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
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
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.”