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Rev John Robinson, Jr

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Rev John Robinson, Jr

  • Birth 1576 Sturton-le-Steeple, Bassetlaw District, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Death 1 Mar 1625 Leiden, Leiden Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
  • Burial Leiden, Leiden Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
  • Memorial ID 6238808

Pastor to the original Mayflower Pilgrims. John Robinson was educated at the Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, then entered Corpus Christi College at Cambridge where he obtained his Bachelors in 1596 nad his Masters in 1599, where upon he became Praelector Graecus, a lectureship in Greek, and Decanus, a post involving student oversight. Cambridge was the center of Puritanism, whose principles were adopted by John Robinson during his years there, both as a scholar and as a lecturer. When King James took the throne in 1603 and enforced the 1593 Act Against Puritans, which made it illegal for them to hold their own separate services. Those who refused to attend the Church of England for fourty days were imprisoned without bail until they agreed to yield and conform to the Church of England. As a fellow of his college, he was not allowed to marry. John resigned from the college and married Bridget Whyte, the daughter of Alexander Whyte and Eleanor Smith, deceased yeoman farmers at Sturton-le-Steeple. They married at St Mary's in Greasley, John became an associate pastor of St Andrew's in Norwich, where there were housed a large amount of refugees from Holland and Flanders, and most of their political leaders were Puritans. When King James issued to proclamation that all ministers conform to a new book of canons, John left the church but continued to live in Norwich where he attempted to obtain a position at the hospital, and failed, but preached privately in various Nottingham locations, including the parish church at Sturton. About 1607, John joined the Separatists who met in the home of William Brewster, the local postmaster and baliff at his home, Scrooby Manor. Richard Clyfton became the pastor, John was the assistant pastor, William Bradford was soon joined the congregation, and they became known as the "pilgrims and strangers upon the earth." This congregation secretly walked sixty miles with their possessions to the sea port of Boston in Lincolnshire where a sea captain agreed to smuggle them to the Netherlands. Before they arrived, the captain betrayed them to the authorities, who took all their money, ransacked their baggage, put them on public display and confined them in cells in the Boston Buildhall. They were imprisoned for a month, and treated well, although Richard Clyfton, John Robinson and William Brewster were the last to be released. The second attempt to flee was successful, and Clyfton, Robinson and Brewster followed last to help the weakest for the journey. The first settlement was Amsterdam, their congregation became known as the "Ancient Church" who moved to Leide, on 01 May 1609, known in Holland as "Moving Day" thereafter. John Robinson became the Leiden Separatist pastor, William Brewster was the ruling elder, and the congregation grew to several hundred. In 1611, several of the separatist purchased property near Pieterskerk (St Peter's Church) near the University of Leiden. Robinson would be one of the families who lived in the twenty one apartments built on the property. John entered Leiden University as a theology student, attending lectures by famous theologians like Episcopius and Polyander. His status there gave him privileges 126 gallons of beer and ten gallons of wine free of taxes every three months, and he was exempt for night watch. John wrote sixty two essays, including some famous works and one of which was published after his death. After the first hard, poverty ridden year at Leiden passed, the Separatists were determined to move on. Their children were becoming more Dutch than English, and the Dutch were brewing a war with Spain. In 1619 Deacon John Carver and Robert Cushman were sent to London to negotiate with the London Company to join with the passengers of the Mayflower on its voyage to the Americas. Passage on the Speedwell and the Mayflower was arranged, an while only a minority of the pilgrims left Leiden, the Speedwell proved unseaworthy once it reached England, and it will never be known how many or who remained in England after all. John Robinson stayed behind, but his farewell speech was recorded for all time: "I Charge you before God and his blessed angels that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow Christ. If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as you were to receive any truth from my ministry, for I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word." Despite his plans to sail to the Americas, John became ill on Saturday, February 22nd of 1625, and while he recovered long enough to preach twice the next day,he died the following Sunday, March 1st, 1625, interred at St Peter's on the fourth of March. He was fifty years old. John and Bridget had over eight children, only five lived to adolescence; John Robinson, Bridget Robinson Greenwood, Isaac Robinson, Fear Robinson Jennings and James Robinson.

Bio by: Anne Shurtleff Stevens

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mike Reed
  • Added: 6 Mar 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6238808
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rev John Robinson, Jr (1576–1 Mar 1625), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6238808, citing Pieterskerk, Leiden, Leiden Municipality, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands ; Maintained by Find A Grave .