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Blackmore Area Local History

Nathaniel Ward

Nathaniel Ward was Rector of Stondon Massey in the turbulent years of the beginning of the seventeenth century.
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The Pulpit and Reading Desk at
St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey.  
Taken from Essex Review, published in 1898

Nathaniel Ward

Text by Revd. E. H. L. Reeve (c. 1900)

We must now pass on to our 35th known rector.  Nathaniel Rich was at this time Lord of Stondon Manor, and he it was who in all probability presented Nathaniel Ward to the benefice.   

The two men were in very much the same mind in religious matters, holding Puritanical views.

Unfortunately for Ward’s peace, Bishop Laud was most conscientiously determined to strengthen the traditional and Catholic position of the Church of England as a true branch of the
Church of Christ. It was not long before Ward himself felt the weight of the same iron hand. In 1630, the Rector was “presented for not wearing a surplice in Church for the two last years past, and that prayers were not constantly read in Church on Wednesdaies, Fridaies and Holydaies”.

In 1632 Ward was suspended; then excommunicated for non-obedience to the Canons, and on 16th Dec. he was deprived.

On his expulsion from his living, Ward determined to visit
New England about which he had heard so much, and in the 1634 he set sail.

The pulpit in
Stondon Church with the reading desk attached was erected during Ward’s incumbency, and bears the date 1630. I think we may trace Ward’s handiwork. On the panels of the desk we find the words “Christ is All in All”  the text of the famous discourse of his brother Samuel, “preacher of Ipswich”, which was published in 1627, while in the pulpit is carved “2 Tim. iv. 1-2”, the reference being to the words of St Paul, “Preach the word in season and out of season”, which no doubt was a favourite Apostolic injunction with the Puritan divine.

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Last updated: 26 December 2009