Monday, January 19, 2015

Chance to win a free e-book of Mary Dyer Illuminated

Go to The Review blog <--- (click that highlighted link) to see their very nice review by Kristie Davis Dean, of Mary Dyer Illuminated, and leave a comment there (not here) for a drawing to win a free e-book that can be read on Kindles and other devices with the Kindle reading app*.

Don't want to wait that long? You may go directly to Amazon for the paperback or Kindle edition.
Paperback, 390 pages. $19.99 (Amazon discounts this price to just less than $18) 
Kindle edition Amazon price $7.99 

*Click the graphic below to get the reading app for your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Adding insult to injury--Boston justice in 1639

Carpenter, ca 1635, by Jan Joris van Vliet
© 2015 Christy K Robinson

Edward Palmer, a carpenter, came to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 in the Winthrop Fleet with 700 others. As the English settlers followed, perhaps 35,000 of them over the next 10 years, there was a building boom, and Palmer was surely kept busy with building houses and shops, machines like looms or mills or spinning wheels, or furniture, or perhaps working in the shipbuilding trade. 

The colony was ruled as a theocracy, basing their laws on the Old Testament, and combining ministers and magistrates as rulers. In addition to the obvious laws about adultery, fornication, stealing, and lying, one could be punished in the stocks for cursing, drunkenness, and speaking against the authorities. The iron "bilbo" they'd brought from England, which was a bar with movable shackles and padlocks, was worn out from regular use or broken/rusted and needed a replacement. Iron was expensive to ship from England, and wood was plentiful in Massachusetts, so a carpenter, Edward Palmer, was commissioned to build a stocks for Boston. 

He charged them £1 13s. 7d. for the wood and his labor in building the stocks. 

Lathe operator, ca 1635, by Jan Joris van Vliet
That's about 23 days' labor in carpenters' wages if the wood was free, but it probably wasn't, and I don't know the cost of the wood. Of course, he'd have to hand-hew the lumber into the wood pieces of proper size and shape, and fasten them with nails or iron clasps, and affix locks. Also, the stocks would require a platform on which to seat or stand the prisoner. So Palmer's job was not an afternoon in the workshop with power tools. 

The first client for the new instrument of punishment was, ironically, Edward Palmer, who was "fyned £5 & censured to bee sett an houre in the stocks." 

Five pounds' fine was about $45 in today's money, but if you look at it in terms of carpenter's wages in 1639, the fine was about 128 days' worth of dawn-to-dusk labor.  

It appears that after Palmer's expert work, he was stiffed for the expenses and labor, and fined for his pains. Boston still got its new stocks and made five pounds on the deal, and Palmer had the dubious honor of being the first man to demonstrate the proper use of the device. 
Boston, 1639. Edward Palmer was employed to build the stocks (a place in which to set criminals for punishment); when completed, he presented his bill of £1. 13s. 7d. This was thought to be exorbitant, and poor Palmer got placed in his own machine, and fined five pounds. The next year Hugh Bewett was banished, "for maintaining that he was free from original sin."  A Chronological History of the Boston Watch and Police: From 1631 to 1865, By Edward Hartwell Savage, 1885. 
Incidentally, Hugh Bewett went to Rhode Island, where he was elected as the colony's first Solicitor General in 1650, and Providence's first police sergeant in 1651. In 1652, he was accused and tried for treason, but was acquitted on December 25.


In addition to this incident, the only Edward Palmer I could find in records was a man on a Massachusetts commission with John Winthrop Jr., Joseph Dudley, and other first-generation immigrants, that disputed the Rhode Island boundary with Connecticut and Massachusetts in 1683, and sent a petition to the King. If that was the same man, he would have been in his 70s. But Edward was a common name, and there were many Palmers in New England by then.

If you enjoy the articles and images in this blog, you'll love this book about life in England and New England in the 17th century, The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport. It's full of anecdotes about famous people like John Winthrop, Anne Hutchinson, and the amazing Dyers, but also people and events that have been forgotten for 350 years. Paperback and Kindle.

Friday, December 26, 2014

If you have these, I have THESE

If you have these... 


I have THESE:

 FIVE-STAR reviews!
Recent, original, ground-breaking research of English 
and New England primary sources.
Available in paperback or Kindle e-book
Click here:  RobinsonAuthor

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas in 17th century England and America

A very happy holiday season to friends, readers, Dyer descendants, author colleagues, and those who enjoy this blog for its wide-ranging historical research presented in laymen's terms.

If you know of others with similar interests, I hope you'll share the three Dyer books and the Mary Dyer letter poster, either by giving them as gifts, or by sharing the links to them in this blog.

I hope you'll enjoy this small collection of articles and images of what Christmas and Advent season would have been like for our ancestors of 11 to 14 generations ago! And feel free to share it in Facebook and Twitter.

Mary Dyer and Christmas
by Christy K Robinson
This article describes customs of Advent and Christmas in the early and mid-1600s, across Great Britain and the colonies of New England, including Rhode Island, where William Dyer was a government official.

