In 1673, John Allred and Edmund Jones Were Arrested for Illegal Worship – Who Were They?

By:  John Allred of Dublin, Ohio
First published in the Allred Family Newsletter, Spring 2012, Issue #90

() denote End Notes included at the bottom of the report.

On October 12, 1673, Reverend Edmund Jones held a worship service in Alexander Lever’s barn. By then, Reverend Jones had come a long way from his previous service as Vicar of Eccles (rhymes with heckles) Parish, Lancashire to now, a Minister of a Presbyterian congregation. John Allred of Pendleton was present at that illegal Presbyterian worship service and he too had come a long way since his christening in the Eccles Parish church, perhaps by Vicar John Jones, Edmund Jones’ father, or more likely, by John White who was John Jones predecessor in the office of Vicar. For Reverend Edmund Jones, the location may have been unusual but he had presided at worship services many, many times before. And on this particular occasion, he was holding an illegal worship service with his Presbyterian flock. The service had attracted many people this Sunday, including a man named Robert Boardman of Swinton and his two sons, John and Peter Boardman, one of whom reported to the authorities:

“On the Twelth day of October
laste being the Lords day, there
was a conventicle or meeting in a
Barne in the parish of Eccles
within this County belonginge to
one Alexander Lever of the same
place, husbandman, where mett
together under pretence of
religious worshipp. These several
persons following vis:-Mr.
Edmund Jones of Barton a non-
conformist minister and his
wife…(a list of 45 members of the
congregation followed)…together
with many more who were
unknowne to this informer, All of
them subjects of this Realme and
above the age of sixteene years;
he further saith that the said Mr.
Jones did preach to them both
ends of the day, and that the said
Mr. Jones did not use the booke of
Common prayer, accordinge to
the Constitution of the Church of

The list of 45 members of the congregation who were named by the informer has been preserved in a booklet, “The Eccles Presbyterians 1662 – 1765” by Ian McAlpine(2)While the informer did not know all of those gathered for worship, he did know that John Allred of Pendleton was among those in attendance.

John Allred of Pendleton

But who was this John Allred? There is substantial circumstantial evidence that he was the son of John and Ann Taylor Allred of Pendleton. The fact that he was described as “of Pendleton” gives us a clue because at the time, Pendleton was a relatively small place.(3)  Pendleton was originally included in the royal manor of Salford and in 1199, King John gave it to Iorwerth de Hulton. At that time it was known as Penelton and was described as “four oxgangs of land” which amounted to about 60 acres. In 1256 the estate, which had apparently expanded, was described as a “plough-land and a half” (roughly a quarter mile square or 160 acres). The land was subsequently given to the Catholic Church but was taken away when King Henry VIII confiscated all land belonging to the church, after which it was again privately owned. As late as 1780, Pendleton was described as a small, rural village with “a group of cottages around a village green around a maypole.”(4) All of these suggest that in 1673 there were not many people in Pendleton and almost certainly not many John Allreds.(5)

Thus, it seems very significant that a “John Allred of Pendleton”died in the Spring of 1675, only a year and a half after the illegal Presbyterian meeting. The preamble to his probate record(6) reads:

Transcription: “This is a true and perfect inventorie of all the goods, chattel and cattell of John
Allred late of Pendleton in the pish [parish] of Eccles and countie of Lancaster yeoman desessed
[deceased] valued and aprized the second day of April in the year of [our] Lord God one thousand
six hundred seventy and five by Thomas Bradshaw Adam Bradshaw Robert Birch Thomas Scoles and
James Chorlton.”

What followed was an inventory of the property of John Allred “late of Pendleton” along with a list
of nine people who owed him money when he died. Two of those names of debtors were William
Hardman and Robert Bradshaw. The list of 45 people who were arrested at the illegal Presbyterian worship service included “William Hardman of Pendleton” and “Robert Bradshaw of Pendleton.”

Item due from William Hardman_______________ 17 Pounds, 10 shilling

Item due from Robert Bradshaw________________ 2 Pounds

This would seem to suggest that this wealthy Pendleton farmer was the same “John Allred of Pendleton” arrested on that October day in 1673.

But who was this wealthy farmer? Names of the authors of the inventory give us a clue. The last name on the list of people who assessed the value of John Allred’s property, James Chorlton, was a witness to the will of Ann Allred of Pendleton written in 1637. And he was also one of the men who conducted an inventory of her property following her death.(7)  Could it be that the “John Allred of Pendleton” who was arrested in October 1673 and whose estate was inventoried in April 1675 was the same John Allred named in Ann Allred’s will as her son? The answer seems to be probably yes since another name listed as an appraiser was Adam Bradshaw. Ann Allred’s daughter, Elizabeth, married an Adam Bradshaw on May 19, 1632. If these suppositions are correct, Adam Bradshaw was John Allred’s brother-in-law. Ann Allred’s son John was born January 10, 1607. If it is indeed the same person, John Allred, the Presbyterian, would have been 66 years old when he died. He was the younger son when Ann Allred died so his older brother William (b. September 29, 15948) inherited everything as was the custom of the time. But John apparently did very well in spite of that. When he died in 1675, he was a rich man by 17th century standards. Note that the inventory record describes him as a yeoman which meant that he owned his own land. This was rare in those days when most farmers were sharecroppers with a wealthy land owner. Besides his farm, his estate was valued at 325 pounds, 2 shillings and 4 pence which would be well over $50,000 in today’s money and, at the time, a princely sum indeed.

