Mary (Barrett) Dyer

Marie (Barrett) Dyer (abt. 1611 - 1660)

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Marie (Mary) Dyer formerly Barrett
Born about in London, Englandmap [uncertain]
Daughter of and [mother unknown]
Sister of
Wife of — married in St Martin, London, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Boston, Massachusettsmap
Profile last modified | Created 21 Dec 2011
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Categories: Antinomian Controversy | Portsmouth, Rhode Island | Newport, Rhode Island | Rhode Island Friends Society, Newport, Rhode Island | Quaker Notables.

Mary (Barrett) Dyer was a Quaker.
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The date and place of baptism/birth of Mary Barrett is unknown. That she was born about 1610 and in London is speculative.[1]

Disputed Origins Resolved

The tradition that Mary Dyer was the daughter of Lady Arabella Stuart was started in April 1944 by Mrs Harry Borden who admitted that this theory was one conceivable way to account for Mary's early whereabouts, despite no proof.[2]

Andrews Moriarty refuted this theory quite soundly in 1950,[3] pointing out that "NO PROOF is offered that the Lady Arabella ever "had" issue except a vague statement from Mr. Hardy's (Life of Lady Arabella Stuart) of a rumor that such was the case." Furthermore, Moriarty pointed out that "there never was such a tradition [of this lineage] among Mary Dyer's descendants, but that it was a quite modern story, emanating from an English gentleman, Mr. F. M. Dyer of Macclesfield [sic] -- for "Frederick Nathaniel" Dyer who was an American - his father was born in Rhode Island - and who moved to England to do research]....who, not so many years ago, sent the story of his beliefs to the descendants of Mary Dyer in this country... This 'tradition' does not even have the authority of age ... this being so, the story, without more evidence, is not worthy of serious consideration." Moriarty further takes the (then) editor of the Register to task for even accepting the article for publication, as it appeared four years after the July, 1940 issue (Vol. 94) which published the marriage record of Mary and William Dyer from the parish register of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, which clearly identified her as Mary BARRETT.

The Marriage Record of Mary Dyre The Quaker Martyr - The Parish Registers of St. Martin in the Fields, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, contain the following marriage record:
October 27, 1633 Gulielmus Dyer and Maria Barret
There seems no doubt that this is the record of the marriage of William Dyre (as he consistantly spelled his name) and wife Mary, the Quaker martyr.
The date of their marriage was known to be between mid-summer 1633, when William Dyre's nine-year apprenticeship in London ended, and December 1635, when his son Samuel was baptized in Boston in New England.
It was through the professional services of Mr. Richard Holworthy of London that the record of William Dyre's apprenticeship was found. Through his efforts, also, the baptismal record of William Dyre was discovered. Therefore, when Mr. Holworthy wrote: "There seems to me to be no doubt as to the wife of William Dyre and I want to congratulate you on having this information," there need be no hesitation in offering the marriage record for publication.
Mary Dyre's maiden name of BARRETT explains why her son Samuel named a son of his, BARRETT Dyer.
The Registers of St. Martin-in-the- Fields record the baptism, October 24, 1634 of "William Diar, son of William and Marie," These records show that William and Mary Dyre emigrated to America not earlier than very late in 1634.
The details of the baptismal and apprenticeship records of William Dyre and other facts of his life and that of his wife may be found in an article written by Mr. William Allan Dyer and published in the Rhode Island Historical Society's Collections for January 1937. His efforts quite as much as those of the writer made possible the discovery of the marriage record, and it was Mr. Dyer who conducted the correspondence with Mr. Holworthy. Acknowledgement is also due the Harleian Society of London, as it was from their publication for 1936 that the Parish Records of St. Martin-in-the-Fields were obtained.
Brookline, Norfolk, Mass.Theresa E. Dyer[4]

More recent research identified a brother of Mary Dyer, further debunking the Arabella tale, and providing a clue to her true ancestry:

In 1634 the Prerogative Court of Canterbury recorded the probate administration of William Barret, which granted the commission jointly to William Dyer of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, fishmonger, and his wife Marie Dyer alias Barret, explicitly described as the sister of William Barret. The following year (1635) William & Mary (Barrett) Dyer settled in Boston.[5]

She was executed (by hanging) in Boston, MA 1 June 1660.

The so-called "Monster" child of Mary Dyer

For "practicing Medicine," Jane Hawkins, around 1637-1653 was banished from the Boston community to live in the woods. While at Portsmouth, as a mid-wife, she, with Anne Hutchinson, had assisted at the birth of the so-called 'monster' of Mary Dyer.... as related in John Winthrop's "History of New England" (1853), 2:10-11, 1:313ff.[6]

