Selected Vicars of Harwich & Dovercourt: II

Following on from Part I.

  • NAME: John Roberts
  • PERIOD: 1533-abt 1536
  • DETAILS: Roberts became vicar in December 1533, but by 1537 he had moved to Ipswich.  Simple, right?  In fact, Roberts had much more to him.  It is widely believed that this John Roberts was a man in hiding by the name of Thomas Swinnerton, who used the name as one of his aliases during this period.  One of the few vicars of Harwich notable enough to have their own Wikipedia article, Swinnerton hid under a fake name to preach what at the time were considered fairly radical and heretical beliefs.  Wikipedia suggests he was on the run as the prime suspect in an abduction, but as the Swinnerton Family Society website states, he had adopted an alias “to screen himself from persecution on account of his heretical opinions.
  • NAME: Hippolitus du Chastelet de Luzancy
  • PERIOD: 1678-1702
  • DETAILS: Aside from lending himself to the joke about being the biggest name in the vicarage, de Luzancy had quite a tale to tell.  A French exile due to his beliefs, he fled to England in 1675, and officially denounced his “Romish” ways, becoming a Protestant.  In November 1678, de Luzancy obtained a grant to become a denizen of the country, and a month later he became vicar of Harwich.
  • During his time in England, de Luzancy had a number of books published, detailing various sermons and treatises, and he also kept in touch with two other “big names” of the era, Samuel Pepys and Sir Anthony Deane.  In 1689, when a combination of religion and politics kept Pepys and Deane from becoming MPs of Harwich for a third time, de Luzancy – as detailed by the late great Leonard Weaver in his book “The Harwich Story“, as well as in an above link – wrote to Pepys saying he “was very upset at the result – which showed “how we are overrun with pride, heat and faction” and stupid enough to “deprive ourselves of the greatest honour and advantage which we could ever attain to in the choice of so great and so good a man as you are””
  • NAME: George Ludgater
  • PERIOD: 1706-1706
  • DETAILS: Last time we detailed the longest-serving vicar of Harwich and Dovercourt, so this time it makes sense to have who was perhaps the shortest-serving.  Admitted in either the end of March or the beginning of May, depending on the source, Ludgater’s first major act as vicar was to die, being buried on August 1 1706.