Saturday, January 29, 2022

Mary Dyer 'shined in the image of God'

 © 2022 Christy K Robinson

John Taylor's journal was published
in London in 1710

In 2013, I did some background reading on the conversion experiences of Quakers, one of them from the public journal of a man born in the early 1630s in York, England. He actually met Mary Dyer on Shelter Island, New York, in the winter of 1659-60, a few months before she was hanged for civil disobedience. John Taylor spent the rest of his 70 years as an itinerant Quaker minister (they didn't believe in paid clergy) and a trans-Atlantic trader and merchant. 


Taylor wrote of the 49-year-old Mary, "She was a very comely woman and grave matron, and even shined in the image of God. We had several brave meetings there together and the Lord's power and presence was with us gloriously. And Mary Dyer went away for Boston again, and said, she must go and offer up her life there and desire them to repeal that wicked law which they had made against God's people." 


Taylor's assertion that Mary Dyer "shined in the image of God," a Quaker expression of their belief in God as Light, was one of the reasons I titled my first book on the Dyers, Mary Dyer Illuminated. 

Christy K Robinson
 is author of these books: 
Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)   
Effigy Hunter (2015)   

And of these sites:  
Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)
Editornado [ed•i•tohr•NAY•doh] (Words. Communications. Book reviews. Cartoons.)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

#OnThisDay: William Dyer's baptism

I want to know who allowed the werewolves on the left side of the image.
The woodcut is of an English christening in 1581.

© 2021 Christy K Robinson

William Dyer was born, say many genealogical sites, on Sept. 19, 1609. Well, maybe not "on this day" precisely, as he was baptized (christened) on Tuesday, Sept. 19. He might have been born up to a week earlier.

The church where William Dyer was baptized still stands in Kirkby LaThorpe, Lincolnshire. For a description of the interior, and photos, please read my article at

To read some of the many articles on this site that describe William Dyer's remarkable life and accomplishments, read this selection, and then hit "Next Posts" at the bottom of that page.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Lincolnshire magazine posts Dyer hometown connection

Copyright 2021 by Christy K Robinson 

In the spring of 2021, I was asked to write a 600-word magazine article on William Dyer and Kirkby LaThorpe, the village where he was born in 1609. The article was published in "Heckington Living," a 40-page lifestyle magazine for Lincolnshire. The magazine editor had discovered my article and photos about the Kirkby LaThorpe church, from this website.

The editor, Amy Lennox, wrote: "Thank you again for your article - the locals were very complimentary about this issue!" I took screenshots, so here you go:


* William Dyer's boyhood and education in KLT and Sleaford, Carre Grammar School <William & Mary Dyer: William Dyer’s boyhood (>

** Church of St Denys in Kirkby La Thorpe <William & Mary Dyer: Kirkby La Thorpe’s Church of St. Denys (>

The bubonic and typhoid plagues of 1625, including in Lincolnshire: <William & Mary Dyer: William Dyer’s annus horribilis -- Plagues of 1625 (>

The Great Frost of 1608: <William & Mary Dyer: The Great Frost of 1608 (>

William Dyer's education in KLT and Sleaford, Carre Grammar School <William & Mary Dyer: William Dyer’s boyhood (>

** Church of St Denys in Kirkby La Thorpe
Denys in Kirkby La Thorpe <William & Mary Dyer: Kirkby La Thorpe’s Church of St. Denys (>

The bubonic and
typhoid plagues of 1625, including in Lincolnshire: <William & Mary Dyer: William Dyer’s annus horribilis -- Plagues of 1625 (>

The Great Frost of
1608: <William & Mary Dyer: The Great Frost of 1608 (>

Domesday Book of 1086 that mentions the Saxon Earl Morcar and the 
area of Kirkby LaThorpe. (You can make out "thorp"  in the second paragraph.)
The Domesday Book was a survey of who owned what and how much
could the king levy in rents and fighting men.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Anne Hutchinson featured in television documentary


In 2019, six documentary film producers were tasked with researching and filming six hour-long segments on the spread of Christianity across the world. The documentaries were pulled together by a script writer and narrated by actor Dennis Haysbert. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) began airing the monthly episodes called “INEXPLICABLE: How Christianity Spread to the Ends of the Earth” in early 2020, but stopped at the beginning of the pandemic. They restarted the series, on a weekly basis, in January 2021.

Segment Four, the spread of Christianity in North America, was created by filmmaker James Langteaux, and airs Thursday, February 4, at 8:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 CT, 6:00 PT, and 5:00 PT, on TBN, which is a worldwide network, so it should be available to viewers of cable, satellite, and broadcast channels. (It may be available online after a few days.) The series combines interviews with experts and dramatic recreations of people and events.

