the spot upon which, A.D. 61, Queen Boadicea, after the death of her husband Aristargus, the King of the Iceni, and the ill-usage of herself and her two daughters by the Romans under Cassius, in the reign of Nero, to whom he had bequeathed one half of his territories, first roused the Iceni, and gave battle to their oppressors, who retreated without much bloodshed. Hence the name of Nazinge, or Nazing, or 'Na-sang,' is supposed to be derived. The Romans were then driven through Hertfordshire to Verulam, now St. Albans, and to Augusten, now London, and from thence down into the vicinity of Maldon, in Essex, by Queen Boadicea and her army, where they received a reinforcement of 10,000 veteran Roman soldiers under Suetonius, from the Isle of Man, and eventually defeated Queen Boadicea's army of 250,000, with the slaughter of 80,000 men, women, and children. Hence that place was called Messing (from messus, much, and sang, blood).