||Richard Blinman migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).|
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This is the profile of the immigrant Richard Blinman who lived in Green's Harbor, Gloucester and New London before returning to England.
Richard Blinman was probably baptized on February 2, 1608/9 in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, Wales. The Chepstow parish register contains not one, but two, entries for his baptism: one in the list of baptisms in 1608 and one incongrously squeezed in immediately under the heading for baptisms in 1607. There are several factors, however, that raise doubts about the accuracy of these records. First, both entries appear to have been squeezed in at a later date, rather having been entered contemporaneously. It is uncertain who added the record and when. Second, the entry for Richard Blinman in the 1891 Alumni Orionienses states that Richard was 15 at the time he matriculated at New Inn Hall in April 1635 "aged 20," which would mean that Richard was born about 1615. A date of birth of February 1608/9 is, however, fully consistent with the fact that Richard stated that he was 72 in his April 1681 will.
Both Richard's entry in Alumni Orionienses and the Chepstow parish register entries show that Richard was the son of William Blinman of Chepstow. However, it is uncertain whether Richard's entry in Alumni Orionienses was based on contemporaneous Oxford records or later outside sources and, as noted above, there is some doubt as to the reliability of entries in the Chepstow parish register. Assuming that Richard was the son of William Blinman of Chepstow and was born in 1608/9, his mother was no doubt Jane Morgan, whom William Blynman maried in Chepstow on October 13, 1607 of the marriage of William Blynman and Jane Morgan.
Richard matriculated at New Inn Hall at Oxford on April 24, 1635 and received his Bachelor of Art's degree on January 19, 1635/6. He was admitted as curate of Ubley, Somerset on June 12, 1636 and ordained as a minister at Wells, Somerset on September 24, 1636.
In 1638, Richard witnessed a will at Llanvanches, Monmouthshire, about 8 miles west of Chepstow. By 1639 he had been expelled from a post at a church and was preaching at various locations along the English-Welsh border, without having a permanent position. His whereabouts and status are mentioned in a letter dated March 29, 1639 from Lady Brilliana Harley of Brampton Bryan, Hertfordshire to her son Edward (then at Oxford):
On September 1, 1639, Richard was in Holt, Denbighshire (about 68 miles north of Brampton Bryan, Hertfordshire), with Oliver Thomas, who allegedly preached a seditious sermon. Richard was in Walcot, Shropshire (about 50 miles southeast of Holt) shortly thereafter, but apparently stayed only briefly, as Lady Brilliana Harley wrote to her son Edward on November 29, 1639 that "Mr. Blineman is goone from Walcot."
Calamy’s 1775 Nonconformist’s Memorial  and Babson and Felch (perhaps both in reliance on Calamy) indicate that Richard was the minister of Chepstow before emigrating. According to Chepstow Parish Records, however, Abraham Drew was the vicar of Chepstow from 1609 until he died in 1646, which means that Richard could not have been the minister there prior to his emigration. It thus appears most probable that, after being ordained in 1636 and before appearing in Hertfordshire in 1639, Richard was minister at a different church in the area or perhaps had a subordinate or informal role at Chepstow.
By early 1640, Richard had apparently decided to immigrate to New England. In a letter to her son dated February 28, 1639/40, Lady Brilliana Harley reported that "Mr. Blineman is goone into NewIngland." Based on surrounding evidence and the fact that voyages to New England were generally not made in the winter months, the words "is goone" should be interpreted as "is going" rather than "has gone."
According to the history of the Church of Marshfield written by Nathaniel Morten in the 1680s and included in Volume I of the Plymouth Church records, Richard's immigration to New England was induced by Plymouth governor Edward Winslow, who "procured several Welsh Gentlemen of Good note thither with mr. Blinman a Godly able Minnester." Research has shown, however, that the members of the party who accompanied Richard to New England were not all, or perhaps even predominantly, Welsh, but came from various locations near the Welsh-English border.