Also in this blog:
by Christy K Robinson

Oliver Cromwell cancels Christmas
by Sarah Butterfield

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ride the TITLE WAVE into the 17th century

by Christy K Robinson

Books by Eve LaPlante, David Teems, Francis Bremer,
John Fox, and Nathaniel Philbrick,
fascinating nonfiction set in the 17th century.
 There’s a vast crowd of enthusiasts reading and discussing everything medieval and renaissance. But time didn’t stop with Elizabeth I’s death in 1603, and start up again at the Regency. Are you looking for the rest of the story? This is the century that brought you William Shakespeare's greatest works, the science of Bacon and Descartes and Newton, the astronomers like Kepler, the musicians Lanier and Purcell, Dr. William Harvey who discovered blood circulation, the great artists Vermeer and Rembrandt, Roger Williams and separation of church and state, the invention of the barometer and pendulum clock and steam pump and air pump, the Inquisition dispersing Protestants and Jewish refugees to Europe and America, the Great Migration to the Americas, the birth of secular democracy, Leeuwenhoek's microscope that showed bacteria and spermatazoa for the first time, and all the ideas and heresies that germinated between 1600 and 1700, the beginning of the Early Modern Period. It was a starkly different period than the medieval, renaissance, and Tudor periods it followed.

King James (he commissioned the 1611 Bible that's still the favorite version 400 years on), his son King Charles I (the only English king to be executed), and grandsons Charles II and James II kept the drama level high and dangerous in the seventeenth century. Their marriages and lovers, births and deaths, political intrigues, religious conflicts, witch hunts, and wars marked the beginning of our modern period. Their aristocrats and politicians, tradesmen, midwives, ministers, writers, musicians, scientists, and artists changed the world.  

This is a list of authors who have the 17th century covered, from Shakespeare and midwife forensic investigators to barber surgeons, Charles II’s mistresses, men and women who founded American democracy, servants and highway robbers, people who gave their lives for their principles or just because they were falsely accused as witches. In these books you’ll find sumptuous gowns and high society, educated women, poverty, prostitutes, and massacres, childbirth and plague, castles and manors, cathedrals and meetinghouses—even a vampire.

Our ninth or tenth great-grandparents knew these people—or were these people, metaphorically speaking. (Well, probably not the vampire—but everyone else!) Discover what their lives were like, and how their lives formed who you are. Many of the book characters from the 17th century are based on facts, events, and real people. You'll see parallels in economics and politics between then and now. The authors, in addition to their literary skills, have spent months and years in research to get the 17th century world “just right,” so you’ll get your history veggies in a delicious brownie.

Ride the wave of the time-space continuum into the 17th century with these award-winning and highly-rated authors. The images you see are a small sample of what's available from this talented group! Click the highlighted author’s name to open a new tab.

Anna Belfrage Time-slip (then and now) love and war.

Jo Ann Butler — From England to New England: survival, love, and a dynasty.

Susanna Calkins — Murder mysteries set in 1660s London. 

Francine Howarth — Heroines, swashbuckling romance.

Judith James — Rakes and rogues of the Restoration.

Marci Jefferson — Royal Stuarts in Restoration England.

Elizabeth Kales French Huguenot survival of Inquisition.

Juliet Haines Mofford — True crime of New England, pirates.

Mary Novik — Rev. John Donne and daughter.

Donald Michael Platt Spanish Inquisition cloak and dagger.

Katherine Pym — London in the 1660s.

Diane Rapaport — Colonial New England true crime.

Peni Jo Renner — Salem witch trials.

Christy K Robinson — British founders of American democracy and rights.

Anita Seymour  Royalists and rebels in English Civil War.

Mary Sharratt — Witches (healers) of Pendle Hill, 1612.

Alison Stuart — Time-slip war romance, ghosts.

Deborah Swift — Servant girls running for lives, highwaywoman.

Ann Swinfen — Farmers fighting to keep land, chronicles of Portuguese physician.

Sam Thomas — Midwife solves murders in city of York.

Suzy Witten — Salem witch trials.

Andrea Zuvich — Vampire in Stuart reign, Duke of Monmouth and mistress.

Introduction and illustrated table by Christy K Robinson. You're welcome to share this page in your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Shortened URL:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thou-Tube: a 17th-century musical playlist

© 2014 Christy K Robinson 

I've started a Thou-Tube (oops, I mean YouTube) playlist of 17th-century music. Most of the music, except for the Henry Purcell pieces, was composed and played during the first half of the 17th century, during the lifetimes of William and Mary Dyer, and Anne and William Hutchinson.

I used "Sing Care Away" on p. 276 of Mary Dyer Illuminated, having found the lyrics in a website on ballads of the era. Now you can hear it with voice and lute!

So turn up the external speakers, set the playlist to "play all," and do some housework, read this blog's 110+ archived articles in another tab, or relax with a book about the Dyers. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mary Dyer goes west (to AZ-CA-NV-UT-HI)

Mary Dyer debuted in the Adventist magazine Pacific Union Recorder, in November 2014. Read the article by PDF (turn to page 40), or in digital flip-book (turn to page 40). Or, if you click the photo below to enlarge it, you can read the slightly blurry screenshot. This feature was printed in the Arizona insert of the regional magazine.

Update: Former TV host (Faith For Today, Lifestyle Magazine) and minister Dan Matthews said on December 6, 2014, that if you haven't yet read these books Mary and William Dyer, you need to "cuddle up" to the author, Christy Robinson.