Producer Langteaux contacted Christy K Robinson, author of two popular historical research blogs and four historical books that center on early colonial New England religious leaders, and asked her to speak “passionately” about Anne Marbury Hutchinson and her “bold, heroic life,” as he put it. Though he filmed Robinson for several hours, she doesn't expect to be onscreen more than a few seconds or minutes at the beginning of the episode.

She says, “I hope that my synopsis on Anne Hutchinson and Mary Barrett Dyer, the Quaker martyr who died for religious liberty in 1660, came in handy to the script writer. Both women were pioneers of religious and civil liberties in the 1630s through 1650s, almost 400 years before their time—and their struggle continues to this day.”

Robinson's interest in Anne Hutchinson began in the 1980s, when a Bible teacher talked about Antinomianism, which many historians have ascribed to Hutchinson's name. “Antinomian” means “against the entire (Old Testament/old covenant) Law,” which some believe was supplanted by the new covenant of salvation by grace. Robinson learned through years of research that religious denominations which arose in New England, owed much of their theology to the early colonial Puritan ministers, whose experiences, beliefs, and practices influenced generations of our ancestors, and numerous American denominations.

For more information on Anne Hutchinson, please visit <>

For more information on INEXPLICABLE, please visit Inexplicable | TBN <> . 

To watch the hour-long episode, visit 

Short trailer of Episode Four: 

From a Facebook comment on Feb 8, 2021: 
"Hi Christy. I watched you on Inexplicable last week. All I can say is that they didn’t quote the REAL expert nearly enough! 😜 Good job!" 
--Terri Driver Babcock 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Run, Shepherds, Run, a 17th century poem

William Drummond was a Scottish poet who lived at the time when William and Mary Barrett Dyer and William and Anne Marbury Hutchinson were children and adults. They would not have known Drummond, but reading his poetry shows us the type of literature to which they were exposed during their lives. 

Attributed to Abraham van Blijenberch.
William Drummond of Hawthornden, 1585-1649.
Scottish National Portrait Gallery

This 1623 poem is religious in nature, but surprisingly, not of a Presbyterian (similar to Puritan) theology. It was written from a more episcopal (Church of England) perspective. 

Run, Shepherds, run where Bethl’em blest appears,

We bring the best of news, be not dismayed:

A Saviour there is born, more old than years

Amidst Heaven’s rolling heights this earth who stayed;

In a poor cottage inned, a Virgin Maid,

A weakling did Him bear, who all upbears,

There is He poorly swaddled, in a manger laid

To whom too narrow swaddlings are our spheres:

Run, Shepherds, run, and solemnize His birth.

This is that night−no, day, grown great with bliss,

In which the power of Satan broken is;

In Heaven be glory, peace unto the Earth,

Thus singing through the air the angels swam,

A cope of stars re-echoed the same.

William Drummond

from Flowres of Sion

William Drummond (13 December 1585 – 4 December 1649), called "of Hawthornden", was a Scottish poet.

Our Dyers and Hutchinsons did not celebrate a Christmas holiday. It wasn't part of their religious beliefs to do so. But 400 years later, we do celebrate Christmas, whether as a secular day of family, food, and gift-giving, or as a holy day of thanks to God, or somewhere between. Whatever camp you fall into, I wish you a wonderful season of peace, prosperity, health, fellowship, and joy. I wish you a "cope of stars." 

William & Mary Dyer: A 17th-century Christmas (

William & Mary Dyer: “Purifying” the customs and fun of Christmas (

Monday, May 4, 2020

Book excerpt from Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This

If you’re a descendant or admirer of the people mentioned in this chapter, you’re already primed to appreciate the historical research and writing expertise that went into this biographical novel:
Mary Barrett Dyer
Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick
Nathaniel Sylvester
John Endecott

And in the preceding chapter, you’d find:
Katherine Marbury Scott
Isaac Robinson
William Dyer
Sir Henry Vane
Giles Slocum
William Brenton

There’s a lot of real, historical names and characterizations in my Mary Dyer books, because they were the people in William’s and Mary’s lives that helped define who they were, how they were interacting with one another, and what they were doing at the time.

