By Sumner Chilton Powell
An award-winning research of Puritans and the formation in their cities.
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Mr. R. Coates, the former Town Clerk of the Borough of Sudbury, has been enormously helpful in regard to documents relating to Chapter III, as have been Mr. Grimwood and Mr. Kay of the same borough. John Booth and I worked in harmonious co-operation on old Framlingham. I discovered the old Nicholas Danforth deed, and John located the actual farm and reconstructed the map, Figure 4. Both of us are grateful to Mr. James M. Martin for the use of the Golty Account Book, to Mr. Derek Charman, archivist of the East Suffolk County Council, and to his assistant Miss D.
This meant that all the farmers of Weyhill, perhaps ninety in number, had had to form certain essential bylaws each year in regard to crop and animal management and had had to see that these orders were carried out to the letter. Since every family's food supply and livelihood depended on careful agricultural management, the imposition of these bylaws probably constituted the core of Weyhill's self-government. Neither the justice of the peace for the area, nor any other English governmental officer, had any say in what crop went into each of Weyhill's fields each season.
The manuscripts still remaining speak of 36 communicants in 1656, out of a male population of at least 90 and a total population of 450, using the low average of five members per family to compute total population. Only 35 church members contributed to pay for the churchyard fence in 1636, and the minister often had great difficulty in gathering his meager tithes. 22 The Churchwardens' Accounts clearly indicate a minimum of activity, a complete lack of parish funds, and a great reluctance on the part of nearly all the parishioners to serve as parish officers.