The Women Behind the 1689: Mrs. Adams

Richard Adams, signer of the 2nd London Baptist Confession, had a wife. She came from Montsorrel, England. What her name was I do not know, but the marriage took place sometime after 1662. In Montsorrel, Mr. Adams served as a teacher, but also held religious meetings in his house that became well attended. Due to these meetings he was fined harshly by a judge who was extremely antagonistic against Dissenters.  In 1688 Adams was pastor of the Shad Thames church in Southwark, and represented this church at the Baptist Assembly in 1689. However, the Shad Thames church was made up of  General Baptists, and did not desire to be a Particular Baptist church. Thus by 1690 Adams had moved on to be ordained a co-pastor to William Kiffin at Devonshire-square in London. (Kiffin’s wives are chronicled here and here.) While Hanna Kiffin died in 1682, Mrs. Adams might have known Sarah Kiffin.

Richard and Mrs. Adams had at least one son. Sadly, this knowledge also comes with the discovery of strife at Devonshire-square: 

“[Mark Key was made assistant to Adams in 1706.] Meantime Adams had had his own troubles. Richard Adams junior had been expelled in July 1702 for joining Mr. Payn’s congregation; there had been friction in May 1704 about the revival of the London Association, when he did not actually sign the minutes; money ran short on July; men were leaving the church; and one visitor from Hooknorton insisted on preaching, although the church refused to call him to the ministry. Twice in 1705 was Sister Adams censured by the church, he naturally not signing the minutes; and a third time in 1707. In 1706 the trouble about the Association stirred up again, and two meetings in April and May were repudiated by a large meeting, when Adams and Key had rallied 19 members. So low had the great church fallen.” *

What would cause a pastor’s wife to be the subject of three censures?

Shortly after this time, Adams began to seek out a pastorate at a country church. Mrs. Adams did not seem to want to stay in London. It is from some letters concerning these inquiries into pastorates that we learn of Mrs. Adams’ death in 1709:

“About the time I received your first [of letters from Baptists in Whitechurch] it pleased the great disposer of all things to remove my dear and loving wife from me by death, which hath made a great alteration in the scene of my affairs, she was a good companion both in a temporal and spiritual account. I would have gone with her into any part of England where I might have had a prospect of serving Christ & his Interest she had a great desire to live in the country where she might enjoy the benefit of a good air, but now she is gone where there will be no complaint for the want of these outward comforts.”

Richard remained as pastor at Devonshire-square for about twenty years, and died around 1718.

 

puritan-woman

Sources:

Richard Adams, A Disciple of John Tombes

History of the English Baptists

*Seeking A Change

 

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4 thoughts on “The Women Behind the 1689: Mrs. Adams

  1. It strikes me how little we know of these women, how little we know about their lives. I’m glad to get a glimpse of them, and I hope that I can learn from them that it’s not about me. We have such a me centered society, and it’s not about me. It’s about Christ’s exultation and if that regulates me to a few odd sentences in a letter or note, HIs will be done. 🙂

    • I agree. I wonder how strong the temptation for envy and discontent was in a society where there was little social mobility, or if our society with its mantra of “work hard, think positive and you can have anything you want” makes it easier to be discontent. It is comforting to know that various trials are not unique to us modern folk. When I read of the meetings being held in the Adams’ home, I wondered if she would have fretted about the house being clean 🙂

  2. Pingback: 2014-Jul-Wk1 Dunker Bunker “Baptism Baptism Baptism” [Weekly Audio Headlines] | The Confessing Baptist

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