Edmund Jones

Edmund Jones’ history is well documented. Edmund was born September 12, 1624, the son of John Jones, Vicar of Eccles Parish. The elder Jones was appointed to the post of Vicar by James I and was inducted to that office on January 18, 1610.(9)  Edmund was admitted to St. John’s College, Cambridge in 1645 and was ordained as his father’s successor on January 25, 1649/50. Now Vicar, Edmund married Ellen Worsley on November 16, 1657. Unfortunately, Edmund’s tenure as Vicar of Eccles Parish came during the most tumultuous time in English history. The English Civil War between King Charles I and Parliament led by Oliver Cromwell started in 1642. By that time, many of the clergy of the Church of England including Edmund Jones’ father, Vicar John Jones, had joined the Puritan movement which actually operated within the Church of England. In 1646, Parliament, dominated by Puritans, abolished the Act of Uniformity of 1558 which effectively removed the Church of England as the official Church and opened the door to any number of religious sects, including Presbyterians and Quakers. Presbyterianism became the predominant religion after Parliament created the Commonwealth of England in 1649 and remained so until 1654 when Parliament created the Commonwealth with Oliver Cromwell declared Lord Protector. The Commonwealth Parliament declared that England should have a national church but it was not clearly stated what the church should be. Vicar Edmund Jones, a Puritan like his father before him, chose the Presbyterian religion.

But in 1660, the monarchy was restored and Charles II, son of Charles I, became King and with it came the restoration of the Church of England with a new Act of Uniformity, passed by Parliament in 1662 (10). That act required all clergy to take an oath of allegiance to the Church of England and required that the Book of Common Prayer always be used in worship. Edmund Jones refused to take such an oath. He was replaced as Vicar of Eccles Parish by Robert Hartley on October 8, 1663. Over 2000 other clergy were similarly removed from office in what has been called the “Great Ejection.”  But Edmund’s ordeal did not end with his ejection from office; he was arrested for “Nonconformity” on October 8, 1663, and, as we have seen above, in October, 1673. In spite of this, it is said (11) that he continued to preach privately and even more publicly when he was allowed to “members of his old congregation [i.e. Eccles Parish] who had sympathy for his views”. John Allred of Pemberton was clearly one of those. Edmund died May 2, 1674 after a “short sickness,” about a year before John Allred died.

Edmund Jones’ legacy was that the congregation he established grew, especially after passage of the Toleration Act of 1689 (12) which provided an exemption for Protestants from laws that severely restricted religious freedom. The Presbyterian congregation met in the Eccles neighborhood at a place called “Monks Hall” until they built a chapel at Monton. Two different ministers served the congregation, Reverend Roger Baldwin and Reverend Thomas Crompton, until September 11, 1688 when Reverend Jeremiah Aldred [Allred] (13) was ordained as their minister. He served in that capacity until his death in 1729 at the age of 69. (14)  This would mean that he was born in about 1660. Could it be that Reverend Jeremiah Aldred was also a descendent of John and Ann Allred? Or is it a coincidence that Jeremiah showed up as the minister of a congregation that John Allred of Pendleton had attended illegally 15 years before?

1 Linda Allred Cooper, Allred Time Line 1572-1762.
2 Ian McAlpine, Monton Unitarian Church , 1986. In the cursive written list of attendees at this meeting, it clearly states “John Allred” of Pendleton but in the digitized listing, McAlpine lists him as “John Aldred.”
3 See Pendleton in British History online
5 We know of only two John Allreds of Pendleton at the time: John, the son of John and Ann Taylor Allred (b. 1607) and John, the husband of Ellen Pemberton Allred (b. ca. 1635). John and Ellen Pemberton were Quakers in 1661 when they were arrested at a Quaker meeting and John remained a Quaker in 1686 when William Penn considered helping his family come to America.  As a Quaker, it would have been out of the question for him to have attended a Presbyterian worship service in 1673 because Quakers and Presbyterians were at polar extremes when it came to worship.
Found in the Records Office in Preston, Lancashire, June 2010.
7 John Allred: Ann Allred of Pendleton. Allred Family Newsletter #86, Spring, 2011
8 EcclesParish Church records as listed on the CD: English Parish Records, Lancashire. From
This CD lists the name of Guilielmus Alred as being christened on this date but a check of the internet shows that
Guilielmus is Latin for the English name William. The names in this section of the CD are all in Latin
9 See above CD. Thomas Smith, grandfather of Ellen Pemberton, was listed as Parish Clerk at the time of John Jones
11 Lancashire nonconformity, Reverend B. Nightinggale
13 Presbyterian documents seem to have always referred to Allred as Aldred. See note number 2.
14 Reverend B. Nightingale:
Lancashire Nonconformity.