Correcting Mistakes, Part 3

Correcting Mistakes, Part 3

by Oscar Burdick

 

       Note from Nick: This is the last of three articles correcting significant errors published about English SDB history found in Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Volume 1 and 2, which was published by the General Conference in 1910.

       We remind you that a document containing corrections (listed by page numbers) is available on the Historical Society’s website: www.sdbhistory.org. These corrections spring from Oscar Burdick’s extensive work on this subject over many years as he has worked to research and write an authoritative work on English SDBs.

 

• About Edward Stennet[t], and several false assertions about him:

Now that the death date and age are known for Edward Stennet[t], November 21, 1705, age 77, he must have been born in 1627 or 1628. He could not then be a priest opponent of Theophilus Brabourne (1632 book). Stennet was a Baptist by 1656, and Seventh Day by 1658 or before, and lived at Abingdon so could not have been a sequestered Church of England priest at Wallingford in 1662.

  • About the later generations of the Stennett family:

Joseph Stennett, a son of Joseph Stennett, Jr. was probably not an SDB. Joseph the son of Dr. Samuel Stennett was not a Sabbathkeeper. That there was a “Samuel Stennet I” seems to be an assumption concerning a later man, a Dr. Samuel Stennett cousin; the description of an earlier Samuel I appears to be assumptions partly based on a different Stennett.

• Westmancote, Worcestershire was simply the address of the Natton pastor, Rev. John Miller, not the location of a distinct congregation there in 1829.

  • About the existence of a Seventh Day Baptist congregation in Swansey, Wales, under the leadership of Ephraim Wheaton: Swanzey, Wales is a misunderstanding of Swanzey in Massachusetts; the congregation was in America, not Wales. This congregation does not appear to have been SDB, though some members may have held seventh-day views for a period of time.

• There were no SDB churches in Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire in the 1600s. This is a misunderstanding of a reference from a newspaper article in 1901. The misunderstood quote in the article about Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire in the 1600s actually refers to “some [Seventh-day Baptists] around Bourton [Gloucestershire].”

• The early Baptist records of Hexham (which include Thomas Tillam) have long since been published; it was not Seventh Day. This appears not to have been assumed until an 1879 book.1

  • About the suggestion that Dr. Peter Chamberlen was a SDB pastor: It has been printed he was probably pastor in 1653 in the Mill Yard Church (London) sequence. But a BAPTIST record book (1652-1654) in the Bodleian Library (Oxford), appears to demonstrate he was the de facto leader of that Baptist church about that time. C.H. Greene, who did most of the English research for Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Volume 1, later wrote that this 1652-1654 church “could by no means be a Sabbatarian church.”2

• The following should not be considered SDB, though they are listed as such in SDBEA, Volume 1: Edward Brerewood, John Fryth (Frith), Alexander Gordon, Vavasor Powell, Thomas Rogers, Robert Shalder (Spalder, Spaulder), Philip Tanny (Tandy), John Tombes, Ephraim Wheaton, and William Whiston.

 

Oscar Burdick is an ordained Seventh Day Baptist minister and a member of the Bay Area, Calif., Seventh Day Baptist Church. He is retired as Librarian for Collection Development of the Graduate Theological Union Library in Berkeley and 2007 recipient of the SDB Historical Society’s Gold Headed Cane award.

 

1 Robert Barclay, The Inner Life… (1879), p.252

2 Charles H. Greene, “Material relating to the origin… of the Mill Yard Seventh Day Baptist Church,” pp. [4-5], a manuscript in the SDBHS library. That is a Greene letter to Corliss F. Randolph.

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