Samuel Chapin migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1621-1640).
In East Sussex many Puritans were heavily influenced by the teachings of John Calvin.
The PURITAN INFLUENCE
Few will be unaware of the famous ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ who emigrated from England in the early 1600’s to settle in the North Eastern corner of what we now know as the United States, but they were the more adventurous tip of a widespread Puritan movement that had grown in popularity over a few decades. Devotion to its cause seems to have been extra keen in that part of East Sussex immediately beyond the main A22 road.
Family discipline of the age was quite stringent by 21st Century standards and fathers could impose forenames on their offspring that would proclaim their faith and definitely be defined as ‘Christian’ names. How long the practice lasted isn’t recorded, but E V Lucas in his Highways & Byways in Sussex (1903) quotes some of the more unusual cases from the era, although there was a subtle hint of its past existence as late as the 1940’s when a young lad of the Message clan of worshippers was christened ‘Ivor’ to the amusement of many. 400 years earlier, however, such names wouldn’t signify the holder’s sex, and a Mr Pryor of Heathfield gave his infant daughter ‘Replenished’ in 1600 to guide her through her life.
Parish Registers were the source of such information but their compilers may not have respected names as much as they might. Thus a young Maresfield man who got married in 1632 under the name of ‘Performe-thy-vowes’ Seers, was buried only four years later as simply ‘Vowes’ Seers. The unisex nature of other names is borne out by a young girl from Heathfield being baptised ‘More-Fruits’, but sharing her name with a young Fowler boy from East Hoathly. Any subsequent marriage might have been confusing, had it happened.
A Sussex jury list of the century includes ‘Redeemed’ Compton of Battel (sic), ‘Stand-fast-on-high’ Stringer of Crowhurst, ‘Weep-not’ Billing of Lewes, ‘Called’ Lower of Warbleton, ‘Elected’ Mitchell of Heathfield, ‘Renewed’ Wisberry of Hailsham, ‘Fly-fornication’ Richardson of Waldron, ‘The-Peace-of-God’ Knight of Burwash, ‘Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith’ White of Ewhurst, and ‘Kill-sin’ Pemble of Withyham. Such inclusion may have been to establish a sense of balance or because they were considered to be pillars of that society. Who knows. Nick Turner