Book extract from Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This Vol. 2 (2014),
© 2014 Christy K Robinson

May 12, 1660
Shelter Island, Long Island

            Mary was exhausted. She was not in the mood to hear or make another condolence. She didn’t want to hear, much less feel, more angry words about the wickedness of the colonial governments against the Friends, not in New England, and not in Virginia. She wanted something, but what?
            This morning, she and the Shelter Island Friends had gathered for a blessedly silent Meeting and then a burial service for Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick. Both of those dear people had died this week: first Cassandra and then a day later, Lawrence. Though Mary had done all she could to loosen the terrible knots under their skin caused by the triple lash, and soothe their pains by gently working scented and pain-relieving balm into their scars, all it took in the end was a respiratory fever. Once Cassandra was gone, Lawrence gave up and followed her.
Again, Mary thought of the life force in a human being: sometimes it was strong, like a mighty river current, and other times, it was merely a trembling leaf on an aspen. The sixty-two-year-olds could endure savage beatings, they could tolerate the loss of every material thing they’d worked so hard for, they could hear of their adult children sitting in dark, cold prison, and grieve that their adolescent children had barely escaped being sold as slaves. But finally, they had left behind their torn old bodies for freedom and eternal joy in God’s presence.
            She wasn’t sure whether to rejoice or to weep, or to nurse a very natural fury at the evil that could inhabit the governor, assistants, and ministers of Boston, Salem, and Plymouth, who claimed to speak for God but were voracious lions seeking to devour harmless lambs.
            Nathaniel Sylvester hadn’t been convinced of the Friends’ teachings when Copeland, Holder, Robinson, and others visited here in previous years. Perhaps his sympathetic support of the Friends had something to do with his Barbados partners and past experience with Friends there—and something to do with his antagonistic attitude to the New Haven Colony which administered the English settlements on Long Island and had so gravely injured the Quaker missionaries.
But something had changed. Perhaps it was Lawrence and Cassandra, perhaps it was Mary herself, for now Sylvester was in a hot lather to send a letter to the General Court at New Haven and declare himself a Friend. An outraged Friend, furious about the unwarranted, malevolent persecution by New England’s governments. How dare they, to hold Mary Fisher and Ann Austin in prison for five weeks, and inspect their naked bodies for marks of witchcraft or imp teats, to threaten death, and then ship them off to Barbados. Ann had said that though she’d borne five children in England, she’d never suffered as much as she had under those barbarous and cruel hands.
Mary already knew what the false minister Davenport would say: that Nathaniel was slandering New England’s godly magistrates and himself in particular, and blaspheming God with his pernicious doctrines, and that he was entertaining members of a cursed sect. There would be fury, accusations, and perhaps arrests. These were the people who had begun their bloody work with Humphrey Norton.
New Haven. Davenport. The earthquake. Was it really only two years ago? How the faces had changed in that time. Some had gone back to England. Sarah Gibbons drowned. William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson hanged. Richard Doudney, Mary Clark, and Mary Wetherhead all drowned in a shipwreck off Barbados. Anne Robinson dead of a fever in Jamaica. Now the Southwicks. And soon, Mary Dyer. She felt it. She knew the time was near, for the madness and hate of New England were still not ripe.
But did she mourn her Friends? Deep down, no, for she knew that their salvation was secure and they were now part of that great cloud of witnesses. Instead, she mourned the suffering of the converts who were only obeying the quiet voice of God, and acting as scripture prescribed: to visit the sick and imprisoned, to be just, merciful, and humble, to love one another. She mourned for the families and children who didn’t understand where the hate came from, and why their naked, bleeding mothers had been dragged out to the wilderness and left to die, or suffered the winter in Boston prison, with no heat and little food. And because these women were not well-known, were not as educated or experienced as men, and to be honest, not as privileged and connected as Mary Dyer, they needed an obelisk or flag to rally around. They needed an advocate, and someone important enough to draw the attention of Endecott and Bellingham away from the outrages they visited upon the faithful. They needed the hearts of the people of New England turned from bloodthirst to pity and charity.
And that Mary could do by God’s grace. She would have done it last October, but the Lord in his wisdom had used his two willing servants, Robinson and Stephenson, and reserved Mary’s sacrifice for such a time as this, when it would have a greater effect.
Ah! That’s what Mary had been longing for. Not the prison and hardship, but knowing that every moment, she was fulfilling God’s will. She longed for the kingdom that was closer and more real than this world, and being in that place of perfect love.
The annual Court of Elections would be held in Boston in ten days’ time, and she would be there. Even in taking the Southwicks home and releasing Mary from their care, the Lord was preparing her way. She had nothing to fear. 

Read more from the five-star Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This.

On May 27, 1660 (360 years ago), Mary’s husband, William Dyer, wrote an impassioned letter to the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony, pleading with them to save his wife from the gallows. You can own a high-resolution 16x20” print of that letter written in William’s beautiful hand, by ordering it at this page:


Christy K Robinson is author of these books (click the colored title): 

Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)  
Effigy Hunter (2015)  

And of these sites:  
Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)
Editornado [ed•i•tohr•NAY•doh] (Words. Communications. Book reviews. Cartoons.)

Friday, January 17, 2020

Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother chapter excerpt

© 2018 Christy K Robinson

In September 2018, I published a new, contemporary biography (nonfiction) on the life and legacy of Anne Marbury Hutchinson, 1591-1643. Its research, presentation, style, images, sources, and conclusions are unlike any other book written on Hutchinson. 

