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Speculations on John Goode's Religion
Posted by: John Timperio (ID *****8153) Date: April 25, 2012 at 07:26:47
  of 2727

Hi everyone,
Through my mother's line, I am a descendant of the Goode family (my maternal grandmother's maiden name was Goode, from Craig Co. Virginia), and I currently reside in Cambridge, England having moved there from Cleveland in 1994.
I have recently been looking into my roots and with the help of Don Page have at least a working hypothesis that I may be related to John Goode the immigrant.
Being convinced of the likelihood that John's father was Robert, the rector of Ufton Nervet, Berkshire, England I have been fascinated with the circumstances that led this son of an Anglican Cleric to emigrate to the colonies.
The time we are looking at, 1650, is just after the English Civil War, when the Anglican Royalists lost to the Puritan Parlimentarians(generalising a very complicated situation wildly). In fact John's eldest brother Marmaduke, who followed his father as the rector of Ufton Nervet, was disendowed from his parish by the parlimentarians roughly around the same time as John left for Barbados.
We also know that Barbados was a Royalist stronghold that resisted the Parlimentarians' new government until they were subdued by force in 1651/1652. An interesting side note is that John was a merchant, but Parliment passed a law prohibiting trade with Barbados in the same year that he left, 1650.
So against this backdrop it seems to me it would be reasonable that John's leanings were decidedly in the Royalist camp.
However, something strikes me as curious about John's later life in Virginia. We learn from a court record in 1682 that John "had been in the parish sixteen years and was never at church". So this strikes me as odd; a clergyman's son in the 17th century who did not attend church?
Looking a little more closely at the religious climate in Virgina, we see that during the Commonwealth period Virginia had a Puritan Governor named Richard Bennett, a fact that may have significance as we will see later on.
The Anglicans regained power after the Restoration of the Monarchy. They were keen to suppress dissenting churches such as the Puritans and Quakers and even passed a law in 1661 requiring church attendence in Anglican churches under penalty of fines. Hence John's name being mentioned in this connection makes me wonder whether he had dissenter leanings. Further, many believe his last wife was an Ann Bennett, and in "Virginia Cousins", G B Goode says she had "recently arrived from Holland". Holland was a refuge for English Puritans and Quakers up until the last quarter of the 17th century, and as mentioned the govenor Richard Bennett came from a family of Puritans who later became Quakers. Bennet's uncle Edward, who was a major force in bringing colonists to Virginia from 1618 onwards, himself lived in Holland for several years. It would not be outside the bounds of possibility for Ann Bennett to be descended from this family.
It seems an interesting question as to John Goode's religious convictions, especially given his family's background in the Anglican church. Of course there could be many reasons for John's lack of attendence at church, such as being fed up with religious intollerance, or a son rebelling against the father. I don't have a strong view either way, but I do find it fun to speculate. I wonder if anyone knows of records of the religions followed by John's descendants, especially those from his marriage to Ann? Were there any Quakers?
I would also love to hear what any of you make of the above meanderings.
John


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