Mary Dyer, Martyr

William Dyre wrote a pathetic letter to the Massachusetts authorities, complaining bitterly of their treatment of his wife. It is found in the Chamberlain Collection in the Boston Public Library, and was published in the Nation, May 29, 1902, through the offices of Mr. Worthington C. Ford.
William Dyre writes:
"Having received some letters from my wife, I am given to understand of her commitment to close prison.....
"Though wet to the skin, she was thrust into a room wherein was nothing to sit or lie upon but dust. Had your dog been wet, you would have afforded it a chimney corner to dry itself, or had your hogs been penned in a sty, you would have afforded them some dry straw, or else you would have wanted mercy to your beast, but alas, Christians now with you are used worse than hogs or dogs.......
"Even the worst of men, the Bishops themselves, denied not the visitation and relief of friends to their wants which I myself, have oft experienced by visiting Mr. Prime, Mr. Smart and other eminent (.....) when he was commanded close in the Tower. I had resort once or twice a week and never fetched before authority to ask me whereof I came to the Tower or King's Bench or Gate House....
"Hath not people in America the same liberty as beasts and birds have to pass the land or air without examination?......... It is not to be forgotten the former cruelties you used towards her when she came from England, having been tossed at sea all winter, but a little refreshment that had by cross winds at Barbadoes, yet as soon as come into Harbour shut up in prison and there kept.......for no transgression at all, only that Mr. Bellingham then as now, said she was a Quaker.........
"Where your law or rule to keep a man's wife from him seven or eight weeks and a mother from her children, in a capacity of a close prison, which admits of no baylement?......."
"so saith her husband W. Dyre"
"Newport, this 30th August, 1659
"To ye Court of Assistants now assembled at Boston this 6th September, 1659."
This was endorsed: "To ye Court of Assistants, delivered into ye Court by his wife, Mary Dyre, 7th, 7th mo. 58." (Sep.7,1659)
Mary, wife of William, suffered martyrdom at Boston, Suffolk, May 32, 1660.[7]
RI Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project Index shows: Mary Dyer, - 31 May 1660, Newport, RI (NT600)
"Women who made a difference. Names of the 19 women to be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame October 7 were announced this week" "Mary Barret Dyer (birth year unknown-1660) She defied Puritan church autorities in Colonial Boston to gain religious freedom for Quakers. Her death by hanging helped establish the right to worship freely in the Colonies."[8]


Mary Barrett[9][10][11][12][13][14]
Mary Dyer[15][16][17][18][19]
Mary Stewart[20]


1607 London, London, England[12]
1612 London, London, England
1610 Hung at Boston for preaching Quaker doctrines/Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA[17]
1610 London, London, England[13]
1612 London, London, England[20]


27 OCT 1633 London, London, England[10][12]
Husband: William Dyer


1637 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA[16]


01 JUN 1660 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA[10][15]
She was "put to death at Boston, for her beliefs and the uttering of them..."[21]
01 JUN 1660 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA[15][11][10][20]
31 MAY 1660 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA[14]



  1. Johan Winsser (
  2. Alice Eugene Ortiz, "Tradition of Mary Dyer, Quaker Martyr," NEHGS Register, 98 (April 1944)
  3. Andrew Moriarty, "The True Story of Mary Dyer," NEHGS Register, Vol. 104, January 1950
  4. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 94 (July 1940): 300
  5. Johann Winsser, "A Brother Found: A Clue to the Ancestry of Mary (Barrett) Dyer, The Quaker Martyr," NEHGR, Volume 158, January 2004, #629, Pages 27-28.
  6. "The Story of Jane Hawkins," NEHGR Vol 114 p208
  7. Rhode Island Friends Record - Deaths, pg.99
  8. The Hartford Courant Newspaper, Saturday, March 11, 2000
  9. Ancestry Family Trees
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Torrey
  11. 11.0 11.1 Edmund West
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Yates
  13. 13.0 13.1 Edmund West
  14. 14.0 14.1 Rhode Island, Vital
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Find A Grave
  16. 16.0 16.1 Filby
  17. 17.0 17.1 AGBI
  18. Quaker Published Memorials
  19. Sons of the American Revolution
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Netherlands, GenealogieOnline
  21. Austin

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Images: 8
Mary Barrett Image 1
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Mary Dyer Image 2
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Anne Hutchinson/Mary Dyer Memorial Herb Garden
Anne Hutchinson/Mary Dyer Memorial Herb Garden

Anne Hutchinson Mary Dyer Memorial Herb Garden
Anne Hutchinson Mary Dyer Memorial Herb Garden

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On 4 Jun 2017 at 20:27 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

"The date of arrival in Boston is listed as 1637, but Mary's and William's son Samuel was baptized by Rev. Wilson in Boston First Church in December 1635, so that date needs changing, please."-post on facebook by Christy K Robinson, author of American Jezebel. Objections?

On 4 Jun 2017 at 20:26 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

"Also, is there proof that Mary's father was named William Barrett? I believe it's probable because that was her brother's name. But if no proof, it should remain as Unknown Barrett."- post on facebook by Christy K Robinson, author of American Jezebel. Objections?

On 4 Jun 2017 at 20:24 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

"There are children listed for Mary that were not hers:

Edmund Dyer, James Dyer, Henry Levi Dyer. There WAS a Henry Dyer, but no middle name. Henry *Levi* Dyer was of a later generation." -Post on facebook from Christy Robinson, author of American Jezebel. Does anyone object to this change being made?

On 27 Mar 2014 at 16:14 GMT Jillaine Smith wrote:

Robin, you're related to my husband, Philip Bogdonoff: Mary Dyer is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grand mother of Philip D. Bogdonoff (III).

On 9 Jan 2014 at 23:02 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

Mary Dyer is the great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grand mother of Robin Craig.

I am also on her facebook page! Gotta love it!

On 19 Mar 2013 at 20:47 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

I absolutely LOVE this blog about Mary. I just HAD to share -

On 18 Feb 2013 at 11:24 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

Nice page about Mary's history with some good sources listed.

On 17 Jan 2013 at 22:51 GMT Robin (Felch) Wedertz wrote:

Here is the will of William Bennet, in Latin, and translated to English.

Mary is 25 degrees from Rosa Parks, 20 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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