Religious Noncomformity in Wales

“I returned to  Bristol. I have seen no part of England so pleasant for sixty or seventy miles together as those parts of Wales I have been in. And most of the inhabitants are indeed ripe for the gospel.” These are the words of John Wesley in 1739, preaching to the Welsh about the extent to which the Church of England had strayed, and how his view, Methodism, was a return to what had been good in the Church. http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/text/chap_page.jsp?t_id=J_Wesley&c_id=3 But Methodism was hardly the first non-conformist religious view to gain a foothold in Wales.  Unlike some other travel writers (e.g. Daniel Defoe, Gerald of Wales), Wesley spoke favorably of the Welsh–probably because they were more open to his teachings–but without the usual ramblings about them being poor, uncouth, and undisciplined. Wesley’s Methodism was only the latest in a long line Read more…

Woodbury Genealogy

The Woodburys in the United States are all descended from John and William Woodbury (brothers or cousins, it’s not clear) who came to Salem, Massachusetts in the 1620’s. John was first.  He was part of a fishing consortium–not a Puritan–and traveled across the Atlantic on the Zouch Phenix in 1624 as part of the Dorchester Company.  He settled in Cape Ann, which is basically a barren rock, and then moved north to become one of the five founders of Salem, Massachusetts (along with Conant, Balch, Trask, and Palfrey).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Planters_(Massachusetts) He then was granted 200 acres in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts in 1635.  http://dougsinclairsarchives.com/woodbury/johnwoodbury1.htm My grandfather was born in Beverly three hundred years later.  Not an adventurous bunch, apparently, once they got to Massachusetts.  Terrifyingly, I am descended from John and William together FOURTEEN times, through both my mother and Read more…