Richard and the rest of his party immigrated in the spring or early summer of 1640 and were settled in Green's Harbor by Gov. Winslow. The first evidence of their presence in New England is a letter dated October 10, 1640 by Gov. Winslow, written from his house, Careswell, in Green's Harbor, to John Winthrop Sr. in Boston that includes the postscript: "Mr. Blindman salutes you." That letter was followed by a letter dated January 28, 1640/1 by Gov. Winslow from Careswell to John Winthrop Sr. at Boston in which he blamed his failure to visit, in part, on being occupied by "the many businesses I have had (& the more in regard to Mr. Blinman's friends that are come to live with us, & the streightnes of place to receive them)."
At a General Court held at Plymouth on March 2, 1640/1, Richard and five other men believed to have immigrated with him (Hugh Prichard, Obadiah Bruen, John Sadler, Hugh Calkin and Walter TIbbot) were propounded to be made free at the next Court.
Some of the people who were already living in Green's Harbor apparently preferred the way their religious services had been conducted over Rev. Blinman's style. Lechford reported in his 1642 Plain Dealing, that Rev. Blinman had a "broyle" with William Thomas of Green's Harbor, "where master Blindman went by the worst" and that Rev. John Wilson of Boston had been sent to try to resolve the dispute. Wilson's efforts were apparently to no avail. William Hubbard, in his 1682 A General History of New England used a parable from the Bible to describe the conflict, stating "they agreed no better than the piece of new cloth in the old garment, making a rent so bad it could never be made up again." The outcome of the conflict was that, by the spring of 1642, Rev. Blinman and the rest of the Blinman Party had removed to Cape Ann in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
John Winthrop Sr. summarized the Blinman Party's immigration, brief stay in Green's Harbor and removal to Cape Ann in a journal entry in May 1642:
Richard Blinman was made a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at a General Court held at Boston on October 1, 1641, which suggests that Richard removed to Gloucester by the fall of 1641.
Richard organized the first formal church in Gloucester in 1642 and remained pastor of the church until his departure to New London in late 1650. His preachings were not, however, universally popular among members of his flock. In 1644, Alce Georg of Gloucester was ordered to be whipped or fined for railing against Rev. Blinman and "calling him a wicked wretch" and John Stone of Gloucester was fined for charging Rev. Blinman with false interpretations of the scriptures, including saying "if an angell from Heaven should preach the same he would not believe it"; in 1649, Christopher Avery was presented for speaking scoffingly of Rev. Blinman; and, in 1657, long after Richard's departure from Gloucester, William Browne was punished for speaking disgracefully against not only Rev. Blinman but also his two successors, saying that "mr. Blinman was naught and Perkins was starke naught and Millett was worse than Perkins."
Richard received generous grants of land in Gloucester during his residency, totalling at least 125 acres, including one parcel of 80 acres at Kettle Cove.
Richard married a woman named Mary. As discussed in Mary's profile, her maiden name and parentage are uncertain; however, she was most probably the daughter of Robert Parke and Martha (Chaplin) Parke. Based on the date of birth of their eldest child (july 1642), Richard and Mary were probably married in 1641. Their place of marriage is uncertain, as Richard is thought to have been living in Green's Harbor in early 1641 and Gloucester in late 1641, while Mary's father is thought to have been living Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1641.
Richard and Mary had the following children. (The last four are listed in the order they were mentioned in Richard's will.)
Richard moved from Gloucester to New London (then called Pequot) in late 1650. The earliest notice of him in New London is his appearance at a New London town meeting in November 1650. A group of at least 20 families moved from Gloucester to New London concurrently with Richard or shortly after him. Caulkins called this group the eastern or Cape Ann company. For more about this group, see The Cape Ann Company.
