The English Home of Mr. Timothy Dalton, B. A. : As Priest and Parson

Mr. Dalton was graduated from college in 1613, and was ordained a priest and licensed to preach in the diocese of Norwich in June, 1614.1 No severe course of theological study was imposed at that time upon candidates for the ministry. Those were the golden days of "preaching tailors and weavers." In March, 1615, the new clerk was inducted into the tempting rectory of Woolverstone, in Suffolk, of the same bishopric.

After Queen Elizabeth had been sumptuously entertained in East Anglia, during one of her royal excursions, she said: "Now I understand the saying, 'The Wise Men came from the East.' " The good Bishop Hall. Pf Norwich, was always glad to remember his first curacy in "the sweet and civil county of Suffolk." The common phrase "Silly Suffolk" was actually a compliment; for "the English word silly is derived from the German selig, which means 'holy' or 'blessed,' and it was applied to Suffolk on account of the number of beautiful churches it contains."2 Dr. Thomas Fuller says: "The Air thereof generally is sweet, and by the best Physicians esteemed the best in England, often prescribing the receipt thereof to the consumptionish Patients."3 Our modern Suckling has added: he climate is healthy, though the Winters are cold, and the winds of Spring sharp and piercing."4 Mr. Dalton's long residence on the bleak Suffolk coast had fitted him for the wild storms and "horrid snows" and mighty frosts of the Hampton ocean-front.5

We are assured that the original record of Mr. Dalton's ordination has been lost; so that first in order we have the following account of his institution. For it we are indebted to Bishop John Jegon's private register:6

"Martig 8o 1615
" C. Suff: Timotheus Dalton clics in artibus
R : Wolfreston. Bacch sup pntacone Arthuri wool-
Dec: Samford rich oatroni inde, Institut est ad
Eam vacan p mortem, vitimi Incu.
Et subscript &c., et mandate est
Arching, &c."

Which, being interpreted, reads thus:

"March 8, 1615.
"County of Suffolk. Timothy Dalton, clerk, Bachelor
Rectory of Wolverene. of Arts, upon the presentation
Deanery of Samford. of Arthur Woolrich, the patron
thereof, is instituted to the
same, vacant through the death
of the last incumbent; and he
Subscribed, etc., and a mandate
Is sent to the Archdeacon, etc."

[Typographers note: Certain letters in the first half of this writing are not available in MicroSoft Word. The original of this paragraph appears on page 34 of the book.]

There is another account7 of the institution, to be found in the official Institution Books of the diocese.

Old Wolverstone Church; with Chancel, as Restored, 1864-66
We copy the same, because it is in one particular a little more complete than the first:
"Martij 8o 1615
"Wulverston. Timotheus Dalton clic in artibus bacch.
sup pntacone Arthuri Woolrich Patroni
inde Institut' est eunde vacan p mortem
vltimi Incum. Et subscripsit & jurauit,
&c., et mandat. Est Archino, &c."
[Typographer's note: Certain letters in this writing are not available in MicroSoft Word. The original of this paragraph appears on page 35 of the book.]

The added words: "& jurauit" mean that the new rector was sworn to keep and perform "the Three Articles." Now it is somewhat remarkable that there is so much uncertainty as the precise character of these famous articles. Several versions of them have been given. King James drew up a special code of his own,8 which he called his "darling Articles," and which are known to hiostorians as "the five Articles of Perth.: They worried the Scottish Church from 1616 to 1638, when King Charles wisely abandoned them. We believe that they were never offered in England, and that "the Three Articles" which Mr. Dalton subscribed were the same that were introduced by Archbishop Whitgift,9 in 1583, after the creation of the High Commission. He ordained as follows:10

"6. That none be permitted to preach, read, catechize, minister the Sacrements, or execute any other ecclesiastical function, by what authority soever he be admitted thereto, unless he consent and sub-subscribe to these Articles following, before the ordinary of the diocese wherein he preacheth, readith, catachizeth, or ministereth the Sacraments, viz:

"I. That [Her] Majesty, under God. Hath and ought to have the sovereignty and rule over all manner of persons, born with [her] realms, dominions and countries, of what estate, either ecclesiastical or temporal, soever they be; and that no foreign power, prelate, estate or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or temporal, within [Her] Majesty's said realms, dominions and countries.

"II. That the Book of Common Prayer, and of Ordering Bishops, Priests and Deacons, conatineth nothing in it contrary to the Word of God; and that the same may lawfully be used; and that he himself will use the form of the said Book prescribed in public prayer and administration of the Sacrements, and none other.

"III. That he alloweth the Book of [xxxix] Articles of Religion, agreed upon by the Archbishops and Bishops of both provinces, and the whole Clergy, in the Convocation holden at London, in the year of our Lord God 1562, and set forth by [Her] Majesty's authority; and that he believeth all the Articles therein contained to be agreeable to the Word of God."

