Location

Besides Shire Hall, left hand wall at gates to Cathedral (erected July 1986)

About

Thomas Hooker was born into a Puritan family in Leicestershire in 1586. After studying at Cambridge, and speaking at various places, he gained a reputation as a gifted preacher. This prompted the people of Chelmsford to invite him to be their lecturer, at St Mary's church in 1625.

At that time, Chelmsford was noted for its taverns and boisterous citizens and was experiencing an outbreak of the plague. Hooker's preaching struck a chord with the people of Chelmsford; his sermons proved popular, and people flocked to hear them. 

However, Hooker was forced to flee Chelmsford for the Netherlands in 1630 after being persecuted by the then Archbishop William Laud for non-conformity. Three years later, he arrived in New England and went on to establish a colony that would later become Connecticut.  

His views on suffrage, while seemingly limited by today's standards, were very progressive for his time and prompted some to call him "the father of American democracy".

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Last updated: 21 September 2022