Richard served as pastor of the New London church from the time of his arrival until early 1658 and received numerous land grants from the town. According to Caulkins, not a word of dispraise was uttered against him while he was in New London. However, evidence cited by Greenwood, in his 1900 NEHGR article on Rev. Blinman, paints a different picture. In a 1652 letter, Gov. John Haynes in Hartford wrote to John Winthrop Jr. at Pequot that "I heare that Mr. Blinman is somewhat unsettled in his spirret by reason of somme affronts by ill disposed persons there." In 1657, as recounted by Jonathan Brewster in a letter to John Winthrop Jr., Rev. Blinman had a disagreement with Brewster and others in New London on a some matter. When the town voted to withhold Richard's pay unless he agreed to teach the matter as the majority of the town thought proper, he declared he would leave. Brewster sought Winthrop's help in convincing Richard to stay, but any attempt was apparently unsuccessful.
By March 1657/8, Richard was in New Haven and making plans to return to England. Starting in April 1658 and continuing until July 1659, he entered into transactions to dispose of most of his property in New England. He gifted two pieces of land in New London to John Winthrop Jr's wife Elizabeth, sold most of his land on Great Neck and at Upper Mamacock to James Rogers, conveyed one parcel as a gift to Samuel Beeby and another to William Thomson, sold his house lot in New London to William Addis, and sold his farm at Harbor's Mouth to John TInker. In May 1659, the New Haven Colony authorized the expenditure of 8li for the purchase of books from Mr. Blinman that would be suitable for a grammar school. Shortly after signing a deed to Andrew Lester and settling accounts with James Rogers, both on July 12, 1659, Richard departed New London for England.
Richard kept his farms at Pine Neck and Fort Hill in New London for many years after he returned to England, perhaps for the use of his son Jeremiah/Jeremy. In January 1670/1, Richard and his wife finally deeded them to Christopher Christophers.
Richard sailed for England via Newfoundland, leaving the latter for Barnstaple in August 1659. His whereabouts and activities after his arrival and prior to 1665 are mostly uncertain. According to Chepstow Parish Records, it is possible that Richard was the vicar of Chepstow for a year or two after his return. Moore’s 2013 Abandoning America, however, states that no evidence survives that shows whether Blinman held a church after returning to England. The only record that appears to have been found for him during period after his return and until 1665 is a record, after the Restoration, of his indictment at the Monmouth assizes at Chepstow on August 5, 1661, for unlawful assembly at the church of Llanmartin.
By 1665, Richard was living in Bristol. He apparently lived in the area of Bristol that was referred to as "in the castle." Since Bristol castle was demolished in 1656 on Cromwell's orders, the reference to "in the castle" presumably meant in the area where the castle was formerly located. That area of Bristol was close to St. Philip & St. Jacob's church and was the same area of Bristol, and the same parish, that Blinman Company member Walter Tibbot's family came from, which suggests that Richard probably had connections there before he emigrated.
Later in life, Richard apparently earned income as an apothecary selling potions, which, according to Moore, was a common practice among nonconformist ministers. Many of his bequests in his will consisted of potions, since he had little money to give.
Richard made his will on April 13, 1681. (In Greenwood's 1900 NEHGR article on Rev. Blinman, the year is incorrectly stated as 1687.) In his will, he made bequests to daughter Mary (Greenwood incorrectly says Margaret), her husband Richard Bowes and their child then living (not named); daughter Hannah, her husband John Wadland and their children then living (not named); daughter Margaret and her husband Henry Acourt; son Nathaniel; daughter-in-law Martha Blinman and her daughter Anne "now with me"; eldest son Jeremiah and his wife Elizabeth; and son Azrikam, if alive. He appointed his son Jeremiah as sole executor and "trusty friends" Mr. jeremiah Holwey Senr, Dr. Chancey, Mr. Alexander Doleman, Mr. John Richardson and Mr. Edmon Reddish as overseers. He directed that son Jeremiah take care of the civil and religious education of his grandchild Anne Blinman.
                                                 
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