Search
Britannia Departments
Travel
History
British Life
Shopping
Biographies
British Monarchs
Prime Ministers
Great Scotsmen
Biographies A - Z
Thomas Hooker
On a wall near the cathedral in Chelmsford, Essex is a plaque, which states, "Thomas Hooker, 1586-1647, Founder of the State of Connecticut, Father of American Democracy."

Thomas Hooker was born of Puritan parents in the county of Leicestershire in 1586. As a University student he studied first at Queens College, Cambridge, but was later given a scholarship to Emmanuel College. While there he was challenged to a personal Christian faith through the encouragement of a fellow student.

After completing his studies he preached in various places. His reputation as a gifted preacher spread through England causing the folks of Chelmsford to invite him to be their "lecturer." As lecturer he was to preach to the community on market days and assist in the preaching on Sundays. Chelmsford had a reputation as a place full of alehouses and drunkenness, but under the influence of Hooker's godly preaching the town was changed for the better.

It was during this time that Archbishop William Laud became powerful. As the head of the English Church he determined to restrict the liberty of those preachers who did not strictly conform to his ideas. Though many ministers testified to his integrity and peacefulness, Hooker was ejected from his position in the Chelmsford Church.

Hooker set up a school in a nearby village. Here he trained children and gave wise counsel to ministers from around the area. Laud continued his harassment of Hooker, forcing him to flee the country. He preached for a time in Holland, but then returned to England to join others who were fleeing to the New World for religious freedom. Even as the ship set sail Laud's henchmen were searching for him.

Thomas Hooker arrived in Massachusetts in 1633. For a time Thomas and his family settled there while he served as the pastor of the 8th church in that colony. The civil situation was not completely harmonious between the leaders. John Cotton, another leader, wanted to set up a community in which only men who were members of the church and held property could vote. Thomas Hooker, like Cotton, wanted to build a godly community, but he believed all the men should have a voice and a vote.

This difference was settled when Thomas Hooker led about one hundred people away to begin a new settlement, which is now called Hartford, Connecticut. Later three settlements merged to form the Connecticut Colony. This colony put Hooker's principles into practice when it adopted the Fundamental Orders sometimes called the first written constitution.

Thomas never forgot the true source of his salvation and his success in ministry. As he lay dying, someone said to him, "Sir, you are going to receive the reward of all your labours." Thomas looked at him and replied, "Brother, I am going to receive mercy."

Our thanks to Barbara Cross, Mission to the World, Chelmsford, England

Amazon.com logo
Search for:

Enter keywords:
Search Amazon for books, videos, music CDs, toys, electronics. Just select the category, type in your keyword(s) and click search. Or if you feel like bidding on something, click Amazon Auctions
   Copyright ©1999 Britannia.com, LLC