The following article is part of a chapter introducing Anne Hutchinson to readers in the 21st century.

One of the interesting things about Anne is that she was a deeply spiritual woman all her life. But her legacy is that of promoting and practicing separation of church and state, and secular democracy, which was almost unheard of in the 17th century and earlier.

Here is the chapter section that shows the differences in the two compacts (a covenant) on which Rhode Island’s government began to form in 1638.

Anne Marbury Hutchinson: Founding mother of secular democracy
Massachusetts Bay Colony was not founded as a democracy where the People govern themselves with elected representatives. Rev. John Cotton wrote: 

"Democracy, I do not conceive that ever God did ordain as a fit government either for church or commonwealth. If the people be governors, who shall be governed? As for monarchy, and aristocracy, they are both of them clearly approved, and directed in scripture, yet so as referreth the sovereign to himself, and setteth up Theocracy in both, as the best form of government in the commonwealth, as well as in the church. 
… Purity, preserved in the church, will preserve well ordered liberty in the people, and both of them establish well-balanced authority in the magistrates. God is the author of all these three and neither is himself the God of confusion, nor are his ways of confusion, but of peace."
Excerpted from The Correspondence of John Cotton. Sargent Bush, Jr., editor. The University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
Portsmouth Compact, March 1638
When the signers of the Wheelwright Remonstrance were disfranchised and disarmed by the Winthrop government in 1637, they determined to form a new “plantation,” or settlement, outside the Massachusetts charter boundaries. During Anne Hutchinson’s second trial, they organized themselves, purchased land, and prepared to move their households. The leading men signed the Portsmouth Compact, which appears to be written in William Dyer’s hand. In March 1638, they pledged: 

The 7th Day of the First Month, 1638 [7 March 1638].
We whose names are underwritten do hereby solemnly in the presence of Jehovah incorporate ourselves into a Bodie Politick and as He shall help, will submit our persons, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and to all those perfect and most absolute laws of His given in His Holy Word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby.

In the margin are noted three Bible texts, given here for your convenience:
Exodus 24:3-4. Afterward Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the Laws: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the things which the Lord hath said, will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord and rose up early, and set up an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel;
1 Chronicles 11:3. So came all the Elders of Israel to the King to Hebron, and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord, by the hand of Samuel; and
2 Kings 11:17. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, and the King and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people: likewise between the King and the people.

           We don’t know who suggested or insisted upon the scripture references, which have in common making a covenant with one another before God to obey his word and laws. It may have been William Coddington, who was a magistrate of the Bay Colony and one of the 1630 Winthrop Fleet pioneers who dreamed of building the New Jerusalem that would hasten the return of Jesus.
It appears that the new plantation would have that familiar combination of church and state, and an adherence to the religious laws and government model of the Old Testament.
After some disagreements about what Anne Hutchinson called “the magistracy,” a group led by William Coddington moved ten to 15 miles south on Aquidneck Island and founded Newport.
The settlement at Portsmouth, Rhode Island, incorporated itself as a secular democracy in 1639, contrasted with the theocratic governments of the other English colonies – and of England, their native land.
Portsmouth formed a new government, with William Hutchinson elected their “judge,” like the Old Testament judges of Israel before the monarchy of King Saul. Their new compact, signed by William and thirty others, read:

April 30, 1639
We, whose names are under written do acknowledge ourselves the legal subjects of his Majestie King Charles, and in his name do hereby bind ourselves into a civil body politick, unto his laws according to matters of justice.

The difference between the 1638 and 1639 agreements is stark. Religious language in the first, civil language in the second. Then, in March 1641, the island’s general court resolved, 

It is ordered and unanimously agreed upon that the Government which this Bodie Politick doth attend unto in this Island, and the Jurisdiction thereof, in favour of our Prince is a Democracie, or popular Government; that is to say, It is in the Power of the Body of Freemen orderly assembled, or the major part of them, to make or constitute Just Laws, by which they will be regulated, and to depute from among themselves such Ministers [public servants] as shall see them faithfully executed between Man and Man.

Between man and man. They weren’t cutting out the relationship between God and man, or their devotion to serving God. But secular democracy for this group, who had fled religious persecution in England only five to ten years before, and theocratic oppression just one year before, was the very freedom they longed for and now had in their grasp. They were the point of a movement. And the movement, beginning with those conventicles in her parlor, was led by Anne Hutchinson. 

To read more (299 pages more!) about Anne Hutchinson's life and legacy, see the 5-star book at Amazon: 
Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother


Christy K Robinson is author of these books (click the colored title):
Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)  
Effigy Hunter (2015)  

And of these sites:  
Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)
Editornado [ed•i•tohr•NAY•doh] (Words. Communications. Book reviews. Cartoons.)