This order of the archbishop was resisted. In 1584 sixty-four ministers in Norfolk and sixty in Suffold were suspended for "not coming under the yoke of Subscription." There were "settled" ministers. It was easier to enforce the rule when a candidate was about to be ordained or inducted into a parish; for the gates remained shut against all those who then refused compliance. John Milton explained how he was "Church-outed by the prelates," by saying that he "thought is better to prefer a blameless silence before the sacred order of speaking, bought and begun with servitude and forswearing."

The next official record relating to Mr. Dalton, includes both his ordination and his institution. We owe this to the registrar's practice of examining the papers of every beneficed clergyman, at the time of every Episcopal visitation. If such documents proved to be correct, an abstract of their contents was consigned (?) to the "Consignation Books" of the see. Thus it happened, that when Bishop Samuel Harsnet11 went to Woolverstone in the spring of 1627, his registrar inpected and approved of Mr. Dalton's credentials, and then made the following memorandum of same:12

"Samford in Ecclea pochi btæ Mariæ ad
Turrim13 in Gipwico14
"26o April 1627.
"Woluerston. Mr Timotheus Dalton art. Nacch. Rect.
Ordinat' presbr p Johem Epum Norv.
19o Junij 1614,
Institut' p eundem 8o Martij 1615.
Presentat' p Arthurum Wolrich ar. Ver.
Et indubitat patron.
Lic. Ad pr dic. P totam dioc. P eundem
19o Junij 1614."
[Typographer's note: Certain letters in the first half of this writing are not available in MicroSoft Word. The original of this paragraph appears on page 37 of the book.]
Of which, the following is a translation:
"[Deanery of] Sanford, in the Parish
Church of Mt. Mary at the Tower, in
Ipswich, April 26, 1627.
"Woluerston. Mr. Timothy Dalton, Bachelor of Arts,
Rector of Woolverstone, was ordained
A priest by John [Jegon], Bishop of
Norwich, June 19, 1614. He was in- stituted [rector] by the same [prelate]
March 8, 1615; being presented by
Arthur Woolrich, Esquire, the true
and undoubted patron.
He was licensed to preach through the
Whole diocese by the same [prelate],
June 19, 1614."

Mr. Woolrich was a gentleman of Suffolk. At the time of presentation he was the trustee of Philip Cateline, of Woolverstone Hall, gent., during his minority, and in this matter was acting on his behalf.15 We do not know why Dalton was selected for the vacant place. A valued correspondent informs us that the "Composition Book" of the diocese for the year of Dalton's institution (1615), isa not in existence, and adds: "That book would show how the new rector compounded for his first fruits; and such composi-tions, being in that shape of money bonds, frequently help the genealogist to ascertain the kinsmen or former neighbors of the principal obligator, and thereby to locate him in his native parish."

  1. King James second Parliament met in 1614, and was speedily dissolved. Seven years went by before another was called.
  2. Richie's East Abglia, 336. By the Domesday Book, there were 364 churches in Suffolk at that time.
  3. Fuller's Worthies of England, II, 324.
  4. Suckling's Hist. And Antiq. of Suffolk, I, Introd, iii.
  5. The winter of 1637-8, which we believe to have been Dalton's first in New England, was terribly severe. According to Winthrop, the snow remained on the ground from November to April, and Wheelwright found it "a yard deep" on his walk to Exeter.
  6. Register, 'Jegon," Norv. Epl., 51.
  7. Institution Books, Norv. Eph., Vol. XXII, p. 56.
  8. Gardiner's History of England, III, 222-37; VII, 274-78; VIII, 363.
  9. He was Elizabeth's favorite "little black parson," who was made archbishop in order that he might "root out Puritanism and the favours thereof."
  10. Strype's Life of Whitgift, 229-321; Gee and Hardy's Church History Documents, 481.
  11. Bishop Harsnet was buried in Chigwell Church, Essex; and on his memorial brass he is represented in full pontificals-stole, alb, dalmatic, cope, miter, and pastoral staff. This is said to be the latest illustration which has been preserved of thre Anglican revival of the old ecclesiastical vestments.
  12. Consignation Book, Norv. Epi., Bishop Harsnet's Visitation, 1627.
  13. This familiarly known as the "Tower Church", or church of "St. Mary Tower," or "St. Mary-le-Tower." The name was derived from the fact that the building is at or near to the site of a strong tower which formerly stood upon the town wall; or possibly the name refers to the tower of the church itself.
  14. Gyppewicus or Gipwicus, or Gippeswic was the old Saxon name of Ipswitch, in Suffolk; being derived from wic, a town, and Gipping, the name of the river which runs into the Orwell in front of the town in question.
  15. Tanner MSS., in the Bishop's Office at Norwich. Philip Cateline was the son (or possibly the grandson) of Richard Catelyn, Esg., who had been the lord of Woolverstone, and who died in 1600. (Page's Supplement to Suffold Traveller, 36; Blomefield's History of Norfolk (Ed. 1808), Vol. VIII, p. 32.) In 1603 Rector Bedle reported that "Dionis Catlyn, widow," was the patron.-Suffolk Archæology, VII, 400.