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    Jeremiah French

    Male 1623 - 1685  (~ 61 years)


    Personal Information    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

    • Name Jeremiah French 
      Born Dec 1623  Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Christened 02 Jan 1624  Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Gender Male 
      Graduation Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Died 17 May 1685  Bradford Abbas, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Notes 
      • "Jeremiah French: Admitted pensioner, age 16, at Caius College, Apr. 28 1641. Son of Thomas, gent. of Knettishall, Suffolk. Born at Saxmundham. School, Benhall. Matriculated 1641; Scholar, 1643-5; B.A. 1644-5; M.A. 1648. Minister of Newport, Isle of Wight. Imprisoned in Carisbrook Castle for his comments upon the treatment of Charles I, and tried for his life. Afterwards minister at Yeovil; and South Perrott, Dorset, 1652-62. After his ejection he preached in the neighborhood of Bradford Abbas, Dorset. Died about May 10, 1685." (Cambridge University Alumni Record)
      • From the research of Mary Kyritsis:

        "Rev. Jeremiah was the start of this whole search, and inspired me to visit the hamlet of Bradford Abbas, which must be one of the last unspoiled regions in England. There are so few cars there that the cats are oversized and fat; they never have to move fast to avoid anything speedier than a bike. There isn't even a shop that sells film. Eric Garrett is the village historian and has written a very respectable volume about the place though he persisted, even in the second edition, in leaving out Rev. Jeremiah's story.

        1647 is the approximate date of the marriage between Elizabeth Horsey and the Rev. Jeremiah French, the newly graduated young minister, aged 23, who had come to Over and Nether Compton, villages adjacent to Bradford Abbas, during that year. Their Parish Records, however, are lost. He was also given the living at Pulham the following year, and later was transferred to Newport, in the Isle of Wight (interestingly enough, Elizabeth's great-great uncle, Sir Edward Horsey, had been Captain of the Isle from 1565-1582, but it is not known if he had left any family which might have been influential in the transfer of the young minister). It was there that their first child, John French, was born 18 October 1648. It was also there that her husband got himself thrown into jail for three months because he preached in support of Charles I on the morning of the king's removal from Carisbrooke Castle. Upon his release he was told not to return to Newport on pain of death, and he took up residence first in Yeovil, near Bradford Abbas (where the residents did not like his "sharp" way of preaching), then in South Perrott, where for ten years the family lived, until he was cast out for disobeying the Act of Uniformity. The rest of their children were born there; only the birth of their second son Philip cannot be found.

        When thrown out of South Perrott in 1662, Jeremiah and his family returned to Bradford Abbas and he preached illegally around the country, in Crewkerne, Merriott and elsewhere, but in 1671 he was allowed to keep meetings in his own house. This is when the name of Court Baron House appears in the records; he petitioned Charles II specifically to be able to preach from there, and took out a licence to do so on 8 May 1672. Some records even called it an estate, and the tithe map of 1837 shows "Court Barton Mead" as including plots 213a, 214, 218 and 224, occupied at that time by Churchwarden George Andrews under Rev. Robert Grant, Vicar, situated on the back road between Bradford Abbas and Clifton Maybank, behind the Vicarage. There would be no reason for him to have such an estate if he had not married a member of the local gentry, as his own birthplace is known to have been in Suffolk, where he never returned; he had sold his inheritance there to his brother Philip. Certainly he could not have afforded to buy a house anywhere on the stipend given him by the Church, but of course all his wife's goods were considered his following their marriage, including her house (and possibly her annuity too). In any case, he could afford to preach out of his house, without recognition from the Church, whenever politics allowed him to. There were several instances when he was outlawed for his non-conformist ideas, one of which occurred when his wife was dying, and he was not able to come to see her on her deathbed. This may have occurred in April 1676, when a Mrs. Elizabeth French, widow, was buried in Sherborne Cathedral. It must be remembered that there still must have been a certain amount of local respect for the ex-Miss Horsey, and as all her ancestors were buried in the Cathedral it is not impossible that she was allowed there too, but called a widow in order not to upset the church authorities who were hounding her husband. Perhaps the family even thought it true.

        It is odd that the Court Baron House was not mentioned in Jeremiah's will, since we know that at least his son Samuel stayed in the village: his oldest son was born in Bradford Abbas in 1681 (and baptized by his grandfather, Rev. Jeremiah, in what must have been a rare moment of benevolence on the part of the local minister, as he was not authorized in the church, but this information comes from family records and is not in the Parish Register -- it was likely a private baptism in the home). Perhaps the house had been confiscated. Perhaps it never had actually belonged to Jeremiah, and had somehow reverted to the Horsey family.

        According to 'Congregational Churches of Dorset', by W. Densham and J. Oggle, 1899, in the Appendix of Ministers Ejected or Silenced, he 'fainted away' on 11 May 1685, aged 59, and the burial of Jeremiah French "the Elder", was recorded on 19 May 1685. This is the only mention in the Parish Register of the family at all. Presumably Jeremiah's children had absorbed the non-conformist ideas of their father, and simply did not go near the parish church. All of which no doubt contributed to the decision of Samuel's son Samuel "The Joiner", baptized 7 June 1687 in Bradford Abbas by his grandfather's friend and colleague, Robert Bartlett, to emigrate to America, which he did, with his wife Mary (Price) and two sons, sometime around 1714."
      Person ID I1053  Our Family Tree
      Last Modified 10 Mar 2008 

      Father Thomas French,   b. 20 Nov 1574, Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Mother Marjery Knights,   b. 27 Aug 1592, Kelsale, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1635, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 42 years) 
      Married 04 Nov 1617  Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Family ID F2219  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

      Family Elizabeth Horsey,   b. 1617, Clifton Maybank, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Apr 1676, Bradford Abbas, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years) 
      Married 1647  Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
      Children 
      +1. Samuel French,   b. 07 Oct 1655, Bradford Abbas, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Oct 1718  (Age 63 years)
      Last Modified 3 Mar 2008 
      Family ID F2217  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    • Event Map
      Link to Google MapsBorn - Dec 1623 - Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsChristened - 02 Jan 1624 - Saxmundham, Suffolk, England Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsGraduation - - Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsMarried - 1647 - Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
      Link to Google MapsDied - 17 May 1685 - Bradford Abbas, Dorset, England Link to Google Earth
       = Link to Google Earth 
      Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set