Mary and her brother Christopher emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. They were 'preacher's kids.'
|a royal proclamation for the suspension of a public event due to plague, 1637|
|St. Chad's before the 1788 collapse and new building|
Mary's grandfather and my 11th great grandfather, St. Chad's Curate Christopher Hawxhurst (1524-1576), had been educated at St. John's, the Evangelist College in Cambridge and was early into his career during the time of Queen Elizabeth's accession in 1558. The protestant movement she desired in Shropshire depended upon evangelism that would be supported by a new preaching ministry. According to researcher, Bill Champion in 'Religion in Tudor Shrewsbury in Depth', reformist connections made while at college may have helped to forge Christopher's appointment as Curate at St. Chad's through his influential Cambridge colleagues. These connections also appear to have helped him to gain earlier employment as schoolmaster to Lord Darnley. (aka Henry Stuart who would become the second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots and father of the future King James I)
During the 1570's outbreaks of the bubonic plague resurfaced in England. By 1574, Cambridge was struck. Next was Stamford where 40 victims were buried between August and September, 1575. The disease invaded Shrewsbury in 1576. In an effort to battle the flea- and air-borne disease, 'bailiffs ordered all swine and dogs to be removed from the town, all cats to be killed, the streets and alleyways to be cleaned regularly by the townsfold, and fires to be lit every other night in numerous places in every street.' (from A History of Bubonic Plague in the British Isles, J.F.D. Shrewsbury) Despite these precautions, the disease took its toll and among the dead that summer was the curate of St. Chad's, Christopher Hawxhurst, leaving behind a 5-year old son, (my 10th GGF) Sampson.
Years later, Sampson Hawxhurst received annual stipends from the town bailiff's accounts to help defray college expenses while he studied at Oxford. The esteem held for Sampson's father is evident in records that show that the money was given in his memory -more than thirteen years after his death -paid to Mr. Sampson Hawxhurst, 1589, 'toward his preferment in learning in respect to his father's pains and travell in our town, 5 pounds.' Sampson went on to earn his BA in 1593 and BD from Magdalen Hall in 1607. The following year he became Canon of Lichfield (1608-1626) after which he briefly held the post of Vicar of Nuneaton in Warwickshire before dying in 1627. He left behind three grown children: William, Christopher, and our ancestor Mary. A few years following his death (and, possibly the death of their mother) Mary, 28, and her brother Christopher, 26, set sail for America.
|"Scrooge" headstone in forefront; St. Chad's graveyard, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England;|
click HERE for link to interactive tour of the beautiful 1790 church of St. Chads