Rev. Francis Marbury

Francis, the son of William Marbury and his wife Agnes Lenton and a descendant of Edward I, was baptized at St. Pancras, Soper Lane, London, on October 27, 1555. By the time Francis was born, Queen Elizabeth I had come to the throne, positioned herself as the head of the Church of England, and defeated the Spanish Catholics. England had become a country of great religious activity, with Anglican bishops and ministers taking dominant positions in the government and courts. People loyal to the queen were pressing for church rites, teachings, and rituals that would clearly separate their new church from Catholicism. In this atmosphere, some small groups wanted to change the church even more, to "purify" it of any formal ritual that would suggest a relationship with the Catholics. These people were called Puritans.

Bridget Dryden, who would marry Francis Marbury, was the daughter of John Dryden and Elizabeth Cope, large estate owners in central England. Many in her family were Puritans, and at least one relative had been imprisoned in the Tower of London for suggesting religious reforms.

Francis matriculated at Christ College, Cambridge, but did not receive a degree. About 1571, Francis Marbury began to teach and preach at the church in Northampton near the Dryden estate.

Francis was ordained deacon on January 7, 1577/8. Although Francis himself was a brilliant Anglican clergyman and schoolmaster, he soon found that many of the Anglican ministers were not well educated but appointed to their positions by the ruling bishops for political reasons. His reformist preaching led to imprisonment in the Marshalsea where he wrote an allegorical play entitled The Contract of Marriage between Wit and Wisdom in 1579. In fact, Marbury found himself imprisoned three times before age 23 for preaching against the incompetence of English ministers and thus by implication, the British monarchy.

He was married for the first time about 1580 to Elizabeth Moore, with three children. By the time he was released from prison for the last time, he was a widower and chose to move from Northampton. He married Bridget Dryden before 1591 and they settled in the town of Alford, Lincolnshire. There, Francis supported his growing family by preaching and teaching at St. Wilfred's Church.

The Marbury home was a busy one, as Bridget Marbury gave birth over the years to fifteen children. By 1590, Francis was again in trouble over his quarrels with the Anglican leaders. They accused him of being a Puritan and, even though he won his trial, he was forbidden to preach again for several years.

Finally, the need to earn a living convinced Marbury to give up trying to reform the church. On June 24, 1605 Francis was ordained a priest and the Marbury family moved to London where Francis was installed as Rector of St. Martin's Vintry on October 28, 1605. He later became rector of St. Pancras, Soper Lane, and finally rector of St. Margaret's, New Fish Street. Francis was holding two of these offices simultaneously when he died shortly before February 11, 1611. His nuncupative will, made June 25, 1610, was proved February 14, 1611. In it he left 200 pounds to each of his twelve living children and stated that the girls must stay with their mother until they married.

Bridget was the third daughter of John Dryden, Esq. of Canons Ashby, Northampton, and his wife Elizabeth Cope. She was born ca 1563, as she was listed as underage in her father's will of 1584. After the death of Francis, Bridget married secondly Rev. Thomas Newman of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Bridget died sometime between February 12, 1644 (the date of her will) and April 2, 1645 (the date her estate was administered).


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See lineage of Marbury Family

Read the Biography of Francis's great, great grandfather, John Marbury

Read the Biography of Francis's great grandfather, William Marbury

Read the Biography of Francis's grandfather, Robert Marbury

Read the Biography of Francis's father, William Marbury

Read the Biography of Francis's famous Daughter, Anne Marbury Hutchinson

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